Innovation Award for 'virtual geology'

January 12, 2007, 14:00 CET

Using digital technology and detailed surface information to see deep underground in the hunt for oil captured the Hydro Innovation Award for 2006.

The award has been established by Hydro to stimulate innovation, best practice sharing and motivation in the company.

A team from Hydro's Oil & Energy business area won the Innovation Award for 2006 with its entry, “Virtual Geological Reality: Making business out of onshore geology.” The team members were John Thurmond, David Hunt, Tore Løseth, Paul Gillespie and Ole J. Martinsen from Hydro's Research Center in Bergen.

High-tech tools

The group used surface studies, global positioning technology, satellite imagery and other high-tech tools to create a digital model of oil reservoirs deep underground.

The model helps identify more specifically where oil might be by studying surface geology and extrapolating where oil might be found by following the formations underground. The resulting model can be viewed using Hydro’s proven CAVE virtual reality tool, which allows users to view 3D replications of underground formations.

The benefit of this new approach is lowering exploration and production risk and costs. The new workflow and technique means that field training and courses become more applied, and expensive field time can be saved, and costly mistakes can be prevented.

More than 70 nominees

“Innovation is a fundamental part of how we do business,” said Executive Vice President Hilde Merete Aasheim, head of Leadership and culture in Hydro, at the Innovation Award ceremony, which took place in connection with Hydro's top leader Summit meeting in Molde, Norway, on Thursday.

In all, five teams competing for the award presented their ideas at the Summit – three from the Oil & Energy business area and two from Aluminium Products. The finalists were chosen from more than 70 nominees throughout Hydro's businesses.