BP invests in new artificial intelligence technology

Saxon Weber Group Advises on a significant investment in Belmont — a startup pioneering a new AI technology, nicknamed Sandy, to accelerate projects.

Cognitive Assistant Sandy from Belmont

BP Ventures has invested $5 million in Belmont Technology’s Series A financing to further bolster BP’s artificial intelligence (AI) and digital capabilities in its Upstream business.

Saxon Weber Group, a Houston based boutique investment bank has advised on the deal.

Press Release

The investment supports BP’s ongoing work exploring opportunities to apply machine learning and cognitive computing in its global oil and gas business.

The Houston technology start-up has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI. The platform has a string of unique capabilities including specially-designed ‘knowledge-graphs’. BP experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information. It intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets. Much like data searches available in the consumer domain, BP experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language. The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.

Aimed at accelerating project lifecycles, from exploration through to reservoir modelling, the technology is targeting a 90% time reduction in data collection, interpretation and simulation.

David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology, said: “This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much accelerated pace. Our experts will ask it questions about our reservoirs like, ‘What factors control production in the Chirag field?’. Sandy will then interpret our data, including mapping out many more scenarios than are currently constructed, helping us make faster, better informed Upstream decisions.

“This investment helps drive forward our digital strategy and further underpins our Upstream operations with cutting edge technology.”

BP’s investment will enable Belmont Technology to expand its workforce, extend Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of its product.

Belmont Technology’s CEO, Jean-Marie Laigle, said: “We are extremely honored to welcome BP as an investor as it is a validation of our approach and technology. We are excited by the prospect of deploying a cutting-edge cognitive AI solution within BP.

“Our technology enables real-time thinking for subsurface engineers, helping transform the way teams work, analyse data, understand situations and generate novel ideas.”

This investment follows BP’s previous deals in cognitive computing, including $20 million in Series B funding in AI company Beyond Limits. That investment is helping deploy AI technology previously used in deep space exploration missions in offshore exploration, accelerating operational insight and process automation across operations. Belmont’s scalable knowledge-graphs can be interrogated by Beyond Limits’ technology for new insights.

Saxon Weber Group Managing Partner Derek Weber was firm’s the lead on the transaction. “The Belmont team — Jean Marie and Geoff are building a cognitive system for the geosciences that sits at the cross roads and the strike zone of where the industry needs specific solutions. BP Ventures recognized early on the strategic value of the technology and we are proud to have supported the transaction.”

Saxon Weber Group

Saxon Weber Group was founded in 2013 to serve the market through a suite of a boutique Investment Banking, Business Intelligence and M&A Advisory Services dedicated to a sector focus.

Contact — Derek Weber derek@saxonweber.com

www.saxonweber.com

Cautionary statement

In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), BP is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements — that is, statements related to future, not past events and circumstances — which may relate to one or more of the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of BP and certain of the plans and objectives of BP with respect to these items. These statements are generally, but not always, identified by the use of words such as ‘will’, ‘expects’, ‘is expected to’, ‘aims’, ‘should’, ‘may’, ‘objective’, ‘is likely to’, ‘intends’, ‘believes’, ‘anticipates’, ‘plans’, ‘we see’ or similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements, depending on a variety of factors including the risk factors set forth in our most recent Annual Report and Form 20-F under “Risk factors” and in any of our more recent public reports.

Our most recent Annual Report and Form 20-F and other period filings are available on our website at www.bp.com, or can be obtained from the SEC by calling 1–800-SEC-0330 or on its website at www.sec.gov.

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