December 2000


PGS sells PetroBank (December 2000)

Landmark Graphics Corp. has acquired PGS’ data management unit, including the PetroBank data repository, for $179 million cash.

Halliburton unit Landmark Graphics Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PGS Data Management, a division of Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS). The acquisition will fill a gap in Landmark’s product by intro-ducing a Master/Corporate Data Store capability. Landmark will also gain a foothold in strategic National Data Repositories in Brazil, Norway, Russia and the UK, where PGS flagship product PetroBank is deployed.

Top dollar

Landmark has paid $179 million for the PGS unit, a high figure according to some insiders. Landmark’s president and CEO, John Gibson told PDM that he considers this a “fair” price in view of the strategic nature of the acquisition. In the future, Landmark will supply data management and distribution services to PGS and its affiliates.

Lesar

Halliburton president Dave Lesar said “Distributed access to data is the cornerstone of the e-business model in the petroleum industry and is the competitive differentiator for many of our customers. The addition of the PGSDM technology and solutions lines of business will result in expanding Halliburton's offerings of important know-ledge based services to the petroleum industry to meet growing customer demand.

Web-based

The PetroBank web-based GIS provides entitlement control and secure browsing, selecting and ordering of E&P data down to the seismic trace level. PetroBank was originally developed by IBM and uses IBM technology for robotic storage. Current PetroBank installations total over 90 terabytes of online data, providing coverage of 250,000 square kilometers of PGS' seismics.

CDS

Both PGS and IBM before them were unsuccessful in convincing corporate clients of the need for PetroBank, and faced stiff competition from GeoQuest’s Finder. Earlier this year, Landmark announced a deal with Seismic Resolutions to develop a robotic solution for seismic data management. The PGS acquisition adds a significant installed base and demonstrates a data management capability from repository to workstation. See PDM’s exclusive interview with John Gibson on page 4 of this issue.

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PetroVision lives! (December 2000)

Rumors of the death of CGG’s PetroVision data management system have been greatly exaggerated.

CGG has issued a clarification subsequent to the sale of its Flagship software arm to Paradigm, and in response to industry rumors of the abandonment of its PetroVision data management system. CGG states that it is committed to the data management business and to PetroVision.

National Databanks

In 2000, CGG has been working on contract with Russia’s Lukoil to set up a geological and geophysical data bank to manage E&P assets in Western Siberia. Other databank projects have been undertaken in the Middle East including EGPC (Egypt) and for QGPC (Qatar.) Both projects cover a broad range of E&P data types including seismic sections, field tapes, analogue data, well data, rock samples, reports and maps.

Epicentre

A significant service component is the hallmark of a PetroVision installation, with considerable effort spent on data loading and QC. PetroVision, like PGS’ PetroBank deploys the POSC Epicentre data model. In 2001 CGG aims to increase its data management market share in the Americas and the Far East.

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2000 - the virtual year (December 2000)

PDM editor Neil McNaughton reflects on the past year’s achievements. A year of significant moves on the corporate front, with more industry consolidation. But despite innovations like application service provision, e-commerce and high tech visualization, industry fundamentals remain uncertain.

The good thing about being an editorialist is that no matter what the state of the nation (sorry the industry, getting carried away there) you always have something to talk about. In fact during the bad times, there is more to talk about than in the good times. However, an editorialist should always avoid schadenfreude, should not revel in others’ misfortune. I’m kidding of course. Schadenfreude is core business to the editorialist and 2000 was a good year.

Fundamentals

The industry at large has been in a parlous state for the last couple of years in the aftermath of oil co mega mergers. Apart from the short term misery of job losses and internal politicking there is the realization that while size is a good thing financially, organizationally it is a handicap. It is much easier for a small focused organization to implement an efficient IT system, than for a large one - especially if the large company has two or more large legacy systems to fuse.

$$/bbl

2000 saw a big turn around in the oil price, but unfortunately, oils did not seem to register. E&P budgets are fixed firmly in the cost savings siege mentality of previous years. This is having a catastrophic impact on the service sector, which in turn, has seen its own mega merger - with Geco and Western pooling resources to chase the dwindling seismic market. Rationalization in the E&P software industry is happening with CGG’s sale to Paradigm and PGS’ to Landmark.

Interop - the end!

2000 saw the end of any real attempt to make E&P software interoperate. This was due to the advent of a new computer ‘virus’ - XML! XML is a data description language which has set the IT world on fire, but while it is a step in the direction of simplicity, its ‘eXtensibility’ means that it can never be a standard! XML is not a lingua franca, just a common alphabet. We are in effect back to writing shell scripts for file transfer-based data exchange. The difference with XML is that the files carry their own data format descriptors - far from a bad thing, but no revolution.

One-stop shop

With the demise of interoperability à la common data model, major and not so major oil companies opted in droves for one-stop E&P shopping. Fortunately, although this has inevitably increased polarization of the Landmark-GeoQuest spectrum, most one-stop shoppers can’t resist some best of breed buying in the sales.

ASP

Application Service Provision is another innovation which is technologically cool, but economically challenged. If you believe that outsourcing applications and data management will lead to significant cost savings to buyers - then macro-economics would imply that there is less money available to the developers. OK this argument does not take into account the economies of scale and potential synergies that the ASP may benefit from. But this is déjà vu all over again! Remember the outsourcing debate? What makes good outsourcing? Low tech, well understood, codified and horizontal tasks like document scanning or forms processing. What is E&P? - high tech, hard to figure, variable geometry and vertical. Need I say more.

Portals

Was 2000 the year of e-commerce? Well it should have been, given the hype. But I think we’ll have to wait a while to see if our way of working is really going to be revolutionized by e-commerce. One problem is the sheer number of sites out there. Buyers need to spend nearly as much time surfing the Portals as they used to do calling the suppliers. There is an intriguing dynamic between the Portal’s desire to grab market share and the buyers’ need for a standardized interface. We’ve seen this before and we know that the outcome of such competition is not always pretty. As in previous technical competitive areas, standards are needed, and XML is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

oilit.com

PDM has been praised for its independence from advertising. One notable exception to this is our shameless plugging of our own products. 2000 was a great year for the www.oilit.com website which has received some 400,000 hits to date. The Oil IT Buyers’s Guide is proving a popular service, and the whole website is regularly indexed by major search engines. Take-up of the PDM Intranet site license is good, and a new service of in-depth Technology Watch reporting will be announced shortly.

Virtual exploration

The cover of the January 2001 issue of Harts E&P caught my eye and I thought summed up 2000 rather well. The article refers to the promised new dawn of high-tech internet driven interpretation technology, but the title “Virtual Exploration” is positively Freudian. There you have the year 2000 - high tech and no budget, virtual exploration indeed!

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PDM Interview - Stewart Robinson - CIO of UK DTI (December 2000)

UK DTI Oil and Gas division’s CIO Stuart Robinson told PDM how the department collects and disseminates data from the UKCS. He also revealed the Well Operators Notification System (WONS) for electronic submittals and consent to drill.

Stewart Robinson is head of IT Support with the UK government’s Oil and Gas Directorate. The Directorate's objectives include the promotion and regulation of exploration and the collection, analysis and dissemination of data on the UK's hydrocarbon reserves. The IT Section is most involved in the latter activity providing database design and development, graphics, plotting, digitizing and software consultancy. The section maintains close ties with oil industry standards bodies such as CDA and POSC, of which Robinson is a board member.

PDM – What is your current thinking on data modeling in the upstream?

Robinson – We started out like everyone else and wasted a lot of time building a large database, but now have a different way of working. Now we only collect data that we actually used, to make sure that it is correct. Other data not destined for immediate use can be requested from providers on an as-needed basis. For instance, 10% of production data will be captured, the remaining 90% will be held on demand. POSC was a good idea, but Epicentre is complicated. I don’t believe that there is a ‘correct’ data model. Currently we have a simple data model in Oracle Designer 2000. But our real effort has been in cleaning the data - this has taken much time and resources. We sometimes wonder if it is worth the effort.

PDM – Surely it is, if only to ensure consistent nomenclature such as well names?

Robinson - Naming is important and we provide companies with a list of well names recognized by the DTI. Some wells such as sidetracks are not recognized by the DTI and CDA/DEAL is working on a ‘definitive’ list. We are also working with other national regulators on standard codes for well type etc.

PDM - How is the DTI shaping up in the UK’s push for ‘e-government’

Robinson – The government has mandated that data will be collected and stored electronically by January 2004. All departments are required to store a master digital data set. We are moving fast into e-commerce, especially with the launch of Well Operators Notification System (WONS). WONS is a fully electronic method of submitting well applications and receiving consents. Operators can also notify the DTI of operations on wells and obtain official well numbers. The system has just gone live.

PDM - What about production data?

Robinson - Activity is monitored by the DTI through production reports and by collecting some “occasional” data such as tops, and test results. Such data will in the future be lodged with DEAL/CDA, or with commercial repositories. There will also be links to academia. Data on demand requires data standards and the DTI is extremely interested in the developments centered on XML. The idea is to keep it simple but standard. We have brought together discussion groups from regulatory authorities around the world - to try and agree what should be reported. We have also had contacts with PPDM, POSC and PIDEX.

PDM - You must have looked at the work done by POSC for the US MMS

Robinson - Yes, but this project computerized existing forms. We want to take a look at the business process and do some reengineering while designing the e-commerce. Production reporting through XML has been live since June 2000 and well data is now published on-line in ASCII.

PDM - What technology components do you deploy?

Robinson - Today the online data is limited and we have a relatively low transaction rate. Our rudimentary Linux-based system is adequate. As more reporting is included more sophistication will be required. Current web technologies are based on Apache and Linux. But systems also include Oracle, NT and UNIX. Security is a constant concern, and all systems are approved by DTI specialists. We used to have lots of software in-house, including several Landmark and GeoQuest licenses. We were confronted with the problem of high license cost and low use, so we are now interested by ASP and are talking to GeoNet and Ilex. More generally, we are working on XML data transfer between ASP-enabled applications.

PDM - Do you develop yourselves?

Robinson - SQL development is performed in-house, with help from oil company developers. We also do some ArcInfo work internally. The DTI's annual data summary - the “Brown Book” is put onto the web by an external provider [Data by Design.] Plans are afoot to migrate this to a more dynamic web environment - or possibly to share this effort with DEAL.

PDM - What’s next?

Robinson - To get the full e-commerce server running will require considerably more funds from the treasury. Assuming these are forthcoming, we should be fully operational in two years. Ultimately we will have the UK Oil Portal, with access to all public domain data. Oil companies will have password and PIN to view their own data. There will be workflow tracking for approvals and the site will evolve to manage partner access to data.

PDM - What of CDA and DEAL in this context?

Robinson - The legal agreement with CDA defines roles and puts a service level agreement in place. Oil company reporting obligations can be part satisfied by membership. DTI is an informal attendee at CDA meetings, and business processes are shared. These include email and XML data definitions for activities such as spudding a well. As for DEAL - the DTI is more closely involved, and is on the steering committee, and supplies data on a regular basis. The DEAL data indexes will be shared by the DTI.

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John Gibson tells PDM of Landmark’s plans for PetroBank (December 2000)

Landmark president John Gibson tells PDM how PGS’ data management division will integrate Landmark’s business. He reveals that along with PetroBank, Surf & Connect and the Tigress suite are included in the deal.

PDM - Landmark’s acquisition of PGS’ data management division is a major event in upstream data management, but you paid a lot for PetroBank.

Gibson - I think that we paid a fair price. Halliburton has estimated that the deal will be neutral to accretive* in our 2001 financials. With moderate synergy, we should make money out of this acquisition in year one.

PDM - How do you see the relationship with PGS developing?

Gibson - We will be working closely with PGS. Landmark will become a data management service provider to PGS and we look forward to a strong working relationship. This is a win win deal at many levels, on price, in our ongoing contractual relationship with PGS and for our customers.

PDM - PetroBank brings Landmark back into mainstream data management - something of a change from your previous position.

Gibson - Before this deal we had leading edge software in practically every domain except for the Corporate Data Store. This acquisition plugs the gap and puts Landmark in a very strong strategic position.

PDM - But only a year ago, Landmark was advocating letting the data vendors manage the data.

Gibson - We are just reacting to the way the marketplace has evolved.

PDM - How are you planning to evolve PetroBank? Will it grow to handle other seismic formats such as compressed or partially stacked data?

Gibson - We will be integrating PetroBank with OpenWorks, but there will be other data management tools. We are aiming at a seamless flow from Archive to Projects assuring storage and subsequent retrieval. Halliburton is now a real time knowledge company, the 7x24 data repository is part of this.

PDM - Is Surf and Connect part of the deal?

Gibson - Surf and Connect is a significant part of the deal. We have also acquired Tigress.

PDM - Wow! What are you going to do with Tigress?

Gibson - We will evaluate the technology, and plan to replace some of it with our existing products and to transition some clients. We also plan to extract and leverage other Tigress components - especially in the engineering data field where Tigress is strong.

PDM - Where does all this leave Open Explorer?

Gibson - This needs to be resolved - we have some decisions to make and several options - a technology merge or perhaps different development paths. We will be in good shape to evaluate this after the deal closes in February.

PDM - It has always proved hard to productize data management software and PetroBank has a large service component. Did you break-out the service/software components in your evaluation?

Gibson - We did not break the cost down in that way. We saw the whole of PGS' data management business as an attractive alternative to the other industry data repositories.

PDM - Despite PetroBank’s success at the national data repository, it has failed to penetrate the oil company market. How do you plan to fix this?

Gibson - There will be serious marketing focus on PetroBank in 2001 after closure of this deal in March.

* PDM understands that this means that the deal will not affect earnings in the year of acquisition.

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1,200 cpu machine for Spectrum (December 2000)

Spectrum has added an extra 1,000 processors to its seismic processing supercomputer and now claims teraflop bandwidth.

Compute intensive prestack imaging is becoming increasingly cost effective with the advent of commodity supercomputers built from clustered Intel boxes running the Linux operating system.

200 cpu pilot

Last year Houston-based Spectrum Energy and Information Technology Inc. built a 200 cpu machine to prove the technology and has just commissioned what it claims will be the most powerful Intel-based system in the petroleum industry. Spectrum quote a maximum capacity of nearly one teraflop from the new machine [note - Shell claim twice this figure for a similarly configured machine announced in last month’s PDM.]

Migrate 2000

Spectrum uses Exploration Design Software’s APEX Migrate 2000 seismic processing software which can cater for curved ray paths.

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Ark moves in on seismics (December 2000)

Ark Geophysics has joined forces with CustomLink Services to extend its service offering into seismics. First products include new seismic inversion and data management tools.

Best known for its potential field software and services, UK-based Ark Geophysics is teaming with CustomLink Services (CLS) to offer seismic software and services to its clients. CLS is a small UK-based software house working principally for BP Amoco developing seismic inversion and data management software. CLS’ flagship product is Seismic Colored Inversion (SCI).

Fast track

SCI was first presented by Lancaster et al at the Calgary 2000 SEG. SCI is a ‘fast track’ inversion process which is integrated with the major E&P frameworks. It is claimed that the inversion gives similar results to conventional processes but much more quickly.

Seismic Transfer

Another new product from CLS is Seismic Transfer Plus (STP) – a tool for moving data between seismic interpretation systems. High tech inter-process communication between client and servers uses the “Integrated Data Exchange and Access Link” (IDEAL) layer.

BP-sponsored

The technology is already on offer to IRAP RMS clients and offers ‘seamless’ data loading of 3D seismic volumes from SeisWorks and GeoShare. Multiple 3D volumes can be managed in STP allowing for 4D work. STP was developed under sponsorship from BP. The deal with Ark assures application support and maintenance through the larger partner. More from www.arkcls.com.

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UK consultants merge (December 2000)

Ikoda and Troy Petroleum Consultants have merged into a new company, the Troy Ikoda Group. The group has announced new, Excel-based seismic modeling software “RocDoc.”

UK Petroleum Consultants Troy Petroleum Management Services and Ikoda are to merge into the Troy-Ikoda Group (TIG.) The deal combines Troy’s oil and gas financial and reserves evaluation services with Ikoda’s software development and seismic expertise. TIG will provide a broad range of services from exploration to oilfield operations. TIG will also provide technical services including software research and product development.

Petro-acoustics

On the technology front, Ikoda’s expertise lies in the field of petro-acoustics and reservoir focused seismic technology, including time lapse reservoir studies and multi-component 3D seismic based reservoir characterization. Ikoda’s VolumeFinder software is a helper application that automates the process of locating and ranking potential reservoir bodies in a 3D seismic volume. Ikoda’s latest product – RocDoc is a 2D seismic modeling package that runs within Microsoft Excel. Both products will be marketed by a new TIG unit Ikoda Technology Limited (ITL). The TIG client base comprises 200 plus clients worldwide including Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, TotalFinaElf, BG, Texaco and Statoil. Ikoda was founded in 1994 by the merger of Ikon Geoscience Limited and Dolan & Associates, an international geological consultancy owned by Peter Dolan.

Knowles

Troy chairman Michael Knowles used to be Group Chief Petroleum Engineer for BP. Ikoda managing director Martyn Millwood Hargrave is also chairman of Geonet UK, a UK Government backed geoscience industry network of 50 leading companies in the UK geoscience business.

Expansion

The merged company intends to expand its operations in South East Asia out of its Perth, West Australia office and develop a new independent software arm. Millwood Hargrave, and Troy director Mike Dodworth will become joint managing directors and Knowles chairman of the new company.

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KeyFacts from Data by Design (December 2000)

UK consultant Data By Design and Online Data Graphics offer free web database to service companies.

Data by Design and Online Data Graphics, have announced a new, free online web directory of Oil Industry Service Companies. In addition to the address and other basic contact details inserted free of charge, service companies also have the option of applying for Silver or Gold status increasing the level of information available to include multiple contact names and e-mail addresses, list of services and a detailed company profile. More from www.keyfacts.co.uk.

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PETEX 2000 (December 2000)

PDM reports on the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain’s PETEX conference and exhibition. The trade show has grown to accommodate a record number of new software and service providers. And the old guard is present in renewed strength, with booths worthy of the SEG or AAPG.

The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain holds its Petex conference and trade show every two years. What used to be a fairly low key affair, is now distinctly more commercial. Of the 2,750 attendees, perhaps only 25% were from oils and in the conference, the vast majority of the 86 papers were from the service sector.

Falvey

British Geological Survey executive director David Falvey described how North Sea reserve growth from new fields and enhanced reserves has almost equaled production over the last 20 years. All historical forecasts of decline rates have proved pessimistic. Technology has proved capable of renewing resources and, as Falvey says, “there is no reason to think that the science of petroleum geology has reached its intellectual limits.” While research and development finds new oil, old data also holds the secret to many new discoveries. Falvey naturally believes that the BGS-backed UK DEAL initiative will be a key in making legacy data accessible to a wider audience of oil finders. While Falvey is bullish on the question of world-wide hydrocarbon reserves, he considers climate change to be a more serious issue. To remedy this, Falvey recommends storing CO2 underground in aquifers, or in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs. The underground sequestration of CO2 is already being tested by Statoil. Gas from the Sleipner field has an 8% CO2 content and is re-injected into a shallow reservoir. 200 tonnes of CO2 have been disposed of to date. Flavey believes CO2 sequestration is economic and sustainable.

Wood

Andrew Wood – head of global E&P for Shell International – believes that worldwide exploration is far from finished. New technology is opening new frontiers in Russia and in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico – where 40 billion barrels have been found to date, with an estimated 70-100 billion barrels remaining. Technology underpinning these successes includes 3D seismic – a Shell first – and pre-stack depth migration. But not all innovation is so successful.

DHI - it doesn’t work!

Shell studies suggest that seismic direct hydrocarbon indicators make virtually no difference to exploration success. Portfolio optimization can help reduce risk, but “exploration is not a zero risk game.” While eliminating very high risk prospects is wise, the real window of opportunity lies in the 20-40% success range. Lower risks equate to what Wood describes as ‘designer’ wells, where everything is right, but where hydrocarbon volumes tend to be marginal, and where the cost of failure is high because of the over-design of these wells. High level portfolio overview is necessary to balance these different activities.

Integration

In a special session on integration, both Landmark and Schlumberger avoided G&G data integration to focus on the broader linkage that they are working on with engineering and the financial side of operations. Both companies encapsulate their message in trendy acronyms – for Landmark the buzz is ‘T2B to the power of E,’ while Schlumberger offer a more prosaic ‘G2E2’ (G&G and engineering and economics). Landmark’s Evans offered one insight “there is no such thing as data management – data is critical to every process.” Schlumberger countered with a report that Shell has decided to “remove the glass wall between reservoir engineering and geoscience.” Cheerfully, the Schlumberger team, quoting an anonymous source proclaimed “software vendors are extinct, only service providers will survive.” John Brookes, retiring head of the DTI’s oil and gas division, believes integration is a bad thing! But no, he is not against data integration. Brookes was tilting Don Quixotically against the windmill of merging oil companies. Mergers mean less clients for the DTI, and subsequent restructuring means the loss of many innovative thinkers.

Startups

New companies exhibiting at Petex plan to leverage web technology. ExplorationData.com is an intermediary offering promotional services to data and software vendors. The company combines a web portal with a presence at a significant number of upstream conferences and exhibitions to promote the e-commerce activity of its members and acts as an advertising medium for its consultant membership. Infrastructure provider UUNET supplies high security web hosting. Managing Director is Jill Lewis, (ex-Troika) and the company has backing from Northern Petroleum. EZServe is a startup planning to offer managed IT infrastructure to the oil and gas sector. EZServe’s John Duffy told PDM that the venture capital funded company is planning two data centers in Houston and London. Technology will be provided by NetApp and Sun Microsystems. EZServe directors include Dick McDaniels (ex Auspex) and Craig Mitchell (ex technical director with News International).

Elvis

Instant Library (IL) was founded by ex-Britoil chief librarian Diana Edwards. IL manages physical inventory and archives across the organization (not just for oils,) including upstream geotechnical and legal and commercial information. IL now has 165 employees and a $5 million turnover. IL is rolling out a new product, the Electronic Library and Virtual Information Service ELVIS. This is an information portal to corporate and external data sources customized to a corporation’s business. One client is reported to have saved £15,000 on subscriptions through the facility. The reaction of the content providers to such ‘economies’ was not recorded!

Geotech

Geotech Systems Ltd. (GSL) claims to be the largest E&P application support company in the world. GSL has been in business for 5 years providing “more support than Landmark and GeoQuest combined.” Clients include Shell (EAME), Exxon (UK & US), Lasmo, Texaco and Chevron. Geotech also resells Orbital Software’s Organik knowledge management software.

Gocad V2.0

Release of T-Surf’s Gocad 2000 has slipped and the product, re-baptized Gocad V2.0 will probably roll-out in February 2001. Enhancements include a more rational workflow (improving on what is described as ‘serial manipulation’). New modules include Virtual Reality, Open Spirit access to both OpenWorks and GeoFrame, and new risk analysis and geostatistical options. A Windows NT version of the product will be released with what is claimed as true Windows look-and-feel interface.

Conwy Valley

Petrog is a new tool from Conwy Valley Systems for petrographic data collection. Thin section data analysis is traditionally performed with a laborious manual process involving control box and paper tick sheets. Petrog innovates with grain morphology and rock fabric analysis using on-screen visual comparators. Grain size can be determined from calibrated video imagery, or from eyepiece scale. Petrog juxtaposes the data collection interface with images derived from a microscope-mounted video camera. Selected images can be stored as JPEG files for QA of the analysis. Data is captured to a relational database (Borland Paradox) with a POSC Epicentre-derived data model. Legacy data can be imported and all database reports can be exported to third party packages.

Petrel

Paul Hovdenak claims Technoguide’s Petrel PC-based earth modeling package is grabbing significant market share. Since release in 1998, Petrel now has over 100 clients, for around 150 seats and up to 200 users world-wide. Petrel is positioned as the ‘Office’ of the geotechnical computing world. Not long ago, high-end graphics programming involved costly hardware and development licenses from companies like Intergraph. Now Petrel claims that one of the most performant graphic workstations on the market is a Compaq PC with a gaming card, the Elsa Erazor. A major new version of Petrel is scheduled for next summer. Hovdenak believes a lot of existing E&P software is “getting old.” Products like Eclipse and CPS are “irretrievably” rooted in 1980’s technology. The move to Windows NT is “inevitable.”

Parallel Geoscience

Dan Herold of Parallel Geoscience (PG) believes that clustered, low-cost computers are breaking the price performance barrier for seismic processing. Currently PG’s processing software runs on the Mac Power PC and Windows NT clusters. Herold has a preference for the Power PC’s 128 bit bandwidth though – ideally suited to compute intensive applications. But PG’s software runs unchanged on clustered PCs. Herold believes that this technology will kill SGI’s processing market. A PG license for 3D costs around $35,000. Add in a cluster of 10 Power PC’s and you have a 30 giga flop super computer for an additional $30-40K.

Attenuation Cube

The Attenuation Cube is new direct hydrocarbon indicator software from Danish developer Odegaard. Input data is a cube of either stacked, or partially gathered 3D seismics. The software is used to validate lithology and fluid prediction derived from AVO. The Attenuation Cube describes the rate of decrease in mean frequency of the seismic signal. The method is said to produce results that are independent of overburden conditions.

Petrosys – V7.7

PetroSys is releasing a new version of its mapping software DBMap, with a more intuitive point and click interface, output to spreadsheet and interactive map queries. Raster overlays can be displayed on maps and made transparent so geo-referenced imagery can be incorporated. DBMap now has an attractive map title generator. Lease data is now time variant – so it is possible to study historical acreage positions. A click on a lease brings up associated documentation. Major PetroSys clients are Woodside, Marathon, Phillips and Anadarko.

Hardware

Ovation has adapted its I/O library and high performance firmware to the Sony DTF-2 tape subsystem, providing backup to tape is at 24Mbytes/sec over Gigabit Ethernet. A single 200 GB native capacity cartridge costs $200 – offering what is claimed as unparalleled price/performance. Clients include BP Amoco, Veritas, Vastar, Chevron and Conoco.

NeuraScanner

Neuralog has announced a purpose-built scanner for well logs. The scanner can be stopped and started at any point allowing a part of a log to be captured. On the fly vectorizing is possible with a direct link to OpenWorks or LAS/ASCII output.

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News from Hughes (December 2000)

Baker Hughes’ Atlas Online has announced Total Recall - an e-commerce enabled version of its well log data management software.

The dust is settling in Baker Hughes after the sale of the Western Geophysical unit. The Western data management environment – Expeditor has gone over to Western Geco, as did initially, the Atlas Online software unit, which develops and markets the Recall well log data management package. This proved a false start, and Atlas Online was “recalled” into the Baker Hughes organization.

Tape-less

Recall is now available as a web enabled data management solution, Total Recall – offering ‘tape-less’ data delivery. Total Recall has been used for some time for well log data delivery from the well site. Now IT is available for direct delivery to customers. An e-commerce interface provides a shopping cart metaphor for web-based data management. Logs can be distributed to a pre-defined list of partners or workers and display preferences can be stored. The interface is a non-graphical drill down through menus – a GIS is planned for a future release. Check out the system on www.totalrecall.cc/totalrecall.

RecallML

To support the new e-business offering, Baker Huges has developed a well log modeling language “RecallML.” This differs from the POSC defined WellLogML in that it does not attempt to store trace data in the XML file, but provides more comprehensive header information, with pointers to trace data in Recall. Another new product is LogScape, which is described as ‘Excel for logs.’ With LogScape, petrophysicists can generate their own derived curves using ad-hoc formulae.

Commercial news

Recall is the motor for well log data management within PGS’ PetroBank. Now that Landmark has acquired PetroBank, and Schlumberger has acquired Expeditor, the data management business is getting decidedly incestuous. With the award of the CDA contract to PGS, a migration of the CDA well log data from LogDB to Recall is in the offing.

Shell Expro

Shell Expro’s well log data base Epicor has been migrated to Recall over the last 18 months, while Shell/Exxon domestic unit NAM has developed an Original Format Data Base (OFDB) – with an auto-export to OpenWorks/GeoFrame. This includes scanned core images and SCAL (400 attributes). All this along with the ExPress Petrophysics database is migrating to Recall. This includes rock mechanics and borehole stability data. Other major Recall clients include BP Vastar (120,000 wells) and ExxonMobil (100,000 wells.)

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Halliburton Restructures (December 2000)

Hard times in offshore construction have forced Halliburton to restructure. Energy Services and Landmark Graphics will move to a new business unit.

Poor performance in the engineering and construction market is forcing Halliburton to restructure. Landmark, along with Halliburton Energy Services will migrate into a new business unit, the Halliburton Energy Services Group which will also include large integrated projects that include both surface and sub-surface components, and the following businesses that were formally part of Brown & Root Energy Services - Halliburton Subsea, Wellstream, Production Services, Granherne, Bredero-Shaw joint venture and the EMC joint venture.

Consolidation

The poorly performing engineering and construction business is to be consolidated into the Engineering and Construction Group. The upstream oil and gas engineering and construction, fabrication capabilities as well as the traditional engineering and construction business will be under Kellogg Brown & Root management. Individual brand identities will be maintained. The company said that under current business conditions it will focus on core engineering and construction competencies for the energy, civil and government markets.

$ 120 million charge

This will result in recording approximately $120 million after tax charges in the fourth quarter related to restructuring and charges on projects of the engineering and construction businesses. Halliburton chairman David Lesar said “We are very disappointed that the high price oil and gas environment has not yet translated to increased spending by our customers on engineering and construction projects. The overwhelming majority of our projects are executed efficiently and profitably. We continue to identify ways to mitigate increased costs and aggressively negotiate claims resolution with our customers.”

Positive note

“On a positive note, we are very pleased with the continuing strong performance at Halliburton Energy Services, Landmark and Dresser Equipment Group. Our efforts on selling the Dresser Equipment Group are proceeding with bids due this week. We plan to be in negotiations with leading bidders by early in January” Lesar concluded. The company also announced that it has now purchased in excess of twenty million shares of its stock under the previously announced stock repurchase plan. 

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Delinea, JD Edwards team (December 2000)

Energy e-business specialist Delinea is working with JD Edwards to offer ERA software to utilities in ASP mode.

J.D. Edwards has partnered with startup e-business solution provider Delinea to offer collaborative commerce solutions to clients over Delinea’s energy focused Application Service Provision infra-structure. First client of the new service is Koch Energy, Inc.. Delinea implemented J.D. Edwards’ OneWorld financial solution for the billion-dollar energy company in three months and enabled Koch Energy to quickly roll out the application.

Verner

Delinea CEO Ron Verner added “In OneWorld we have found the comprehensive solution our utilities and petroleum marketing customers require.” Delinea plans to introduce ASP offerings to clients in the first quarter of 2001. Delinea Corp. was founded in April 2000 and now has 140 employees. Delinea received financing from Koch Ventures. More from www.delinea.com.

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UK varsity portal for oil and gas (December 2000)

The DTI is funding a project to develop an oil and gas portal aimed at SMEs working in the offshore oil and gas sector.

The Center for Knowledge Management at Robert Gordon's university has developed an information Portal to meet the specific needs of small companies in the offshore oil and gas sector. Center director Judith Smith said “We are working hard to ensure that this portal meets the information needs of smaller companies.

Validation

During December we are validating the site's design, functionality and context by working closely with fifty local companies. We can draw together resources and collaborate with different parts of the industry in a way that commercial organizations might find difficult". The first phase of the portal's development is now undergoing validation testing and can be viewed by logging into: www.rgu.ac.uk/ckm/ogportal [note - we tried, it didn’t work!]

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Enterprise selects Paradigm (December 2000)

Enterprise has signed a global deal with Paradigm Geophysical for software and services.

Enterprise Oil has signed a two-year world-wide agreement with Paradigm Geophysical for technology provision. The agreement gives Enterprise Oil unlimited global access to the complete Paradigm software suite including Geophysical, Geological and Petrophysical applications. Also included are consulting services and on-site support.

Landmark

An important part of this solution is Paradigm's interoperability technology, which enables direct interface into Enterprise's Landmark software environment, minimizing data transfer and data duplication, permitting Enterprise's geoscientists seamless access to Paradigm's leading-edge technology.

Armour

Enterprise's exploration director Andrew Armour added "We are delighted to have this integrated high-end solution available to us from Paradigm Geophysical to complement the technology currently made available to Enterprise's geoscientists. Such software, and its utilization in an integrated environment, is an essential component in staying competitive in the oil and gas arena." 

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Hydro deploys Dacqus (December 2000)

Hydro has contracted with Roxar for systems and software for real-time monitoring of offshore reservoirs.

Norsk Hydro is contracting Norwegian service company Roxar to supply high tech reservoir monitoring systems. Roxar provides specialized down hole valves and telemetry for the continuous monitoring of reservoir performance. A database management and data mining system, Dacqus, captures and analyzes the vast amount of information collected by the real time monitoring.

Nordtvedt

Roxar’s Jan Erik Nordtvedt told PDM – “Downhole instrumentation is a specialized business - the subsurface can be a tough environment for instrumentation with temperatures of 150-200°C and pressures of 700 bars. Roxar's oldest in-situ gauge has been providing pressure data every second since 1990 [that's 630 million seconds!]. Dacqus software is “instrument near” and continuously monitors gauge performance - checking that they are loading the system. If not an email can be sent automatically to initiate maintenance.

Radar

The contract with Hydro covers instrumentation and diagnostics for three years with options for four additional years, and is valued at NOK 90 millions. Roxar has carried out over 400 gauge installations throughout the world. At some locations, gauges are used to control production. Roxar is now working on radar monitoring of fluids near the well bore and super high temperature and pressure gauges - “A big challenge, more like working for NASA than the oil and gas business!” Nordtvedt said.

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Offshore web TV from DMS (December 2000)

Schlumberger unit Data Marine Systems now offers high quality, low bandwidth video links to offshore and remote locations. The system uses the web to “take the problem to the expert.”

Schlumberger unit Data Marine Systems (DMS) has teamed with technical documentation specialists ODL to launch an internet service for remote sites. The offshore to onshore video relay service allows high quality images from ROV, CCTV cameras or camcorders to be viewed onshore in a web-browser. Images are relayed to a secure internet site or intranet via existing data networks and satellite at approximately one frame per second.

ODL software

Aberdeen-based ODL has provided software to view images in VCR fashion with play, rewind, fast-forward and freeze controls. What distinguishes the new system is ability to convey a high quality image over narrow band-width. The service is tailored for low capacity links such as those encountered on offshore installations and other remote sites.

Everitt

DMS’ Tim Everitt said “Imagine a subsea survey company has filmed a pipeline under the North Sea using an ROV camera. The company needs their expert to study the data, but he's in a hotel room in Paris. He simply plugs into the internet and accesses what was happening on camera at 3 a.m., or 12 noon, or even in real time. Several people can receive the survey data and collaborate on problem solving, irrespective of location.” ODL's specially developed software can be customized to client requirements.

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Louisiana independents join IndigoPool (December 2000)

The Louisiana Independent Oil and Gas Association is to promote member assets on Schlumberger's IndigoPool e-commerce portal.

The 700 members of the Louisiana Independent Oil and Gas Association (LIOGA) can now promote their oil and gas properties on Schlumberger’s IndigoPool e-commerce portal. Sellers can list oil and gas prospects and assets on a LIOGA branded section of IndigoPool, while buyers will be able to conduct technical reviews by accessing comprehensive information, data, and software applications on the secure web site. LIOGA will coordinate the listing process with technical support from IndigoPool.

Briggs

LIOGA president Don Briggs said “Our relationship with IndigoPool is an innovative service to our members that will undoubtedly help to improve A&D efficiency for independent oil and gas companies in Louisiana and will encourage new players to participate in the Louisiana marketplace. Our members now have access to the same tools and technology as larger corporations.”

Pai

IndigoPool president Satish Pai added “We are excited to be able to provide a service that will improve workflow and efficiency resulting in improved financial performance and productivity for the independent companies that are LIOGA members.” LIOGA was organized to represent the independent sector of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. LIOGA’s primary goal is to provide the industry with a working environment that will enhance the industry in Louisiana.

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Shell’s Virtual Projects (December 2000)

Shell Services International is deploying Open Text’s Livelink collaborative document management and groupware solution in 20 countries.

Shell Services International (SSI), Shell’s outsourced IT support provider is using technology from Open Text Corp. to support virtual teamwork and project management for up to 80,000 users in the Shell group worldwide. Open Text’s Livelink, groupware and knowledge management software facilitates teamwork between geographically dispersed employees. Such teams used to be limited to information sharing through e-mail and the NT File Server. With Livelink, users now collaborate, manage and discuss business critical initiatives in secure online project workspaces.

McGinnes

SSI’s Pauline McGinnes said “As an international business, we are required to deliver our services globally. With teams of employees working throughout the world, we need to implement a system that encourages efficiency and ensures effective communication. Livelink lets our teams communicate and share business critical information on a global, regional and local basis. Livelink provides access to specific skills and expertise when and where we need it.” SSI reports that the software has reduced document search time, and lets teams leverage collective knowledge and expertise globally. Documents and project data are stored in Livelink’s central repository, offering added security features, and facilitating automatic change reporting with push technology.

Pery

“Because Livelink is Web-based, it provides true collaborative capabilities for enterprises operating on a global level” said Andrew Pery, VP global marketing with Open Text. “Using Open Text’s collaborative e-business platform, Shell Services International is able to leverage the skill and know-how of all of its employees around the world. Livelink’s knowledge management functionalities also help SSI to overcome common business hurdles, including version control, security, distributed storage locations and time management.”

Livelink 9

A major new release of Livelink now offers an XML back plane, tighter coupling with Oracle data bases and a new Livelink intelligent ‘spider’ which crawls the corporate file system seeking out information that has not been manually indexed. The SSI installation is said to use all of the new functionality of Version 9. But not all of Shell’s teamwork is virtual. At project kick-off, teams meet in the flesh to ascertain what resources (email, Office Automation, Livelink) will be used and how. Clarity on how tools are used and agreement between team members is sought upfront. Open text has other large oil and gas clients including Saudi Aramco, with 35,000 seats, Chevron and BP.

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XoX throws in oil towel (December 2000)

XoX Corporation is pulling the plug on its oil and gas software operations, and seeks a buyer for its ShapesProspector software.

Following a strategic review, XoX has decided to quit producing software for the geoscience marketplace. XoX jumped into the spotlight back in 1998 when GeoQuest selected the XoX geometry engine as core technology in its shared earth model. Since then, XoX has attempted to market PC-based earth modeling software incorporating the same technology. The resulting products, ShapesProspector 3.0 and ShapesPlanner are now up for sale.

Sutton

XoX CEO John Sutton explained “the geoscience products and services do not meet the growth thresholds expected by our shareholders. While we intend to fulfill our current contract obligations to support our current customers, we are seeking an orderly exit.”

Exit

The Board of Directors has also directed management to explore all strategic options including, but not limited to, merger or acquisition. As a result, XoX will be closing its software engineering operations in India as well as its geoscience-related sales offices in Houston, Texas. Further, a major reduction in software engineering staff at its Bloomington headquarters will also occur effective December 31, 2000.

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IHS buys QC Data geoscience unit (December 2000)

IHS Energy has bought QC Data’s Petroleum Data Services Division, creating a new unit, IHS Accumap. One “asset” included in the deal is QC Data president John Redfern, who has been nominated president of IHS Energy.

IHS Energy is getting acquisitive again. Target this time around is the Petroleum Data Services (PDS) division of Calgary-based QC Data. The deal includes QC Data’s AccuMap Enerdata, acquired in 1998. PDS provides software for browsing and visualization of petroleum data and assures online delivery of geotechnical (land, geological and well-log) data. The acquisition includes PDS' entire Calgary, Houston, London and Moscow operations.

Meyer

IHS Energy Group chairman and CEO, Chris Meyer, said “The acquisition consolidates IHS Energy Group's ability to deliver innovative, comprehensive solutions for our oil and gas clients worldwide and complements our existing data sets. The deal launches IHS into the international log data market.”

IHS Accumap

In Canada, IHS Energy Canada will be combined with AccuMap and called IHS AccuMap Ltd. The companies have been delivering integrated software and data service to oil and gas companies in western Canada for the last nine years. PDS' Houston, London, and Moscow operations will be integrated into IHS Energy Group's existing international subsidiaries. In the US and internationally, significant synergies exist between IHS Energy Canada, AccuMap and QC Data's respective data assets and services. QC Data claims the largest, high-quality database of digital logs in the US and has a digital-log outsourcing relationship with the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

Redfern

QC Data president John Redfern has been appointed president of IHS Energy Group. Redfern stated “An exciting result of this merger will be the introduction of our next generation products, such as Accu-X and AccuMap Open, to new markets outside of Canada. Thanks to IHS Energy's global market presence and its unique international data sets, we will be able to offer E&P professionals powerful new data browsing and visualization tools.” Chris Jones has been named president of the new IHS AccuMap unit. Over 450 companies and 6,000 individuals currently use PDS/AccuMap software, data and information hub solutions.

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