September 1997


Finder 8 'blitz' release, model extended and GeoQuest data management solution re-packaged. (September 1997)

Finder 8 has just been issued to GeoQuest regional offices as a 'blitz' release, allowing installers, migrators and trainers to limber up with the new software while the client CD-ROMs are being pressed. The new release is part of a major re-packaging of GeoQuest's data management offering.

Up to now, Finder was usually presented at the hub of the GeoQuest data storage, retrieval and delivery architecture with the xxDB data storage products below, and the GeoFrame application environment above. The new deal for GeoQuest clients involves a two phase repackaging.

Enterprise

Firstly, Finder has been split into two, the database part, and the visualisation tools. The database engine, now Finder 8, occupies the bottom line of the food chain, sits alongside the xxDB products and manages an extended data model which now includes production. Secondly, the visualization tools SmartMap and GeoWeb have now moved up to centre stage, just atop the new Enterprise layer. Enterprise, which we covered in the May 1997 PDM allows a consistent entry point into Oracle databases (either those supplied by GeoQuest such as xxDB, Finder 8 etc. or by other vendors or client companies) and supplies the data to the visualisation tools. A word of warning, this repackaging can appear confusing, PDM has heard variously of "Finder Kernel", "Enterprise Kernel", "Finder Enterprise" and the terminology will no doubt mutate further before the marketing people are through!

Epicentre based

Production has been the focus of the new version of Finder with the implementation of a projection of the production area of the Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation's (POSC) Epicentre data model. Experienced gained with clients in the CIS has allowed GeoQuest to develop time-series based data types allowing for ongoing monitoring of oilfield production. Automated triggering mechanisms in the new product will allow flagging of wells or producing horizons with abnormal changes in behaviour. This data-mining type technology will allow for just-in-time intervention and remedial work on flagging wells. PDM will performing an in-depth review of Finder 8 in a future edition.

Enhanced GUI

General improvements to Finder include an enhanced user interface with tabbed dialogue boxes and a more conventional implementation of the de-facto standard of selection preceding operation (it used to be the other way around). Output to Microstation design file format is now possible and enhanced handling of gridded data has been introduced. A new link to the PC based Oilfield Manager product (formerly OGCI's Production Analyst) has been incorporated.

Migration Pain

The underlying technology behind the Enterprise federation of databases is Oracle through and through, illustrating that despite the hype, open systems have not cut much ice in the real world. PDM understands that the Finder 8/Enterprise repackaging will be treated as a new release to existing customers under current maintenance agreements. Of course such a radical upgrade will involve a significant and possibly painful migration effort on the part of GeoQuest and their customers who had better start planning for this now.

EuroFinder

The thorny issues arising from porting Finder 7 (and even earlier versions, still in use at some major sites) customizations to the new environment are likely to be particularly acute in this major repackaging. Efforts such as the recent EuroFinder initiative, which attempts to standardise a subset of customizations, and to manage their migration in a collaborative manner should prove their worth in this context. EuroFinder has board members from GeoQuest user groups in the UK, Germany and Norway as well as GeoQuest personnel from Gatwick and Houston. Currently a preliminary examination of Finder customization levels has been carried out and the intention is to use Finder 8 as a baseline, upon which further EuroFinder defined customizations can be built. Twelve companies have so far committed to the next phase of activity which envisages the development of a product by 1999. Following GeoQuest, the EuroFinder group is adopting the POSC Epicentre data model as a basis for extensions to the data model. In time it is hoped that the EuroFinder extensions will be incorporated into future releases of Finder, and that the whole issue of defining and implementing extensions to Finder will become a more collaborative process between GeoQuest and its customers. Those interested in learning more about EuroFinder should contact Hugh Banister at Lasmo UK - hugh.banister@lasmo.com.

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Petroconsultants have the Edge (September 1997)

Petroconsultants have declared in the past that their core business is data, and that software is a peripheral concern to them, but this is hard to believe when you experience their new Energy Data Graphical Explorer (EDGE).

Just as Landmark have done with their Open Explorer (see the June 97 PDM), Petroconsultants have broken with the industry tradition of going it alone with software development and have implemented their new flagship data access front end using ESRI's ArcView together with the Spatial Data Engine (SDE). This gives a very polished interface à la Netscape with a tree-list browser of graphical objects on the left half of the screen, and the map on the right. The SDE runs on top of any Oracle database and EDGE in fact lives on to of legacy systems such as IRIS21, indeed in the demo we saw, some ugly Oracle forms popped up as IRIS21 was launched. While Petroconsultants updates IRIS21 every 90 days or so, oil companies can update their internal EDGE database on a more frequent basis. EDGE runs on UNIX or on NT as a client.

No seismics

Seismics is practically absent from the EGDE and Petroconsultants do not intend EDGE to become a corporate tool for data management. Issues such as this his mean of course that oil companies may balk at the need for a suite of data access GIS browsers to access different data bases. They may prefer to opt for one, Open Explorer, Enterprise, or EDGE, after all, they all claim to read everyone else's data. In this context, the detailed functionality, ergonomics and performance of these front ends will be the crucial issues. Alternatively, since ESRI with ArcView, and now ArcExplorer, it is possible that these tools may become the de-facto standard browser for data managers.

SDO/SDE?

We have covered the performance issues of binary data, SDE and SDO before in PDM and Petroconsultants, again in their role of data rather than software supplier are philosophical about the merits of these technologies. Petroconsultants is awaiting the release of Oracle's SDO competitor to SDE and will be tracking the relative merits of the two as the technologies evolve. For the moment, this reviewer found the access to the Petroconsultants dataset remarkably speedy, with performance comparable - again very subjectively - to that of Open Explorer (demoed with the same dataset of 220,000 wells) which used Oracle's binary Shape files. Serious potential purchasers may want some hard benchmark numbers before taking the leap.

Shutdown

Petroconsultants are justifiably proud of the ease of use of their new tool, although a Post-it on the monitor of the Sun Enterprise server used for the test reminded users to "shutdown -g - kdfrst" or something - just in case you thought things were getting too easy - but that of course is UNIX's fault. Another detail likely to drive users mad is the crazy progress bar which zips backwards and forwards, giving no indication at all on when processing is going to stop, but that of course is ESRI's fault!

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East meets west at Vienna AAPG (September 1997)

Neil McNaughton, PDM's editor attended the Vienna AAPG's International Conference and Exhibition - despite the sausages beer and sauerkraut, he survived to tell the tale.

The AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Vienna was held early September and while the main theme was the geology and prospects of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, a hidden agenda could be discerned in the creeping invasion of IT and even geophysics into the geological realm. As a hybrid (mutant?) geologist come geophysicist I have always considered the division of labors between the two G's to be artificial - at least in the interpretation end of the business - and find it natural that geologists are considered as targets for the sale of geophysical interpretation systems. While Landmark and GeoQuest were conspicuous by their absence, others, including CGG, and the newly "Paradigmed" CogniSeis were enthusiastically showing stratigraphic interpretation technology, volume visualization tools and the like. A smattering of smaller companies were showing innovative solutions to document and inventory management while Petroconsultants, while still declaring that they were "in the data sales not software business" were none the less demonstrating a beta release of their new Enhanced Data Graphic Engine EDGE (see elsewhere in this issue) which for all the world looks like Landmark's Open Explorer less the seismics. In the conference there was an afternoon devoted to databasing, business process reengineering and databanks. Even StorageTek was there with a working Timberwolf cartridge system!

OPEC STRATEGY

Of course, as geologists, the AAPG members are taken a lot more seriously than geophysicsts and got the benefit of a keynote speech from R. Lukman of OPEC. Since the oil price has had a major impact on my career and likely will on yours, and since OPEC is in existence to regulate the oil price, you may like a précis of how they are going about it. OPEC has a target price of around 21$ per barrel. They try and limit production from their member countries so that supply and demand are balanced at around this price level. Unfortunately, non-OPEC countries do not play the game and are continually producing as much as they can, putting OPEC in a bind. OPEC's position as the regulator means that they can either flood the market, depress the price and cut their noses to spite their faces as it were, or they can cut production, watch the oil price rise and their revenues shrink. The question one has to ask is, does OPEC actually have any impact at all on the oil price today?

Contractor role

Many people I have talked to in recent conferences has expressed surprise at the "image building" activity of major oil companies who put up stands and appear to be acting in a contractor role. Chevron had a significant presence in the AAPG conference and explained to us how their role in many of their new ventures was very much that of a contractor. Chevron have re-invented themselves in recent years, and have moved from being an exploration company to a nearly exclusive production oriented outfit. This move from E to P has been painful for many technological sectors, with exploration oriented activity such as geochemistry having to react quickly to avoid complete extinction. Chevron's geochemists, once leaders in the exploration domain are getting a new lease of life practicing their black art on reservoir fluids to detect compartmented reservoirs from their geochemical fingerprint. Time lapse monitoring of reservoir fluids can then be used to detect co-mingling from different reservoirs due to causes such as pipe failure or damaged cement. This time element to data, and continuous control of the reservoir ties in to new business process such as that described by H. Wilson (separate report in this issue) and to data models such as Finder 8 featured in our lead article.

poles apart

An entertaining insight into how Amoco is ensuring that their asset teams maintain peak performance was given by Peter Carragher. The in-thing in Amoco is Polarity Management, a concept developed by Barry Johnson in 1992 and described on the Polarity Management Association's webpage (www.polaritymanagement.com) as "identifying and managing unsolvable problems". Such a polarity is the divergence of views and approaches to exploration that exists between the technical and management sides of the business. According to PM theorists, these divergences, tensions and the traditionally conflictual approach to their resolution lead a company through a recognizable cycle of polarities as follows. First the technicians get it right and obtain high success rates through the application of state of the art technology. Next the technical approach fails as new paradigms come into play, other companies become more successful elsewhere, or with other techniques. Then management has to step in with a management driven polarity cycle. This may succeed for a time as the focus is then on adding "dollar rather than barrel" value, until it too implodes and a new technical cycle begins again. Sounds familiar and Amoco claim that "maintaining a careful balance between the extremes is essential for long term success". Those of you who don't have access to Johnson's book might try Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, which arrives at a similar conclusion if my memory serves me well.

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GMA acquires SeisX - Photon returns home (September 1997)

Having decided that the Paradigm take-over of CogniSeis last month had created a 'good fit' as we reported in last month's PDM, we have to admit to some egg on our faces as Paradigm have unceremoniously resold the SeisX part of the CogniSeis product suite on to Geophysical Micro Computer Applications (International) Ltd., based in Calgary.

The transaction is subject to various conditions, due diligence and the like, and to the completion of the Paradigm/CogniSeis deal. The value of the total transaction is $3M cash (subject to accounting adjustments) and future royalties. SeisX was originally developed in Calgary by Photon Systems Ltd. and has been marketed worldwide for 7 years. SeisX works on 2D, 3D, multiple 3D and well data, all within the same project and provides data management, 3D auto-picking, and mapping and display tools. SeisX is available on both UNIX and Windows NT based platforms.

Revenues to double

Ron Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer stated "We believe the acquisition of SeisX technology could double our revenues for 1997/98 fiscal year and significantly increase GMA's overall profitability. We are excited about integrating the 2D/3D interpretation technology of SeisX with GMA's existing modeling systems." GMA's revenue for the year ending September 1996 were 3.57$ million. GMA has been in acquisition mode since the beginning of the year when Newman stated their intention to "actively pursue several acquisition opportunities/strategic alliances which GMA believes will complement its existing suite of products and strengthen our marketing and product development initiatives."

GMA claims an existing client base of over 500 companies with a total of 3300 software licenses in more than 43 countries.

London office

GMA was founded in 1982 by Newman and GR Davidson. In 1989 the Company opened an office in Houston and another in London two years later. Since 1991 GMA is wholly owned by Ron Newman. GMA's first product was STRAT, a stratigraphic modeling application, and the product line has since grown to include a full suite of CAEX tools and services. Originally developed on the PC-based DOS platform, the newer line of software allows the programs to be run under both Windows and workstation-based UNIX. This new GMAplus suite includes modules such as LogM, WavX, 3D Seismic Interpretation, 2D Seismic Interpretation, Struct, and Avo. Currently, GMA is developing a petrophysical module in conjunction with a private Alberta corporation which is 50% owned by GMA. These new petrophysical products (MWLA and Petrosolv) will be marketed exclusively by GMA worldwide.

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ESRI input to Open GIS Consortium Specs. (September 1997)

The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) has just released its OpenGIS Simple Features Specifications to the public at http://www.opengis.org.

The three OpenGIS Simple Feature specifications enable programmers to write application software using interfaces that give applications open access to heterogeneous geographic data sources on three distributed computing platforms: Microsoft's OLE/COM, the Object Management Group's CORBA, and SQL. OGC, an international consortium of more than 100 corporations, agencies and universities, coordinates collaborative development of the OpenGIS Specification and collaborative business development to support full integration of geospatial data and geoprocessing resources into mainstream computing.

unholy alliance

Three proposals developed by ESRI in cooperation with a dozen other leading geographic information system (GIS) and information technology (IT) industry vendors were reviewed and accepted by key members of OGC at the group's August meeting in Cambridge, England. The unified proposals represent an unprecedented collaborative effort by ESRI along with IBM, Informix, Intergraph, MapInfo, Microsoft, Netscape, Oracle, and others to develop interoperability specifications for geoprocessing software interfaces and services. Open application programming interfaces (APIs) will service requests from other vendors' clients and support real-time network access to diverse geographic information on major distributed computing platforms. The initiative grew out of a Request for Proposals developed by members of OGC, a consortium of more than 100 corporations, government agencies, non-government organizations, and universities that support the full integration of geospatial data and geoprocessing resources into mainstream computing.

ESRI role

As members of the OGC Technical Committee, ESRI staff took an active role in working with other leading GIS vendors to reach an early consensus for a definition of the simple spatial features specification, which lays the foundation for future standard specifications, according to David Beddoe, ESRI's OGC representative. ESRI is the only company to participate technically in all three categories of proposals, noted Beddoe. The collaborative proposals, which relied substantially on ESRI technical designs, set the stage for the full integration of geoprocessing into widely available information technology.

ESRI played a key role in bringing together competing submissions for the SQL (ODBC) implementation strategies initiative, according to Jack Dangermond, president of ESRI. "We broke down the doors and worked together with competitors such as Intergraph and long-time partners such as IBM and Microsoft to share our technical designs," he said. "As a result, the whole industry will benefit from this extraordinary cooperation."

Collaboration

The collaborative SQL proposal, which reflects input from ESRI, IBM, Informix, MapInfo, and Oracle, offers several valid approaches for implementation across most mainstream computing scenarios," noted ESRI's Beddoe. "We are presenting them without favour for one over the other. Rather, the user can decide what is important given their infrastructure and staff knowledge." ESRI actively participated in the simple features submission for Microsoft's OLE/COM or DCOM platform. The proposal was put forth jointly by Intergraph, ESRI, and a number of other industry partners who have shown innovation in placing COM-standard products in the marketplace. Other members include Vision International (Autometric), Camber Corporation, Laser-Scan, MapInfo, and Smallworld Systems. Technical expertise and support were provided by Informix, Microsoft, and Oracle.

CORBA spec

ESRI was an active participant in the CORBA proposal jointly put forth by Bentley Systems, ESRI, Genasys II, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and UCLA's Data Mining Laboratory. Technical support was provided by Netscape Communications. This well-publicized and in-use CORBA standard will serve many market segments seeking network-centered and object-based alternatives for distributed computing over enterprise networks and the Internet.

ESRI software may act as both "consumers" (clients) and "providers" (servers) of simple spatial features in the proposed OGC standards, noted Beddoe. Software such as ArcView GIS by ESRI will be "consumers" that can use OGC simple spatial features. Other software, such as ESRI's Spatial Database Engine (SDE), will be "providers" that can manufacture OGC simple spatial features. Many ESRI software programs will act as both a "consumer" and "provider" of these simple features.

Interoperability

Spatial interoperability is high on the "wish list" of the GIS community, according to Dangermond. "Data sharing will become easier for everyone, especially large businesses and government organizations that need to share vast amounts of spatial data from diverse sources," he said. "We want geospatial information to be a part of every computing environment." ESRI and other OGC member organizations are continuing to work together to set goals and outline strategies on topics such as the Internet, coverages definition (the next step beyond simple spatial features), and the formation of vertical special interest groups in areas such as defense, environment, finance, government, real estate, telecommunications, transportation, and utilities. More info from Lance McKee at the OGC (508) 655-5858 or lmckee@opengis.org.

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Acquisitive Western takes out Geosignal and Seismic Resources (September 1997)

Western Atlas Inc. (WAI) has just announced that it has signed letters of intent to acquire Geosignal, Inc., a seismic data processing company, and Seismic Resources, Inc. (SRI), a provider of non-exclusive seismic surveys.

The two sister companies are both based in Houston. WAI will use its common stock to pay for these transactions. Further financial details were not disclosed. The transactions are contingent upon approval of the definitive agreements by the respective boards of directors. "Geosignal has developed some of the leading seismic refraction processing methods in the industry," said Richard White, Western Atlas Senior Vice President and President of Western Geophysical, the leading seismic service company in the industry. "These methods allow oil companies to successfully survey areas that historically have been "no data" zones, because the seismic signals could not be imaged accurately. One of the typical areas of application are the mud zones in river deltas, which is a highly attractive area for hydrocarbon exploration. Based on their technology and expertise in these methods, we believe that Geosignal and Seismic Resources will provide an excellent complement to Western's current capabilities." "Historically, these two companies have concentrated their activities in a limited geographic area. Now, with the help of Western Geophysical, we will be able to expand the application of their technologies through our global organization. Their approximately 70 employees, which include the management, will play a major role in these efforts," White added.

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Life Goes on at Cogniseis - WellTie 2.0 released (September 1997)

Despite the pandemonium it's business as usual for Cogniseis who have just announced the release of WellTie 2.0, described as a new synthetic seismogram product.

Apart from what you would expect from such a product, WellTie 2.0 includes a basemap, spreadsheet-like well and geometry input, seismic data management, 2D/3D, arbitrary 3D traverses, log editing and a host of other functions. Recognized formats include LAS, LIS and digitized log files for well data and SEG-Y and Photon - or should that be CogniSeis - no sorry - GMA formats for seismic data. Well tie runs on Silicon Graphics Impact, Octane and O2 platforms as well as SUN's Ultrasparc Creator 3D series.

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Schlumberger InterAct (September 1997)

Schlumberger have improved on the video-conference paradigm with the introduction of InterAct, a combination of software and communications technology that enables near real-time transmission of well log image data from the well site to the office.

With a delay of a few minutes, geologists and engineers (not to mention stockbrokers!) can follow the progress of mission critical wellsite operations such as testing or geosteering. As well as displaying the logging data on the computer screen in the office, InterAct allows for two way voice communications and the transmission of other data types such as Word or Excel files. While the system is intended for high end wells, it has been used to allow one engineer to cover several simultaneous operations in the far east, all from the comfort of his downtown Houston office.

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CGG releases StratiMagic 1.5 (September 1997)

StratiMagic, the new seismic interpretation tool from CGG Petrosystems (extensively reviewed in the January 1997 PDM) is out of the research labs and being installed in production sites around the world.

42 licenses have been sold since the beginning of the year and CGG claim that the demand is accelerating. The latest release - version 1.5 is due for release in October and allows mixing of 2D and 3D interpretations and for the construction of zig-zag lines across all data on screen. Enhancements also include improved hierarchically arranged horizon name library and improvements to the Mixmap function which can now handle multiple layers in the same mix. An API will be offered to third parties later in the year to allow for data to be read and written to and from foreign applications. StratiMagic lives in symbiosis with Landmark's OpenWorks and a link to GeoFrame is scheduled. CGG have been promoting the product actively and have gone to the extent of sponsoring a special edition publication that explains the neural net technology behind the autopick routine in StratiMagic. But in a more colorful promotional offering, CGG are rumored to be offering a crate of champagne to anyone who believes that their present autopick routine is better than the Sismage neural net technology. Contact your local CGG rep for more details on the book and the champagne!

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CMPT - Deepnet and Pathfinder (September 1997)

The Center for Marine and Petroleum Technology has announced a two new programs which address very different sectors of the E&P service industry.

Pathfinder is aimed at small to medium sized companies and R&D organizations and is a funding mechanism aimed at assisting new science or innovative technology that is not yet sufficiently mature to attract other forms of public or private funding.

Pathfinder intends to spend £500,000 in its first year of operations which will grow to £1M in year five. First awards are planned for early in 1998 and the type of research program targeted is one that "shows real promise of adding to the oil and gas industry's long term viability". So any researchers currently working on ways of keeping the oil price high should be in there with a chance. For more info on Pathfinder talk to Dick Winchester on +44 1224 853400.

Deepnet

At the other scale of things, Deepnet is a described as a new information network for deepwater technology in the form of a global network of knowledge on deepwater and hostile environments. CMPT has realized the benefits that the industry can gain from an independent information network open to industry. Deepnet will be going live in September 1997 through an Internet bulletin board and discussion forum. Open to oil and gas companies, contractors, government departments, research and technology organizations and universities anywhere in the world Deepnet users will be able to trade information with their peers in other organizations. So far 19 organizations have coughed up the £1000 joining fee. These include BP, Marathon, Texaco and Baker-Hughes. More info from Irene Hepburn +44 1224 853400.

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Paras - its URGENT (September 1997)

Hamish Wilson, speaking at the Vienna AAPG meeting described progress to date in the User Reference Group for Emergent Technologies (URGENT). This forward looking Norwegian think tank is looking into ways in which new processes and technologies can be applied to E&P activity.

Under the title Integrated Information for Integrated Processes Wilson described a futuristic scenario in which a multi-branched exploration well could sidetrack and appraise on the fly, before being converted into a producer. Drilling technology is apparently up to it, but not the Exploration and IT end of things (although they're working on it - see the article on Schlumberger's InterAct in this issue). Paras are applying business process engineering techniques to the problem and showed the results of Role-Activity diagrams to the whole process of drilling, appraising and producing an oilfield. This study suggests that the traditional "generic" E&P architecture is no longer optimal for the task in hand. The current hierarchy for instance makes communication between the geologist who calculated the reserves and the facilities engineer who designed the platform difficult, and a potential cause of costly mistakes. The mapping of these innovations into an IT strategy is tough since reservoir models take a long time to build and are slow to update. The speed of moving data between systems is also cited as a barrier to implementation. Advocating a process architecture consistent framework for E&P IT, Wilson hopes that further work on a viable earth model by the URGENT consortium may hold the key.

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POSC Interop update (September 1997)

The POSC/CAESAR Project, described as 'A joint industry project for creating standards for electronic data exchange and sharing' is to be extended for another year.

The CAESAR Offshore Project was initiated in 1993 by the Norwegian Research Council, Aker, Kværner, Det norske Veritas, Norsk Hydro, Saga Petroleum and Statoil. Subsequently, the Petrotechnical Open Standards Corporation (POSC) became involved, and the resulting collaboration became POSC/CAESAR and was joined by several other major North Sea operators and contractors. The purpose of the project was to develop a product data model for life cycle information of offshore production facilities. Today, a large part of the planned data model is completed and the class library contains more than 10,000 classes. The project has a close collaboration with other standardization initiatives in Europe and the USA and the ISO STEP community. BP, Shell and Brown & Root have decided to use the POSC/CAESAR Reference Data Library as basis for their data warehouse an offshore development project. Statoil, Norsk Hydro and Saga have also decided to use POSC/CAESAR technology in the development projects Åsgard, Visund and Varg.

One STEP too many?

POSC has never been short of an acronym or two, and the CAESAR project is highly charged in this respect. PDM readers who supply either a useful or amusing interpretation of the following will receive a prize of an autographed copy of the book, A Survey of Data Management in the E&P Business - or a bottle of champagne at the winner's choice. Here they are ETAP, ISO/STEP PIPPIN, Esprit IV, CIMIS, EPISTLE, AP221, VÅV STID and KEDAT.

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PI Stratigraphic Nomenclature (September 1997)

Petroleum Information (Erico) has just released a lexicon of stratigraphic terms for the UK continental shelf.

Stratigraphers are said to be "confused" by the migration from the old classification schema of Rhys, Deegan and Scull to the revised UKOOA/BGS Lithostratigraphic Nomenclature of the North Sea. PI's Stratigraphic Terms lexicon (STL) is an Access database developed through PI's experience of interpreting and databasing north sea stratigraphy for over 3000 wells. Added value information such as usage, age range, geographic extent, etc. complement the basic cross referenced material from the old and new schema. Instant, flexible access to stratigraphy from the desktop should allow standard and current terminology to be generated for other exploration applications. In-house stratigraphic and database terminology can be integrated with STL. More info at pi@petinf.co.uk.

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Western gets Statfjord 4D contract and claims world first for Osberg 4C (September 1997)

Western Geophysical have been awarded a contract for a 4D seismic survey over the Statfjord field, and have conducted what is believed to be the world’s first four componenet (4C) survey of the Osberg field.

PDM has warned data managers about the onslaught of data which 4D "time lapse" seismics is likely to produce over the coming years. The problem is not only one of data volumes, but field seismics now has a temporal component that data managers and modelers will need to handle. Western have now added yet another dimension to the equation with the advent of four component (4C) seismic monitoring of the reservoir. We dealt with the 4D time lapse part in PDM Vol. 1 No. 6. The essentials are that a repeat 3D survey on an oilfield that has been in production for a number of years is acquired and then carefully compared with the data acquired before production started. Differences between the two surveys may show the extent to which fluids have moved through the reservoir in the intervening period. Of course you should not try this on an oil reservoir at great depth, but for oil and gas phases in shallower fields the technique can produce spectacular results.

brightspot

As in direct prospecting for hydrocarbons, some seismic indicators can be misleading. Many a brightspot has turned out to be hard rock rather than gas and to reduce the ambiguity in seismically derived rock properties, shear wave prospection has been devised. To the geophysically untutored, normal seismics involves compressional waves, where the particle motion is in the direction of wave travel, where shear waves have particles moving perpendicularly to this direction. A land seismic vibrator wobbles a baseplate up and down, whereas one shear wave source actually consists of a large articulated hammer, which wallops a big chunk of iron sideways.

Oseberg

While this works on land, shear waves unfortunately do not travel through water and hence, in Western's innovative Oseberg survey for a group headed by Norsk Hydro, the use of a ocean bottom cable which is moved around the survey area. The full seismic waveform is measured by a hydrophone plus three seismometers mounted at right angles - hence the 4 Component tag. Claiming a world first for this study, Western will be applying techniques developed in previous tests in the North Sea and West Africa during late 1996 and early 1997. Western Geophysical will be deploying one of its recently announced fleet of purpose-built ocean bottom cable vessels the C-Centurion which has just been mobilized to the North Sea. Hydro's objective is to increase the life of the Oseberg Field and allow more accurate wells to be drilled into the reservoir channel sands, which can not be fully imaged using existing methods.

Statoil

The Statfjord study for Statoil involves reprocessing 3D surveys from 1980, 1991 and 1997 to determine fluid movements in the reservoir and generate hydrocarbon saturation maps at three different stages of production. This will be a multidisciplinary project, involving both Western and Statoil and the approach is expected to significantly improve oil recovery. Processing will be performed at Western Geophysical's Stavanger computer centre using proprietary time-lapse software modules with project management provided by Western's London 4-D Reservoir Monitoring Services group. The resulting 4-D data will be analysed using a number software tools including Lamont 4-DTM software under license from Columbia University.

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Prizm Technologies to beta first LightSIP (September 1997)

Prism Technologies will soon be commencing a formal beta program for its Data Access Facility (DAF) product followed by a first commercial release for the product early in 1998.

Prism's Data Access Facility is the product of the POSC LightSIP project and is a commercial implementation of POSC's Logical Data Access Layer. In order to familiarise the POSC community with the key benefits that the product has to offer Prism will be holding two Workshops. The first Workshop will be held in conjunction with the POSC Meeting in Oslo Norway and will be held on 25th September between 09.30am-11.30am. The second Workshop will be held in Texas USA in November (date and time TBA). The Workshops will cover the DAE Specification and business benefits, DAF Development, DAF / DAE in the lifecycle of an Epicentre Datastore, DAF and Epicentre Exchange Manager, planing DAE developments. More info from the Prism Website at http://www.prismtech.co.uk or from Gregg Shenton +44 (0) 191-4913983 gs@prismtech.co.uk.

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Cambrian opens up in Houston and Aberdeen (September 1997)

Cambrian Consultants has just announced an expansion with the opening of two new offices in Houston and Aberdeen.

Peter Fearn is president of Cambrian Consultants America while the new Aberdeen office is to be managed by John Hampson. Cambrian hopes to expand its business into the US and S. America in the fields of wellsite/operations geology, technical evaluation, reservoir characterization, petroleum and drilling engineering, geotechnical engineering, computer mapping applications and training. Contact in the US (713) 783 4281, fearn@ccamerica.com.

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