Oil and gas giant BP’s specialist venture capital fund BP Ventures has made an investment in a series A round for Belmont Technology, a Houston-based artificial intelligence start-up.

The Houston technology start-up has developed a cloud-based geoscience platform using AI.

BP experts feed the platform geology, geophysics, reservoir and historic project information.

It intuitively links that information together, identifying new connections and workflows, and creating a robust knowledge-graph of BP’s subsurface assets.

Much like data searches available in the consumer domain, BP experts can then interrogate the data, asking the powerful knowledge-graph specific questions in natural language.

The technology then uses AI neural networks to interpret results and perform rapid simulations.

“This AI-based platform, which we’ve nicknamed Sandy, is expected to unlock critical data for our subsurface engineers at a much accelerated pace,” said David Eyton, BP’s group head of technology.

“Our experts will ask it questions about our reservoirs like, ‘What factors control production in the Chirag field?’.

“Sandy will then interpret our data, including mapping out many more scenarios than are currently constructed, helping us make faster, better informed upstream decisions.”

“This investment helps drive forward our digital strategy and further underpins our upstream operations with cutting edge technology.”

BP’s investment will enable Belmont Technology to expand its workforce, extend Sandy’s capabilities and accelerate the deployment of its product.

BP has invested more than $450 million in technology companies across more than 40 entities with more than 200 co-investors.

“We are extremely honored to welcome BP as an investor as it is a validation of our approach and technology,” said Belmont Technology’s chief executive, Jean-Marie Laigle.

“We are excited by the prospect of deploying a cutting-edge cognitive AI solution within BP.

“Our technology enables real-time thinking for subsurface engineers, helping transform the way teams work, analyse data, understand situations and generate novel ideas.”