“We need to move beyond incremental improvement and bring smarter, better, and accessible technology to Shales,” said Greg Guidry, former Executive Vice President for Unconventionals. That was the challenge Guidry gave to his team in late 2016.
Shell’s technology deployment team, led by Fred Wasden, initiated iShale® to help answer that challenge: “We are collaborating with our strategic partners to progress a technological step change in Shell’s shale assets and develop a shale field of the future.”
iShale® leverages recent advances in automation, digitalization and advanced analytics to increase production and decrease costs and safety risks. Moreover, it offers environmental benefits in the form of greater energy efficiency and reduced operational footprint.
Bringing Artificial Intelligence to the well pad
Last year, Shell held a competition - or hackathon - where third-party innovators were asked to develop predictive analytics software solutions. Different platforms were evaluated on prediction accuracy, product maturity, and readiness for workflow integration.
The team at Novi Labs LLC (“Novi”), a company that specializes in artificial intelligence driven software for shale, was awarded a contract with Shell to trial its machine learning and artificial intelligence well planning software in the Permian Basin, West Texas, USA.
"A big part of the iShale® program is to work with technology partners to rapidly advance Shell's capabilities in optimization through technologies like the Novi software,” said Wasden. “We performed an extensive evaluation of platforms and found Novi to be the most compelling option.”
Novi’s software is a shale specific predictive artificial intelligence platform. By employing Novi’s cloud-based Well Planning Suite, Shell’s analysts and engineers will uncover insights from a large data set and use these insights to improve operational efficiency and productivity.
“Novi’s proven experience from multiple major operators and plays in North America combined with Shell’s focus on technology-based solutions will allow Novi to deliver next generation predictive and economic analysis through seamless workflows,” said Jon Ludwig, CEO of Novi.
The future is here
iShale® is currently conducting both benchtop and field trials to test its development concepts across Shell’s shales assets in the USA, Canada, and Argentina. Over the next two years, the program hopes to demonstrate the value of integrated surface and subsurface technologies and roll our Shell’s vision for the field of the future. Innovators, such as Novi, play a vital role in translating our vision into reality.
 Royal Dutch Shell plc and its various subsidiaries and affiliates (the “Shell Group”) are separate legal entities. In this announcement the expression “Shell” is sometimes used for convenience where references are made to those entities individually or collectively. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to companies in the Shell Group in general or those who work for them, and these references do not reflect the operational or corporate structure of, or the relationship between, entities in the Shell Group. Nothing in this announcement is intended to suggest that any entity in the Shell Group, including Royal Dutch Shell plc, directs or is responsible for the day-to-day operations of any other entity in the Shell Group.