Norway-based oil services firm Applied Petroleum Technology (APT) has secured research funding to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution for oil companies.

The AI solution will help oil companies use biostratigraphic services to plan drilling programmes and assess hydrocarbon wells.

Biostratigraphy is a process involving the dating of rocks using fossils.

According to the oil services firm, this technique is ‘obligatory’ for drilling all exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Companies use biostratigraphy for analysis of subsurface geology, as well as to correlate sections in wells that are both ‘within fields’ and ‘on a larger regional scale’.

Applied Petroleum Technology AI project manager Thomas Løkken Rustad stated: “With our new image recognition technology and AI-driven analysis method, we can significantly decrease the time used for analyses and obtain data at a more statistically accurate level through mitigating human inconsistencies and biases.

“Overall, this will allow us to provide even faster and better decision support to oil companies’ exploration and drilling teams.”

Norwegian Research Council has granted Nkr5.5m ($621,879) to APT to develop an image digitalisation, as well as AI technique and associated software to improve microscopic analysis with respect to fossil content detection and quantification.

Rustad added: “Using AI software to localise and quantify the fossil content will reduce turnover time and increase quality and capacity. The biostratigrapher can cut routine work and instead focus on quality control and interpretation of the data and communicating the results to the client.”

APT claims that it turns around biostratigraphy analyses within a 24-hour span where results are critical for decisions during ongoing drilling operations.

Upon completion of the research project, APT aims to be the ‘first commercial biostratigraphic company’ worldwide to provide digital palynological services.

Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, APT is a provider of geochemical and biostratigraphic laboratory services and petroleum systems. It also has operations in the UK, US and Canada.