July 2000


CGG, Paradigm  rapprochement (July 2000)

CGG plans to divest its application software arm, Flagship Geoscience to Paradigm, in exchange for $4 million cash and 11% of Paradigm's stock.

Paradigm has agreed in principle to acquire CGG's Flagship Geosciences software subsidiary for 1.5 million Paradigm shares and $4 million in cash. CGG's new stake in Paradigm represents approximately 11% of the company. Under the agreement Paradigm would acquire Flagship's StratiMagic seismic characterization application and the Integral Plus interpretation suite.

Cooperation

CGG and Paradigm plan to cooperate in the future on interpretation software development. CGG boss Robert Brunck said "Combining Paradigm and Flagship operations will provide our customers with a wider range of  reservoir management software, while Flagship personnel will have enhanced opportunities for development."

Weiss

Paradigm chairman Eldad Weiss added "We very much welcome CGG as a strategic partner in Paradigm. Incorporating Flagship complements our product offerings and adds both a staff skilled in reservoir characterization solutions and a strong management team. We look forward to integrating the Flagship and Paradigm operations."

Due diligence

The agreement is subject to satisfactory due diligence, execution of definitive agreements and regulatory approvals. The companies expect to close the transaction and to transfer operations in the third quarter of 2000.

Complementary?

StratiMagic adds sophisticated seismic characterization to Paradigms's reservoir characterization suite. But the synergy between Integral Plus and the other pieces of Ergos (notably Seis-X) is less obvious. However Integral Plus does add a cross discipline database which may add value to the rest of Paradigm's interpretation tools. Both companies are enthusiastic users of CORBA to integrate the major E&P platforms.

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Banco de Dados E&P (July 2000)

Brazil's geological survey CPRP has selected PGS' PetroBank for its National Data Repository, the 'Banco de Dados E&P.'

PGS has signed a five-year contract with the Brazil's Geological Survey (CPRM) to establish the Brazilian Petroleum Agency (ANP) exploration and production data bank for Brazil. The data bank will be named Banco de Dados E&P ("BDEP").

PetroBank

PGS will deploy its PetroBank data management system to consolidate, archive and deliver data to companies engaged in E&P in Brazil. More than 20 operators and service companies will be involved with the data bank and will be able to connect online.  PGS president Bjarte Bruheim said "This facility complements our expansion of the data management business in this region, where we have been active since 1997.

Dominant

Through our contract with Petrobras, where we have cleaned and re-mastered more than 280,000 tapes of E&P data of various vintages, we have prepared much of the Brazilian E&P data for management by BDEP. PGS has long been the dominant player in Norway and with our recent agreement in Russia [see last month's PDM], we are well on our way to securing strategic data management positions for many of the most prospective hydrocarbon basins in the world."

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.com vs. .gov (July 2000)

PDM's editor Neil McNaughton traces the UK's attempts to create a National Data Repository over the last four years. Now that the OGTIF is funding DEAL, he wonders what happened to 'hands-off' government and questions the  project's alignment with both industry's and the Government's own 'core business'.

If I had to provide an instant mission statement for PDM it would include something along the lines of "we strive to produce clarity from the obscure." I'm not sure whether we always succeed. Sometimes extracting a fact or two from a superlative-laden press release is hard. Recent developments in the UK however have stretched our capacity to synthesize beyond the pale. Lets walk through how a National Data Bank (NDB) turned into an e-portal and try to understand who does what!

UKOOA

In the beginning was the UKOOA. An august body bringing together worthies from the UK operators to debate, not on how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, but (inter alia) on how much navigation data can be stuffed onto an 80 column punched card. I know, I was there briefly, a quarter of a century ago (gasp!) But for now we will leave the UKOOA aside,  since it had virtually no influence on the NDB until a month or two ago when popped up in deus ex machine fashion to join the fray.

Protagonists

The two key protagonists with early involvement in disseminating UK data are the DTI and the CDA. The DTI has a mission to broadcast information on the UK's oil industry to the world. This it has to an extent achieved, with a significant amount of metadata on the UK wells available for download from the DTI's website. CDA's mission was different. Essentially a club of UK operators, CDA meant to cut costs, by providing a centralized data repository which would allow its members to throw away their in-house data. It must be emphasized that while the DTI manages the metadata (relatively easy), CDA set out to manage real bulk data - well logs and seismics. CDA also had to open the Pandora's Box of Entitlements. I believe that it is fair to say that CDA failed in its main mission - of cost saving by eliminating in-house storage, since operators continue to store their own stuff independently.

Achievements

One could conclude that CDA's main contribution was to discover just how hard an apparently simple issue can become. UK well data is now on-line, but the exercise  was so painful that the notion of extending this to seismic was quietly dropped. Fortunately, the new realm of the Portal, and of e-commerce came to the rescue offering the possibility of a "virtual" data store - a hub, managing entitlements, with pointers to data locations - either on data vendors sites or in-company data stores. (even though the original idea was to eliminate these!)

Transmogrification

Another achievement for CDA is to have transmogrified gracefully, on two fronts. With the "Deed" (the agreement between CDA and the DTI) CDA gave its members a big break. Now, the act of supplying data to CDA allows an operator to fulfill DTI reporting requirements. As for the acquisition by the UKOOA of CDA, one only has to ask why this wasn't done at the outset.

New Labour

But above the plane of UKOOA and DTI, we have a yet more influential protagonist - in the form of the UK Government (yes I know the DTI is the government, but it's not the Government). Enter New Labour, with shining new policies and a desire to capitalize on, no longer the white heat of technology, but the new dawn of the internet age. Having recently experienced e-government, chasing my own entitlements - to a pension - I was impressed. Not only is there a great deal of useful information, on the UK .gov sites, but I actually got an email back from a real person!

OGTIF

New Labour's fray into data delivery over the net originated in the Oil and Gas Industry Task Force (OGTIF), which funded the LIFT project for license trading. This has been a resounding success - for Schlumberger, which has redeployed the technology in its IndigoPool.com e-commerce Portal. Perhaps sensing that this was not quite the way things were supposed to pan-out, the OGTIF quickly realigned the fledgling Data Environment for LIFT as the Digital Energy Atlas and Library, which, as we revealed in last month's PDM is to be built for CDA/UKOOA by the British Geological Survey and ESRI.

Thatcherite

I have to confess a degree of confusion here. As an Old Labourite-come-Thatcherite (yes I though that was the definition of New Labour too)  I have to ask, what is the idea of all this government intervention? Is it up to the Government to select  a GIS technology provider. To fund development of an e-commerce Portal for the oil industry? 

Technology

Have recent developments solved the underlying issues - such as the differing viewpoints of operators, data vendors and government? Or are we witnessing round five of the saga of technology-focused "solutions" to non-technological issues. One such issue worthy of government attention is the exact nature of the public domain régime relating to seismic data in the UK offshore. IMHO, clarifying and liberalizing of this is more like "core business" for government than building e-commerce websites.

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GEMs for GeoFrame and new DAEX (July 2000)

Oilfield Systems has ported its GEMs collection of helper applications to GeoFrame and released an enhanced version of well data exchange software DAEX.

Oilfield Systems (OFS) has ported its GEM Collection to Schlumberger's GeoFrame. GEMs was previously only available for Landmark's OpenWorks. OFS GEMs product champion Neil Hookway said "GeoFrame users have the same concerns as OpenWorks' clients. Geological tools have become so sophisticated that users find them difficult to learn and use, placing an added burden on their support organization.

First step

Some geologists are even working on paper in preference to wrestling with applications. The GEM Collection helps them make that first, important step towards working on the computer and their work is instantly integrated with other users, making the interpretation process more effective." Now that GEM runs on GeoFrame and OpenWorks, companies can deploy a single well log correlation application regardless of where project data is stored.

DAEX 5 RSN

A new version of OFS' DAEX well data exchange technology is due for release Real Soon Now. DAEX is used as core data sharing technology between corporate, project and application datastores. OFS' technical director Steve Hawtin, said "DAEX 5.0 now handles all aspects of the data transfer. Clients can customize the way users interact with this process. DAEX components perform tasks such as verifying a log mnemonic, standardizing units or coordinate transformation.  Transfers are coordinated by a central controller which can be invoked from third-party applications or web-based clients. " More from www.oilfield-systems.com.

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Alberta Energy joins IndigoPool (July 2000)

Schlumberger's IndigoPool.com e-commerce portal now claims over 2,000 registered members. Established in the UK and Canada, the 'Pool is now set to conquer the world.

Alberta Energy Company (AEC) has signed up with Schlumberger's IndigoPool acquisitions and disposals (A&D) portal. AEC landman Arnold Lee explained "We have  always been quick to deploy any good technology that helps us run our business more efficiently and intelligently.

Global

The global exposure, communications efficiencies, and security that IndigoPool brings to our A&D deal-making efforts made the decision to get on board an easy one." Other fish in the 'Pool, or on the UK sub-portal LIFT, include Amerada Hess, BP Amoco, Burlington, Chevron, Crestar Energy, Elf Exploration, Enerplus Group, Gaffney Cline, Hunt, Kerr McGee, Marathon, PanCanadian, Petrolin, Shell, Texaco, and TOTALFina.

Pai

Satish Pai, general manager of IndigoPool said "Our global reach and worldwide network infrastructure will now enable IndigoPool to host assets and data from Africa, the Americas and Australasia." Powered by GeoQuest and Merak technology, IndigoPool is building alliances with industry data and information vendors, brokerage and consulting services, and other third parties who add value to the core IndigoPool product. 

2000 users

Schlumberger  claims over 2,000 users have now registered on the IndigoPool.com site. Member benefits include online access to the data and assets of participating companies.

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Seismic Object Detection (July 2000)

de Groot-Bril and GeoCap are to productize patented technology from Statoil to automate seismic interpretation.

dGB and Norwegian visualization specialists Geocap are to develop a new seismic object detection system "d-Tect" leveraging Statoil's patented technology. d-Tect will speed the seismic interpretation process.

Neural network

Described as "the most advanced attribute engine on the market" d-Tech will deploy supervised and unsupervised neural networks, image processing algorithms, and extraction algorithms for faults, horizons and bodies. d-Tect boasts state of the art visualization, including 3D-stereo.

Eureka

d-Tect will run on scalable hardware including Solaris PC-Linux and Windows-NT. The project has been awarded Eureka status by the EU and has attracted "substantial" funding from the Dutch government. Industry sponsors are invited to join the project. d-Tect rollout is scheduled for January 2001.

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Network Appliance deal heralds SeisLink - 'open systems' seismic data management (July 2000)

GeoQuest has extended its agreement with network storage provider NetApp. The two companies are working on SeisLink -  described as 'open systems' software for the seismic data lifecycle.

GeoQuest, and hardware supplier Network Appliance (NetApp) have signed a worldwide reseller and support services agreement for NetApp's "Filer" hardware. The  deal lets GeoQuest bundle NetApp Filers with GeoQuest solutions in a single-source offering. The NetApp Filer is a network-attached storage solution and is said to simplify data administration, backup, and downloading and to increase efficiency through dedicated server support for terabyte datasets. "Because E&P companies spend billions of dollars annually on seismic data, they need a cost-effective solution to leverage that investment," said Brad Youmans, GeoQuest VP of seismic data management solutions.

SeisLink

"NetApp Filers, a proven component of our seismic data management solution, provide that leverage." NetApp is also to provide technical advisors to GeoQuest for its SeisLink "open systems" software to manage the seismic data life cycle. Mark Santora, NetApp's senior VP, marketing added "Innovative applications supported by GeoQuest define how E&P companies locate fossil fuels.

Santora

How these new technologies are deployed depends entirely upon the infrastructure that will support them and this is where we excel. The integration of GeoQuest's software applications with our Filer and NetCache solutions will secure and streamline the seismic work-flow." NetApp's clients include Lycos, Yahoo, Citicorp Securities, Siemens, Lockheed, Cisco, Motorola and Texas Instruments. NetApp's Internet caching solutions and file servers deliver fast, simple, reliable and cost-effective access to network-stored data and enable simultaneous shared file services for UNIX, Windows NT and the web.

ONTAP

The company pioneered the concept of the "network appliance," an extension of the industry trend toward dedicated, specialized products that perform a single function. Network Appliance filers and NetCache appliances are based on the dedicated data access operating system "Data  ONTAP." More on NetApp in the PDM interview below.

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PDM gets to the bottom of Network Attached Storage. (July 2000)

PDM was curious to learn more about the rationale behind the network attached storage appliance. NetApp's Vaughn Miller and Adam Trunkey explained all and GeoQuest's Brad Youmans added a few words a propos of SeisLink

PDM - what are the key applications served by NetApp?

Trunkey - NetAp provides large capacity network attached disk storage for seismic processing and interpretation including  application binaries, Oracle databases and both Unix and NT data.

PDM - is the system tailored for upstream computing?

Miller - No but upstream computing makes heavy use of our Write Anywhere File Layout - WAFL.

Trunkey - the product was not just developed for the oil and gas industry. We are offering a standardized solution to a generic issue.

PDM - What is the underlying technology?

Trukey - Our technology mirrors the approach adopted by CISCO. They looked at how UNIX boxes were being used as routers, and very successfully broke out the code from the kernel that was actually doing the router's work. We have done the same thing for the file server. Our ONTAP operating system is a small subset of the millions of lines of error-prone code that make up a full blown operating system. This brings our failure rate down to below 1 hour per year.

Miller - Basically a computer node and a big disk is not a solid solution to this problem. We have taken I/O and file management out of the operating system.

PDM - what exactly are you working on with GeoQuest?

Miller- We have integrated GeoQuest's PetaStar solution and will be showing this at the Calgary SEG next month. Here the SAM FS acts as a buffer between NetApp storage and the Sony DLT robot. This allows data to be managed. You can check a  time stamp and move data to near-line storage based on an administrator-defined schedule. This is an intelligent migration tool that understands E&P data types. Upstream usage profiles include real-time data backup and project management.

PDM - who is using this solution?

Trunkey - Companies such as BP Amoco, Shell, Chevron and Western Geophysical all use NetApp devices.

SeisLink

GeoQuest's Brad Youmans added "The NAS solution marketplace has a serious market leader in NetApp with over 100% revenue growth and significant market capture as a stand alone Filer solution. The next step is to integrate broader E&P work flows. The nature of seismic data dictates the solution architecture, SeisLink will move and manage data between near-line and on-line NetApp systems in compliance with open storage standards and network data management protocols (NDMP).  The development phase is in beta test in our Houston lab.

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Phillips selects IRAP,Statoil tests IRPM (July 2000)

Phillips Norway has chosen Roxar's IRAP package. Statoil is testing the Integrated Reservoir and Production Management system - a combination of software and real-time metering technology - on the Huldra condensate field.

Phillips Petroleum Norway has signed an eighteen-month lease agreement with Roxar for the provision of the IRAP Reservoir Modeling Suite. The 2MM NOK deal includes training and user support. Phillips also uses Roxar's reservoir modeling software in other subsidiaries. 

IRPM

Statoil is to test Roxar's integrated reservoir and production management system, IRPM on the Huldra gas condensate field . Huldra production is slated for the fall of 2001. Roxar president Torkell Gjerstad said "The IRPM system will gather and transfer Huldra's reservoir and production data to the shore in real-time. Statoil will use this information to improve understanding of production characteristics.

Continuous

Statoil intends to optimize Huldra production continuously by monitoring output of the 6 Roxar multiphase meters, with more downhole-monitoring equipment to be deployed. Roxar has been received the ONS Innovation Award for its IRPM concept, the second from DEMO 2000. Funds from the first award facilitated the completion the Water Monitor Radar (WMR), a reservoir monitoring product, and the Promac downhole production management tool.

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If the GeoCap fits.. (July 2000)

GeoCap describes itself as a petroleum industry internet mapping company. Its eponymous flagship product is a Rapid Application Development environment for 2 and 3D visualization of data over the web.

Norwegian GeoCap AS develops internet software for the petroleum industry and mapping agencies. GeoCap is both a Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment and end-user application for visualization, mapping, monitoring and modeling.

RAD

GeoCap's RAD environment offers researchers and geoscientists building bricks to construct 2D and 3D visualization software.

Tcl/TK

GeoCap can be wrapped and configured with in the powerful scripting language. Tcl/TK.  GeoCap also provides assistance in application design and development, product support and training. GeoCap is developing a range of plug-ins using the GeoCap environment language together with Tcl/Tk. GeoCap is partner with de-Groot Bril on the d-Tect project (see article in this issue.)

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Veritas boss quits! (July 2000)

Veritas DGC CEO Richard White resigns, Chairman David Robinson takes post.

Veritas CEO Richard White has resigned, effective immediately, after only six months with the company. Calling the resignation a "parting of the ways," VP business development Rene VandenBran said "It's really just a philosophical difference in terms of organization structure." Executive Chairman David Robson will assume the CEO role.

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Web boosts Enron (July 2000)

EnronOnline, Enron's new web-based commodity trading portal has added significantly to the company's bottom line.

Enron Corp.'s second-quarter earnings rose 30 percent thanks to its growing web-based trading arm, EnronOnline. Enron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lay said "EnronOnline, our Web-based transaction system, registered a 92 percent increase in both volumes and transactions compared to the first quarter."

Telecoms

Building on its newfound e-company status, Enron expanded recently into broadband telecommunications. Since its launch last year, EnronOnline has realized over 200,000 transactions to a value of $100 billion, nearly 60% of Enron's wholesale trade.

Market-maker

Furthering its diversification strategy, Enron plane to leverage its Online unit to make markets in other commodities such as paper, petrochemicals, plastics and broadband telecommunications capacity.

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Microsoft Tech Ed 2000 (July 2000)

With the role-out of Windows and Exchange 2000 there was a lot to take in during the four day Microsoft Tech Ed, held this month in Amsterdam. While the embryonic .net announcement stole the headlines, to the close observer, much in .net is already being deployed in a range of Microsoft tools which use XML pervasively. PDM brings you the show highlights - and some interesting uses of Windows 2000 in oil and gas.

The Microsoft Tech Ed conference has two roles. First, to educate developers into the intricacies of using and deploying Microsoft tools such as Exchange, the Digital Nervous System and COM object technology. Second, to push out new ideas and technologies and to see if they 'float.' During the 4 day conference there are over 350 presentations, each lasting 1 1/4 hours. It is hard to get the big picture. In fact it is not even clear is there is a big picture. The innovation time-line is extensive and blurred. Last year's 'hot stuff' (XML and the DNS) are now the core of Windows 2000. This years headlines (SOAP, COM+ and Exchange 2000) will probably be in a similar position next year.

Concept car

The real novelties (C# and Microsoft.net) are like the concept cars at the auto show! But amongst the Microsoft devotees at the show there is a real belief that the "2000" tools are set to change the IT world. Particular interest centres around web access to corporate data - the "Portal." A study by Merrill Lynch estimates sales of corporate portals will reach $15 billion by 2002.

Firestorm

Keynote speaker Dave Reed illustrated Windows' "coming of age" with an impressive demonstration of scalability. In the commercial world that dominates IT, transaction processing (TP) is the benchmark that counts. Microsoft and IBM have taken TP to new heights with the "Firestorm" Server. This Windows 2000 "concept" machine comprises 32 Netfinity nodes with 4x700 MHZ Xeon and 4GB RAM per server. Running IBM's DB2 database the system allows 440,000 transactions per minute. Buy yours now for $14 million! Reed sees much innovation for the knowledge worker with a new web client for Outlook with instant messaging support. A remote user can 'take control' of a document for editing. SQL Server 2000 is now fully web enabled, with a native XML "web store" (a query returns an XML document) with an integrated data mining engine.

MAD?

On a more prosaic level the MS Active Directory (MAD) may not be sexy, but judging by the reception it got from the Microsoft aficionados, this is the biggest thing since sliced bread! MAD presents managers, users, resources and locations to the administrator.

Box

Don Box's three technology talks stole the show. An independent Microsoft COM and XML guru, Box can make a talk on COM seem funny! Whether it is COM+, XML or SOAP, Box gives his all - to the extent that he really makes you believe that each and every one is the tops, but for Box, XML is not about documents.

Two Camps

He explains there are two camps. The traditional SGML crowd who think that XML should be written and read by people, and the new kids on the block - the programming community, who write and read XML programmatically. Box enjoys taking  swipes at the standards bodies, comparing the expense account driven OSI - who came up with a "piece of paper" with the "bunch of hippies" who got the TCP/IP protocol running from their garages.

Spin

It is not clear if this attack extends to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since Microsoft's spin here is that it is the most important member of the W3C and that it will definitely follow the W3C standards. For Box (and for Microsoft) the Document Type Definition (DTD) is dead, and is replaced by the Schema. This is preferred because of the possibility of defining data types a key issue for robust IT solutions.

SOAP

SOAP is IT infrastructure which, according to Box, will allow interoperability where CORBA IIOP and DCOM have failed. SOAP is XML messaging plus remote procedure calling à la CORBA. Servers can be anywhere on the internet, and can be clustered. SOAP is a minimalist protocol for invoking methods on servers, objects, services and components. SOAP relies 100% on the XML infoset and there will be a binary specification within one year - this is necessary for compression inter alia.

Exchange 2000

Charles Eliot claims Exchange 2000 is "a new way of looking at how computers can serve the needs of the world"! From enterprise messaging system to "something far bigger and more interesting." E2K's Release to Manufacturing is "only weeks away." Three main goals have driven the development team:-

  • Enhance messaging and collaboration, more scalability and reliability and easier administration
  • Web-based collaboration and applications including rich native web applications, unified storage for mail, documents and web pages and higher performance.
  • Anytime anywhere communications, nomadic computing, on-line meeting, radio collaboration and communications.

Exchange 2000 messaging will be internet-based SMPT and HTML/XML. The web store will store any kind of information and will be tightly integrated with Internet Information Server and Office 2000, while the Active Directory unifies security and access.

Indexing

Content indexing on the fly is promised, importantly with enhanced search down into attachments.  XML is "behind" everything and offers a "rich" experience from just a browser. Note that now saving an Office 2000 documents as a web folder allows properties such as author, date of last modification etc. to propagate into Exchange 2000. Eliot predicts that instant messaging (and SMS for mobiles) will become part of the desktop and that online meetings will move into the mainstream, as they have chez Microsoft, offering "a totally compelling user experience." Voice and video will be common messaging formats in fact we all already create lots of voice content as 50% of cell phone traffic is to/from voicemail.

Whistler

The .net platform (codename Whistler) is in much the same situation as XML was last year. It is not so much vapourware, but one has the impression that Microsoft is not really ready to talk much about it. Tony Goodhew defined .net as an attempt to "meld computing and communications" and to "transform the web". This is to be achieved through a new, loosely-coupled XML-based Microsoft .net programming model. XML-based services will allow a web site to "federate and collaborate with others." Microsoft is to invest $2bn over the next 3 years in the project.

ASP

UK ASP specialist Netstore demonstrated Exchange 2000's ability to provide a hosted environment for the 8,000 Tech Ed attendees.  Netstore believes that ASP, the delivery of software functionality for a fixed monthly fee will be a great boost to smaller companies which can now "play with big boy's tools" without the overhead of full-blown IT support.  The Tech Ed deployment, the "largest hosted Exchange 2000 facility to date" - with 8,500 seats - took a mere 3 days to deploy.

Big brother

As more companies offer employees internet access, some see the need to avoid abuse. SurfControl ensures that "workplace internet access is business access." SurfControl works by web site categorization and comes with ready made URL "filters." Bandwidth can be freed-up for corporate traffic but constrained for "casual, non-business related content." The software also keeps track of net use by employee - so you had better log-off that porn site now!

GeoDB

German start-up GeoDB has built a Geographical Information System using the database for all storage - there are "no data files." GeoDB runs on Access, SQL Server or Oracle 8 and cooperates with Autocad or Visio. The product was developed for Bayer as a 3D GIS database of sewer routes around chemical plant - mainly used for collision avoidance. GeoDB deploys the Excel PersistentStream format which can be extended to new data types with  Visual Basic. Next version (5.0) will use Open GIS specification. GeoDB is delivered as a data bound VBA control letting users tabs through GIS objects.

SSI

FastLane's  DM/Suite has been selected by Shell Services International (SSI) to deploy Windows 2000 server and active directory services to over 60,000 Shell group users in 180 countries. This is "probably the largest Windows 2000 active directory in the world." Quest (which has just acquired FastLane technologies) offers Active Directory deployment and consulting. SSI's Johan Krebbers said "Our Windows 2000 targets are aggressive, as are our objectives for capitalizing on Active Directory's many features. FastLane understands these technologies."

Data

Data Junction, is a visual design tool for building and testing "transformation objects" that work with hundreds of applications and structured data formats. Components automate application integration and data transformation through drag-and-drop. Project Designer is a graphical process flow component that provides a canvas onto which process steps can be dragged/dropped and interconnected. Conversion Designer combines a GUI with a transformation engine to map data sources to target structures, while allowing the user to manipulate the data in "virtually limitless" ways. A massive number of data formats are supported. Data Junction claims 100,000 licensees including a dozen major oil and oil service companies.

K-hardware!

HP's Digital Sender can legitimately lay claim to be Knowledge Management Hardware! A neat networked scanner that integrates Exchange and Notes letting you scan to the network, fax or mail documents. The Sender can perform OCR on the fly and leverages HP's AutoStore software to manage document workflow.

Rich

There are trade-offs in ASP. Using the Exchange 2000 mail system at the show, we couldn't see the Sent Items. A right mouse click should have brought help, but no. Couldn't quite figure it out, but in fact this is a structural issue. The web browser interface does not have the same functionality as a compiled client application. So your Exchange running over the wire is not quite the same as the Exchange running on your LAN. An Office binary application offers a "rich" experience as opposed to a dumb browser. But the browser brigade are fighting back promising their own richness soon.

Some Box one-liners

  • "The OMG - Oppose Microsoft Group." 
  • "CORBA is in the graveyard."
  • "The DTD is an aberration in the eyes of God."
  • "People will die if the W3C does not come up with a Schema this August."
  • "Java, Corba and COM have never delivered. XML is the first true solution to IT interoperability."
  • "Type is what distinguishes us from the beasts!"
  • "How do you know your security is good? - Nothing ever works!"
  • "The System Administrator is like a McDonald's Assistant Manager. They have little power, so they abuse it whenever possible."

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CGE&Y's N-Portal (July 2000)

CAP Gemini's Ernst and Young have been separately purveying knowledge management solutions to oil and gas clients like BP Amoco and Shell. Now, the N-Portal is moving to Windows 2000. But as PDM learned from CAP's Geoff Smith, the human element in KM is the key.

PDM - how do you rate oils in KM?

Smith - Oils have been aware of KM for a long time. Amerada, BP, Shell and Enterprise are all early adopters. There is more interest than in many other industries. BPA and Shell "carry the torch" and have publicly stated the business benefits they get from networking hard data and tacit knowledge.

PDM what are the KM "killer apps?"

Smith - There is no one answer. You have to balance solving past problems and seizing future opportunities. It depends on how much legacy knowledge needs to be integrated. Our solution is K-Applets and the N-Portal, a simple tool to deliver information. But it needs dedicated K managers. Technology is an enabler, but you need cultural and organizational change. K should "permeate" the organization in a continuous process.

PDM - Does CAP bring consulting or IT to the table?

Smith - There is no such thing as vanilla KM. We identify clients' strategy and  move into technology according to legacy systems. For BP a major cost was putting people in touch with people. Once the communities get going they can suck in the technology.

PDM - How innovative is Windows 2000 in KM?

Smith - Windows 2000 reflects the arrival of the internet age. It is the natural choice for e-business because of cost of ownership benefits. But there is a lot more to come from the integration of Exchange, SQL Server, the Directory Services and so on.

PDM - What does CGE&Y add to this?

Smith - The CGE&Y/Microsoft solution is sometimes viewed as an entry-level solution. But it then becomes a vehicle for the validation of Microsoft's claim to be able to provide viable, scalable IT/KM. What is new in Windows 2000 is that there are no longer any gaps in Microsoft's enterprise computing. The Active Directory is of course core to KM and offers centralized management of hardware, people and needs.

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Knowledge Management à la Microsoft (July 2000)

At the Amsterdam Tech Ed, PDM interviewed Microsoft's David Crockett and Scott Bowie. We learned how key Microsoft Knowledge Management technology is being deployed by companies such as Marathon and Shell.

PDM - There really is lot on offer at the show, what are the key technologies for Knowledge Management?

Bowie - KM functionality is pervasive in both Windows and Exchange 2000. On the server, this offers collaborative applications groupware functionality all with broad Internet support from the Internet Information Server.

PDM - What is Microsoft's recommended client? IE, Word, Digital Dashboard or Outlook?

Crockett - A typical knowledge worker's log on would involve firing up an Outlook client - which would display a Digital Dashboard showing key performance indicators and a toolbar for launching Office or other tools.

PDM - That's still a lot of clients. Why not have just one?

Bowie - there is a tendency for convergence, but you can't do everything in a pure web paradigm. Things are getting better with DHTML, but still the browser is a long way off the functionality of a compiled 32 bit Windows application.

PDM - In E&P IT, although Windows NT has made inroads into the UNIX arena, one can't say the same for SQL Server. What is Microsoft strategy in respect to cohabiting with Oracle?

Bowie - We know we have to access foreign data sources. Centrica's work on BP's Common Operating Environment leveraged the functionality in MTS, now part of COM+.

PDM - What of other oil and gas K-Management clients in oil and gas?

Crockett - Both Marathon Oil and Shell are Microsoft joint development partners for Exchange 2000. Marathon has over 10,000 users and consolidating its messaging and collaboration infrastructure on Exchange 2000.

PDM - What of document management in all this. Seems like Microsoft is encroaching on  what used to be reserved for applications like Documentum.

Crockett - Well we do offer a lot, from document generation, to distribution and sharing. But if you have complex metadata requirements or need revision control functions, then a tool like Documentum is the way to go.

Bowie - Exchange 2000 will offer a lot to the document manager. We can save Word documents to the Web store which then offers a rich, semi-structured store of documents and binaries. You can program the store for synchronizing, triggers, track what has been posted, modified and deleted. And of course you can index the whole thing.

PDM - So you are saying that the end is nigh for Documentum.

Bowie - Actually no - Documentum is a partner of ours . They offer a vertical, industry-specific solution and will probably be deploying all the above tools. Increasingly the DMS vendors are acting as system integrators using Microsoft technology.

PDM - What big challenges are left in Knowledge Management.

Crockett - to beat Lotus! [laughs] Taxonomy is an issue and key-word searching. We  are also working on intelligent information searching with natural language query. Speech is just around the corner - lots of money being spent here. Bill Gates is a strong believer!

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Windows NT underpins Schlumberger data center (July 2000)

With EU deregulation, things are moving fast in the utilities business. Schlumberger's data center is set to capitalize on this situation is built on what is now considered a mission-critical platform - Windows NT.

Schlumberger Resource Management Services has brought its Karlsruhe data management center on-line in. The hub of a pan-European data network, the new center offers business opportunities to the utilities industry. The center will perform remote acquisition, consolidation and validation of metering data, data warehousing and web-based energy management and customer accounting. Schlumberger has data management service contracts with 20 utility companies in eight European countries.

Nicolini

Sergio Nicolini, Manager of Data Management in Karlsruhe told PDM "The choice of Windows NT server as platform is driven by Schlumberger policies. We ensure reliability of mission critical tasks through hardware and software redundancy. The two web servers (main and back up) are not clustered and the switch from one to the other takes a few seconds.

DMZ

Database server and hard disks containing critical data are on separate machines protected by a "demilitarized zone" where the firewall creates a barrier between Internet and confidential data resident on Sinet (Schlumberger Information network). Security control beyond  UserID and Password is ensured with Schlumberger smart card technology.

3-tier

A web server performs queries on the Oracle database server and results generated with Microsoft ASP technology and Visual Basic. Network traffic is optimized for web inter-activity. If a high degree of inter-activity is required, the data is compressed and sent to the client for processing or analysis. Specialists from IT, Omnes and Oilfield Services worked with our metering experts to implement this complex system."

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GeoQuest WellTrack (July 2000)

New Drilling Office application WellTrack brings live data from the rig floor into the GeoFrame project.

GeoQuest has introduced WellTrack into release 2.0 of the Drilling Office suite. WellTrack is a well tracking, reporting and knowledge management system and is said to simplify day-to-day reporting tasks and support distributed asset teams through the use of Web posting.

Rosenbaum

WellTrack product development manager Susan Rosenbaum said "WellTRAK allows drilling team members to post and review reports on the Web. Drilling Office 2.0 expands the functionality of earlier releases." Users can design an activity-based well plan for drilling operations and compare actual operations against forecast. WellTrack lets the rig supervisor capture daily operational data, highlight operational anomalies and create daily reports at the touch of a button. Data from offset wells can be used and modified to design new plans. Other features include drop-down activity pick lists for user-friendly data entry.

GeoFrame

WellTrack stores data in GeoFrame which allows torque and drag analyses to use WellTrack daily report data. Data captured at the rig site can be merged into a GeoFrame project database at the office.  A powerful query tool analyzes drilling performance by field or among selected offset wells. Queries can be saved and modified for frequent use, and the resulting data easily can be sent to an Excel spreadsheet for further evaluation, graphing and analysis.

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Drillworks for PanCanadian  (July 2000)

PanCanadian is the latest of KSI's DrillWorks/Predict customers.

Knowledge Systems, Inc. of Stafford Texas has licensed its DrillWorks/Predict overpressure prediction software to PanCanadian Petroleum Resources. Described as "the most used software system in the world today for geopressure analysis,"

stress

Predict determines overburden stress, pore pressure and fracture gradients for both existing and proposed wells. Predict lets users forecast pressure in the office during the planning phase and at the wellsite during drilling operations.

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PwC/Landmark offer Teras without tears! (July 2000)

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Landmark have joined forces to offer integrated services at the frontier of geotechnical and financial computing. At the heart of the offering is Landmark's Teras suite. PwC is to add its experience at integrating this with SAP's R/3 enterprise resource allocation environment.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Landmark are to jointly market and implement capital allocation and performance management software for the oil and gas industry. The new relationship will provide the oil and gas industry with implementation services relating to automate tracking of strategy execution, and to improve management of shareholder value and related information. PDM spoke to Landmark's  Bill Diggons and PwC's Mike Hart about the new venture.

PDM - what brought the two companies together on this venture?

Diggons - We have viewed PwC as an excellent partner for upstream SAP implementation. They are expert leveraging Enterprise Resource Allocation (ERA) with decision support systems (DSS) to derive key performance Indicators from economics data.

Hart - We have worked with Landmark, Tobin and SAP for some time on E-portfolio management. Our new offering is Integrated Portfolio Management (IPM) which we define as ERA across multi-valued properties, through the acquire, divest, drill and complete cycle. We help companies realize key performance metrics, apply balanced scorecards. We focus on what interests Wall Street!

PDM - so you are targeting the boardroom!

Hart - Yes but we drill down from there. What we are trying to get across is that increasing production does not necessarily maximize value. We help companies link strategy to overall performance at all levels. For example we move field personnel from the volume/production mindset to what is optimal strategy for the field.

PDM - How are the roles distributed?

Diggons - Landmark defines and configures economic models. PwC adds project management and change management. The client deploys SAP but this is adapted to more rigorous financial treatment. People need to be migrated from their deterministic mindset into a statistical way of thinking.

PDM - How important is the stochastic way of looking at data here?

Diggons - There was great excitement and angst at the SPE Forum this month around this very topic. It was noteworthy in that it was the first time so many experts in the field came together. There was great interest from majors and large independents. It is already accepted in exploration, but is a harder sell to the producer.

Hart - Absolutely - it is hard for many to live with a range of values for everything. But it is crucially important.

PDM - But is it new?

Hart - Companies may have had exposure to stochastics over the years, but what is new is that they now have the tools support such treatment of uncertainty.

PDM - How do you match the hard and fast numbers in SAP R/3 with the elastic input from stochastic modeling.

Diggons - The Teras-derived statistics go into the SAP Business Warehouse. This accepts range values (but not distributions). This allows for OLAP type data mining. But the route does not have to be SAP, we also link Teras with Oracle Express OLAP. Ultimately we plan to be able to forecast budgets in real-time.

PDM - We have seen various standards initiatives in the B2B arena. Where are they now?

Hart - BizTech for Energy (BT4E) was founded by PwC, SAP and Landmark and has been subsequently joined by a number of others. The SAP Energy Integration Platform was subsumed when SAP bought the rights to our Premas product. Premas allowed you to visualize a network of the fiscal flow of product within a field. This can then be uploaded to SAP R/3 or Landmark's TOW product suite. The difference between the EIP and the present IPM initiative is that EIP maps historical product and cash flows, whereas the IMP is more concerned about current and future value propositions.

PDM - In the end BT4E seems to have got nowhere - except to have signed up lots of members!

Hart - Well I don't know about that! We have contributed our PetroCore check stub XML standards to BT4E and this will be made public. PetroCore is destined to replace the CDEX JIBI (Joint Interest Billing Initiative) that originated with API/PIDEX. PetroCore extends this to the AFE.

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Paradigm expands (July 2000)

Paradigm is staffing its Moscow office with research scientists and is opening up in Tyumen.

Paradigm has brought its Moscow head-count to nearly 50. Chairman Eldad Weiss said  "A number of our recent hires have been R&D staff. Russia represents a unique opportunity for Paradigm to benefit from the advanced geoscience skills available in this market and to integrate this team into our worldwide R&D effort. Paradigm is also to open an office in Western Siberia at Tyumen.

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Nonexclusive 4C Brent Survey (July 2000)

A new business model for seismic ownership is born. Instead of paying up front for a hi-tech 4C survey on the Brent field, Shell has 'licensed' the data from Schlumberger.

Schlumberger Oilfield Services has licensed a "nonexclusive" four component (4C) survey over the Brent field to Shell. The survey was acquired by two of Schlumberger's specialist 4C seismic vessels, the Geco Angler and Geco Bluefin.

Slumps

The primary objective of the survey was improved imaging of the Brent slumps, which form a complex area on the eastern side of the field. Data was recorded simultaneously by hydrophones and bottom located geophones. The new data improves on previous surveys with consistently better reflection continuity, fault definition and structural imaging. Factors contributing to the improvement include better demultiple, wider azimuths that improve subsurface illumination, and better positional control through seabed cables.

Arnott

Shell geophysicist Stuart Arnott commented, "In comparison with our towed streamer data, the new 4C data provide significantly improved structural imaging of the complex slumped areas of the (Brent) field. We expect this to lead to improved targeting of undeveloped reserves and reduced drilling costs."

~~~

PDM comment - great technology, but what is the business logic behind a non-exclusive survey over a producing field? We would love to know!

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PGS  gets Zakum reservoir characterization contract (July 2000)

ADNOC has awarded a 1,500 sq. km. survey contract to PGS which will deploy its PetroTrac integrated seismic reservoir characterization product.

PGS has won a major contract to deploy reservoir characterization technology on one of the world's largest offshore oilfields, the Zakum field in Abu Dhabi. The survey is expected to start in July 2000. This 15 month survey will cover 1,500 square kilometers and as such, represents one of the largest PetroTrac surveys to date.

ADNOC

The new survey will allow ADNOC to improve production performance through enhanced reservoir definition and can serve as the base survey for a future time-lapse 3D reservoir monitoring program.

Bruheim

PGS president Bjarte Bruheim said "PGS is pleased to have won this major contract against tough competition. Increasing focus on reservoir seismic studies is now a key trend in the spending patterns of both major and national oil companies. Specialized, reservoir-focused seismic technologies are the only means of describing the reservoir and its fluids between the wells, and allow our customers to locate wells optimally so hydrocarbon recovery can be maximized."

Varg

Other fields that have benefited recently from PGS' PetroTrac technology include Varg, Foinaven and Banff fields in the North Sea, the Penglai field in China's Bohai Bay, India's Bombay High and Umrat field, and Mexico's Abkatun field in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Tobin Tools ASP (July 2000)

Tobin is to offer its land management software TobinTools in 'pay-as-you-go' ASP mode.

The TobinTools land management suite is to be offered in an Application Service Provision (ASP) mode. TobinTools offers users access to multiple data sources through a single visual interface. Tobin Tools facilitates links to other business systems such as SAP and provides web-enabled functionality, leveraged in the new ASP offering.

Tobin.com

From its Tobin.com Portal Tobin offers clients tools for survey, land and mapping. In 1999, Tobin acquired land management software specialists Innovative Business Solutions (PDM Vol. 3 N° 12). Tobin claims to be transforming land management from paper-based systems to digital maps coupled with databases, satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Tobin partners with both ESRI and Microsoft for the GIS and platform technologies key to map-enabled B2B applications.

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