Supporting the energy transition by solving problems that matter

15 Feb 2023

RPS Reservoir Engineers ‘Triple A’ team achieved 3rd place in the Geothermal Energy 2022 SPE Europe GeoHackaton

Affordable, reliable and sustainable Geothermal Energy has significant global potential and could play an important role in the Energy Transition.

Understanding the structure of porous rocks is essential for harnessing this type of energy. For this reason, the objective of the 2022 SPE Europe Geohackathon was to design an automated method for identifying the areas occupied by detrital quartz grains, their diagenetic overgrowth, other minerals and pore space on Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images of sandstone rocks.

The competition ran from the 25th of October to the 25th of November 2022 and was preceded by sixteen ‘bootcamps’ covering a number of different skills related to Data Science and using Python and MATLAB coding.

An RPS team (Adam Turner, Adolfo Perez and Ali Bahrami, entered under the team name ‘Triple A’) defined an unsupervised image-detection algorithm, written in Python, that first aligned and segmented the SEM images to then colour the defined segments according to the legend proposed by the competition. The training dataset for the algorithm included more than 4,000 of these images.

Figure 1 shows an example of the SEM images included in the dataset and the results obtained from the algorithm. Yellow corresponds to the original quartz grains, red to the overgrowth, green to other minerals and black to porosity.

The judges assessed the algorithm with a testing dataset unavailable to the participants. They scored the algorithm generated images based on the number of correctly labelled pixels divided by the total number of pixels. The RPS team achieved a final score of 60.19%.

This result earnt the team third place in the competition overall, an excellent achievement given the team of reservoir engineers had very limited or no previous experience in image processing, that all work had to be done around extensive existing project commitments and that they faced stiff opposition, with teams from over 20 countries registering for the event.

The RPS team demonstrated great determination in solving projects that matter and showing that they are open to new opportunities that this complex world of Energy Transition brings.

The algorithm is publicly available on ( ).

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Figure 1: Results example. Left and centre are SEM images corresponding to the same rock area and are part of the training dataset. Backscattered Electron (BSE) image on the left and Cathodoluminescence (CL) image on the centre. Segmentation results from the algorithm are shown on the right.


Adolfo Perez - Principal Reservoir Engineer

Adolfo Perez

Principal Reservoir Engineer T: +44 207 280 3258 Email
Ali Bahrami - Principal Reservoir Engineer

Dr. Ali Bahrami

Principal Reservoir Engineer T: +44 1491 415 456 Email
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Adam Turner - Senior Reservoir Engineer

Adam Turner

Senior Reservoir Engineer T: +44 1305 217438 Email

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