The capacity of the IT business to continuously re-invent itself is truly amazing. While PDM has been covering such things, we have seen the holy grail of interoperability chased by various solutions. In the early days it was all going to be done by the data model. Then came business objects. Both technologies are still moving forward, and are bearing fruit in a discreet way. But they got sidelined to a large extent when the e-business wave broke over our heads and swept us all web-ways.
Suddenly, the world got turned on its head. Instead of applying (albeit unwieldy) tools to (albeit intractable) problems, the IT world discovered a new hammer (XML) and was desperately seeking nails to bash. For a reason which escapes me, the focus shifted to e-commerce, and in particular, e-procurement. Elsewhere in this issue of PDM we report on how upstream e-procurement is faring. As things are not exactly going great, it must be time for technology to move on..
The latest hammer looking for a nail is ‘Web Services,’ and POSC, Shell, IBM and the UK DTI are seeking participants for their development. The project involves the development of standard protocols for business to business (B2B) interaction through Web Services (WS). WS sets out to allow machine to machine communication and interoperability. The technology should allow for the automation of activities such as joint venture reporting, governmental consents and other business to business activities. Web services is “e-business, round two.”
Web Services use the Internet to allow computers to inter-operate without human intervention. They extend web based protocols such as HTTP and XML with emerging interoperability technologies such as SOAP and UDDI to let programmers locate and use services on foreign computers.
PDM readers may sense some déjà vu coming on. Earlier in our existence we followed a protracted debate on interoperability through CORBA. While this technology is deployed in several upstream data sharing projects - notably with Open Spirit, CORBA’s tight coupling is deemed inappropriate for the loosely coupled world of the Internet.
At the POSC Web Services road show, IBM Web Services guru Tony Frico outlined how web services would let businesses describe and publish services they have to offer. Other businesses can ‘discover’ and invoke them in a secure manner. Web Services are ‘moving quickly because it’s a great idea.’
Web services adds to the XML alphabet soup vocabulary introducing a ‘transport layer’ - SOAP and the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI), a global internet registry of business service descriptions with over 2000 companies registered to date.
Not behind my firewall!
One issue confronting Web Services advocates is that at least one company has declared “we will never let anybody behind our firewall”. Another issue is that many companies may fight shy of such automated openness in their joint venture accounting. Do you really want your JV partners auditing your accounts before you’ve even seen them? It is just conceivable that some companies might be similarly reticent to total B2Government perestroika.
The new protocols solve the ‘burning issues’ in the B2B arena - how to ‘choreograph’ business transactions over multiple operating systems, language and applications. Frico claims ‘heavyweight’ take up of web services, but as far as I know these are not in the upstream. There is probably more immediate application in the field of EDI-based transactions between supermarkets and their suppliers. On the other hand, the reception that the B2B exchanges have received might suggest that there is an opening for web services. The argument might go as follows, the B2B exchanges have failed to eliminate the middleman, so lets eliminate the exchanges themselves and replace them with transactions between machines.
Don’t know what SOAP is about? How about this “SOAP is IT infrastructure which will allow interoperability where CORBA 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”. The source? PDM, July 2000. Where else would you get the essentials of a new technology over a year before the rest of the pack?
Actually my best bet for killer new technology is Voice-ML as described by Amerada Hess’ Gary Moucha inside this issue of PDM. What’s neat about VXML is the way it leverages existing infrastructure (the cell phone) and rolls out new technology without waiting on new infrastructure. But I found the technology trick of the month in an email from SAP which invited me to attend a webcast. With a single click, the invitation became an entry in my Outlook calendar and thence to my PDA! Once I’ve found out how to plug my Eye-Trek stereo specs into my iPAQ, I’ll be watching SAP webcasts while walking down the street! If you see me coming, better step aside...
Fugro has bought Jason Information Systems in a cash and paper transaction evaluated at € 100 million. The deal follows Fugro’s acquisition of Roberston Research International (PDM Vol. 6 N° 6) and is part of Fugro’s ongoing plan to create a specialist Geoscience Division. Both company boards have signed-off on the deal which is waiting on shareholder approval.
Jason employs a staff of 90 in Rotterdam and had a turnover of € 15.6 million over the 12 months to June 2001. The company has posted an annual turnover growth rate of over 30% for the last seven years, and anticipates growth of approximately 50% in calendar year 2001.
Jason’s flagship product, the Geoscience Workbench, provides integrated, quantitative reservoir analysis and modeling to optimize the integration of data from multiple sources. The Workbench includes tools for seismic inversion, amplitude versus offset (AVO) studies and geostatistics.
€ 100 million
One third of the € 100 million purchase price will be paid in newly issued ordinary Fugro shares subject to certain conditions. The remaining two thirds of the purchase price will be paid in cash by long and short-term financing arrangements. Jason is expected to enhance Fugro earnings per share in 2002. The Jason acquisition forms part of Fugro’s strategy of building up its geoscience division. Fugro plans to reduce its dependency on cyclical exploration activity, by targeting corporate production budgets.
The new geoscience division will also include Robertson, Fugro’s Airborne Survey companies, Geoteam, Fugro LCT, Seismic Australia and Geologic Consulting Services. The geoscience division is expected to generate about a quarter of Fugro’s future turnover and should benefit from internal synergies. Fugro plans ‘significant’ future growth - both organically and through new acquisitions.
Fugro has also acquired Osiris B.V. from CGG. Osiris provides positioning and hydrographic services in addition to hydrographic survey services around the world. Osiris has a staff of 67 and annual turnover of approximately € 10 million. More from www.fugro.com.
Ecopetrol, the Columbian national oil company, has signed a four year contract with Schlumberger Network Solutions (SNS) to develop, manage and support its entire IT structure. The deal, worth $ 27.5 million, includes computing, telecommunications, applications and data management.
Ecopetrol president Alberto Calderón said, “The new integrated service model will deliver our current service levels and optimize our operational cost. The contract offers a set of initiatives to transfer knowledge in different IT areas so that we can identify opportunities to enhance our infrastructure and to use new technologies to support our business processes”.
The complex outsourcing project covers 6,500 users in 14 locations, 170 servers, 56 routers, 235 business applications and approximately 25 terabytes of information in more than 10 distributed main databases.
In a previous contract, Schlumberger’s GeoQuest unit developed the Petroleum Information Bank, a Finder-based central repository of Columbian oil and gas data.
T-Surf held the 2001 GoCad users meeting in Houston last month. GoCad is proving a popular way of integrating data types from different parts of the E&P value chain, from structural modeling to reservoir simulation.
BP showed how GoCad was used to model complex seismic velocities in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico using ray tracing software from Norsar. An illumination study, performed during the acquisition of an ocean bottom survey was used to optimize acquisition geometry.
Texaco’s deepwater Petronious field has received the GoCad treatment to create a robust structural model and rock property grid. Iterating between GoCad and a fine-grained fluid flow simulation in Eclipse generated a final poro/perm model for the reservoir engineers. Jacta was used to assess resource volumes from seismic impedance to porosity correlation coefficients.
Version 2.0 of Jacta, T-Surf’s geostatistical uncertainty modeling extension was demonstrated by Emmanuel Gringarten. Jacta 2.0 has an improved user interface with a tree-view parameter browser which guides users through the uncertainty modeling workflow. Microsoft Excel is now used to display intermediate results and histograms. Jacta also now links to third party products such as GeoQuest’s FrontSim and StreamSim’s 3DSL streamline flow modeler.
Chevron’s Petroleum Technology unit has been using GoCad to assess geobody connectivity. A variety of connectivity measurements have been developed such as gross connectivity and path length. These were tested for their potential for predicting oil recovery and were shown to be valid measures of dynamic reservoir performance.
Grid builder ecstasy
BP’s geoscientists were ecstatic about GoCad’s grid-building capabilities. This ‘mission impossible’ modeling project involved complex overthrust geology with stacked reservoirs and repeat sections. With help from T-Surf’s Stanislas Jayr, BP’s modelers built the complex model in less than two weeks. Interactive QC and model clean-up took just a day using the latest GoCad editing features.
CSIRO Petroleum has developed a geostatistical toolbox module for GoCad for modeling highly heterogeneous rock property distributions. The LevySim module integrates structural interpretation and conditioning of stochastic reservoir modeling with seismics.
The BP Center for Visualization at the University of Colorado opened its doors last month to reveal a high-end, immersive visualization environment built around hardware from Silicon Graphics and Mechdyne. An initial donation of hardware, software, intellectual property and $10.6 million seed funding from BP, along with a donation of funds from Landmark Graphics kicked the project off last year. This year, further contributions were received from Silicon Graphics, Paradigm Geophysical, Lockheed Martin and Magic Earth.
The Center’s technology derives largely from work done in Arco’s Visualization Technology group, whose leader Geoff Dorn is now the Center’s director. Dorn is a specialist in 3D seismic horizon and volume attribute analysis and 3D visualization.
The Center’s Immersive Visualization Environment (IVE), located in the College of Engineering and Applied Science in Boulder, consists of a 12 x 12 x 10-foot Mechdyne re-configurable cave with BarcoReality 909 projectors (providing up to 1600 x 1280 stereo resolution) and CrystalEyes active stereo glasses. The compute engine is a Reality Center powered by an Onyx 3800 visualization system (20 processors, 4 InfiniteReality3TM graphics pipes), 3.5 terabytes of Fibre Channel storage and a variety of other SGI workstations.
Tony Meggs, BP VP technology said, “The Center will expand the use of immersive visualization technology beyond the energy industry to new areas such as weather forecasting, human health, aerospace and agriculture. CU and the State of Colorado are uniquely positioned with a blend of academic skills and institutions, high technology and aerospace companies, and telecommunications to make the most of the BP Center for Visualization.”
Immersive Drilling Planner
One project brought to the center from Arco’s researches is an immersive visualization tool for planning and updating well paths and platforms in relation to 3D geophysical and geological data.
Speaking at the GoCad user meeting, Kim Touysinhthiphonexay described how the Immersive Drilling Planner leverages T-Surf’s GoCad to enable multi-disciplinary teams to use 3D visualization technology, state-of-the-art planning algorithms, and integrated subsurface data for field exploration and development planning. More from www.colorado.edu/Research/bpVisCenter.
GTS-Geotech has acquired data loading specialist Geodata Management (GDM) which will constitute the new GTS-Data Management Group (GDMG). GDMG will offer seismic and well data loading to Seisworks, Openworks, IESX & Charisma, data conversion between Landmark and GeoQuest, database population and rationalization for Finder, OpenExplorer and proprietary databases. Other services available include data clean-up and quality assurance, Electronic Document Management and Knowledge Management population and support, consultancy and project Management.
Adan Farah, General Manager GTS Geotech said, “The formation of GTS-Data Management Group will broaden and enhance our service offering to our clients and will improve our comprehensive geotechnical support to the E&P industry.”
Earlier this year, GTS-Geotech rolled out its ExPert solution for remote, round the clock application support. Headquartered in the UK, GTS-Geotech has operational centers in London, Aberdeen, Houston and the United Arab Emirates and representatives in Brazil, Nigeria and throughout the Middle East. More from www.gts-geotech.com.
Magic Earth is porting its GeoProbe visualization and intepretation environment to Linux. GeoProbe 2.6, will run on selected models of the IBM IntelliStation running Linux, and will include the full suite of functionalities and tools available in the current GeoProbe release, as well as new features and enhancements. Magic Earth will deliver the new bundled software/hardware PC solution to customers in the first quarter of 2002.
Magic Earth CTO Yin Cheung said, “Linux has emerged as a viable computing platform for businesses in the energy industry, and Magic Earth is responding to the growing demand for the reliability and low cost structure that Linux offers.”
John Sarsgard, IBM VP added, “The upstream energy market is an ideal candidate for rapid adoption of Linux with the high-performance computing requirements of seismic processing and reservoir simulation.” Magic Earth will continue to develop and support GeoProbe on SGI hardware running IRIX. Halliburton has just completed its acquisition of Magic Earth, first announced in April this year. More from www.magicearth.com.
Start-up Datamation Software’s InControl tracks oilfield production equipment so that it can be used more efficiently. InControl keeps tabs on inventory location, specifications and use status. The software can help an operator re-deploy underutilized inventory at a new location instead of purchasing new equipment.
Datamation CEO Luvh Rakhe told PDM,“I founded Datamation while I was still at Harvard. While working as an intern at a small operating company, the accountant approached me with the problem of equipment wastage. I wrote some software to solve this problem and then realized that it might have market potential. I began pitching it locally in Corpus Christi, Texas. As feedback started coming in, we revamped the product, incorporating our customers’ suggestions for improvements.”
A new version of InControl is planned which will integrate with MS Office applications. All documents will be generated in MS Word and all data will be exportable to MS Excel. More from www.datamationsoftware.com.
Foster Findlay Associates (FFA) has been showcasing its technology in its Aberdeen Reality Center (ARC). The ARC deploys Magic Earth’s GeoProbe volume interpretation software running on a high resolution projection wall powered by an SGI Onyx computer.
Following a pilot study earlier this year, FFA claims interest in the ARC from clients such as BP, TotalFinaElf, ChevronTexaco, Marathon, Kerr McGee, and Amerada Hess. Latterly, FFA has partnered with Norwegian visualization specialist Kidra.
FFA’s image processing technology was presented this month at a meeting of the Geological Society in London by BP’s Dave Hood. Hood described how FFA’s technology helped BP capture information in 3D seismic using image processing, visualization and interpretation tools.
The authoritative, Paris-based, International Energy Agency has just published a new edition of its report on the world energy situation. World Energy Outlook, 2001, subtitled “Insights: Assessing Today’s Supplies to Fuel Tomorrow’s Growth,” argues that although the world’s energy reserves are more than enough to meet needs for the next twenty years and even for decades beyond, supply is not guaranteed.
Mature oil reservoirs in OECD countries will soon peak and decline. Consumers will grow more dependent on a small number of Middle East oil suppliers. Huge infrastructure additions are needed to bring natural gas to market and to burn coal more cleanly. To meet these challenges and exploit the favorable reserves situation, massive investments will be required in infrastructure and technology.
IEA director Robert Priddle, believes “We have absolutely no reason to worry about ‘running out of energy’ in the coming decades. But [..] vast amounts of capital must be mobilized to locate, develop and deliver energy to the markets where it is needed.” The main targets of the needed hundreds of billions of dollars of new investment are the ‘abundant and cheap oil of the Middle East,’ and the Former Soviet Union. In each case, foreign investment will be forthcoming only if the business climate in the host countries is congenial and only if oil prices guarantee investors a fair return on their money.
Beyond 2020 the report envisages that new technologies and new infrastructure will transform the energy world. Better extraction techniques will have expanded the availability of fossil fuels and other technologies will have sharply reduced their noxious side effects. World Energy Outlook, 2001. 421 pp. ISBN 92-64-19658-7. Price $150 from www.iea.org.
Schlumberger Information Systems (SIS) continues to leverage the Open Spirit interoperability platform with the announcement of an OpenSpirit-enabled Well Server for its Finder data management system. The new server, co-developed with Open Spirit Corporation, will expose Finder well data to OpenSpirit-enabled frameworks such as OpenWorks GeoFrame.
SIS IM boss Ihab Toma said, “Seamless access to information is essential to the corporate master data store. This development will improve workflow, data quality and open data access.”
Clay Harter, OpenSpirit’s CTO added, “End-users will now have access to the most up-to-date and accurate corporate data when and where they need it.” The first commercial version of the Finder Well Server is expected before the end of the year.
Exeter (UK)- based AnTech Oilfield Software has won the ‘creative marketing’ award from PennWell Publishing for the promotion of its StringView oil well visualization package.
StringView integrates legacy data systems to produce high quality well diagrams. StringView’s latest Online LE edition features multi-lateral well diagram drawing capabilities, in addition to deviated and more traditional well diagrams.
AnTech Oilfield Software is a division of AnTech Ltd, which specializes in the design and manufacture of innovative products for the international upstream oil and gas industries. More from www.antech.co.uk.
Petroleum Data Manager (PDM) has been short listed in the Institute of Petroleum’s “IP Awards 2001.” PDM faces stiff competition in the final round from Conoco’s Jet Safety Award project and Alberta Energy and Utilities Board’s Public Safety and Sour Gas initiative.
PDM’s citation was in the communications category – specifically as an internet content provider. The citation reads, “Oil and gas companies all have their intranet portals, and now the hunt is on for content, to provide knowledge workers with timely, accurate and focused information. Petroleum Data Manager (PDM) has responded to this need by providing a ready-made information resource, covering the field of oil and gas information technology.”
Neil Carmichael (Shell E&P) qualified the current dot-come débacle as a modern day equivalent of Tulipmania. Conscious that e-business in general has taken a knock from high profile failures such as Enron, Shell has reined in its e-business scope to ‘streamline processes and to connect more efficiently to stakeholders.’ The Internet Portal is the tool of choice and has been used to ‘expose the knowledge hidden in the business process.’ Portals need not be ‘glossy’, but rather a useful window on an organization’s data. Not all Shell’s Portal initiatives have been successful. GeoStar, a multi-language travel planning site, may be a ‘useful resource,’ but it is not making any money. GeoStar is ‘the nearest Shell has come to a dot-com bust!’ Shell’s successful Portal initiatives include Well Planning, e-Surplus and an internal bidding system for geophysical processing. The killer application is education, through Shell’s e-learning initiatives such as the Shell Open University. This provides careers management, information search and an online library of web based training.
Trade Ranger has had a tough time developing its business as an e-procurement intermediary. Initially, Trade Ranger tried to collect prices - and ‘generated a lot of angst’ among suppliers. The reverse auction is very transparent – too much so for some vendors who found Trade Ranger ‘too confrontational.’ Despite such issues, e-procurement proved an effective e-business pathfinder and helped ‘re-invent the process with a global mindset.’
John Keeble believes that Knowledge Management (KM) matters because of the demographic ‘time bomb.’ Today, 47-48 year olds dominate the age pyramid and this imbalance will impact in 10 years or so. Enterprise deploys KM through Communities of Practice (COP) and a ‘vibrant and diverse’ collection of websites including the London Geological Intranet, CyberDocs and Rapid which has now been developed into Landmark’s Web Open Works.
Russell Elliot (ENI/Lasmo) described how the popularity of Lasmo’s ‘Online’ portal led to calls from workers on the move to access the intranet from remote locations. The first solution was ‘WebMail,’ a home-brew Hotmail giving users access to their email from a hotel room. This led to the Lasmo’s Intranet via the Internet (IVI) project. Elliott believes that IVI will ultimately bring more flexibility in time management – with more working from home, less commuting stress etc. In short, a better world.
OK, e-commerce may be a bit long in the tooth now, but u-commerce? s-commerce? Accenture’s Richard Payne explained how ‘ubiquitous’ or ‘silent’ commerce uses internet technology to deliver pervasive, cheap processing power coupled with new ways of operating a business. U-commerce will replace today’s ‘high cost, fragmented’ e-commerce. U-commerce mandates mobile connectivity and Payne outlined how web sites are becoming multi-channel portals which adapt their content and presentation to whatever browsing device is used via a XML ‘data islands’. Using the Compaq iPAQ Personal Digital Assistant, Payne showed how an executive dashboard scales to viewing on the small screen. Accenture built the administration site for The World Economic Forum for use on the Pocket PC. The technology is applicable to sales force automation and to work in high-risk environments using devices such as the ruggedized Fujitsu PenCentra 200 tablet. Data captured in the field can be uploaded and synchronized. In the US, Pocket PC’s can synchronize in wireless LAN ‘hotspots’ such as in Starbucks. Sales force automation can also include GIS-based displays so that the sales force knows exactly where to go.
A related u-commerce technology is the radio frequency identity tags (RFID). At around 17 cents each, the tags are cheap enough to allow for highly granular tracking of the supply chain. ExxonMobil customers can pay for goods and gas at the convenience store at nearly 1,600 Exxon service stations with a wave of their SpeedPass transponder. Accenture demoed the technology with a dummy petrol pump. Customers have an RFID tag on their key-fob or in the vehicle (as used in the EZ-tag). As customer ‘signs in’ with the tag, he or she can be bombarded with special offers of extra goods or services – using customer preference data mined from previous purchasing habits. McDonalds is trialing this in Texas, as is Mobil, with its SpeedTag .
Mobile workflow integration
Accenture showed how new technology is extending workflow to the mobile work force. The problem today is that value is generated outside the office, but e-business is limited to inside. Some software companies are working to provide channel-based access to sales data from WAP phones or Pocket PCs. Currently, connectivity is not robust, so transactions are shaky.
Heiner Hochreutener, VP with Emerson Process Management* had a lot to say about procurement portals, not much of it very complementary. The portal tends to put up a ‘one size fits all’ barrier between client and supplier. This may hide the technological richness of an e-procurement site like EPM’s where clients can accurately specify complex goods and services. Hochreutener noted that the next generation of e-procurement should allow for rich service side functionally to be visible across the portal.
Such is the promise of Commerce One’s ‘Round Trip’ portal technology. Round Trip allows suppliers to host and maintain their own product catalogs. In any event, B2B is a lot of work for the contractor, and while portals may have a role, Hochreutener insists that as a vendor ‘we don’t like catalogues and we don’t like sign-up or transaction fees.’
Bill Le Sage, OFS Portal president, outlined the role of this supplier supported, not for profit B2B portal. OFS Portal should be a source of value for both parties. As a standards-based portal, OFS’ ultimate objective is to disappear – standards should mean that there are no intermediaries, no Trade Ranger, no OFS Portal, although this might be something of an ideal. In March 2001 OFSP had 10 members, now it has 17. OFSP members realize that e-commerce in the field of complex goods and services requires a sophisticated approach. The simplistic, marketplace paradigm – designed to drive down prices and to ‘commoditize’ everything has not worked. The reverse auction has proved a blunt tool. Most suppliers want a one to one dialogue with buyers.
Content – in the form of standardized catalogues – is the stumbling block. A drill bit is not a commodity, although you can easily fill in an SAP file, this could lead to a potentially dangerous mismatch. OFS is developing content, transactional standards. These will necessarily be a compromise and there may even be a multiplicity of standards. ‘Six standards are better than none. But one imperfect standard is better than six ‘perfect’ ones!’ Le Sage commented on the high level of collaboration that has existed in the past between service companies.
The unpopular reverse auction process has meant that much of the trust between vendors has gone. But B2B is not going to go away. Increasingly oil and gas companies are installing ERP systems which, along with content and standards, will drive B2B uptake. OFSP, along with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Marathon and Unocal have been selected by API/PIDEX to develop standards for complex products and services. Five pilots will be initiated this month. Le Sage notes the different complexity of sourcing (complex) and fulfillment (relatively simple) which represents the low hanging fruit of e-commerce. OFSP has developed 1500 product straw man templates (400 came from Trade Ranger). A template administration tool will be in production in November 2001 and 1900 templates will be finished by February 2002.
Tony Smith is a Director of Rex, an independent consultant and systems integrator, and a member of the UN ebXML initiative. Rex is working to consolidate and monitor key performance indicators (KPI) using research into Internet-enabled supply chain management done at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Rex’s technology consolidates information from sensors throughout an oil refinery or other plant to display as KPI’s on a ‘dashboard.’ A star display summarizes the current state of affairs with red/green ‘traffic light’ indicators of performance. The internet allows Rex’s consultants to transfer work around time-zones to work around the clock. Rex’s KPI monitoring solution can be delivered as Extranet/Intranet, by data replication or through Application Service Provision (ASP) – the preferred route. Smith gave a real-time demonstration of remote KPI monitoring of a real oil refinery located in Seattle.
Gary Moucha, director of global e-business with Amerada Hess presented proof of concept work done by Hess along with Accenture, Tasco and Phillips. Hess owns 1100 retail outlets in the eastern USA. They offer a ‘price competitive’ gas and fast food family experience in C-Stores with mini-malls. Hess is using simple cell phone-based u-commerce in the form of a Vortal, or voice portal. The technology is based on Voice XML. VXML plugs right in to existing cell phone users in the US who can then pre-order and pre-pay. This eliminates queuing – believe it or not you may otherwise have to queue for 20 minutes for a ‘Blimpey*’. VXML leverages existing standards and technologies. Voice recognition is ‘getting very good.’ Other fields of VXML application include refinery control and data collection, offshore plant and energy management.
Aventail’s technology is similar Lasmo’s IVI, offering secure access to the corporate Intranet from any location with web access. Aventail provides virtual private networks and secure, hosted extranets to let users authenticate themselves and access corporate resources behind the firewall. Deloitte & Touche use the Aventail net to connect 15,000 consultants throughout the world to its applications. Access can also be provided from within a client-site firewall. BP Exploration Alaska’s OilNet uses Aventail Net to connect to external services providers.
Cambridge Energy Research Associates has just released a report entitled “Promise, Reality and the Next Steps for E-Procurement (EP).”
CERA Director Richard Wood summarized the reports findings as follows. “We recognize three main categories of EP. Catalogues, reverse auctions and request for quotes. While some successes are reported for niche applications, the promise of broad roll-out has not been met. The lessons learned follow other new technology cycles; there is initial over-excitement, followed by disappointment. We are now entering the hard work phase. There are benefits from EP, but they are not going to fall into your lap.”
The CERA report found that some oil and gas companies had ‘abdicated responsibility’ for EP technology by working through consortia with fuzzy objectives. Now the consortia themselves are undergoing radical change. Meanwhile the vendor community felt that the focus of EP was to ‘beat down’ prices. Today, opinion has swung towards vendor-managed online stores. These work, but are not ‘overly grandiose.’
The CERA study concludes that the Catalogue/Shopping Cart technology still needs standards to be agreed on between buyers and sellers. Software companies are working on templates for Purchase Order and payment by P-Card, in a market that is splitting into a ‘shrinkwrap’ and a higher value ‘custom’ segments.
The request for quote technology is at a standstill, and is proving harder to implement than originally thought. But for CERA, EP is out of the technology closet. EP will no longer be handled by CERA’s ‘E2’ emerging technology business unit and will be handed over to CERA’s mainstream divisions. More on the CERA report from www.cera.com.
Murphy Oil’s Calgary-based Canadian unit is the first oil company to deploy new visionarium technology from SGI and Fakespace Systems. The heart of the new custom deigned system is a 8 by 16 foot Fakespace WorkWall ‘super-bright’ stereo display. A single-pipe SGI Onyx2 system with two Raster Managers, 4 central processing units and 8GB of RAM, powers the system. Two Mirage 5000 active stereo digital light processing projectors from Christie Digital drive the WorkWall.
Murphy’s Duncan McMaster said, “In many of our active offshore exploration projects, we are dealing with extremely large amounts of volumetric data. The new visualization center improves our ability to understand these huge data sets and speeds our ability to make effective drilling decisions. We were very pleased that SGI Professional Services was able to bring in the expertise and the most advanced technology available to meet our particular needs.”
A key feature of the system, according to McMaster, is the ability for groups to work with seismic data in a truly collaborative environment, instead of a more passive, theater-type setting. The custom- designed system developed by Fakespace Systems and SGI provides an extremely bright (5,000 lumens per projector) display that allows participants to work with stereoscopic subsurface simulations in a well-lit room where they can also reference notes, print-outs and drawings.
For Murphy Oil’s offshore exploration, which is focused on Canada’s eastern coast, the graphics power of the SGI supercomputer provides real-time rendering of complex three-dimensional deep-water data. The high-resolution, rear-projected WorkWall display enables the exploration team to gather close to the screen for discussion and inspection of minute details within these massive visualizations.
SGI Global Energy Solutions director Bill Bartling said “Fakespace’s systems provide an exceptionally bright, stable display for dimensionally accurate viewing, even when working very close to the screen. The two-projector system also enables simultaneous viewing of both stereo and mono images side by side.” The new system is the first active stereo digital projection system purchased for use in energy exploration. More from www.fakespacesystems.com.
Landmark unit GrandBasin has released details of how it is assuring round the clock, secure data access to its hosted applications. GrandBasin’s applications run in a secure data center owned and managed by Solid Systems Inc.
Solid’s hosting environment in Houston features redundant power and climate control systems, fire suppression and uninterrupted connectivity. The centers utilize two megawatts of power, with three one-megawatt diesel generators for backup, 600 tons of air conditioning and direct connectivity to eleven Tier 1 Internet providers to ensure ‘the shortest route to 94% of the Internet’. Solid’s services include co-location, storage, backup, disaster recovery and systems and database administration. Latest hardware acquisition for the GrandBasin account is a the new high-performance NetApp F880 filer.
GrandBasin president John Faraguna said, “NetApp gives us the functionality and performance required to deliver upstream oil and gas applications in a hosted environment. NetApp’s solutions are easy to integrate into our heterogeneous environment and meet the demanding needs of E&P applications.” The NetApp device will support GrandBasin’s Sun and Dell servers housed at Solid Systems.
BHP’s Global Geoscience Technology division wanted an integrated geological and geophysical viewer for data access and collaboration. Its existing reservoir simulation package did not provide seismic visualization functionality. BHP also required a flexible cross-section viewer that let its engineers visualize and analyze reservoir simulation output along with seismic and log data.
BHP contracted INT to develop the Viewer according to its own specifications. BHP combined INT’s java-based graphics components and experience in multi-tier client-server systems, with its own expertise in high-speed random access of large multidimensional data. The result was a data viewing application that combined geological model data and seismic data.
The Viewer has been designed as a front-end for third party applications. The Viewer also integrates with Seismic Unix, the Open Source seismic processing system used by BHP internally.
BHP has major oil exploration centers in Melbourne, Houston, and London. The viewers are installed and served through BHP Intranet. Seismic processors can now analyze data and collaborate remotely through the company's internal web sites. Complex views of the data can be saved and restored through a browser interface.
BHP ultimately intends to reduce the cost of maintenance by making the Viewer available as Open Source. If enough interest is generated, other companies and organizations will be invited to collaborate on the Viewer. Phase One of the project was completed in July 2001. Phase Two, which includes support for horizons, basemap views, and a movie capability, is currently underway and will be completed by December 2001.
The latest release of Molli Computer Services’ MICA economic analysis software has online links to Petroleum Place. MICA users can now access monthly production history data hosted by Petroleum Place. The data is available as part of Petroleum Place’s DataExplorer suite of online data access and analysis tools. Petroleum Place, the oil and gas asset divestiture specialist obtains the U.S. production data through an agreement with Petro Data Source.
Petroleum Place’s Richard Herrmann said, “Our goal is to reduce cycle times involved in finding and obtaining critical data, allowing engineers to focus their time on analysis.”
MICA performs regression analysis on production data to determine historical trends which are used to forecast future performance. MICA features include economics, P/Z and four point test analysis for gas wells, engineering calculations, graphs and reports. MICA runs on Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT and Windows 2000 and interfaces with Office tools and Windows plotters. More from www.mcsi.com.
Petroleum Place unit Paradigm Technologies has selected content management software from JD Edwards to manage and deliver its documentation and training materials. Denver-based Paradigm (no relation to Paradigm Geophysical) develops Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and accounting software for over 400 enterprise clients using JD Edwards’ OneWorld development tools.
Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) lets companies manage and reuse content created with standard desktop tools such as Microsoft Office. Paradigm used ECM to build a repository of more than a thousand pages of its training material.
Rather than delivering traditional printed documentation, Paradigm will deliver a live repository. Clients can then use the content to produce custom training and documentation for their own JD Edwards/Paradigm implementations. JD Edwards has sold its ECM tool to over 20 enterprises in the last quarter. More from www.jdedwards.com.
Input-Output unit Green Mountain Geophysics (GMG) has released new software for computing static corrections for land seismics. FathTomo, the latest addition to GMG’s Fathom refraction statics package, uses a full 3-D turning ray tomography technique to build an accurate near-surface velocity model. FathTomo is a flexible alternative to the existing delay-time approach for refractor modeling and provides a 3D model slice highlighting near-surface velocity variations.
FathTomo improves results in areas with vertical velocity variations and velocity inversions by comparing delay-times and tomographic inversion to optimize the solution. The new software utilizes a fuller range of offsets for improved long wavelength statics. 3D visualization helps the interpreter determine accurate near-surface velocity models for use in pre-stack depth imaging. A 3D perspective view provides aids comparison of surface elevations and the voxel model. FathTomo is the latest component of GMG’s ‘Millennium Series’ of software tools.
Fugro has just opened a new website offering geographical information system (GIS)-based access to its non exclusive data inventory. Data includes 2D and 3D seismics data, gravity and magnetics and other airborne geophysical surveys.
The site offers an intuitive interface, allowing for drill down to through project details to contact information. Different data types can be selected and project overviews can be downloaded for further study.
The GIS was developed by Maris BV (www.maris.nl) using its Linda GIS development system. Check out the new site on www.fugro.nl/non_exclusive/content.asp?lang=en.
Mercury International Technology’s Interactive Internet Processing has been re-branded as ThinAnywhere (TA). Originally developed to give clients remote access to MIT’s seismic processing suite iXL, the technology has developed into a generic Application Service Provision (ASP) offering. TA features include native support for all X-Windows functionality, PEX 3D, OpenGL, true color and auto-reconnect. Security is assured with 128 bit ‘military quality’ AES encryption and certificate-based authentication along with normal password control.
Sudhakar, VP Seismic Technology with Core Lab unit Scott Pickford commented “We have computer assets, software and clients in several different cities. TA allows us to bring the right personnel, the right computer assets and the customers together as if they were in the same room. The security, speed and 3D graphics are just added benefits.”
Phil Hall, VP with Star Geophysics adds “We run high-end technical X-apps with heavy graphic resource requirements. We found TA to be precisely what is needed to effectively run these apps over a Internet connect. TA’s transfer rate is tremendously faster than Hummingbird’s Exceed. The security features and session saving features give us a seamless method to achieve maximum productivity while involving our clients just to the appropriate degree.” More from www.thinanywhere.com.
New software from AspenTech unit PetroVantage targets the downstream petroleum supply chain. PetroVantage provides downstream professionals with a hosted solution for decision support, collaborative workflow and dynamic deal negotiation. PetroVantage’s customers include Enron, Citgo, Premcor, Williams Energy Partners and Caleb Brett.
Jay Wiese, VP Williams Energy Partners said, “PetroVantage addresses the challenges and inefficiencies we have identified in our enterprise-wide value chain. By using PetroVantage to make better and more informed decisions, industry players can substantially improve the efficiency of their operations.”
PetroVantage president Charles Moore added, “Our Foundation Client Program provided valuable feedback from participants who piloted the software which continues to be incorporated into the PetroVantage.” Aspen Technology supplies integrated software and solutions to the companies such as BP, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil. More from www.aspentech.com.
Hanover, Germany-based Trappe Erdol Erdgas Consultants (TEEC) has launched new software business, TEECWare GmbH and has announced new neural network facies classification software NeuroTEEC.
NeuroTEEC uses a patented neural network technique to map seismic facies on the basis of 3D volume attributes. Changes in lithology, rock properties and fluid content are detected from variations in amplitude, shape and lateral continuity of the seismics. NeuroTEEC generates a multiplicity of seismic attributes which may relate to reservoir heterogeneity. The spatial distribution of seismic facies can identify features of the reservoir heterogeneity that are otherwise hard to detect or time consuming to interpret.
Other TEEC software includes CohTEEC for coherency mapping and RefTEEC, a supervised pattern recognition tool which uses the seismic signature at the location of key wells, or at arbitrarily defined locations, to highlight the internal characteristics of selected compartments.
Horizontal Solutions International (HSI, formerly Bowdon Energy Consultants) has extended its agreement with Exploration Consultants Ltd. (ECL) to cover the Houston-based USA & International markets. HSI provides geo-navigation services for horizontal drilling. HSI has analyzed over 2 million feet of horizontal wellbores using HSI’s propriety software. HSI’s software is used to steer and evaluate horizontal wellbores and has been tested in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the North Sea. ECL will be offering HSI’s horizontal geo-steering technology and service through its geological wellsite operations division.
Betty Anthony has been appointed general manager of the American Petroleum Institute (API) Upstream Segment. Anthony was previously director of Planning and Strategic Communications for the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA).
Bill Marko is now COO of the Oil & Gas Journal Property Exchange. Marko worked with Mobil before joining the PennWell group.
Fugro unit EIS Energy Information Services has appointed Bernadette Anderson as head of research and Jeremy Cresswell as editor in chief. Anderson joins EIS from IHS Energy Group. Cresswell was previously with The Scotsman.
Troy Ikoda has appointed of Stephen Birrell as Manager of Business Development for its Aberdeen office. Birrell was formerly Managing Director of Granite Rock.
Kim Gunn Maver is now managing director of Odegaard. Chairman John Odegaard previously occupied this position. Dave Davies has been named managing director of Odegaard UK.
Henning Trappe is director of TEECWare, TEEC’s new software arm.
Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) has reported third quarter operating profit after tax, excluding non-recurring items, of $134.7 million, up 95% on the same period last year. Total revenues for the period were $1,436.0 million (6% up). BHI president Mike Wiley attributed the record results to “Strong North American activity, improved margin performance and improving international activity.” BHI has also reduced its debt by $1 billion from its peak level in year 2000.
CGG posted revenues of € 178.7 million, up 23 % on the same quarter in 2000. For the period, CGG’s operating result shows a € 8.6 million profit, a significant improvement compared to the 2000 third quarter operating loss of € 7.7 million. Processing-Reservoir activity saw sales of € 25.9 million, a rise of 6 % in what is described as ‘a slowly recovering market.’ Commenting the results, CGG chairman and CEO Robert Brunck said, “These results are in line with our projections. We confirm our objective of a profitable fiscal year 2001. It is clear that the recent tragic events and their consequences on the international situation constitute an element of uncertainty for the short to possibly medium term.”.
Core Laboratories third quarter 2001 was the most profitable in the company’s history. Net income for the period topped $9 million (57% up on the same period last year) on revenues of $ 97 million. Core Lab plans to restructure its underperforming seismic and engineering field study groups in Reservoir Management. From discussions with its clients, the company anticipates North American spending dropping by 20% to 30% in the fourth quarter and continuing at these lower levels into the first half of 2002. International spending should increase 5% to 10% over the same period.
Halliburton reported 2001 third quarter net income from continuing operations at $181 million, an increase of 39% over the prior year quarter, the highest earnings since the merger with Dresser in 1998. The Energy Services Group segment posted third quarter revenues of $2.3 billion, up 33% on the period last year. Halliburton’s Landmark Graphics unit also posted a ‘strong operating profit’ during the quarter.
Paradigm Geophysical Revenue, for the quarter was $17.8 million (24% up on same period last year). Chairman and CEO Eldad Weiss commented “The sudden change in the business climate this quarter resulted in some of our clients holding back on software purchase decisions [..] We are encouraged by the continuing growth in our services operations.”
Schlumberger’s third quarter operating revenue was $3.6 billion and net income of $195 million. Oilfield Services revenue increased 36% including WesternGeco over the third quarter of 2000. Chairman and CEO Euan Baird commented, “Following September 11, most observers have lowered their predictions of demand for 2002. We believe they are overly pessimistic and that markets will recover sooner rather than later. [..] any recovery in world economies will spark increased demand for oilfield services.”
Investment bankers Simmons & Co. have analyzed North Sea production and have determined that it peaked in 2000 at the combined rate for UK and Norway of 5.9 million bopd. Simmons forecasts the onset of a decline in North Sea production, down to 5.7 million bopd in 2002 and 2003 and then more rapidly to 4.7 million bopd by 2005.
In the new study, Simmons believes that the business model for the North Sea will inevitably evolve along the lines of the Gulf of Mexico. Shrinking field sizes and higher depletion rates are less economically attractive to major E&P companies which must deliver large production growth to overcome their own depletion rates. Simmons expects the majors to de-emphasize the North Sea while independents will raise their profiles, especially in the UK.
Recent licensing rounds in the UK and Norway have seen an influx of independents who have also acquired producing properties on the UKCS. While the majors are likely to hold on to core fields, infrastructure and promising development opportunities, it is reasonable to expect they will divest themselves of other properties.
According to the Simmons analysis, the oil service industry and independents will benefit from the new ‘fractured’ client base.
The North Sea has changed. The “easy” production growth of the 1990s is over. The deepwater, Atlantic Margin, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea regions offer opportunities for production growth, but the core continental shelf region is set to experience declining production. Independents will likely demand regulatory changes to lower costs of production in the new environment. Read the full report on www.simmonsco-intl.com.