IBM Opens Oil Sands Research Facility

IBM on Wednesday opened its US$2.6 million Oil Sands Centre of Excellence in Calgary.

The facility aims to help petroleum producers test and use new technologies that will lower costs and make oil recovery easier, more efficient, and more intelligent. The center is the fifth IBM facility focused on the global oil and gas industry to open in the past two years.

The development of Alberta's oil sands will be one of the world's largest capital investments, with the petroleum industry expected to invest between US$42.4 billion and US$84.8 billion within the next decade. But capital costs have doubled in the past five years and many projects are behind schedule and over budget. The new center will promote collaboration among all industry players, helping them do business more effectively.

"At IBM, we have a proven track record of providing world-class solutions to the oil and gas industry, and have had a presence in Alberta's oil patch for over 40 years, with all of our 2300+ people in Alberta dedicated to our clients' success," said Dan Fortin, president of IBM Canada. "Our collaborative partnerships -- with clients, business partners, academia, and other key constituencies -- enable us to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative technologies and business strategies. And that is exactly what we are seeking to do at the IBM Oil Sands Centre of Excellence."

Located in IBM's Calgary offices, the center will introduce a variety of technologies including radio frequency identification, three dimensional data visualization, kiosks, and software integration. These technologies will improve construction and project management, labor productivity, business processes and environmental management.

IBM works closely with a number of companies involved in oil sands projects and plans to partner with other technology companies and key industry players at the center.

"With this Oil Sands Centre of Excellence, IBM will expand the availability of a new generation of intelligent technologies to allow the oil and gas industry to visualize, virtualize and integrate business processes more efficiently," said Steve Edwards, IBM Global Business Services leader, Global Chemicals and Petroleum industry. "We're inviting oil sands companies and industry stakeholders to work with us at the Centre to create new and innovative solutions for this burgeoning industry."

As global energy requirements continue to climb, the Alberta oil sands are an important part of North America's energy supplies, and the center will help improve the financial and operational efficiency of the industry.

Other IBM facilities focused on the global oil and gas industry include: IBM Oil & Gas Centre of Excellence in Stavanger, Norway; the Energy Competency Center (ECC), Abu Dhabi; the Energy Competency Center (ECC) Beijing, and the Energy Competency Center (ECC) Moscow.