(Reuters) - BP PLC <BP.L> said on Tuesday it will use a new digital solution by General Electric Co <GE.N> designed to improve the efficiency and safety of its offshore oil platforms by predicting equipment breakdowns before they occur.
BP, one of the largest oil producers in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, said GE's Plant Operations Advisor (POA) software should help it save more than $200 million annually from its deployment at up to 33 platforms globally.
The POA gathers data from various pieces of equipment on offshore platforms and processes it through GE's proprietary Predix software to inform BP engineers when a part may be near breaking down.
Terms of the BP-GE deal were not disclosed. The two companies started a partnership earlier this year with the goal of developing oilfield efficiency products.
"This makes it much easier for people to act on the information and the data we already collect," said Ahmed Hashmi, head of upstream technology at BP.
BP estimates that using the GE software program will boost its efficiency by 2 percent to 4 percent.
For GE's part, executives are hoping the BP partnership will portend future opportunities across the oil industry, especially ahead of the company's merger of its oil and gas division with Baker Hughes <BHI.N>.
"Baker Hughes provides more opportunity to take Big Data into the oilfields," said Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of GE Oil & Gas. "We're seeing good examples of how big data is changing the outcomes of the oil and gas industry."
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Marguerita Choy)