Bentley adds geostatistics with AR2Tech acquisition

Dec 14, 2021 | Hot Topics

Bentley Systems last night announced that its Seequent business acquired Advanced Resources and Risk Technology (aka AR2Tech), makers of geostatistical software applications. Remember that Seequent makes 3D subsurface modeling and collaboration tools, sold into mining, energy, civil, environmental, and other industries. I believe Leapfrog EDGE already incorporates some geostatistical methods, so it appears that adding AR2Tech will … leapfrog … this offering.

What is geostatistics? As I understand it, this is a math-based approach to predicting what we cannot easily see. It uses interpolation and other methods to model the 3D shape and location of ore deposits, oil and gas reservoirs, and water tables, starting with measured observations and applying statistics and probability to model the size of the deposit, its exact extent, and other parameters. Say the results of borehole analyses determine the presence of a particular ore at a number of locations; what is the likely quality of that ore between the holes? How big is the deposit?

I’ve spoken with mining companies in the past about how they evaluate their opportunities. They need accurate resource estimates in order to build cost and profit models for the project before they start, and then use that same model to tune operations once extraction is underway. The quality, size, and location guidance enables the development team to make an informed financial go/no-go decision about whether to extract that ore today, given the price it is likely to fetch on the market or wait — or walk away, if the economic case can’t be made. If mining goes ahead, the orebody model is updated daily to guide extraction, figure out the waste proportion, and update financial models. It’s a living model of an inanimate object — a very cool thing to wrap one’s brain around.

That’s just one use case for geostatistical modeling, and likely a very profitable one. The same concept applies to other resources, such as different ores, water tables, oil reservoirs, and shale deposits. Since these have different characteristics underground, researchers are working to create resource-specific statistical models, so we could perhaps see additional acquisitions in these specific niches.

Graham Grant, the CEO of Seequent, the Bentley business that made the acquisition, said, “AR2Tech’s technology stack and world-leading expertise in geostatistics, geomodeling, and spatial data integration strengthen Seequent’s capabilities in these areas. The acquisition will help accelerate our development of new geostatistics solutions and create seamless end-to-end workflows with Seequent’s advanced modeling solutions. We’re excited to make this investment for our mining, environmental, civil, and energy users to take geomodeling to the next level.”

Details such as price were not announced, but it appears to be a done deal.