State oil company PetroSA has opened a state-of-the-art geoscience collaboration, visualisation and technology centre that will help guide its oil and gas explorations while providing a training ground for South Africa's next generation of upstream professionals.
Built at a cost of R15-million and equipped with the latest visualisation and collaboration equipment, the Ulwazi Collaboration and Visualisation Centre takes seismic and geological data and translates them into detailed, 3D views of subsurface formations.
The facility in Cape Town, the first of its kind in the country, will be used by PetroSA's upstream asset teams in their search for and development of oil and gas prospects, enabling them to make quicker and better informed decisions on how to develop the company's upstream assets.
It will also be used on a daily basis to monitor and guide drilling operations for Project Ikhwezi, PetroSA's flagship initiative to secure additional feedstock reserves from its southern offshore gas fields in order to sustain its Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids (GTL) refinery.
Energy Minister Ben Martins, speaking at a ceremony to mark the opening of the centre in Cape Town on Friday, said the centre's findings would also assist in government policy making, while helping to promote maths and science education in the country.
"PetroSA should invite learners and students from primary schools, high schools and tertiary institutions to visit the centre," Martins said. "In the long run, exposing young people to this innovation will contribute to skills development in the technology sector, which is the driver of a modern economy."
PetroSA Group CEO Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo said the facility would ensure that "collaborative, multi-disciplinary evaluations of new drilling information and drilling events are done efficiently prior to responding to the event.
"Collaboration between our multi-disciplinary sub-surface teams in Ulwazi furthers our understanding and description of geological structures and reservoirs, which lead to improved decision-making in areas such as well placement, field development planning and reserves estimates."
The Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA) manages the country's commercial assets in the petroleum industry, including the world's largest commercial gas-to-liquids plant at Mossel Bay in the Western Cape.