Intelligence brief: Total has most-powerful supercomputer in private sector

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Total's Pangea supercomputer is the industry's most-powerful (Image credit: Total)

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Total has most-powerful supercomputer in private sector

Total’s supercomputer Pangea is now the eleventh-most powerful in the world. The oil and gas major recently upgraded its Pangea’s RPeak, or theoretical maximum computing power, to 6.7 petaflops per second, equivalent to more than 80,000 laptops combined. Its storage capacity has also been increased to 26 petabytes, equivalent to 6 million DVDs.

Pangea’s computing power has been tripled in the two years, according to Arnaud Breuillac, President – Exploration & Production. “In the era of big data, state-of-the-art data-intensive computing is a competitive advantage. This power will help us to improve our performance and to reduce our costs,” he said.

The capacity boost will support the use of next-generation algorithms developed by Total's R&D to image increasingly complex regions and produce numerical simulations of fields, incorporating 4-D seismic data, the company said. Pangea requires a power supply of 4.5 megawatts. Total’s buildings in Pau, France are heated by reusing some of the heat released by the supercomputer. Pangea was designed by Silicon Graphics International.

Total’s computer appeared at number 33 in the most-recent edition of TOP500’s twice-yearly rankings of the 500 most-powerful commercially available computer systems. Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology with theoretical maximum computing power of 54.902 petaflops/s, has topped the list six consecutive times. All of the most-recently published top 10 are hosted by government agencies or research institutes, with four belonging to the US Department of Energy.

The world's top supercomputers are all hosted by governments and research institutes (Source: Top500 List)

Analyst: Operators that push through development stand to gain in long-term

Operators can maximize the net present value of future field developments by moving ahead with development and initial engineering on projects that have been delayed because of the low oil price, Douglas-Westwood analyst Katy Smith has written in an article on the firm’s website.

With Douglas-Westwood forecasting a trough in installations of subsea equipment in 2017-18, she noted that some operators were still moving ahead with development activities for projects that have yet to be sanctioned.

Anadarko is conducting pre-FEED (front-end engineering design) exploration and appraisal drilling at its Shenandoah field in the Gulf of Mexico, even though project sanctioning has been delayed, she noted. Also in the GoM, BP is in the process of tendering for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for its Mad Dog Phase 2 project, even as the timetable for the final investment decision remains uncertain.

And in Australia, Hess Oil is proceeding with the tender process for the EPC contracts for a giant semi-submersible platform and other subsea equipment for its Equus field development, Smith wrote.