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A team from “One Hitachi” consisting of researchers, business executives, and technologists visited the EERC in April to meet with EERC management and learn more about the EERC while sharing their ongoing collaborative work in the analysis of large, complex data sets, aka “big data,” for shale oil and gas development.

The team toured EERC facilities and laboratories, including its combustion facilities for testing various fuels and for recovering CO2 and other chemicals from the combustion process, geological test facilities that test rock properties and simulate processes such as proppant injection that are associated with oil and gas recovery, and the CO2lab for better understanding CO2 properties in shale oil environments and enhanced oil recovery from shale.

Hitachi is a partner in the EERC-led Bakken Production Optimization Program, a consortium of oil companies and the State of North Dakota focused on improving Bakken system oil recovery while reducing its environmental footprint. The results of the 3-year program will increase well productivity and economic output of North Dakota’s oil and gas resources, decrease environmental impacts of wellsite operations, and reduce demand for infrastructure construction and maintenance.

Hitachi America and the EERC have announced that the two companies are partnering to develop technology-driven products, services, and solutions for enhancing the production of oil reserves from the Bakken petroleum system. Covering parts of North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, the Bakken petroleum system is estimated to hold hundreds of billions of barrels of oil.

With nearly 6000 unconventional Bakken petroleum system wells and nearly 200 drilling rigs in North Dakota alone, the sheer volume of data collected to date is staggering. Using powerful analytical tools to compile and evaluate Bakken data, oilfield operators and state officials can better understand the relationships between the productivity of an oil well and a variety of factors, such as how the well was drilled and the geology of the area in which it was drilled. These tools can also be used to identify previously unrecognized relationships in the data. In turn, this improved understanding will enable industry to improve the productivity of current and future Bakken wells.

Over the past several years, the EERC has conducted several research projects that have been geared toward both improving the productivity and efficiency of Bakken development and reducing its environmental footprint. Meanwhile, Hitachi has worked to develop analytical data tools for the conventional oil and gas industry. The two organizations recognized the unique, complementary skill sets that each other had and quickly identified the Bakken oil boom as an opportunity to collaboratively apply their combined expertise in ways that were beneficial to the industry.

“As an unconventional resource, there is much about the Bakken that remains unknown. However, we believe that through our partnership with Hitachi, we will be able to shed light on these unknowns to help guide the next round of discovery,” said John Harju, Associate Director for Research at the EERC.

“At Hitachi we believe in a customer-driven research model where we collaborate with leading industry players to understand the hard problems they face and apply our research techniques to help transform our customers’ business. This collaboration with the EERC complements our in-house strengths in big data analytics with deep domain-related expertise in shale oil and gas production. Such collaborations will prove to be instrumental for the success of our Information Technology × Operations Technology (IT × OT) Convergence program,” said Umeshwar Dayal, Vice President and Senior Fellow for the Big Data Research Laboratory of Hitachi America.

If you would like more information on how the Hitachi-EERC team can work for you, contact the EERC Associate Director for Research John Harju at (701) 777-5157 or jharju@undeerc.org.