Statoil Selects HPCC from Dell for Seismic Processing

Statoil has selected Dell and Scali to deliver a standards-based, high-performance computing cluster (HPCC) based on Intel(R) architecture to process seismic data in the company's search for new petroleum resources. A total of 512 Dell PowerEdge 1750 servers will be linked together to form the largest supercomputing cluster in Norway.

Together with Intel and Scali, Dell will install the HPCC at Statoil's Stavanger offices. With 1,024 Intel Xeon(TM) processors running at 3.06 GHz it can achieve a theoretical peak performance of 6.266 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second) that would rank it among the 100 most powerful computers in the world based on the current Top500 list.

Acting as a single powerful computer, the HPCC will make it possible for Statoil engineers to identify oil and gas reserves more quickly and efficiently. The company will use it initially to process seismic data from the Norwegian continental shelf, and later to identify other oil and gas fields around the world.

Arild Halsetronning, Project Manager at Statoil, said, "The Linux cluster from Dell will be used for seismic processing to address the huge demand for improved analysis quality and capacity." Statoil actively uses supplementary geological information in its data processing to drive substantial improvements in data quality, he explained. This requires close and iterative interaction between interpretation and processing, which can be achieved through the new HPCC solution.

"The cluster will also give us access to increased computing capacity at much lower costs," added Halsetronning. "Converting from UNIX to Linux has cut costs to a fraction of what they were only a few years ago."

He says that Dell, Intel and Scali were selected after a thorough evaluation, with reliability, performance and service as the three most important criteria.

Paul Bell, senior vice president and president Dell Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said, "This supercomputing cluster is the crowning achievement of more than 12 years of global collaboration with Statoil. Our close cooperation with Intel and Scali is further evidence of our ability to deliver advanced solutions to large and demanding corporate customers."

The Dell HPCC is expected to become operational later this year. Statoil will also deploy two Dell/EMC CX700 arrays in a storage area network attached to the cluster that will have a capacity of up to 40 TB of data storage.

"A growing number of businesses have opted for server clusters rather than supercomputers in recent years," said Tom Garrison, Intel Director of Enterprise Solutions and Marketing for Europe. "By deploying Intel Xeon processor-based servers, Statoil will not only benefit from outstanding performance, but also will gain access to a dependable and scaleable system that will provide a competitive edge well into the future."

Scali President, Bjorn Skare, commented, "Higher performance and lower prices for HPCC solutions are driving this trend. Statoil is adopting innovative solutions to obtain faster results in processing seismic data while also securing a higher return from its technology investment."

"This collaboration also demonstrates the expertise of Scali, Intel and Dell to continue to deliver innovative and scalable HPCC solutions to the oil and gas industry."