Biodentify recently finished two of three EU-funded H2020 projects with extremely successful results. Our patented technology combines leading microbial DNA analysis, with artificial intelligence and machine learning. This significantly reduces risk and saves money in drilling exploration or step-out wells, and provides a highly accurate, cost-effective, direct hydrocarbon indicator.
The first project was set in a conventional and unconventional setting in the Vaca Muerta area of Argentina. The second project was an unconventional production prediction project in Texas and North Dakota.
The EU H2020 grant is awarded to innovative SME companies within future and emerging technologies to take great ideas from laboratories into international markets. Another important reason we were awarded the EU grant was that our innovative technology avoids unnecessary exploration drilling, which leads to less environmental impact. Less than 3% of companies who apply make it through, and all are subjected to vigorous testing and screening before being awarded the grant.
What Biodentify does—predicting hydrocarbon presence
Biodentify predicts the presence or absence of hydrocarbons in the subsurface. This provides three main benefits to oil and gas companies: to reduce risk, maximize returns, and save money. We de-risk drilling of exploration wells both on and off-shore. We also deliver accurate field delineation services, minimizing risks of drilling unsuccessful wells—saving companies many millions.
We maximize financial returns through mapping shale productivity, before drilling, pinpointing high producing areas and so avoiding the drilling of uneconomic wells. And we save companies money through being a direct hydrocarbon indicator that is very cost-effective compared to seismic exploration—and with >70% correct predictions, it’s much more accurate than traditional surface geochemistry techniques.
Biodentify pilot projects’ goals and deliverables
The main goals we set for our Phase 2 EU H2020 Grant Project were as follows: i) to achieve early market penetration with pilots for active oil and gas companies in the US, South American and North Sea markets, ii) improve innovation and make it market-ready—also by expanding our microbial DNA database and machine learning capabilities which improves future prediction in itself, and iii) to leverage market acceptance through extending our customer base. Our final delivery for all projects was a clear, microbiologically derived, prospectivity map from our now proven methodology.
Summary of our direct hydrocarbon prediction process
The diagram below shows the steps of our patented methodology. Using advancements in DNA sequencing and machine learning for the application of microbiology in oil and gas exploration is a natural addition to seismic, and a progression from older geochemical methods.Using seismic data and its interpretation as the first case locator of possible target reservoirs, our technology can then be used to explore further via sampling over a relatively large area of land.
If specific oil and gas prospects have already been identified, it’s easy for us to do our shallow grid sampling over many miles/km to effectively narrow down prospective well areas, and/or rank different well targets based on our hydrocarbon indicator predictions.
The exciting results are in, clearly proving success
These projects took place over two years, and the results were as follows:
Conventional and unconventional target identification in the Vaca Muerta area, Argentina.
- This was an onshore pilot targeting both conventional and shale hydrocarbons. 1620 samples were taken in an area with complex stacked plays and fields. The conventional fields at blinded locations were predicted with 97% accuracy. Next to this, we were also able to distinguish shallow oil field samples from deeper gas field samples with 86% accuracy.
Unconventional production prediction, Texas and North Dakota, USA.
- This project was performed to investigate two unconventional targets and 540 samples were taken next to high and low producing wells. Prediction on blinded location samples was 85% accurate. Next to this, high and low producers of the Eagle Ford, Texas, could be predicted with >70% accuracy when building a model using only the Bakken, North Dakota, data. This indicates our technique can be transported over large distances, while the selected species of microbes remain the same.
What these results mean for the Gas & Oil industry
Our patented and innovative technology combines current leading microbial DNA fingerprint analysis, with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The use of our unique and constantly updated DNA database, alongside big data algorithms and our own metagenomic pipelines, ensure that the prediction model is constantly enhanced and improved over time. Already, we have achieved > 70% accuracy in results, with individual results being much, much higher.
We have proven that we do help in prospect evaluation, de-risking exploration wells and step-out wells, avoiding the drilling of unproductive or dry wells, and can highly accurately predict productive zones in shale— all in a cost-effective way. We are extremely excited to see what happens with more projects and are now actively looking for new companies to work with. To find out more, do not hesitate to get in touch.
We’ll soon be publishing more articles going into each research project in more detail. To find out more, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Biodentify was founded as a spin-out from Dutch R&D group TNO in December 2014. TNO is a 3000+ R&D organization and the largest microbiological research group in the Netherlands. Biodentify is owned and managed by 3 partners with extensive entrepreneurial experience bringing innovative new technologies to market in the Oil & Gas industry. The company has developed a novel patented technology, predicting prospectivity before drilling, with >70% accuracy, based on microbial DNA analysis of shallow soil or seabed samples through unique machine learning models. Biodentify was named the #58 most innovative company in 2019 by the KvK (Dutch Chamber of Commerce).