Italian energy group, Eni officially launched its new supercomputer HPC5, a GPU-accelerated system capable of performing 52 million billion operations per second, in early February in a bid to accelerate research and development of clean energy sources, while supporting exploration and oilfield monitoring. With server efficiency and data storage connection built into its design, the HPC5 system comprises of 7,280 NVIDIA V100 GPUs. The first of its kind in the oil and gas industry, as well as the most powerful supercomputer infrastructure in the industrial sector[sm1] , its operational status allows Eni to achieve another milestone in its digitalization process.
Supporting the previous HPC4 system, HPC5 has tripled its computing power from 18 to 52 petaFlop/s, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second, allowing Eni’s supercomputing ecosystem to reach a total peak power of 70 PetaFlop/s.
Speaking at the launch, CEO of Eni, Claudio Descalzi said:
“Today Eni unveils a supercomputing system with key features which are unique in the industrial world. This system is able to boost and even further refine the highly complex processes that support Eni’s people in their activities and therefore accelerate our digital transformation” He continued “This is an important time in the path toward the energy transition. It’s another step forward to the global goal that we share with our research and technology partners: making tomorrow’s energy an even closer reality”.
This remarkable increase in computing power, obtained thanks to the use of hybrid architectures, assists Eni in the achievement of multiple strategic targets: enabling Eni’s record in further acceleration of the company’s transformation and the development of new energy sources and related processes, such as the generation of energy from the sea, the magnetic confinement fusion, as well as other climate and environmental technologies, developed in collaboration with the many prestigious partnerships formed with research centres.
Also, HPC5’s capability of processing big data and Artificial Intelligence systems will lead to further improvement in work processes, safety, performance, planning of exploration activities, enhanced precision in reservoir simulations and supporting the workforce – and speeding up decision-making.
“If we disregard experimental supercomputers and consider only true supercomputing systems, HPC4 is the leading computer in the world in terms of energy savings. A single watt of electricity enables it to perform almost twenty billion operations per second. The performance level of this computer means it can use extremely sophisticated in-house algorithms to process subsoil data. The geophysical and seismic information we collect from all over the world is sent to HPC5 for processing” said an Eni Spokesperson “Using this data, the system develops extremely in-depth subsoil models, and on the basis of these, we can determine what is hidden many kilometres below the surface: indeed, this is how we found Zohr, the largest gas field ever discovered in the Mediterranean,” he continued.
As exploration shifts to increasingly remote locations and deeper wells, global energy demand calls for rapid response times. The need to quickly identify and bring new resources to production becomes a serious challenge. The use of HPC5 enables Eni to increase the accuracy of studies on underground rocks, thereby de-risking and reducing the margin for error during prospecting operations while reducing the time between field identification and production launches. The benefits of this are two-fold as this also has a positive impact on sustainability, through streamlined use of energy and resources.
Eni’s Green Data Center, that houses all of the company’s supercomputing systems and data, is the ideal location for the HPC5 presentation: it has been developed to be a cutting-edge technology hub and to achieve world-leading energy efficiency results also thanks to the nearby photovoltaic plant that is partially powering HPC5. This technology means that the supercomputer is also one of the ‘greenest’ infrastructures, with the lowest electricity consumption per petaFlop.
HPC5 and HPC4 offer several benefits to Eni’s operations. These include discovering new deposits, modelling existing discoveries and improving refining, but the real potential for this lies in their ability to harness and progress the energies of tomorrow. According to reports, the two supercomputers both run original programs for research into magnetic confinement fusion: are capable of theoretical modelling of photoactive molecules and polymers at the core of new technologies for capturing solar and also can be used to build advanced mathematical models combining meteorological and marine information with information on the behaviour of MaREenergy technologies, such as ISWEC or Power Buoy, which generate electricity from wave motion.