ExxonMobil signs partnership agreement with IBM on Quantum Computing

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ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil becomes the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network to advance energy sector application of quantum computing

By Anayo Ezugwu

ExxonMobil has signed a partnership agreement with IBM to advance the potential use of quantum computing in developing next-generation energy and manufacturing technologies. As part of the agreement, ExxonMobil becomes the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community of Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and national research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for science and business.

The new partnership was formally announced during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas. Vijay Swarup, vice president, research and development, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, said the scale and complexity of many challenges the company face in its business surpass the limits of today’s traditional computers.

“Quantum computing can potentially provide us with capabilities to simulate nature and chemistry that we’ve never had before. As we continue our own research and development efforts in the areas of energy and chemical manufacturing, our agreement with IBM will allow us to expand our knowledge base and potentially apply new solutions in computing to further advance those efforts,” he said.

Advances in quantum computing could provide ExxonMobil with an ability to address computationally challenging problems across a variety of applications, including the potential to optimize a country’s power grid, and perform more predictive environmental modeling and highly accurate quantum chemistry calculations to enable discovery of new materials for more efficient carbon capture.

“The advancement of new breakthroughs, coupled with the creative application of current technologies available to us from outside the energy sector, will be critical in addressing the dual challenge of producing energy to fuel economies and meeting consumers’ needs while managing the risks of climate change. Much of the success in our own ingenuity is facilitated by the innovation of others outside our industry, from three-dimensional printing to quantum computing.

“The many partnerships we lead or participate in around the world provide us with opportunities to exchange ideas and collaborate, applying our own unique experiences, knowledge and strengths toward a potentially successful breakthrough in lower-emission energy production or a more efficient manufacturing process,” Swarup said.

ExxonMobil’s partnership with IBM expands the company’s collaborative efforts with other companies and academic institutions that are focused on developing an array of new energy technologies, improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The company currently works with about 80 universities in the United States, Europe and Asia to explore next-generation energy technologies.

Likewise, ExxonMobil has begun drilling the Haimara-1 exploration well offshore Guyana, the first of two planned wells in January. The Stena Carron drillship is drilling the well, which is located 19 miles (31 kilometers) east of the Pluma-1 discovery in the southeast Stabroek Block.

The Noble Tom Madden drillship is expected to drill the second well, Tilapia-1, about three miles (five kilometers) west of the Longtail-1 discovery. The Tilapia-1 well is located in the growing Turbot area.

Steve Greenlee, president, ExxonMobil Exploration Company, said the company would continue to prioritise high-potential prospects in close proximity to previous discoveries in order to establish opportunities for material and efficient development. “Like the Liza and Payara areas, the Turbot area is on its way to offering significant development options that will maximize value for Guyana and our partners.”

ExxonMobil is progressing the Liza Phase 1 development, which has moved into its peak execution phase ahead of expected startup in early 2020. Drilling of development wells in the Liza field is continuing using the Noble Bob Douglas drillship, subsea equipment is being prepared for installation and the topside facilities modules are being installed on the Liza Destiny floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel in Singapore.

Preparations are underway for the commencement of pipe-laying activities in the Liza field in the spring. The Liza Destiny FPSO is expected to sail from Singapore to arrive offshore Guyana in the third quarter of 2019.

The potential exists for at least five FPSOs on the Stabroek Block producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025. Liza Phase 2 is expected to start up by mid-2022. Pending government and regulatory approvals, project sanction is expected first quarter 2019 and will use a second FPSO designed to produce up to 220,000 barrels per day. Sanctioning of a third development, Payara, is also expected in 2019 with start up as early as 2023.

ExxonMobil also plans to deploy a seismic vessel operated by Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) to the Turbot area to acquire 4-D seismic data similar to a 4-D campaign conducted in the Liza area in 2017. A second PGS vessel has been released after seismic acquisition activities were suspended on Dec. 22 when vessels were approached by the Venezuelan navy in the northwest portion of the Stabroek Block.

Drilling and development operations offshore Guyana are unaffected by the incident, which occurred more than 110 kilometers from the Ranger discovery, the closest of 10 discoveries made by ExxonMobil in the southeast section of the Stabroek Block.

ExxonMobil operates the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana under license from the government of Guyana. The acquisition of seismic data was being conducted under license from the government of Guyana in the country’s exclusive economic zone. ExxonMobil is evaluating next steps for the seismic program.

Throughout its activities, ExxonMobil continues to emphasize and promote direct benefit to local business. More than 50 percent of the Guyana affiliate’s employees, contractors and subcontractors are Guyanese, a number that will continue to grow as operations progress. ExxonMobil, its partners and its contractors spent about US$65 million with more than 300 local suppliers during the first three quarters of 2018. The Centre for Local Business Development, established by ExxonMobil in 2017 to promote the establishment and growth of small- and medium-sized local businesses, continues to enable access to training and capacity-building. More than 1300 local businesses have registered with the centre.

– Jan. 11, 2019 @ 16:42 GMT |

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