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Digital Subsoil Use
6 June 2019
11:00—12:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Digital technologies open absolutely new opportunities in subsoil use

Our abilities to do things have immeasurably grown compared to twenty years ago through digital models and digitalization. <…> These opportunities should be used for the benefit of both the people and the government. The upcoming growth of consumption, the population and the quality of life will have us involve our deposits more through the use of digital technologies — Kirill Molodtsov, Aide to the Chief of Staff, Presidential Executive Office .

The ability to work with large data volumes on much faster computers raises questions previously unheard of, because it was easier to study and explore a deposit with a pickaxe and a shovel than use slow computers to calculate what it has inside. Now the situation is completely different. <…> The global trend is the interface for getting the most comprehensive diagnostics, as well as creating to most up-to-date productive models and using them — Alexander Sergeev, President, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geology turned to the digital and subsoil use turned to the digital long before the term ‘digital economy’ appeared — Sergey Gorkov, General Director, Chairman of the management Board of Rosgeologia».

27–30 years ago, we owned equipment worth USD 27 million, now it is USD 3.5 billion. <…> This is the level of mechanization and automation. If you go for mechanization, automation and digitalization, costs go down and efficiency grows. So, it is profitable from where business stands. <…> We are starting to explore previously abandoned boreholes, and the digital helps us restore the resource base and add some science to mining. The digital is already here – we need to accept it — Hemant Kanoria, Chairman, Managing Director, Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited .

The most relevant technologies that can be used for geology are those that help analyzing large volumes of data through artificial intelligence and deep neural networks. Why? Because it is the system that helps analyze a large volume of previously accumulated data and draw forecasts based on the conclusions. For example, for extracting or mining extra resources or processing these extra resources. Or even finding resources. We can tackle many tasks — Natalya Kaspersky, President of InfoWatch.

ISSUES
Introducing digital technology in the industry raises the question of data protection

In many areas digital technologies will result in serious problems and challenges. <…> We will have to spend precisely 10 times more to protect geology-related information — Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector, Saint-Petersburg Mining University.

The risk of turning digitalization into a thing

Any innovation should be driven by an economic need. <…> On one hand, we belong to the most active participants [of the digitalization] – our IT budget – or the digital transformation budget, so to speak – is something between USD 70 and 100 million annually. On the other side, we are always very cautious and urge to avoid the so-called digital romanticism, which means digital transformation for the sake of digital transformation. It is not just about the budget to implement, but more about where it will take the business that basically runs and about the risks it creates — Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer, Polyus.

For us digitalization is not a survival model, as it is for banking or retail. For us digitalization is an opportunity model. That is why we need to be careful when talking about the use of this model — Alexey Vashkevich, Head, Geological Exploration and Resource Base Development Directorate, Gazprom Neft.

The digital helps us get rid of our daily rigors. In a certain sense, even to get rid of those mundane professions that we can assign to just a programme instead of an intellect that may be even boring. It is obvious that we get pushed towards the area of creative jobs that cannot be affected by digitalization. But this line will be moving further and further, which results in discussions on whether it is dangerous — Alexander Sergeev, President, Russian Academy of Sciences.

When it come digitalization, we would like to fit in. But can we actually do it? It a big question. It is important not to get carried away here — Pavel Sorokin, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation.

It is important not to end up in digitalization for the sake of digitalization — Natalya Kaspersky, President of InfoWatch.

SOLUTIONS
Approach to digital technologies as a tool to raise efficiency and ensure process security

This is just a tool, not the digital for the sake of digital. Why do we need digitalization? For lean and reasonable subsoil use — Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.

People involved in mining interfere with the environment, and without the digital they will not be able to do their job precisely and with minimal environmental impact. Same applies to placing the equipment <…> how to distribute resources, how to efficiently organize extraction. <…> The digital helps us understand where and how we need to work, where the resources are – the oil rig goes precisely where we need to drill. <…> Another point here is exploring offshore fields. Our planet is just a quarter soil and three-quarters – the sea, the ocean. Without the digital, we will not be able to find where the fields exactly are — Hemant Kanoria, Chairman, Managing Director, Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited .

The bond between the three elements – IT, production business and managerial potential – is the guarantee for applicability of any digital initiative — Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer, Polyus.

They [digital technologies] should be mainly aimed at one segment and be really efficient – this is field search and new systems that use new geophysical methods. <…> The search model in Canada involves all types of mandatory electromagnetic checks, verification of geophysical data – from drilling to installing expensive equipment. It is very efficient. The [Russian] Ministry needs to do a comprehensive inventory of all oil and gas fields, to get an understanding of what each of the fields has to offer — Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector, Saint-Petersburg Mining University.

Wider range of applications for digital technologies

We know the problem of excavated material. There is an enormous amount of it. Maybe we should really limit ourselves in finding new deposits and study the excavated material instead, because it can contain many things that are attractive for today’s market. <…> This is a relevant task, where digital methods are also very important — Alexander Sergeev, President, Russian Academy of Sciences.

We have established a research centre that creates digital technologies in Russia. As of today, we have patented areas related to machine learning, <…> interpreting data from hydropower plants, virtual measurements in oil wells with a record horizontal displacement – these are all digital core related areas — Artem Karapetov, Vice President, Schlumberger in Russia and Central Asia.

Developing new technologies

Neural networks depend on the data they learn from and the ways they are built. <…> It is important not just to take a neural network <…> popular around the world, but to use our own neural network technologies, Russian [design and technologies] to understand how it is built, what data is incorporated and what algorithms are its foundation, to achieve a predictable result. <…> It is important for our mining industry, as it belongs to the most advanced ones — Natalya Kaspersky, President of InfoWatch.

We see digitalization as another opportunity to create additional effects through collaboration between new partnership formats, for example, new partnership formats with the government. <…> Our software product that was created under the auspices of the Ministry in partnership in universities is called Rost. This software simulates the HFT in hard-to-recover reservoirs. It is the first software in the world to use micro-scale geomechanical model — Alexey Vashkevich, Head, Geological Exploration and Resource Base Development Directorate, Gazprom Neft.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS