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IBM sets up Natural Resources Solution Centre

will establish a Natural
Resources Solution Centre (NRSC)
in Perth to help mining, LNG and
petroleum companies accelerate the
development and adoption of innovative
technologies and business strategies.

The NRSC will focus on reducing
exploration and operational and costs;
creating financial and operational efficien
cies; and improving workplace health and
safety through smarter solutions such as
integrated operations and asset lifecycle
management. This is the sixth IBM
Centre of Excellence globally focused on
solutions for LNG and upstream petro
leum operations and the first IBM Centre
of Excellence focused on creating solu
tions for the mining industry.

David Haake, industry solutions
executive with IBM, told : “There
are two main areas we see benefit for the
automation sector. The first is improving
‘engineering handover’ on major capital
projects through industry standards,
such as MIMOSA and ISO 15926
based integration, and model based inte
grated Information Management
methodologies and smart middleware
technology. The other is in achieving
more ‘Integrated Operations’ with this
same ‘Smart Middleware’ and new busi
ness process enablement, which links the
Automation, MES and ERP layers of an
enterprise more seamlessly and allows for
remote and global support possibilities.”

IBM will draw on some of the work
done at its other Centres of Excellence
overseas to benefit local industry. “The
IBM Information Integration
Framework, originally developed in our
Stavanger Centre (in Norway) with and
for Statoil, has now been fully produc
tised by IBM,” explains Haake. “This
middleware solution can be extended to
new environments, such as mining and
LNG, and new use cases, for example,
condition based monitoring of rotating

“The NRSC will bring together IBM
experts with local clients, industry,
tertiary institutions and strategic business
partners to create ground-breaking world
class solutions,” said John Brantley,
general manager for IBM’s Chemicals
and Petroleum industry. “IBM plans to
invest in these key industries and will
look for research collaboration opportu
nities within its global network to bring
the best of the company’s deep industry
expertise to Perth.”

IBM has commenced discussions
with the WA R&D community
including the Western Australian Energy
Research Alliance. “The IBM NRSC’s
mission fits directly with our research
strengths of earth and resource sciences,
carbon storage and geo-thermal energy,”
says Mark Stickells, chief executive for
WA:ERA. “This builds on local research
strengths and capabilities, thus rein
forcing WA’s growing reputation as an
important regional centre and innovative
R&D hub for the upstream petroleum
and LNG industry.”

WA:ERA is a research alliance, estab
lished in 2004, between CSIRO,
University of Western Australia and
Curtin University. “One of the key WA
strengths that may benefit from IBM’s
global expertise is in our work into
geological storage of carbon dioxide,”
notes Stickells. The majority of the
nation’s R&D expertise in storage of
CO is in WA and this expertise builds
on a longstanding relationship with the
oil and gas industry. The advanced
computational expertise offered by IBM,
who have worked with other CO proj
ects internationally, can work with local
R&D experts who are seeking solutions
to the challenge of long-term geological
storage of CO. “We have some world-
class expertise in reservoir modelling, 4D
seismic data acquisition that will be able
to work with IBM,” he adds.

The NRSC centre will be located
within IBM’s Hay Street offices and
leverage IBM’s annual global R&D
budget of US$6 billion ($6.87 billion)
which includes investment in the devel
opment of smarter planet natural
resources sector solutions such as IBM’s
Intelligent Oilfields.

IBM will officially launch its Perth
NRSC later this year. However, the tech
nical infrastructure, IBM Intellectual
Property and SME support are already
in place and they are currently
conducting two client confidential Proof
of Concept projects.

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