October 2000


Decision Space (October 2000)

Landmark’s Decision Space - web based, risk analysis and decision support infrastructure is set to “raise technical-to-business workflow integration to the power of e-business.”

New software from Landmark Graphics, scheduled for release towards the end of the year will facilitate decision support for upstream asset teams. The web based software will share interpretation results between workers, adding an economic dimension to Landmark’s earth model. Decision Space (DS) will integrate technical and business tools in a “virtual desktop.” Browser-based and ASP- ready, DS will support and enable the industry move towards e-business.

Gibson

Landmark CEO John Gibson told PDM “Historically, applications have been developed in a domain-specific manner by entrepreneurs with a passion for their subject. Today, requirements are different, software needs to be multi-domain and to serve multi-discipline teams. We need to eliminate the barriers between disciplines and focus on the work process as a whole. The key to this is decision support. But Decision Space is more than just a new product for Landmark. We have literally re-engineered the whole company around this need for multi-disciplined software and decision support.”

Up and running

The first release of DecisionSpace is already up and running in key customer environments on a developmental basis. This release, based on the Windows NT platform, focuses on delivering value to asset teams who deal with the delineation and development phase of the oilfield life cycle. Key features of the first release include the solution’s ASP-ready, Web-based approach to the workspace using the DecisionDesktop common interface and the integration with Landmark’s Uncertainty Collator.

Tightly coupled

Business and financial processes are tightly coupled with information and knowledge resources in the new virtual workspace. The new tool reflects Landmark’s long march from vertical geotechnical supplier to a new paradigm of technical-to-business integration (T2B). The addition of an e-commerce component has allowed the Landmark marketeers a new flight of fancy - DecisionSpace is to raise T2B to the power of ‘e’.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_1 as the subject.


GeoQuest for Hydro (October 2000)

Norsk Hydro rationalizes software and selects GeoQuest as core provider.

Norsk Hydro E&P has selected GeoQuest as its world-wide integration platform. IT manager Trond Hanesand said “This represents an opportunity to upgrade our technology and provide a more integrated workflow.” Speaking at the GeoQuest forum earlier this year, Hanesand revealed that Norwegian companies spend twice as much on IT as others, and outlined Hydro’s plans to for a 40% reduction in IT costs and major software rationalization.

Shake-out

The shake out has now taken place and Hydro is rebuilding its IT from ground up with GeoQuest tools. Finder is to be the corporate data store (PetroBank is maintained for seismics) and GeoFrame will support applications from GeoQuest and third parties. New GeoQuest software announced in the deal includes StratLog, WellPix and GeoViz 3D. The software replaces PGS’ Tigress reservoir suite.

20TB

GeoQuest will generate new project databases for some 20TB of shared project data resulting from the merger of Hydro and Saga Petroleum earlier this year. Third party software retained after rationalization includes FAPS, IRAP, GeoDepth, VoxelGeo and IRMS.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_2 as the subject.


Software orientation and the IT Phanerozoic time scale (October 2000)

PDM’s editor Neil McNaughton discusses the distinction between horizontal and vertical software and argues that this frayed boundary is where the IT action really is at. Tying software development to a rough and ready geological time scale, he concludes that the action is hotting up as we approach the end of the “Quaternary.”

Many moons ago, when I was actually a software buyer, rather than a scribe, I saw a demonstration of some intriguing software. If my memory serves me well (unlikely) I think the company was Landmark, and I think the product was called Smart Windows. Just to situate how long ago this was, I propose we map the 50 years or so of Information Technology’s history to the 4,000 million of the Phanerozoic time scale.

Palaeozoic

This puts the late ’80’s back in the Paleozoic of the information age. These were interesting times; there was the advent of graphical computing and the emergence of “open standards” which would shortly lead to the demise of the platform of choice of the time, Digital Equipment’s VAX. At the dawn of the IT Cambrian, the open standards movement came up with its first real success story, X-Windows, the graphical API of the Unix world.

Too smart?

The Smart Windows product allowed individual X-Windows to share data and events in real time. Changing a parameter in one window made computations in another window - such as a log cross plot - change simultaneously. What intrigued me about the software was that it was too smart! Heck this functionality went way beyond the world of E&P computing and had potential applications wherever X-Windows was used. It was in short horizontal, not vertical software.

Horizontal

But what does a vertical developer do when it stumbles of some key horizontal software? Suddenly the potential market is no longer E&P, but the IT world at large. Chasing the new market would involve quite a shift in corporate focus, and of course require in-depth analysis of the potential new market. I guess that Smart Windows did not pass muster as a world-beating idea. I imagine that such functionality is now given away free with the X-Windows API. And that Landmark (if indeed it was them) continued to focus on its core, vertical sector.

Going horizontal

But another company has reacted differently to similar circumstances. Back around the IT cretaceous period, Prism Technologies were developers of Business Objects for the E&P gentry. But in the middle of the tertiary, PrismTech faced a horizontal/vertical turning point. To support E&P business objects, PrismTech had to develop a lot of horizontal infrastructure. In the end it was this stuff that PrismTech pursued - in a multi-million dollar deal with Inprise (ex-Borland). PrismTech have gone horizontal, and Open Spirit is now reborn as an independent Corporation (see page 4 of this issue).

Frayed boundary

On close inspection, the fine line between horizontal and vertical software becomes a frayed boundary. All software uses other tools - widgets, operating system functionalities, and shell scripting glue to keep the ship afloat. Nowhere is this more evident than in internet portal development. I would encourage you to refer to our coverage of the First Conferences Internet Portal Strategy conference on pages 6&7 of this issue. I personally was fascinated by the interplay of horizontal web technologies and vertical bespoke development that emerged from the presentations. As organizations dash to deploy information portals the question arises - do we develop our own from the ground up or do we use some horizontal tools to jump start development.

Apache

The second great success of the open software movement is the Apache web server. All you need to get your portal up and running is an Apache server and some “commodity” (the ultimate accolade for horizontal software) tools for web page development. Front Page, Navigator are all your users need to know to do useful work. Commodity internet hardware provides hitherto elusive scalability. So while the vertical vendors bang on about the knowledge management revolution, really it is already here thanks to these powerful tools.

Cost benefit

Which leads me to another aspect of the horizontal vertical divide. Just as commodity hardware benefits from the economies of scale that bring you supercomputer graphics performance from your Playstation II, commodity software is cheap AND powerful. Or rather it should be. Not all of it is. Occupying the IT space right alongside the portal, and in some instances, actually owning it, the newly re-invented document management vendors manage to provide commodity-type services at a very high price tag. Is this sustainable?

What’s Next?

You may have noticed that my geological time scale analogy failed me as I approach the present and begin to speculating about the future. Which led me to wonder - when does the Quaternary actually end? What comes next? Do we go on for ever living in the last millisecond of the Pleistocene?

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_3 as the subject.


BizTech for Energy (October 2000)

BizTech for Energy has just been released its first spec for production to ERP data exchange. PDM also got the lowdown on B4E’s game plan from general manager Lamar Traylor.

The organization formerly known as COM for Energy held its second annual membership meeting in Microsoft’s Houston offices last month. Around 50 showed up for the BizTech For Energy Foundation (B4E) meeting whose theme was "e-standards Powering e-business.”

Abusalbi

President Najib Abusalbi (GeoQuest) claims that B4E is a “vibrantly active community, which has produced tangible results and which has even more substantial, near term plans that will create value for the energy industry.” Four working groups have been operating at different pressure points along the business to technical frontier. The original proof of concept work, concerns the integration of well planning and ERP (see PDM Vol. 4 N° 8).

Owner operator

Work on production data to ERP integration has resulted in the first official B4E standard (see sidebar). Adrian Gottschalk, from PricewaterhouseCoopers gave an update on work in progress on interest owner/operator financial information exchange. Some concern exists here about re-inventing the e-wheel—since PIDEX has already published an AFE spec. Another development area is the linkage between land, division order and ERP, this work is headed up by Girish Bora of Tobin.

Q&A

In a question and answer session IndigoPool president, Satish Pai warned that “IndigoPool will go forward with or without agreement by consensus.” But Pai does see a future for collaborative standards for meta data. A similar caveat came from Ray Cline, CTO of SAIC’s Grand Basin co-venture with Landmark. Cline opined “Our focus is on Landmark products and databases, leveraging data warehousing approaches.”

Community

B4E membership fees are on a sliding scale according to company revenues—from $2,500 to $25,000 per year. This gives access to the specifications. B4E has now set up shop on the Microsoft Net communities site supporting collaborative work and a chat room. Currently, community membership is restricted, but you can apply on http://communities.msn.com/biztechforenergy.

~

PDM comment—the puzzling thing about B4E is how the standards are to be deployed. Our current understanding is that although B4E has “announced,” a standard, this does not mean it is released to the public domain. One suspects a little reticence on the part of the fee paying members to hand over the fruits of their labors!

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_4 as the subject.


What's inside the BizTech for Energy Standard? (October 2000)

Lamar Traylor, General Manager B4E tells PDM just what the standard org will be delivering.

The B4E “standard” is not so much code as a set of transaction definitions and the contents of those transactions. B4E is attempting to define a series of transactions that would provide a “common” format for moving data generated on the technical side of E&P over to the business side. Right now there is a disconnect between those two business functional units and data from technical applications has to be transcribed into the on the business packages. This leads to duplication of effort and inefficiencies in operation, not to mention a lack of responsiveness to requests for data on which business decisions are made. B4E is currently faced with the daunting task of comprehending a confusing array of interface requirements.

If we can set a standard for moving that data between the two broad functional business units, then our respective organizations can write to one transaction format with some assurance that that data can then be moved between these two suites of applications. This of course will reduce our respective development cost and time to market with these interfaces. So, though code will be generated on both the sending side and the receiving side, we are not specifying (or providing) the actually implementation code, but rather the format that resulting data should be written or read in.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_5 as the subject.


First T2B XML standard rollout (October 2000)

Biztech for Energy has unveiled its first standard. The XML spec will facilitate data exchange from the field to the accouinting system.

As forecast by PDM, the first technical-to-business integration standard is no longer COM-based, but instead consists of “a set of XML schema and DTDs integrating production field data capture and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) such as SAP R/3.” SAP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Landmark Graphics, and TietoEnator defined and submitted the integration objects to BizTech 4 Energy in May. GeoQuest also participated in a review of the defined schema and supported the submission, now ratified by BizTech for Energy (B4E) as a supported standard.

Breuker

Jens Breuker, SAP’s oil and gas industry manager said “Integrating an E&P company's technical production applications with an ERP is a key step in improving the workflow and communications between the production operations and business support organizations within the company. SAP will use these XML documents with our Energy Integration Platform (EIP) to support a common point of origin for shared technical and business master file data and a single point of entry for transactions.”

Submissions

Additional submissions to B4E are expected to continue as the organization's process and technical committees have begun to hold monthly virtual meetings and have formed work teams to address specific areas of member interest. The process committee aids in the development of use cases and business benefits, while the technical committee reviews technology and defines the methods for documenting and implementing B4E standards.

Land

In addition to a continued focus on integration of Land, ERP, and production data collection systems, work groups have been formed to address two additional areas. The first of these will address standards for distribution of data among operators and their joint interest owners, royalty owners, regulatory and service company constituents. The second work group will address standards for drilling workflow integration using technical drilling support applications, e-procurement applications, and ERP applications.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_6 as the subject.


Open Spirit Corp. (October 2000)

Shell, Chevron and Schlumberger have founded the Open Spirit Corporation to market E&P middleware. The first commercial release of the platform is shipping now.

The Open Spirit saga continues with the formation of the Open Spirit Corporation (OSC) supported by Chevron, Shell and Schlumberger. Each is to own an equal share of the new company which has been set up to further develop and market the Open Spirit middleware for E&P applications. OSC will be chaired by Neil Buckley – formerly president of U.S. operations with Merak, now a division of GeoQuest. OSA has also just announced the first commercial release of its middleware.

Shell

Open Spirit’s origins lie in in-house developments, mainly by Shell and in the POSC business objects initiative, back in 1996. The middleware was initially developed by UK-based Prism Technologies. Prism Tech was originally very keen on the potential market value of upstream component software. But the development of the infrastructure and services necessary to support these business objects eventually proved a more fruitful pursuit than the objects themselves. Prism Tech has signed a multi-million dollar contract with Inprise (ex-Borland) for horizontal object technology and turned its back on upstream IT.

Buckley

So now the three remaining Open Spirit protagonists have set up shop on their own. Buckley said “Open Spirit represents a significant advance in our industry's ability to share information and develop innovative collaborative solutions in a distributed environment. Until now, there has not been a comparable framework capable of integrating data and applications from multiple sources in the E&P industry.”

V 2.0

Open Spirit V2.0 – the first commercial release of the middleware is now shipping. The initial release includes the Open Spirit Base Framework and the Subsurface Data Module supporting 3D seismic and well data servers for GeoFrame and Open Works. The release includes Java and C++ support for Solaris and Java support for Windows NT and 2000. OSC CTO Clay Harter said “With this release of OpenSpirit our customers will be able to integrate their applications across multiple vendor datastores and computer platforms.” More from www.openspirit.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_7 as the subject.


ASP TerraStation from GeoNet (October 2000)

TerraSciences is pre-announcing TerraStation availability from GeoNet for next year, suggesting a longish time to market for its ASP offering.

Announced at the AAPG, (PDM Vol. 5 N° 5) TerraSciences’ TerraStation software will be available for rental “real soon now” through GeoNet Services.com Inc., the Houston-based Application Service Provider (ASP). TerraStation II is a geological and petrophysical workstation with borehole imaging and geochemical analysis functionality.

Browser

When the ASP offering is up and running, TerraStation users will be able to access software and data over the web from a remote location, with only a web browser as client software. An account will first have to be initiated with GeoNet. User data can be stored on GeoNet’s secure servers. Apart from the low client-side overhead, ASP is claimed to eliminate other costly aspects of IT such as providing users with the latest version of the software, without the need to install upgrades. Likewise the administrative burden of installing and maintaining software is eliminated.

Backup

Because the software runs on high-end processors at the GeoNet site, costs of client side hardware are diminished. Automated data back-up can also be handled by GeoNet. TerraStation has announced availability of the new service as “sometime in the first quarter of 2001.” This makes for a near one year lead in from first announcement to commercialization. While this may not impact TerraStation’s business, this does suggest that time to market for GeoNet’s innovative service is a little on the long side. More from www.geonetservices.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_8 as the subject.


People (October 2000)

This month sees internal movement within PGS, Baker Hughes and GeoGraphix.

Alan Wong has moved from PGS’ data management division to take up the post of manager of e-business for multi-client services with the PGS’ exploration division.

Andrew Szescila, is now COO of Baker Hughes Inc., Szescila was previously VP of oilfield operations.

Landmark subsidiary GeoGraphix has named Colin Gray as marketing manager for its Europe, FSU and ME regions. Gray was previously with IHS Energy’s PI(Erico) unit.

Another London-base GeoGraphix appointee is Bill Verkaik as business development manager. Verkaik used to manage GMA Europe.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_9 as the subject.


Landmark for Petrobras Columbia unit (October 2000)

Petrobras Columbia is to use Landmark software for data management rationalization, information sharing and software integration.

Landmark signed with Petrobras’ Colombian unit earlier this year for the rationalization of its data management, information sharing and data transfer. The agreement is designed to increase integration of drilling, production and exploration and development systems through implementation of Landmark technologies and business processes. John Gibson, Landmark’s president and CEO said “Ultimately, the increase in integration is designed to help Petrobras Colombia achieve its production goal over the next three years. With this agreement, Landmark will deliver its experience in project management and help Petrobras meet its business objectives of increasing production and reserves. Landmark will assist Petrobras Colombia in the deployment of integrated technologies that will serve as the foundation for interdisciplinary processes.”

Brandao

Renilton Brandao, new technologies advisor for Petrobras in Colombia added “Integrated processes, people and data, supported by technology and infrastructure will help Petrobras in Colombia reduce the data processing cycle time and increase productivity. Through this agreement, we expect to accomplish the objective of continuing the growth of our Colombia operation and meeting our business objectives at a lower cost. Colombia operations are growing substantially and we expect to becoming the second largest producer in the country.”

Machnizh

According to Jorge Machnizh, Landmark’s VP for Latin America operations, “Our goal is to help Petrobras in Colombia improve risk assessment and speed up their decision-making process through a thorough understanding of their business objectives. Through this agreement, we will assist them in transforming this into greater productivity at a lower operational cost.”

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_10 as the subject.


POSC & PDM join forces (October 2000)

The long-time rival E&P standards organizations POSC and PPDM have temporarily buried the hatchet. A modest cooperative effort has resulted in a set of shared reference data tables.

Cooperation between the various upstream standards organizations was briefly on the agenda last year as POSC set out enthusiastically to set up a new inter org body “Open Energy Exchange” (PDM Vol. 4 N° 10) Although this overture was met with coldish shoulders from the rest of the dot orgs, one project has survived, in a somewhat truncated format.

Feasibility

Since the first E&P data was modeled, users have been crying out for tables to be populated with reference data. POSC and Calgary-based PPDM have been working together for one year on a pilot project to provide standard populations of reference tables to evaluate feasibility and establish a methodology for a full-scale project.

The six initial reference tables are well elevation type, country name, media type, seismic dimension, seismic energy type, seismic recording format.

Follow-up

The PPDM Association is following up on the pilot by incorporating other industry-specific reference data sets, to ensure the continued development of new reference tables, and to maintain existing tables, is presently preparing a detailed Business Plan. The results of this Business Plan will dictate the scope of the continuing project.

Collaboration

The PPDM Association and POSC will continue to work together to further reference value standardization within the industry. The results of the Pilot Project are available at the following websites: PPDM Association http://www.ppdm.org/ POSC http://www.posc.org.

~

PDM comment - POSC and PPDM have to be congratulated on this cooperative effort. But it is a pity that the scope of the reference data collaboration is so limited. Most users expected a far greater depth of reference data to emerge from the project. The bitter truth, as one data vendor put it at the reference group’s kick-off meeting last year, is that reference data is costly to collect, and even costlier to maintain. A serious attempt at providing and maintaining really useful reference data would appear to be beyond the means of the standards orgs at the present time.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_11 as the subject.


Intranet Portal Strategy (October 2000)

Over 100 attendees showed up for the First Conferences Intranet Portal Strategy for Energy event, held in Houston this month. Portal deployment is still in its infancy and all were keen to learn the tricks of the trade. While few would claim that there are “magic bullet” solutions to Portal development, experience from Texaco, Enterprise, Schlumberger and others was avidly shared. Real-world case histories and caveats made the show a rewarding experience for would-be Portal developers.

The First Conferences’ Intranet Portal Strategy for Energy Conference was held in Houston this month. PDM was at the show and discovered that, although Portals are very much in the news, the reality is that experience, and real-world deployment are rather limited. As one attendee put it “We came thinking we were behind the curve, but there is no curve, nobody knows anything!” Despite the lack of answers, the consensus was that this was a great event for those just starting such a venture. The need for portals comes from the explosion of information-rich sites within the corporation and the expectancies of the user community.

Business

A theme of the meeting was “let the business drive the technology”. Conference speakers offered lessons learned in fields such as security, the need for cultural change, work patterns, user acceptance, and technology skills. All of which can prove a lengthy process. Before rushing to construct a portal because it’s the technology du jour, ask yourself what you’re doing and why. For instance, if you want to increase productivity, is this the best way? Unless the staff and the company both will benefit from the portal, it probably won’t work. If there is no business problem to solve, you don’t need an enterprise portal. Another pitfall is implementing a site too quickly which can lead to solutions that aren’t fully functional. The message was; take it slow, and while you can think big, it pays to act small and put a pilot site out for viewing and comments — feedback can go far to ensure that people get what they want and need. “Show Me the Money” was the leitmotif of one feedback session. Millions of dollars are being spent on intranet/portal strategy and execution, begging the question—“How can we realize more return out of Information Technology, how do we leverage our existing technologies?” A to-do list of action items that can make life easier for the portal team, and which should help evaluating the return on investment (ROI) included:

Changing senior management’s view of the portal from a cost to an asset

Meeting expectations within budget

Controlling runaway senior management’s expectations

Sponsorship from management

Getting the organization to move at “web speed.”

Enterprise

John Keeble described how Enterprise’s Intranet began as a simple home page in 1996. User-driven development and a lot of trial and error ultimately determined the content. Website diversity reflects the fact that geologists see the world differently from engineers. Each community has its own site. The incorporation of dynamic information (news feeds, oil prices, press releases, etc.) proved a “honey pot” for viewers and reduced e-mail overload. Dynamic sites also allowed for a mix of external and internal information. It proved easy to add news items coming from a network of news providers. On the downside, such composite pages can be slow. Enterprise had found that unified, dynamic information sources are a powerful knowledge management tool. Needless to say, such a system is far from maintenance free, but Keeble advises that the control of the Portal should stay with the users and that the IT department needs keeping at bay!

Chesapeake

Lon Winton set out to solve Chesapeake’s production volume reporting problems, created by late and incomplete data from multiple sources. Analysis was hard because of the different data bases and reporting delayed and mostly paper based. Winton was also confronted with the fact that IT had a stranglehold over the intranet. A quick fix solution using an “intranet in a box” was first deployed in 1999 to disseminate information. By January 2000, production volume reporting had evolved considerably. Volume data collection was consistent and timely providing a quick response to process/systems issues. A business intelligence tool had been acquired and a production volume “mart” established, with daily production volume reports published to the intranet.

Intranet “in-a-box”

As the environment evolved, the “intranet in a box” solution began to show its limitations. Control of the Intranet was wrestled from the IT department and a “co-focused” intranet home page home page was designed. At the same time, a web master, graphics artist and page master were designated. Now the intranet offers a daily production summary page with tables and graphics, a page for source of variance and a downtime report for wells off production. Production volume reporting now includes integrated operations and financial data, routine analysis, prototyping and hourly operations reporting. Winton considers that the original “in a box” strategy was a mistake, and believes that the intranet should avoid being run as “an IT project.” Ultimately, success came because the project addressed a business need and obtained sponsorship from outside the IT department. Chesapeake’s intranet is now built around Microsoft FrontPage, Interdev, Brio and Microsoft IIS. Visual Basic scripting and Java are also used.

Petris

One company which believes that it has stolen a march on the competition is Petris Technology. President Jim Pritchett describes the e-business value proposition as “making data more valuable, easy to find, easy to use and higher quality.” Typical data problems are that users can’t find data, or can’t use it because of poor data quality. E-business offers “vertical” data management through timely access to data (hardcopy, legacy systems), search engines, re-formatting and data exchange technologies. While such systems may not solve all data issues at once, Pritchett is convinced that the ability to browse and inspect data is a key first step in the process. Petris’ flagship projects include the Winds data browser originally developed for Anadarko, and the Internet Data Room (IDR). The IDR now incorporates technology for collaborative working including voice telephony over the internet and webcams to facilitate arm waving over the internet.

Texaco

Rick Diaz defines the Enterprise Information Portal as a “knowledge-based application that allows access to internal and external information with a single entry point and which personalizes information needed to support informed business decisions.” Most importantly, the main driver for the EIP is the business, or as Diaz puts it, “the bottom line.” For Diaz, E&P companies will be forced to adopt knowledge management because of the aging workforce. With a median industry age of around 50, combined with low enrollment in the disciplines that feed the upstream, the corporation will have to retain knowledge workers longer, increase their productivity and must manage knowledge as a corporate asset. Diaz claims “Knowledge management must become a way of life.” Texaco hasn’t fully implemented an enterprise knowledge portal yet. To have done a portal two years ago would have meant jumping the gun, not least because the tools have been slow to mature. Texaco is currently selecting a portal solution, reviewing vendors and products, and trying to anticipate how the market will evolve.

Schlumberger

Ken Landgren’s (Schlumberger GeoQuest) observes a paradigm shift from today’s GIS browser. Currenly these read-only systems answer questions like “what do we have in this locality?” The job of populating the project data store is still very time consuming. Schlumberger’s view of the (near?) future is of a “data cube” of structured and unstructured data spanning geotechnical, financial, corporate and HSE-type information. The third dimension to the cube is access technology – from repository management through web access, and the Portal. For Landgren, the “The Enterprise Information Portal (EIP) concept is not just a web front end to an intranet, rather it is a single personalized point of access to relevant information and applications.” EIP supports demand-driven pulling of information, based on an individual’s role or function. Such a facility requires the development and implementation of “e-business practices.” Schlumberger is ready to do the same for E&P with Decision Point.

The debate

In the panel discussions it was clear that significant added value is anticipated from inter-company collaboration facilitated by portal technology. This will support real-time interaction between joint venture partners. Landgren insisted on the importance of cost-benefit analysis prior to portal deployment. This can be hard to compute for relatively intangible benefits. Landgren advocates establishing a strategy before asking for money. But there was dissent on this point “connecting people is paramount, using return on investment calculations tries to make it more scientific than it is.”

Keeble explained that Enterprise is actually using the technology to prove the effectiveness of E&P spending. To show that IT helps reduce, for instance, exploration risk. Alan May, Trade-Ranger, warned “We are trying to create new infrastructure for industry but the technology isn’t ready for prime-time yet. In the asset trade marketplace, we want to bring as many buyers and sellers together as possible. We also need to capture sufficient data, in terms of knowledge shared or gained, to improve the supply chain.”

Petrocosm

Linda Sarandrea, Petrocosm agreed “It’s all about squeezing inefficiencies out of the supply chain. It’s important to address the independence of different types of players. It’s not just big integrated oil company ownership. Many suppliers feel threatened and both buyers and suppliers need to own the process. A B2B supplier search the technology, the process and serve it all up to customers. Business, knowledge management, procurement must come together. Service companies must see apply the process to themselves and ask ‘how can I drive cost out of my own system?’”

Iona

Don Vines from Iona Technologies summed up “The Enterprise Information Portal is a unifying view of enterprise information, applications and processes to enable delivery of goods and services independent of geographic location. Portals represent convergence of internet, intranet and extranet.”

$14 billion

If you are still not convinced by the need for an EIP, reflect on this. A Merrill Lynch study puts the market for corporate portals at $14 billion by 2002. An estimated 80% of Fortune 500 companies will deploy EIP in 2000.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_12 as the subject.


Service sector finances (October 2000)

Financial reporting from the oilfield service sector shows signs of a slight recovery. But some CEO’s complain that their clients, while themselves rolling in cash are still not signing the checks. PDM reports on third quarter financials from Roxar, PGS and Paradigm, and half year results for CGG.

Paradigm

Paradigm Geophysical reports 10% revenue growth for third quarter 2000 as compared to one year ago. Total revenues for the quarter reached $14.3 million, and revenues for the year-to-date have reached $42.4 million, 11% up on last year. Last year was a record year for Services revenue for the company at $12.5 million for the year-to-date, 46 percent up on the year. A trend expected to continue next year according to Chairman Eldad Weiss who commented “This is the fourth quarter of positive earnings, with operating costs each quarter this year holding steady. We consider the current global infrastructure to be adequate to support an even higher level of product sales. The quarter was characterized by significant activity in strengthening our product offerings and our strategic alliances, through the Flagship, Chevron, Total Fina Elf and Sysdrill agreements. Winning the TGS-NOPEC services contract (see opposite page) and the continuing demand for our services by the oil and gas industry reinforces Paradigm's strong market position as the leading complete geoscience solution provider to the industry.”

Roxar

Norwegian Roxar generated earnings before tax of NOK 6.2 million for third quarter 2000 compared to a loss of 2.4 million for the same period in 1999. Total revenues for the quarter were 107 million NOK against 80 million for the same period in 1999. Revenues were NOK 294 million, year to date September compared to NOK 281 million in 1999. Roxar’s operating earnings for the period were 5.4 million compared to a loss of 2.8 million for the same period in 1999. Software and Services had an excellent quarter due to strong software sales throughout the quarter. Major new contracts were awarded from Statoil, Norsk Hydro and BP, and sale of new licenses is up by almost 70% compared to the previous year. The services business was steady in the quarter and the margins continued to improve. The company expects software sales to remain strong in 4Q 2000.

CGG

CGG’s consolidated results for the first half of 2000 show “a market still awaiting a true upturn.” CGG has decreased its operating loss compared to the same periods last year, and increasing its order book by more than 70% since December 1999. Revenues for first half 2000 were €295.5 million, up 19 % on the first half of 1999. Operating result was a €11.1 million loss, a significant improvement from the two preceding half years, respectively negative at €23.7 and €32.4 million. The operating loss results principally from the low volume of activity in Land seismic acquisition during the first half combined with difficulties on certain large contracts, all other divisions having achieved positive results. The business in the first half of 2000 still suffered from the crisis affecting the oil services industry, and most particularly the seismic sector, since late 1998, in spite of hydrocarbon prices which have returned to high levels for more than a year. Most of the major operators have not yet really resumed their investment programs, simply generating a volume of activity which has stopped further market deterioration, and possibly generated some improvement in specific geographical areas or business sectors, allowing to foresee the prospect of a coming recovery.

Sluggish

The Processing-Reservoir SBU’s sales remained stable at Euro 53.4 million (USD 50.9 million) compared to both previous half years, reflective of the currently sluggish conditions prevailing in the conventional processing market especially in Europe. The Group is improving its position in the high end segments of Imaging and 4D. Chairman Robert Brunck stated “We are still coping with a paradoxical market where our clients’ situation has drastically improved during these past months, but where the same clients are only slowly resuming investing. CGG has already accomplished so much particularly in the last month with our restructuring, the reinforcement of our balance sheet, and the conclusion of four successive strategic transactions. I am confident that we shall be able to fully reap the fruits of recovery, whenever such recovery materializes.”

PGS

Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) reported 2000 third quarter revenue of $246.9 million, an increase of 12% over the same period of the previous year. Third quarter operating profit was $50.4 million, representing a 20% operating profit margin versus a 21% operating profit margin (before unusual items) for the 1999 third quarter. Reidar Michaelsen, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Oil and gas companies have started increasing exploration and production spending. We expect to continue expanding our production and geophysical services businesses through deployment of our production expertise and our advanced geophysical technology. Specifically, geophysical products such as our PetroTrac suite of advanced reservoir technologies and our extensive inventory of multi-client 3D data covering some of the most prospective regions in the world should position PGS to capture a growing share of this higher spending.” Geophysical services revenue was $122.1 million for the quarter, an increase of 10% over the same period of 1999, yielding an operating profit of $16.3 million. Multi-client sales revenue for the period totaled $62.2 million. The increase in geophysical services revenue primarily reflects improved pricing levels in the contract segment of the market. Demand for our multi-client 3D data has remained steady.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_13 as the subject.


RC squared to integrate Stratamodel (October 2000)

Landmark is to incorporate geostatistical software from RC squared into Stratamodel.

Dallas-based Reservoir Characterization Research and Consulting, Inc. (RC)2 has signed an agreement with Landmark to develop a geostatistical module for Landmark’s Stratamodel. The new software will perform geostatistical simulations of geological and reservoir properties in Stratamodel and will provide pre-processing and data analysis

Geostatistical

The project brings modeling functionality to Stratamodel users said to address the bulk of an asset team’s geostatistical requirements. The module will be provided by (RC)2 and marketed by Landmark as an RC2 module.

Araktingi

Udo Araktingi, RC2 CEO added “This agreement provides the large Stratamodel user base with a set of tools crucial to the effective development and management of oil and gas reservoirs. Not only will Stratamodel users be able to integrate different data types, but also assess the risks associated with development decisions such as placing a new well in the reservoir.” RC Squared provides consultancy services and software to integrate a range of data types, including core, well-log, well production and injection histories, well pressure and seismic data. RC2 has backing from institutional shareholders First Reserve Corporation, Altira. More from www.rc2.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_14 as the subject.


4D modeling consortium (October 2000)

Hampson-Russell clients fund time-lapse software project.

Hampson-Russell Software is leading an industry sponsored R&D effort to develop software tools for use in time-lapse seismic reservoir monitoring. The Time-Lapse 4D (TL-4D) project has support from Alberta Energy, Chevron, Pan Canadian, Texaco, Statoil, Agip, Total and YPF. The program includes a well log toolkit, fluid replacement modeling, zero-offset synthetic seismic generation, and a library of functions for the display, comparison, analysis and interpretation of multiple time-lapse 3D data volumes. TL-PRO4D is developed using the standard Hampson-Russell Software database structure.

AVO

This insures that pre-stack attributes from AVO, reservoir property predictions from EMERGE and inversion results from STRATA can be easily integrated into the 4D interpretation. The software also links to Landmark 3dv interpretation files and OpenWorks well log databases. Hampson-Russell’s Keith Hirsche told PDM “The project is ahead of schedule and we are projecting commercial release of the software in March 2001. We have made 3 Beta releases to our sponsors and several companies are already using the software.” More from www.hampson-russell.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_15 as the subject.


Paridigm gets NOPEC job (October 2000)

TGS-NOPEC Geophysical awards “largest ever” 3D pre-stack depth migration project to Paradigm Geophysical.

In the ongoing competition for spec superlatives, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company has claimed a record for the industry’s “largest ever non-exclusive 3D pre-stack depth migration project,” covering approximately 15,400 square kilometers in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico.

On-line QC

Paradigm Geophysical has been awarded the depth imaging which will be carried out in its Houston data processing center. Paradigm is to install software to permit on-line collaborative quality control in TGS-NOPEC. Services will be performed using Paradigm’s e-Geoscience environment through a dedicated telecommunications line between Paradigm’s Houston service center and TGS-NOPEC’s Houston offices.

Hamilton

Hank Hamilton, TGS-NOPEC’s Chief Executive Officer noted, “Our choice of Paradigm Geophysical is based on the company’s proven ability to produce high quality results in this specialized form of subsurface imaging and on our confidence that they can deliver on schedule.”

GOM Lease sale

The first phase of this project, covering approximately 2,700 square kilometers, is scheduled for delivery prior to the Central Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale in March 2001.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_16 as the subject.


New software and facility for Magic Earth (October 2000)

Software for deriving rock properties from seismic attributes is on show at Magic Earth’s new visualization center in Houston.

Previewed at the AAPG convention earlier this year (PDM Vol. 5 N° 5), Rock Solid Images’ Attrib3D seismic attribute software is now fully functional within the Magic Earth GeoProbe 2.0.1 visualization environment. Rock Solid Images president Richard Cooper, said “Rock Solid Images and Magic Earth are working together to integrate advanced seismic attribute computation algorithms and associated classification and calibration tools. GeoProbe provides a true 3D work environment for building rock and fluid property volumes. The result - more targets, with a higher degree of reliability in substantially less time.”

Zeitlin

Mike Zeitlin, President and CEO of Magic Earth commented “Adding reserves quickly with less risk is the value Attrib 3D brings to GeoProbe seismic interpretation. Geoscientists can now integrate the Attrib3D attribute technology seamlessly into the interpretation workflow, from the first look at the data to fine scale reservoir work involving simultaneous multiple attributes.”

Geisler

The technology is on display at the new Erik D. Geisler Visualization Center in Houston. Magic Earth’s new facility is in honor of the late Erik D. Geisler (1959-1998), one of the original developers of the software at Texaco. The 7,000 square feet center houses the SGI graphics and a metallic gray “pod” housing the immersive display system and collaborative work environment.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_17 as the subject.


IndigoPool serves Petronas, claims data milestones (October 2000)

Schlumberger’s IndigoPool is to support Malasian Petronas’ A&D activity, while reporting increased industry take-up of the e-business portal.

IndigoPool, Schlumberger’s acreage trading portal has signed with state oil co. Petronas to promote exploration opportunities in Malaysia. IndigoPool users will be able to link through to the Petronas Company Profile for information on the three main Malaysian producing regions: Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah. It is the first time Petronas has used the Internet for acquisition and divestiture activity. Petronas believes a secure, neutral portal such as IndigoPool will capture a bigger audience in promoting the exploration acreages.

3 million km

IndigoPool has also signed new contracts with several international E&P data vendors who are to market their online data through the ‘Pool. By year end 2000, over 3 million kilometers of 2D seismic data; 150,000 square kilometers of 3D seismic data; 2.5 million square kilometers of gravity data; and data representing more than 1 million wells will be available. Geographical coverage includes Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Canada, the North Sea, the United States, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Pai

PoolMeister Satish Pai claims “Data vendors are choosing our platform as their online marketplace for two reasons, First, data buyers will be able to search, purchase and use data right on the site – a significant advantage.

Global

Second, the E&P industry is global – IndigoPool has the reach to provide these vendors with services and potential clients from every oil and gas center in the world. In the case of seismic data, IndigoPool has major technology development underway that will ensure the most sophisticated e-commerce tools are available for our clients.” More from www.indigopool.com and www.petronas.com.my.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_18 as the subject.


Halliburton now Drillworks user (October 2000)

Halliburton is to use KSI’s geopressure prediction software in strategic deal.

Knowledge Systems, Inc. now counts Halliburton as a user of DrillWorks/PREDICT geopressure prediction software, DrillWorks/PREDICT (DWP). DWP will be used by Halliburton’s Energy Services unit for geopressure analysis.

Bridges

KSI president James Bridges said “Our goal from the beginning has been to provide the oil industry with an intuitive tool that would reduce drilling costs and increase safety. We are pleased to welcome Halliburton as a new user of the system and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.” More from www.knowsys.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_19 as the subject.


GMI, Landmark ally (October 2000)

Landmark is cooperating with GeoMechanics International to develop and remarket wellbore stability software.

Palo Alto, CA-based GeoMechanics International, Inc. (GMI), has entered into a strategic alliance with Landmark Graphics to integrate GMI’s wellbore stability, image analysis and rock mechanics software with Landmark’s interpretation suite. Through the alliance, Landmark will integrate GMI’s core technologies with its product lines and will market and distribute GMI’s existing software packages. Landmark and GMI will work on new products, building on GMI’s existing partnership with Halliburton Energy Services (HES) to provide a full range of geomechanical products and services for wellbore stability and all stages of reservoir development.

Barton

Dr. Colleen Barton, GMI's president and co-founder said of the deal “The addition of geomechanics into Landmark’s earth model will improve the evaluation of new prospects through integration with seismic data, expand reservoir characterization through fracture and fault seal analysis, and optimize drilling operations as well as platform and well placement.” The partnership aligns GMI, Landmark and HES with ongoing initiatives within major E&P companies to advance understanding of wellbore stability problems. Barton added “GMI has worked with its oil and gas industry clients to solve drilling, well-planning and production challenges facing the industry, including deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa. Our partnership with Landmark and HES will allow us to deliver the full range of geomechanical applications, integrated into a process that spans the entire life of an oilfield - from prospect generation to collaborative well planning, execution at the rig site and long-term production of the reservoir.”

Stanford

GMI was founded in 1996 by a team from Stanford University’s Department of Geophysics. Their core group of geoscientists and engineers are specialists in in-situ stress analysis, wellbore stability, wellbore image analysis and drilling engineering. GMI’s technologies have been successfully applied in drilling environments around the world by more than 30 of the largest international E&P companies. GMI is a privately held company with offices in California, Texas, Australia and Europe. More from www.geomi.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_20 as the subject.


e-Field Ticket (October 2000)

New software from Wellogix set to accelerate drilling e-business through automated invoicing.

Wellogix, Inc. is rolling out its eField-Ticket software, an online version of the manual process currently employed for reporting oilfield operational costs. eField-Ticket automates reconciliation of the invoice and purchase order.

Cope

Product manager Scott Cope explained “During the drilling of a well, many services are carried our by contractors. Once such work is performed, the service company will submit field tickets summarizing what was done and how much the products or services cost. These must be reconciled with the original purchase order and final invoices before payment is made. For large operators, business units today manually reconcile thousands of paper field tickets per month.

Business process

With eField-Tickets, both oil companies and service companies realize an improvement in current business processes.” Wellogix was formed by the merger of WellBid, Inc. and eNersection. Wellogix’s collaborative software lets operators and contractors communicate and refine the complex, technical information required to deliver services needed during the life cycle of a well. Weatherford International, Inc. recently also invested in Wellogix and plans to use the software. More from www.wellogix.com.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_21 as the subject.


300,000 tapes for Brazil repository (October 2000)

Following PDM’s report on the Brazilian National Data Repository last July, we were pleased to receive the following status report from Petrobras’ project coordinator, Mauro Ribeiro Morand.

The original Petrobras project to organize its seismic data was initiated in the early ’90’s. The IBM/PGS PetroBank software in 1995 and contract was signed with PGS and MR-DPTS in 1997 for the remastering of Petrobras’ seismic archive. Remastering operations began for real in December 1997.

Changes

Since the project started, there have been considerable changes in Brazil’s oil sector. The Petrobras monopoly has ended and the Brazilian governmental has created a new agency, the ANP which governs the petroleum industry’s activity in Brazil. The ANP decided to put the Petrobras data into the public domain and to refund Petrobras for the cost of the data itself and for the remastering costs. The public domain rules concern 5 year old seismic data, and 2 year old well logs. This led to the concept of a single data base, a national repository based on PetroBank, sharing data management costs and making data easily available to industry. The Banco de Dados E&P (BDEP) has been on-line since April 2000. BDEP is a consortium of oil and services companies, including (and sponsored by) ANP. ANP has handed to CPRM (Brazilian Geological Service) the responsability to operate the bank. My personal involvement is the project is as PetroBank Project Coordinator for Petrobras. Currently, we have loaded all well logs, about 80% of the post-stack seismics, and about 60% of the pre-stack seismic available in Brazil (acquired by Petrobras in the monopoly period).

Public domain

Most of this data is in the public domain and is now available to industry. I think that the pre-stack part of the project is the most exciting one, (sub-contracted to PGS and MR-DPTS). This project was initiated in December 1997, and the current status is:

1- about 800,000 pages of observer's logs scanned (load will finish next month)

2- remaster to high capacity media and PetroBank load of 300,000 tapes with backup generation. Peak production of 18,000 tapes in one month.

3- recovery of sticky tapes

4- original media destruction - 30,000 already destroyed.

Confidence

Loading pre-stack data into PetroBank requires accurate metadata linking files, geometry and shotpoint coordinates. Obtaining this information requires a lot of effort, but it's the only way to get high quality, useable data, and to have enough confidence in the transcription process to be able to destroy the originals. The 300,000 tapes remastered to date have been selected following the analysis of some 350,000 tapes (10% were duplicates and were discarded, and 4% missing something - coordinates, obs logs). People often believe tape remastering is straightforward work. It is not! Remastering is a complex process, much more than just changing tapes. This work can add significant value to the seismic archive.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to pdm@oilit.com with PDM_V_3.3_0010_22 as the subject.