Finding information across multiple databases, formats, and documents remains a manual job in the drilling industry. Large Language Models (LLMs) have proven effective in data-aggregation tasks, including answering questions. However, using LLMs for domain-specific factual responses poses a nontrivial challenge. The expert labor cost for training domain-specific LLMs prohibits niche industries from developing custom question-answering bots. This paper tests several commercial LLMs for information retrieval tasks for drilling data using zero-shot in-context learning. In addition, we studied the model’s calibration using a few-shot multiple-choice drilling questionnaire.

To create an LLM benchmark for drilling, we collated the text data from publicly available databases: the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), company annual reports, and petroleum glossary. We used a zero-shot learning technique that relies on an LLM’s ability to generate responses for tasks outside its training. We implemented a controlled zero-shot learning "in-context" procedure that sends a user’s query augmented with text data to the LLM as inputs. This implementation encourages the LLM to take the answer from the data while leveraging its pre-trained contextual-learning capability.

We evaluated several state-of-the-art generic LLMs available through an API, including G4, G3.5-TI, J2-ultra model, and L2 series. The paper documents the pre-trained LLMs’ ability to provide correct answers and identify petroleum industry jargon from the collated dataset. Our zero-shot in-context learning implementation helps vanilla LLMs provide relevant factual responses for the drilling domain. While each LLM’s performance varies, we have identified models suitable for a drilling chatbot application. In particular, G4 outperformed on all the tasks. This finding suggests that training expensive domain-specific LLMs is not necessary for question-answering tasks in the context of drilling data.

We demonstrate the utility of zero-shot in-context learning using pre-trained LLMs for question-answering tasks relevant to the drilling industry. Additionally, we prepared and publicly released the collated datasets from the NPD database and companies’ annual reports to enable results reproducibility and to foster acceleration of language model adoption and development for the subsurface and drilling industries. The petroleum industry may find our solution beneficial for enhancing personnel training and career development. It also offers a method for conducting data analytics and overcoming challenges in retrieving historical well data.

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