Artificial Intelligence at Schlumbergers

  • David R. Barstow


Schlumberger is a large, multinational corporation concerned primarily with the measurement, collection, and interpretation of data. For the past fifty years, most of the activities have been related to hydrocarbon exploration. The efficient location and production of hydrocarbons from an underground formation requires a great deal of knowledge about the formation, ranging in scale from the size and shape of the rock's pore spaces to the size and shape of the entire reservoir. Schlumberger provides its clients with two types of information : measurements, called logs, of the petrophysical properties of the rock around the borehole, such as its electrical, acoustical, and radioactive characteristics; and in terpretations of these logs in terms of geophysical properties such as porosity and mineral composition. Since log interpretation is expert skill, the emergence of expert systems technology prompted Schlumberger's initial interest in Artificial Intelligence. Our first full- scale attempt at a commercial-quality expert system was the Dipmeter Advisor. Following these initial efforts, Schlumberger has expanded its Artificial Intelligence activities, and is now engaged in both basic and applied research in a wide variety of areas.