How Shell is redesigning the work of explorationistsPaul Genberg (Studio X and Shell) talking at the DIGEX 2021 digital conference.

How Shell is redesigning the work of explorationists

Shell’s new digital venture is experimenting with new ways for explorers to work remotely and crowd-sourcing expertise.

“We could not have launched this concept at a better time, given the industry need to innovate during the global pandemic,” said Paul Genberg at a talk at the DIGEX 2021 conference last week.

Genberg is the Interim CEO and Head of Product at Studio X, a 1.5 years old concept sourced from Shell.

In short, Studio X is an open innovation studio with a mission to reimagine the future of work in exploration.

According to Genberg, through their three products, Studio X offers software tools, on-demand work, prize-winning challenges, mentorship opportunities and general support and opportunities for innovators in the energy domain.

SixLab is basically an incubator for start-ups in exploration. We are providing energy entrepreneurs access to world class mentorship, resources and facilities to help them get financing, gain traction and ultimately succeed.”

So far, ten companies have been accepted to SixLab, and Genberg promised that many more will be reviewed in the coming year as more than 200 applicants so far have shown interest.

One of the ten companies is the start-up Rocktype that is using the QEMSCAN technique to get more information out of rock cuttings ( QEMSCAN – the geological QR code).

Xeek is Studio X’s crowdsource platform solution.

“On this platform, geoscientists, geophysicists, data scientists and software engineers come together to solve future challenges that requires a multidisciplinary approach,” said Jessica Noglows, Xeek Program Director.

According to Noglows, so far their Xeek community, consisting of more than 2 000 experts, has joined forces to solve eight challenges, and hundreds of AI (artificial intelligence) and software models have been submitted as possible solutions.

“The Xeek community has already developed tools that show potential for more than 20 percent efficiency gains in exploration workflows related to seismic processing and interpretation, equating to millions of dollars in potential savings,” Noglows continued.

The Program Director strongly recommended the audience to get involved with Xeek by suggesting new challenges or get involved by bringing forward tools that may solve some of the challenges presented.

Example of a challenge submitted to Xeek. Screenshot from

The final Studio X product is XCover, presented at the conference by Program Director Alice Hildick.

“XCover is our cloud-based exploration workspace for specialised geoscientists and data scientists where they can engage in exploration projects ad hoc. Our tool enables companies to get a team of engaged and experienced people working on an exploration project that may otherwise be relinquished. This represents vast saving potential,” Hildick claimed.

The XCover administrative team makes sure that the right combination of specialists are brought together for each exploration project.

The biggest benefit for the company is that they immediately get access to the people needed to get a project going. The benefit for the workers is that they get challenging job opportunities with a great deal of flexibility and freedom to work from wherever they are.

“We have so far launched three projects to a global community of more than 250 experienced geoscientists, and we have already seen a significant reduction in exploration project cycle time. In 2021, we are hoping to launch 10 – 20 new projects,” Hildick said.

“With Studio X, we are eliminating geographic constraints whilst scientists, researchers and innovators can participate on their own terms. Studio X aims at breaking down silos, improving outcomes and increasing collaboration. We believe that what’s good for the industry is also good for Shell,” Paul Genberg concludes.

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