Exxon partners with Microsoft to boost Permian oil production

Workers connect drill bits and drill collars, used to extract natural petroleum, on Endeavor Energy Resources’ Big Dog Drilling Rig 22 in the Permian basin outside of Midland, Texas, US, on Friday, Dec 12, 2014. (Bloomberg pic)

HOUSTON: Exxon Mobil is partnering with Microsoft to crunch trillions of bits of data as the oil titan seeks to more than triple shale-oil production in the Permian Basin in less than a decade.

Exxon will use Microsoft’s cloud-computing technology to monitor and analyse the vast amounts of data generated by its sprawling array of drilling rigs, wells, pipelines, refineries and chemical plants, the company said in a statement.

Exxon has homed in on the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico as it struggles with dwindling production in formerly prolific oil provinces such as West Africa. The Microsoft partnership, which could add as much as 50,000 barrels of daily output, marks a strategic shift for Exxon, which historically developed technological tools and techniques in-house.

“We realised that we have to do something fundamentally different from a technology standpoint to enable us to grow to meet those volumes,” Anish Patel, Exxon’s leader on the project, said by phone.