February 1997


Release 97 - Landmark follows management pitch with attempt to seduce the dweebs. (February 1997)

Landmark announce the first 'synchronized release' of their software line – Release97.

Landmark have been active recently seeking to win the hearts and minds of senior executives with the recent study from Cambridge Energy Research Associates (see PDM Vol 1 No. 5) and a "visionary" advert with Bob Peebler, Dick Cheney and Daniel Yergin trying to hypnotise unsuspecting readers of the Oil and Gas Journal, AAPG Explorer, First Break and the like. Having dealt with the management, Landmark is now aiming at the soft underbelly of the G&G IT shop floor - the systems administrator. Release 97 will be Landmark's first synchronized release of UNIX products, and will include most Landmark UNIX products running in the same environment, i.e., the same versions of the operating system, OpenWorks, LAM, and Oracle. For the harassed systems administrator, this means that the entire computing environment and all applications can be upgrade to OpenWorks 4.1 simultaneously. The following applications will be included in Release 97: OpenWorks 4.1, PostStack/PAL 1.2, EarthCube 1.1, Geo-dataWorks 3.0, SeisWorks 3.1.1, ProMAX 6.1, VoxCube 2.0, 3DVI 3.0, RAVE 2.1, Stratamodel 4.1, TDQ 2.0, SynTool 3.0, StratWorks 4.0, Wellbore Manager 1.1, Z-MAP Plus/Contouring Assistant 3.0, PetroWorks 4.0 and last but not least, LogEdit 4.0

 

Microsoft marketing

John Sherman of Landmark has oft bemoaned the fact that the Windows environment has to a large extent won the battle with Unix. By adopting an Office 97 style marketing approach, Landmark are doing more than window dressing. Benefits from Release 97 include; predictability of releases (a new synchronized release is planned per year - quite a promise!) and with the annual releases it should be easier to plan for changes in the computing environment. Landmark will also continue to introduce new products, enhancement releases, and bug fixes throughout the year. Also proffered is platform and operating system parity, in other words all platforms will be released at the same time, so that computers in a heterogeneous environment can be upgraded simultaneously. Release 97 will include the following platforms and operating systems: Sun Solaris 2.5, IBM AIX 4.1.4, SGI IRIX 5.3. Its goodbye however to SunOS, so it will be Solaris with everything from now on.

 

Take the leap!

Those of you who have been prevaricating about migration will have to take the leap now! Currently, Landmark and SGI are working to determine the feasibility of providing Landmark's software products under IRIX 6.2 for Release 97. If this is determined to be feasible without adversely affecting the on-time shipment of Release 97, Landmark and SGI will jointly communicate an update. Easier Installation & Administration are forecast with Release 97 distributed on a combined set of CDs and use a single installation procedure with a common GUI (graphical user interface) for all Release 97 applications. This will make it easier to install on multiple applications or different computers. Improved integration of applications is promised with Release 97. Applications will all be based on a similar OpenWorks model making data more accessible across applications.

 

aplomb

With the aplomb that we are now used to in vendors discussing data models, OpenWorks is described as including "a wide array of production data types based on input from customers, reservoir engineering software vendors and public data models". Not missing a trick, Landmark go on to state that "as an original and active member of POSC, Landmark continues to spearhead POSC's project Discovery," (see PDM Vol 1, No. 1) "an industry initiative to develop a performance-based subset and combination of the POSC and PPDM data models." Without waiting for these organizations to come up with the goods, Landmark is already offering "seamless workflow from exploration to production" with the promise of members of an asset team being able to "share and work with the same data at the same time in a common environment". In the same vein, when a Landmark user makes changes in StratWorks, for example, the changes are dynamically reflected in SeisWorks as well as Z-MAP Plus.

Having dealt with the top and seduced the base Landmark is now gunning for their most important clients - the middle ground of the interpretation community.

 

another conference!

A three day, three session seminar, the Landmark Worldwide Technology Forum is scheduled for the 12th to 14th February at the Adam's Mark Hotel, Houston. Here explorationists and production engineers will be positively reeling from over 50 technical sessions presented by Landmark customers, university experts and Landmark technologists and innovators. Landmark sure have thrown their hearts into marketing Release 97. Only one quibble, as regular conference goers ourselves, we wonder if the E&P world can take any more conferences. Are we to see a three day GeoQuest interpretation event? We have a job today keeping up with the AAPG, SEG, EAGE and the like, do we really want more? The forecast 600 plus attendees for the Landmark Worldwide Technology Forum obviously think we do.

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Service-to-the-Screen concept from GeoQuest (February 1997)

Integration of IT and data management into a coherent service from a single organization is the key to better delivery of information to end users, according to Schlumberger-GeoQuest, which has been talking about its services to Amerada Hess Norway, provided jointly with Cap Gemini Norway.

GeoQuest is working on the principle that clear ownership of the complete information flow path from data storage to the interpretation workstation is required to ensure that a geoscientist is interpreting data, concentrating on what is on the screen, not how it got there. The service company has developed the Service-at-the-Screen concept in which GeoQuest staff take away the responsibility for data provision to the end user.

The full package includes a service desk within Amerada covering data management, applications first-line support and IT inquiries; provision of IT services for UNIX and PC hardware (hardware, networking and desktop software systems); basic integration between existing applications and databases; and personal assistance to geoscience users in sourcing, transferring and archiving of data.

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Inside Story – How Common Data Access is delivering data to the UK Oil Industry (February 1997)

Neil McNaughton, PDM Editor, accepts the invitation to pull the curtains back on the CDA data management program.

Having written for a while now about various national data repositories as an outsider, I could hardly refuse an invitation to attend a meeting of the Common Data Access Ltd. (CDA) board of directors. So I dusted off my old boardroom Armani and hailed a cab. The invitation was a no strings attached affair, and the CDA presented their activity in a very open way, with a free discussion of both the successes and the inevitable teething troubles associated with such an such ambitious project. The initial business driver behind CDA was the multiplicity of paper and tape copies of well logs generated by partnerships and trades. Dave Overton, CDA's chairman, has estimated the number of tapes associated with modern well as around 10 with an additional 40 or so sepias. This is just for starters, and in the UK North Sea there are about 300 wells drilled per year at the present.

 

Storage irony

Immediately after a well has been drilled, copies of all this data are made for partners, and over the next five years, before the well is made public, further copies are made each time the well is traded. An irony of all this is that frequently, individual oil companies may share the same storage contractor who dutifully stores and indexes all these multiple tapes and logs in boxes in the same warehouse. Clearly a situation crying out for a cooperative solution. Tacked on to these practical objectives were a few further looking business drivers, in the first (well log) phase this was the provision of on line access to archived data, and also the provision of "added value data" in the form of edited, depth matched quality controlled curves. The first two data types are controlled by the CDA consortium, while the added value data is supplied by third party vendors such as PI/Erico and Robertson. The first consortium meeting was hosted by Amoco in 1993 and was an immediate success, with great interest from the industry. The Common Data Access Initiative was founded, headed by Amerada Hess and the decision was taken to form a joint company, Common Data Access Ltd. to handle the first phase of the project.

 

Project Sponsor

The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been a sponsor of the project from the outset and also an enthusiastic partner. Operations began in March 1996 and the CDA archive was initially populated with wells donated from Shell, BP and Conoco. The first surprise was that although these datasets were large, they was also a lot of overlap between them, so that there was a shortfall of around 3000 wells from the overall target of the 6500 wells drilled to date on the UKCS. Other problems such as well naming conventions, or rather the lack of them, and a poor historical record of entitlements threw more spanners in the works. These naming convention issues have largely been dealt with now with input from the DTI (see the other articles in this issue). When Isobel Emslie (Conoco) presented her paper "CDA, the Pain, Process and Progress" at the Stephenson conference back in September, the entitlements issue was proving rather intractable.

 

Entitlements

The onus was on member companies to supply entitlements on diskette for the wells that they owned. Members tended to rate this activity rather low in their priorities until a policy of fining recalcitrants 500 per day for late delivery was introduced by CDA. This has worked wonders, and the entitlements database is now fully up to date. Today the CDA has 32 oil company members, the two aforementioned contractors, plus the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). QC Data manage the CDA project under a service agreement from offices in Aberdeen and on Canary Wharf (London). Their data server environment is a three tiered affair, with the archive built around GeoQuest's LogDB product. This essentially is a repository for bulk data in native format, as delivered by the members (i.e. field logs with multiple runs, ancillary curves and measurements and backup sections). The lowest level access provided to members is to an FTP buffer site, which can be pre-loaded with required data on a member's request. This currently offers access to the whole archive of some 3500 wells. The next tier in the structure consists of the online datastore. This is provided using QC Data's Information Hub. This level contains the critical entitlements index as well as a subset of the Archive data in the form of a standardized suite of well logs. These offer the users a quick route to the curves which are most likely to be used, but does not yet constitute the added value data.

 

Third tier

This is supplied by third parties, and is also stored in the Information Hub. The third tier resides at the user's site and is made up of QC Data's Axxses product, a forms based browser allowing for look up by line name etc. or areal search by input of geographical co-ordinates. Between the two top tiers is the network, currently either modem or ISDN lines.

The current status of CDA is that all currently drilled wells are entered into the Archive in real time, i.e. at a rate of about 35 wells per month. If we just consider the initial business driver-the desire to avoid multiple paper and tape copies then CDA is already a demonstrable success. No longer do operators have the overhead of supplying multiple copies of data to partners, and trades are likewise simplified. The position regarding on-line access to historical data is not so rosy. The overlapping initial datasets means that only about 3500 of the 6500 are actually in the archive.

 

Background tasks

This leaves QC Data with two background tasks, loading the 2000 or so historical wells, and subsetting the curves from the Archive to the online Information Hub. Currently this is done in response to members' requests at a rate of around 25 wells per month. At this rate it will be some time before the ultimate goal of populating the archive with all the 6500 wells has been achieved. CDA are faced with the problem of managing their available resources to the satisfaction of their members whose needs are not all quite the same. A larger company with an established system for handling raw log data may be quite happy with an FTP link to the archive site. A smaller company, or a larger company with a different philosophy of data management may be looking for more selection at the source, and may be concerned with the relatively slow progress in populating the on-line database. In the meantime, the commercial vendors are waiting to leap into the breach with the added value data, effectively creating a third category of user who requires, and is prepared to pay a premium for, both selection and processing of data before retrieval.

 

Co-operation

CDA is very aware that the management of CDA by committee, while a fine example of inter-oil company cooperation, is proving less than optimal now that this major project is up and running. The board of directors are currently looking to appoint a third party to perform the day to day management of the operation and to improve communications with members and the outside world. CDA is a going concern today with 685 curves ordered and retrieved during December 1996, and 366 logins by members during the same period. The project is gathering steam with the capture of paper data through scanning to bitmap, and soon, there will be a tender out for the seismic phase of the project. CDA members are aware that they have a "product" which may be of considerable interest to other countries, and Stewart Robinson of the DTI is very active in promoting inter-country cooperation in National Data Repositories. No firm location has been selected for the next implementation of a CDA modelled repository, but the ideal location has been described as a new exploration area - with little or no existing infrastructure to complicate the issue. The actively explored virgin territory of the offshore Falklands has been mooted as a likely candidate.

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Creating standards for Common Data Access (February 1997)

Stewart Robinson - Computer Services Manager, Oil and Gas Division, UK Department of Trade and Industry tells PDM how the Common Data Access (CDA) project is going about selecting its standards.

CDA has been established to provide a radical solution to data management within the UK oil community which promises new ways of working and co-operation in data management between oil companies. One factor will be the establishment of a growing, shared database that will be built taking account of emerging POSC standards. Accompanying this development will be a move towards specific CDA standards, or recommended practices, that will define the way that CDA systems work.

 

Complex issues

These standards will cover basic things such as how to name wells and seismic lines; more complex issues such as how to catalogue hard copy items correctly and even esoteric issues such as quality assurance of log and seismic data. It is the intention that any CDA standards will follow POSC and will reflect UK legislative standards as defined by the DTI. It is expected that once CDA standards achieve common acceptance, they will be considered by the DTI, if appropriate, as candidates for "Operations Notices".

As chairman of the CDA Standards Committee, I am responsible for the formation of task-specific sub-committees from CDA member companies to address these particular topics. The Standards Committee takes account of:

any UKOOA or POSC standards in the area

de facto standards that are in use

practices in similar initiatives around the world

practices in other environments.

The Standards Committee tries to be impartial in their deliberations and after they have produced a draft it is published on the web. They have then met with companies who are currently active in the area being reviewed. For example after proposing standards for log loading DTI hosted a meeting for all involved service contractors.

 

Same Room

After the meeting a comment was heard to the effect that this was the first time all these competing companies had been in the same room at the same time. To date CDA have promulgated and agreed standards for:

company names

well names

log curves

log loading

log joining (compositing)

POSC

hard copy well data cataloguing

and work proceeds on standards for seismic lines, surveys, scanning and other issues. The basic design criteria in these standards is that they will be short and not prescriptive. They will define a framework that will allow third party suppliers to provide value added products to the oil and gas community. There are some key decisions that have already been made that will change the data management culture of the UK oil and gas industry in the following specific ways:

from a given date, the digital data will be regarded as the master set of data for log curves, not sepia or film as in the past

oil companies will be responsible for delivering quality digital log data for storage within the CDA systems and DTI will verify that a complete set has been lodged. When this exercise has been completed for old wells, it will allow oil companies to discard their non-operated well data.

since 1/1/96 DTI have not required or received copies of digital log data

since 1/1/96 partners have not been copied digital log data

third party data suppliers are soon to advertise their wares through CDA

 

Not dictating

This has all been hard work, particularly as we have been trying to take people with us and not dictate. However all involved have been very supportive and the oil industry have allocated excellent staff to the various work groups which shows their level of commitment. Discussions have been spirited but consensus was achieved usually very quickly. Very few people now see that there is any business advantage in naming wells or seismic lines or how you catalogue a well report. What people want are simple standards for basic tasks and to be able to get on with the task of looking for hydrocarbons.

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CDA Phase II, Seismic Data (February 1997)

CDA currently focuses on the storage and distribution of well log data from the UK sector of the North Sea. In Phase II, it is planned to extend this to a common digital database for UKCS seismic and related data.

In March 1996 CDA held an open workshop to identify the benefits of and the challenges to creating a common digital database for UKCS seismic and related data. In addition the workshop resulted in the articulation of a clear vision for the future and a staged approach to the delivery of the vision. The workshop, held in Arundel, attracted significant industry interest with over 90 delegates from oil companies, speculative data owners, systems providers, services providers, the DTI, and the Norwegian NPD. Held over two intense days, the workshop was organized around a number of highly participative group sessions, where the groups consisted of a deliberate mix of delegates representing different industry interests. The NPD presented their experiences of the DISKOS project, the Norwegian oil industry data sharing initiative. In addition a number of systems were demonstrated and a number of private presentations were made by delegates to the Common Data Access seismic working group.

 

Vision

The vision is "A common, easily accessible, digital database for the UKCS of seismic positional, ownership, and entitlement data providing a single definitive reference to a complete, high quality seismic trace data set". The first stage proposed in delivering this vision is to develop a Seismic Data Access System incorporating navigation data, ownership and entitlements, cultural data, and licence data. This would be followed by second and third stages which would index and provide access to post-stack and pre-stack seismic trace data respectively. The Seismic Data Access System including navigation data for both proprietary and speculative seismic data would be of benefit to oil companies and speculative data companies alike by offering data users a single seismic coverage reference for the UKCS indicating ownership and who to contact for access to the data. Seismic data indexing and storage format standards would be developed concurrently with the first stage in preparation for the second and third stages.

The Common Data Access seismic working group is now in the process of consolidating the outcomes from the Arundel workshop into a business case to be delivered to the Common Data Access Board in May. Assuming that the Board, representing the 36 member companies, approves the business case, then the next step will be to produce a detailed requirements specification. The provision of a system and services to meet this specification will subsequently be put out to tender.

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Earth Resource Mapping Alliance (February 1997)

Earth Resource Mapping and Autodesk are to offer combined solutions for digital mapping and GIS.

Strategic alliances are all the rage these days and the latest we've heard about is the 'strategic partnership' between Earth Resource Mapping, the Australian company with outposts in San Diego, California and Egham, Surrey, UK and Autodesk, which claims to be the fourth largest PC software company in the world with three million customers in over 140 countries. The idea of the alliance is to provide complete mapping and GIS solutions for digital mapping and GIS markets. ER Mapper from Earth Resource Mapping is seen by Autodesk as a valuable technology in its bid to grow its GIS market offering, according to Joe Astroth, vice president of the company's GIS market group. 'With new resolution satellite imagery available over the next couple of years, our partnership with Earth Resource mapping will let us provide state-of-the-art solutions for telecommunications, utility, natural resources and governmental infrastructure management.'

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Enterprise chooses Landmark for data management (February 1997)

Enterprise Oil (UK) has signed a multi-million deal with landmark incorporating customization to integrate the legacy Tigress-based environment.

Enterprise, like many of its competitors has been struggling with the "buy or build" E&P data management solutions question for over a decade. Several years ago, Enterprise embarked on an ambitious program to integrate geophysics, geology, petrophysics and petroleum engineering with the objective of improving efficiency in E&P workflow. This involved a participation in the EU funded Tigress suite of E&P software (now acquired by PGS), and the development of an in-house corporate database using Oracle. This program suffered the familiar shortcomings with in-house development, and Enterprise have now turned to Landmark for help. Enterprise are a long-time Landmark customer, being one of Landmark's first clients way back in 1984.

 

five-year deal

The current deal is described as an "exclusive, five-year strategic alliance" designed to "improve workflow and data processes, increase productivity and reduce risk". The multimillion dollar alliance includes software, data management, professional services, customized training, on-site support and software maintenance. Tim Bird, E&P Applications Manager for Enterprise Oil, speaking of the Tigress initiative stated that "the good features of [Tigress] have been required as part of the specification for the new system" and that Tigress "lead the way in demonstrating the potential and reality of integrated database and application systems." Building on the experience they gained with the earlier development (which essentially convinced Enterprise of the utility of the integrated software application suite, while seemingly failing to catch fire in the marketplace), Enterprise have opted for a "tightly integrated application and data environment" while raising its' level of decision management support with a new corporate database".

 

New database

This database is described as a development of OpenWorks which at least initially will retain some of Enterprise's proprietary legacy system. Enterprise do not however see this as an exclusive arrangement and emphasize that it is the openness of Open Works that attracts them. Tim Bird, stated that Landmark was selected for data management "because of its ability to integrate applications and data from a wide variety of sources - not just from Landmark. Other vendors rely on low-level file transfer with third-party programs. But many third-parties already have tight links with OpenWorks. OpenWorks acts as a magnet to third-party applications."

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Top job vacant at POSC (February 1997)

William E. Bartz, President and CEO of Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC), has announced that he will retire effective April 30, 1997.

Mr. Bartz assumed his present position in May, 1994 after retiring from Chevron Inc. following a long career in both domestic and international Exploration and Production assignments. Commenting on Mr. Bartz' decision, current POSC Board chairman Robert Pindell said, "POSC has been fortunate over the last three years to have Bill Bartz provide leadership in bringing new members to the organization, including two new sponsoring companies, Statoil and Saudi Aramco. Bill has also been instrumental in extending the scope of POSC specifications to include oil and gas facilities through the POSC relationship with the Caesar Offshore Project. We sincerely thank Bill for his efforts and wish him well as he retires for the second time from our industry."

POSC is currently conducting a search to identify a successor president and CEO, who will be expected, in Dr. Pindell's words "to continue the development and direction of a highly skilled and dedicated management team and staff. The POSC staff is highly recognized for their tireless efforts on behalf of our industry."

At PDM we'd like to take the opportunity of thanking Bill Bartz for his helpful comments on issues POSCian over the last year, and his occasional (but always constructive!) criticism of our efforts. We wish him well in his retirement.

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Upcoming meetings (February 1997)

The Landmark Worldwide Technology Forum will be held in Houston from February 12-14, 1997.

Following on from the report from Cambridge Energy Research Associates reviewed in PDM Vol 1 No. 5, Landmark are making a concerted effort to bridge what they see as the 'IT generation gap', whose effect on your business 'may be more substantial than you thought possible'. In addition to providing an update on the latest Landmark solutions the Forum will provide advice on how to manage the 'wetware' or human element and will showcase Landmark services designed to ease your 'digital anxiety.' Landmark's 'vision' can be shared by contacting your local LGC rep.

SEG International Geophysical Conference and Exposition 'Istanbul: Where the Continents Meet' July 7 - 10, 1997. The Technical Program for Istanbul '97 is designed to 'combine a focus on the four surrounding regions - the Balkans, the CIS, the Middle East and North Africa - with papers offering worldwide experiences in the use of geophysical technology'. Abstracts to John Toldi, Chevron Overseas Petroleum 6001 Bollinger Canyon Road San Ramon, CA 94583-0946 USA

Wavelet Transforms at Geneva EAGE Anthony A. Vassiliou is organising a workshop on wavelet transforms at the next EAGE annual convention in Geneva on May 25, 1997. The theme of the workshop is: Wavelet Transform and its Applications to Seismic Data Acquisition, Processing and Imaging. We are looking for contributions in all of these areas. More detailed information on this workshop is provided in the attached text file. The deadline for contributions is February 15, 1997. All contributions should be sent to Anthony at Amoco EPTG, 4502 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74135, USA.

Data Model Workshop - Spring 1997 Numerous data models which support common areas of geoscience have been developed by various teams over recent years. However, few if any of these models are disseminated within the geoscience community at large. The result is that similar data models are being repeatedly redeveloped by different groups. This is inherently wasteful and makes data exchange between independent research teams difficult. The aim of the meeting is to provide a forum for data model developers to exchange designs and develop common models for key areas of the geoscientific information. The format of the meeting will be a series of short papers on a given area with discussion. The meeting will be followed by the publication of one or more papers, under the joint authorship of the speakers, proposing common data models. Abstracts to JRA Giles, British Geological Survey, Kingsley Dunham Centre, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG by 14th March 1997.

Using the Internet for Geoscience Teaching and Learning Venue: University of Derby Date: 10th July 1997 A meeting organized jointly with the UK Earth Science Courseware Consortium. It will be held the day after the UK Earth Science Courseware Consortium Annual Users Workshop, which is also to be hosted at the University of Derby. The explosive growth of the Internet in general and the World Wide Web (WWW) in particular presents enormous opportunities for geoscience teaching and learning. This meeting will provide a forum for people to describe their experiences of delivering and accessing geoscience educational content and to discuss future developments. Internet facilities will be available so that delegates can access the growing number of Web sites where useful teaching material is available on-line. Contact Paul Browning, Department of Geology, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK

Geoscience GIS used in anger Venue: BGS, Keyworth, Nottingham Provisional date: 15th October 1997 The use of GIS technology within the geoscience community is now well established. Working systems, if not common place, are at least a familiar tool to many earth scientists. The aims of this meeting are:

to review critically existing GIS software in terms of the special needs of the geoscientists; to provide illustrations of geoscience applications; to describe the solutions to problems encountered during the development of the systems; to explain how GIS use has changed working practices; and to answer the question 'was it worth the effort?'.

More info from Jenny Walsby, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK.

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Digital Video Disk DVD shipping soon (February 1997)

New technology set to offer up to 17 Gigabytes on removable media – if everyone can agree on a standard!

Nick Sundby of Hitatchi speaking at the Dataquest Invitational Computer Conference gave an update on the progress of the Digital Video Disk (DVD) consortium. Current CD-ROMs operate at what is termed a constant linear velocity (CLV), with the drive speeding up as the head moves towards the inner tracks, and the fastest drives available today (12x and up) are being spun at rates which were never dreamed up when the physical specification for the CD itself was laid down. Speeds of more than 6000 rpm are required to read the inner tracks of a 12x CR-ROM causing excessive vibration and noise due to minor irregularities in the disk itself. One can imagine a disaster movie type scenario with CD drives spewing out their lethal disks like Odd Job's bowler in Goldfinger! Looking down at the drive in my floor standing mini-tower, I realize that it is placed at a such a height as to cause a long and very painful death. A half way house to true DVD is announced by Hitatchi for its 16x drives. This is termed Partial Constant Angular Velocity. Here the spin speed is adjusted to the head radius up to a certain maximum (CLV), and from then on the drive operates at a Constant Angular Velocity (CAV). Average access time for the 16x drive is given as 90ms. Further optimization can be achieved in software by placing sequential files on the outside edge of the disk for fastest transfer, while random seek files are placed near the center for shortest seek.

 

True DVD

The true DVD drives are due for shipment to OEMs by mid 1997. These will use completely CAV and have a much smaller pit size. Capacity of the first generation of the new drives will be 4.7 Gigabytes, but this will be pushed up to 17GB by using two sides of each disk, and by having two superimposed layers of data. Recording quality is forecast as being "of near D1 studio" quality. The DVD drives will be backwards compatible with CD-ROM, but not with CR-R (recordable), because of the different laser wavelengths used in the CD-R. Quick on the heels of the DVD will be the DVD-RAM, i.e. a rewriteable device. Sample DVD-RAM devices will be shipping by the end of 1997, with an initial capacity of 2.6 GB. As with today's CD-ROM's the Achilles heel of this technology is the transfer rate. A "mere" 3Mbytes/sec will limit their use in E&P, although this will evolve as the industry seeks out markets other than video.

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National Data Repositories (February 1997)

Sandra Scott, Managing Director, QC Data U.K. Ltd. tells PDM of the increasingly wide deployment of the National Data Repository.

A growing trend in recent years in data management in the oil and gas industry has been the establishment of national data repositories. A national data repositories is loosely defined to be data storage and sharing between more than one company. The stimulus for the oil companies participation has been cost savings related to more efficient data storage and data retrieval. Governments are participating with a desire to not only preserve data as a national asset but to maximise that asset in attracting foreign investment and facilitating more cost effective exploration and production. A recent example of this is the emergence of PanCanadian Petroleum, a Canadian based company, in the North Sea who immediately joined the CDA National Data Repository upon establishing their offices in the UK.

Four different models for establishing national data repositories are in existence.

Government sponsored e.g. Norway, Algeria, Peru

Industry sponsored e.g. UK (CDA project)

Commercially sponsored e.g. Canada

Jointly sponsored e.g. Indonesia, USA-MMS

The particular mode adopted in each country depends upon the culture of that country's oil industry and the nature of the government's involvement. Each initiative generally maintains very unique management structures and charging mechanisms. One common factor is that oil companies are involved. Several major oil companies are now members, or users, of more than one repository and are reviewing their global data management strategies based upon the emergence of these repositories. For example, at a recent POSC conference Elf gave a paper explaining how they were hoping to establish links to various National Repositories from their corporate headquarters in Pau, France.

There is an industry view that if there are common, or standard, ways of storing and exchanging data then oil companies can start to realise efficiencies across national boundaries with mutual benefits to all. In support of this view the UK Department of Trade and Industry agreed to host a meeting of interested parties. The goal of this meeting was to facilitate a "global project team" that could provide global benefits for the oil industry in the area of data management.

The first meeting held in London in April, 1996 was attended by representatives from 13 national data repositories. Attendees met colleagues involved in similar projects, established friendly contacts, freely exchanged ideas, and explored possible areas for co-operation. While each national data repository may be unique in its technology and operations, many potential areas for beneficial cross pollination were defined. Initial areas for collaboration were in establishing standards for naming conventions(i.e. for wells and seismic) and for defining high level frameworks for common business processes(i.e. quality assurance procedures, etc.) and establishing standards for data exchange.

A second follow on meeting was held in Norway in September, 1996. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate provided a tour and shared some of their experiences in setting up a National Data Repository. Several break out sessions were held investigating whether it is possible to develop co-operation around the areas of meta data and business processes. Attendees found this second meeting useful and it was agreed to continue to meet. Actions taken away from the second meeting included the creation of Web pages via POSC and an exercise, to be managed by Stewart Robinson of the UK DTI, to try and move towards common definitions of meta data for well and seismic data.

Progress to date has been very positive, as highlighted by the tremendous interest from governments and representatives around the world. The next National Data Repository meeting is scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Calgary, Canada. QC Data Ltd., are hosting the event which will focus on the area of data exchange.

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QC Data and CDA Limited Team to Provide Increased Efficiencies to UK Petroleum Companies (February 1997)

QC Data is a world leader in the implementation of multi-client geotechnical information repositories. QC Data’s Canadian Information HubTM was established in 1992 and currently has over 600 clients accessing some 30 different integrated data sets directly on-line.

On-line connections currently range from dialup modems or ISDN services to fractional T1 and ATM connections at bandwidths of up to 155 Mbs-1. Customer choice is further enhanced by the option of accessing the data directly through any one of over a dozen third-party applications.

It was on this base of experience that the UK Common Data Access(CDA) consortium selected QC Data in July, 1995 as the Prime Contractor for both the design and implementation, and the long term operator of the UK national data repository. Leveraging off of proven software and systems, QC Data was able to deliver a turnkey solution to CDA in six months. QC Data’s Log AxxsesTM software provides the secure Common User access to the on-line Information HubTM database management system. QC Data utilized GeoQuest as a subcontractor to provide the initial load of historical UK digital well logs and uses GeoQuests LogDB system for the loading and archiving of the original format tapes. CDA members have on-line access to duplicate facilities in the Docklands area of London, and in Aberdeen, Scotland.

 

Industry-sponsored

With the CDA initiative being the first "industry" sponsored national data repository, we asked Sandra Scott, the Managing Director of QC Data UK Ltd., how it compared to the other commercial and government sponsored initiatives that QC Data have been involved in. "The largest challenge has been in managing User expectation across 35 different companies", Ms. Scott said. Each company has unique requirements and are using the system for different purposes. Some companies are simply using the system as a permanent archive for their data and to satisfy partner distribution while others intend to utilise the system as a replacement for their in-house data management system. "Despite these challenges", Ms. Scott says "the synergies you get when 35 companies are working jointly towards a common goal are tremendous". In principle, there is no limit to the extendibility of CDA Limited in the future in terms of next-generation applications software add-ons, the incorporation of new types of data and the growth of new services offered to CDA Limited participants. QC Data has maintained it’s position as a world leader in the petroleum information management business by exploiting best of breed technology utilising open system standards and standard data models. Since being awarded the CDA contract, QC Data has also signed a sole-source contract with the United States Minerals Management Service(MMS). Acting as agent for the MMS, QC Data maintains responsibility for the management, storage and distribution of digital well log information in the Offshore Gulf of Mexico.

 

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