March 2006


Gates backs ‘Energy City’

Schlumberger and Microsoft back new Qatar energy hub—set to ‘capture’ revenue streams with new trading exchange and upstream R&D facility. A new rival to Houston, Aberdeen and Stavanger?

A new Middle East energy business hub, Energy City Qatar (ECQ), was inaugurated this month by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar. Located in Doha’s Lusail development, the EQC is set to ‘serve the commercial, technical and HR needs of the oil and gas industry.’ The ECQ will be home to a new energy trading platform, the International Mercantile Exchange (IMEX), regulated by Qatar’s Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

Gulf Energy

The ECQ is backed by Qatar government owned Al-Addiyar Real Estate (AARE) and Gulf Energy, a consortium of energy consultants, researchers and academics. ECQ includes an intellectual and technology ‘cluster’ of a research lab and data center linked to a geosciences analysis facility. Gulf Energy recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft Corp. for the development and implementation of ‘next generation enterprise solutions’ to support the ECQ.

Gates

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, in a videotaped message said, ‘Software plays a central role in the energy industry. We will work together with the ECQ to create new tools and solutions that will enable oil and gas companies to achieve new levels of performance in every phase of their business. ECQ will be an international showcase for the next generation of technology innovations.’

IMEX

ECQ tenants include the International Mercantile Exchange (IMEX), a new energy trading platform that is expected to be active in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market. A Service Industry Satellite will include drilling, oilfield service, engineering, offshore suppliers and seismic companies.

Star Trek

Mohammad Hammoudi, manager of Microsoft Qatar told Oil IT Journal, ‘We will be working with ECQ management over the next couple of months to identify specific technologies. We plan make all facilities ‘intelligent,’ leveraging the new generation of Microsoft technology due out next year. This will include productivity tools and business applications, along with sector-specific stuff. The ECQ will deploy RFID technology, voice and video over IP. We will combine the ‘digital lifestyle’ of the residential Lusail quarter with a new ‘digital workstyle’. My personal vision is for a mini ‘Star Trek’ city!’

Gould

Schlumberger chairman Andrew Gould added, ‘We believe Energy City Qatar can fill an important role as the regional hub for intellectual capital. We welcome Qatar’s initiative in pursuing such a vision. The oil and gas of the future will become progressively more difficult to develop and an integrated approach such as this must be part of the answer.’


SCADA security

A new report from the American Gas Association offers vulnerability assessment and advice on the deployment of encrypted SCADA communications.

The American Gas Association (AGA) has published the first volume of a four-part report on the SCADA cryptographic integrity. SCADA systems enable computers in the field to transmit operations data about valves, pressure, temperature and flow rate of natural gas to the utility’s control center.

Denbow

AGA’s director Kimberly Denbow said, ‘SCADA is the virtual brain of the utility’s control center. Our report provides a comprehensive approach to secure SCADA communications. If an initial vulnerability assessment shows a need for enhanced security, encryption can protect SCADA communications across the different protocols in use.’

AGA-Report 12

The AGA Report N° 12 ‘Cryptographic Protection of SCADA Communications’ was co-authored by the Gas Technology Institute and representatives of SCADA, cryptography module and router manufacturers, research groups, government bodies and gas companies. The report is a free download from aga.org. Future volumes will cover retrofit encryption, networked SCADA systems and embedding cryptography in the manufacturing process.

See also our report from the SPE Digital Security conference—OITJ Vol. 11 N° 1.


Data validation—the next big thing, really!

In guise of an editorial, this month we bring you a short email exchange between Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton and two leading members of the WITSML community. The subject—an investigation into how XML,SOAP etc. can be used to assure data QC on-the-fly.

From: Neil McNaughton

Subject: Data validation and quality.
John, I am giving a paper in a few weeks on the next 10 years of data management and plan to include WITSML and its siblings in my talk. I have a couple of questions on the degree to which XML/SOAP can actually enhance data quality by offering on-the-fly data validation. So here are some questions for you. First, how important is data validation to the WITSML community? It is not generally mentioned in WITSML presentations. Is this because it is overlooked, or too obvious to be worth mentioning? Next, does XML/SOAP guarantee data validated against a schema? How far can this be taken? I gather that you can test data (for instance units of measure) against a list of values. But can you build business rules into SOAP/XML to check for instance that if a well is P&A’d, it also has a spud date?  

Behind these questions is a concern that SOAP/XML may not be fully used to do on-the-fly data QC. Perhaps constant validation will be seen as too much trouble. Rather like using constraints when loading data into a database. This has been a common practice in the past and one that has resulted in poor data quality.

Neil.

. . .

From: John  Shields (Baker Inteq)

Neil, Good to hear from you again. Data validation is a very important part of the business of the companies involved in WITSML. The majority of the data flow is from wellsite providers to office based repositories. It is normally a contractual responsibility of the wellsite acquisition companies to provide data values that are valid and as accurate as possible. The validation of data is normally carried out within the software of the acquisition systems where it is possible to check for bad sensor values or out of range measurements for different measurement units. WITSML is just the transfer mechanism and not responsible for the accuracy of the numerical measurements.

Within WITSML however, there are a number of things that can be used to validate the WITSML data messages. An XML data file or document can be described by an XML schema as is the case for WITSML. The XML schema can perform fairly sophisticated validation of the structure and type of data contained within an XML message including: specifying if elements are mandatory, the number of occurrences of an element, checking for valid entries in enumerated lists, specifying the length of a data string and checking numeric data types (integer, float etc.). Most programming languages provide the facility to validate an XML document against its schema and to be able to analyze any errors reported. WITSML also defines schemas for units of measure classes so that validation can check that valid units have been used in the XML documents. Typically, WITSML objects would need to be validated as they are received into a WITSML store. In this scenario it would not normally be too time consuming or processing intensive a task to perform validation checking by means of the XML schema file or a business rules style sheet. Interesting stuff!

John.

. . .

From: Rune Skarbø (Sense Intellifield)

Neil, Until recently, focus has been on achieving seamless streaming or replication of data between WITSML systems, although some work has been done using WITSML (XML/SOAP) to enhance and QC data. Now that interoperability between systems is in place, the WITSML community is able to focus more on using the XML data as a basis for data QC, advanced algorithms, smart alarms, etc. Although the WITSML schemas provide some level of assurance that data conforms to certain rules, we need business logic to take full advantage of the data. Here are a few examples:

1) Operators often require service companies to provide real-time data using defined units of measure (UOM) and may provide contractors with lists of accepted curves, mnemonics and UOMs. These can be specified in our SiteCom WITSML application’s business logic module, so that incoming data is validated as it arrives. If something does not match, an alarm is raised—or if preferred, units can be automatically corrected to the predefined format.

2) The same business logic module can check for spikes, rates of change, or values exceeding specified boundaries and perform processing on the data, making it available in near real-time.

3) Although specific data validation rules or business logic has not been specified in WITSML, this does not mean they cannot be implemented. SiteCom automatically reads the incoming data, runs data QC, and then writes the updated data back to SiteCom. Users can receive a master log, consisting of data from different parts of the well, in both QC’d and raw formats.

4) As the essence of WITSML is for the standardization of data formats, one may see ‘process driven data QC’. One example may be a common portal for well geometry, where high resolution planned drillstring and hole geometry are loaded from the well planning application. All applications using the geometry data go to the portal to get this instead of today’s practice of entering it all manually. As the string runs in the hole, an electronic tally book updates the portal automatically. Typical applications are cementing, hydraulics, torque and drag, completion, and casing.

5) There are many other examples where algorithms operate on the WITSML data as it arrives to perform real-time torque and drag, drillstring integrity, real-time event recognition (i.e. what’s going on at the well site) and drilling efficiency. They key is that it does not matter which service company is being used. As long as the data conforms to the WITSML schemas, it is possible to implement generic algorithms that work independently of the data source.

Rune.


OITJ Interview—Sandy Esslemont, CEO Roxar

Roxar’s CEO talks to Oil IT Journal about the change of ownership, its plans for the future, the shortage of geoscience personnel and the IT cultural tussle centered on the digital oilfield.

Describe Capita’s acquisition of Roxar.

Our previous owner, Lisme, was formed to take Roxar off the stock exchange. Lisme acquired the 94% outstanding Roxar shares—but always with an exit in mind. This past year has been particularly interesting for us, ending in a very welcome change of ownership.

Was it a good deal for Lisme?

The deal is valued at $200 million which represents a very good return on their investment. They are happy! And we are. We needed someone to help us move to the next level.

Can you can update us on your financials?

Turnover was $130 million in 2005 with 69% from metering. About 25% of total revenues are from our subsea business, up from 10% in 2003. Subsea includes multi-phase metering, wet gas and sand monitoring. Putting on the seabed what we already do on the surface. Software has grown to remain at around 30% of revenue—in other words a 10-15% annual growth. But we are now seeing a very hot market for personnel, as operators take a lot of our people. This is not very helpful in the long run, but it is what happens every time. We had plans to hire 100 people in 2006, half in our software division but in the circumstances, this will be a challenge. There is no problem with the technology, in fact we are turning down opportunities because of the people shortage. Geoscience and reservoir engineering are the real problem areas. The hardware side of the business is different, there is a much bigger engineering labor pool to hire from. Software developers are no problem either.

This must make it hard to develop your consulting business?

That’s true for geoscience, but we are also targeting production and process with our IRPM offering* and our real time model update. We are doing more and more in this space with WITSML and live MWD/LWD data, moving to ‘close the circle’ and proactively leverage more live data. This is not necessarily the same stretched market as geoscience.

Is Dacqus* still relevant here?

Actually we have split into a data acquisition and flow measurement group and the RSS (software) unit. RSS includes our FieldWatch group which is working on a new field-wide real time data acquisition package we acquired in Russia last year as ResView 2.0. This will be rolled out as FieldWatch in the next year or so and we are planning to roll out more real time data acquisition and analysis tools.

That still represents a bit of a gap to Irap?

Yes but we can do live data to Tempest (our reservoir flow modeler) and even if real time data integration with Irap is not feasible now, this is what we are striving for.

So your not thinking of an Irap spin-off.

We are still putting a huge development effort into Irap, with teams in Russia and California, near Stanford. We are also re-engineering our software to allow for development of tools outside of RMS—not modules as before. RMS is a fully integrated suite, but FracPerm, which we released last year, was developed as a stand-alone Windows-based product. We now have four development teams working on FieldWatch (RT production optimization), FracPerm (fractured reservoir characterization), Tempest (Fluid Flow simulator) and Irap RMS (geo modeling).

How do these tools interconnect?

FracPerm for instance is a Windows-based product and is not closely coupled with RMS. Over time these tools will be integrated as a suite. But we don’t want to have everything in the same product. It takes too long to develop and deploy an Irap module. A Petrel user can buy FracPerm, an Eclipse user can buy Tempest.

Schlumberger is pushing Petrel as a development environment for plug-ins. Is this of interest?

No. Schlumberger usually ends up developing its own stuff! We want Petrel customers to move to RMS!

Are you involved with PRODML?

We are keeping an eye on it. We definitely subscribe to this activity.

We have written before about a culture clash between the upstream and the process control communities. Do you see different ‘solutions’ to the same problem in WITSML/PRODML and SCADA S95 etc?

We have already seen this in the hardware space. Downhole temperature and pressure measurement may be specified by the reservoir community but the equipment is more process-engineering based. More often than not the two cultures don’t communicate. There is a big divide at asset level between production and reservoir.

How is this going to impact the digital oilfield (DO)?

That’s a good question! Some think of the DO as facilities, some think it is reservoir. We have one person working full time studying DO solutions, just trying to figure out what they are and what the business model will be. In fact even operators are challenged within their own organizations. For us, reservoir engineering should sit in the middle of the DO. I see the DO as a big ‘de-bottlenecking’ exercise. Petroleum and reservoir engineering has a lot to learn from process. In the downhole domain, there is very little automation in the form of closed loop decision making. We are still deploying systems with a single valve controlled from the surface. This is laughable compared with what happens in a plant. It’s like things were 30 years ago. In the end all this will only work if both camps work together (as we do). Today the DO is just one big disconnect. It will be very interesting to see what the IT picture of the DO looks like in five years time. But before then, I believe that the people crisis will force technology adoption.

* See our previous interview with Sandy Esslemont in the April 2004 issue of Oil IT Journal.


Software short takes, sales, new releases ...

Short takes this month from OLF, Scandpower, Shell, IHS, DigitalOilfield, Fakespace, Genetek, FFA, Schlumberger, Geomatics, Veritas, OpenSpirit, Petrosys, Kappa Engineering and Silicon Graphics.

The Norwegian oil and gas trade association OLF is organizing a two day ‘Semantic Days’ event on the 26th and 27th April in Stavanger, focusing on real world application of semantic web technologies.

Scandpower Petroleum Technology reports new software sales this month. Shell’s Global Solutions unit has acquired OLGA 2000, Scandpower’s pipeline and wellbore flow modeler, for deployment in Malaysia. Dolphin Energy is to deploy Scandpower’s real-time production management systems, EDPM, in its Ras Laffan facility in Qatar. Amerada Hess (Denmark) has acquired Scandpower’s MEPO tool for reservoir uncertainty management and production forecasting.

IHS has acquired Nixon Digital Logs’ comprehensive Texas well log collection with some data going back to the 1930s. The 140,000 logs dataset will be integrated into IHS’ log database and available for ordering through the IHS website.

Digital Oilfield has just announced a new optimizer for financial and operational interaction between energy companies and their suppliers. Web-based Project-Accelerator is a collaborative environment where stakeholders can share schedules and technical requirements, as well as track project status, task assignment and completion. ProjectAccelerator manages the oilfield lifecycle, from initial exploration to final tie-in and production.

Fakespace has just introduced its ‘Beacon’ active stereo projection system  offering stereoscopic projection with 8.85 megapixel native resolution and 5,000 lumen output. The system targets, inter alia, the geophysical interpretation and well planning verticals. Two such projectors will be used in a 3m x 3m, 14 megapixel display on show at the Virtual Reality Applications Center of Iowa State University during the Human Computer Interaction Forum next month.

Calgary-based Genetek’s EarthWorks offers a cutting edge interpretation environment running on the powerful but esoteric Dec Alpha platform. Genetek considers the old ‘pick-post-map’ approach to seismic interpretation is ‘a very outdated approach to finding oil and gas.’ The latest addition to the genetek website is a compelling Flash demonstration of real time anisotropy and AVO modeling—highly recommended.

Foster Findlay Associates’ latest SVI Pro release includes a new FaultTrend module which allows instantaneous fault azimuth  calculation within a FaultApp workflow. Other enhancements include enhanced 3D well path viewing and a ‘full screen’ mode for optimum visualization.

According to CEO Andrew Gould, in the last 18 months, some 80 companies have adopted Schlumberger’s flagship interpretation package Petrel as their ‘standard.’

IHS, Geomatics Data Management and Veritas DGC have teamed to offer Canadian clients a turnkey solution for the migration of legacy NAD27 data to NAD83. The move is in response to a recommendation from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that such conversion should be achieved before Q2 2008. Conversion should greatly reduce the risk of incorrect spatial data being used.

OpenSpirit has just announced version 2.9 of its interoperability framework with data store connectors for PPDM, Petra, SMT and ArcSDE. A ‘satellite installation’ functionality supports deployment of OpenSpirit-enabled data stores on hosts running different operating systems.

Petrosys offers a pointer to a ‘starter kit’ of Australian well location data on theGeoscience Australia web site, . Well header information is available in ‘cul’ format for some 11,000 Australian oil and gas wells.

Kappa Engineering has just released Ecrin, an environment where all Kappa’s tools can share data and models. Saphir, Topaze and Diamant are available now in the new environment. Emeraude, along with a new simulator and a nodal analysis tool will be offered under Ecrin in 2007.

Silicon Graphics has announced a supercomputing ‘blade’ with dual Xilinx Virtex 4 field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology. SGI claims ‘orders of magnitude’ speedup for its RC100 reconfigurable application-specific computing (RASC). Third-party development tools from Celoxica and Mitrionics are also available.


Zeh to market Accu-Audit’s SeisInfo

Deal sees expansion into seismic data management and GIS for plotting specialist.

ZEH Software of Houston has teamed with Calgary-based Accu-Audit to offer worldwide sales, marketing, support and implementation services for Accu-Audit’s seismic data management software, SeisInfo. SeisInfo organizes seismic surveys into a ‘spatially aware’ repository to support seismic data management, search and retrieval. The software also offers QC seismic location information, fast and accurate survey data loading and visual ‘discovery’ of the relationships between physical items, areas of interest, ownership and other survey attributes. Maps of seismic surveys can be displayed and filtered with specified search criteria. Map previews help avoid loading duplicate surveys into the SeisInfo repository.

Martin

Zeh president and CEO Jerry Martin said, ‘Many of the oil companies we interviewed over the past year have expressed significant problems in the area of seismic data management. We researched many products and companies worldwide looking for a solution to this problem and we are pleased to have found Accu-Audit and SeisInfo. The Accu-Audit customers we interviewed were very pleased with the ease of use and value that SeisInfo brought to their data managers.’

200 clients

Privately-held Accu-Audit develops software for managing seismic navigational data and provides services for auditing seismic data. Accu-Audit claims over 200 clients for its seismic information system in Canada.


KingdomWeb browser for SMT database

Premier Oil is early adopter of Exprodat’s web browser for SMT’s Kingdom database.

UK-based Premier Oil has licensed Exprodat’s KingdomWeb front end to data stored in Seismic Micro Technology’s PC-based Kingdom interpretation system. The KingdomWeb web-based data browser was originally developed by Exprodat for Kerr-McGee’s North Sea unit.

Edwards

Premier Oil CIO David Edwards said, ‘With increased exploration activity comes an increase in sub-surface data to manage. KingdomWeb has proved valuable as an easy way of summarizing available data and at highlighting data irregularities within Kingdom which would otherwise have been very hard and time consuming to spot.’

Intuitive

KingdomWeb provides intuitive access to data in Kingdom projects, without having to understand or initiate the Kingdom application. KingdomWeb also provides a number of data quality control and cross-project search and comparison tools, allowing the user to quickly identify possible errors in data, or inconsistencies between overlapping data sets.

Smith

Exprodat’s Director Gareth Smith added, ‘KW provides ‘quick look’ data browsing and access to key data types. It simplifies the job of finding and QC’ing data in Kingdom databases, and needs virtually no training to use effectively.’


BP to deploy Input-Output FireFly system

I/O’s first client to trial 10,000 trace seismic acquisition system on Wyoming gas field revamp.

Announced with much fanfare at last year’s SEG, I/O’s FireFly has now found a launch partner in BP America Production Company. BP is to deploy and test the high tech ten thousand station wireless seismic acquisition system over its Wamsutter gas field in Wyoming, the first commercial use of the FireFly system.

Button

BP’s Bob Button said, ‘We recently announced a multi-year, $2.2 billion expansion of Wamsutter. The FireFly test is part of a $120 million technology field trial program. This novel seismic acquisition technology potentially provides us with improved resolution and characterization of target reservoirs while minimizing impact on the environment and mitigating risks associated with seismic field operations.’

Full-wave

FireFly is I/O’s latest full-wave seismic recording platform that combines wireless communication, data storage, and power technologies borrowed from other industries. FireFly claims ‘dramatic’ improvements in system weight, operational productivity, and health, safety, and HSE performance.

Hollis

I/O VP Jim Hollis added, ‘BP has a long track record as a seismic pioneer with the deployment of a permanent full-wave seismic monitoring system at Valhall and its support of deepwater, node-based recording.’ A baseline FireFly survey of Wamsutter is planned for Q4 2006.


Chevron, Hydro back Qinetiq spin-out

UK ‘swords to ploughshares’ program begets fiber optic seabed monitoring specialist ‘Stingray Geophysical.’

UK-based Qinetiq has just spun-off a new unit, Stingray Geophysical, to develop OptaSeis, a commercial fiber optic seismic monitoring system for permanent seabed acquisition of four component time lapse (4D/4C) seismic data. Stingray has secured £6.6 million capital from a venture capital consortium led by Energy Ventures and including Norsk Hydro and Chevron’s venture capital units. Qinetiq is to retain a 20% share in the company.

Lake

Qinetiq director Stephen Lake said, ‘Stingray is an important step in the commercialization of QinetiQ’s fiber technology. We have been working on fiber optic marine sensors for 25 years for defense customers and can now bring the combined benefits of our expertise and our partners’ experience to oil and gas operators.’ OptaSeis was developed under the Stingray Joint Industry Program which began in 2002.


Stark’s Wheeler deal with de Groot Bril

Patented ‘Age Volume’ technology to be developed as Open dTect plug-in. More Stark technology to follow.

De Groot-Bril (dGB) and Stark Research have signed a technology alliance agreement to develop and market innovative seismic interpretation products in dGB’s OpendTect environment. Stark Research will develop functionality around its patented age volume which is to complement dGB’s sequence stratigraphic interpretation system (SSIS), an Open dTect plug-in.

Stark

Tracy Stark told Oil IT Journal, ‘dGB has agreed not to build an age volume (as described in my US patent) into SSIS and instead will help me build the age volume as my own plug-in. Later I hope to be able to migrate not only my age volume and Wheeler volumes OpendTect, but also my ColorStack, CrossPlot, and Anomalousness Volume technology along with a link to TeraRecon’s VolumePro board.’ An article on Stark’s Wheeler volume is to be published in the April issue of the EAGE’s First Break magazine.


Sixth Middle East IM Forum, Kuwait

Data management and information management (DM/IM) in the Middle East countries is different. First because it has much more of a production focus that in Europe or the USA. Second, because Middle East National Oil Companies have taken the long term view. If building a corporate data store for fields with hundreds of wells and decades of production history means a five year plan, with allocation of people, training and finance, then that is what happens. Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC) has over 1,000 users of its Finder database with projects ongoing for data quality, SCADA integration, data mining, decision support and automated data capture. Finder database has cornered the data store market for Middle East NOCs. This is both a great achievement and a potential embarrassment for Schlumberger which is in the process of trying to wean its clients off Finder and onto Seabed. An animated debate at the close of the conference showed that this will not be easy.

Mahmoud Shideed traced Saudi Aramco’s 25 year history of database deployment. The first implementation was an Informatics Mark IV database in the 1970s. In the 1980s, as the Mark IV became unmanageable, data was migrate to an IBM M204 system, itself superseded by an Oracle RDBMS in 1996. Aramco offers users ‘complete, usable, validated data that adheres to naming convention standards.’ Aramco’s other data/KM projects include Drilling Knowledge, Production Real Time Monitor and WellCount (well data drill down). Challenges include growing data volumes—especially real time data and the ‘art of new technology adoption’.

Excel to Avocet

Adwait Chawathé (Chevron) described IM at Joint Operations in the partitioned neutral zone (PNZ) between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. PNZ Production is un-metered at the wellhead. Groups of wells are pumped from subcenters to the main gathering center where flow is metered and back allocated to individual wells. The IM project set out to determine well uptimes and to better leverage well test data. The legacy system comprised an in-house developed production allocation (PA) system based on Microsoft Access and SIS’ OFM. The IM project set out to remove ‘general purpose’ software like Excel and Access and migrate to an SIS solution leveraging Avocet and FieldBA (back allocation), all tightly coupled with Finder. The result is a 2 ½ hrs per day reduction in production data entry and a day gain in back allocation. One cynic asked why so much information was collected and if any more oil had been produced. Chawathé responded that the daily deferred oil report showed, for instance, which wells were down and allowing critical failures to be fixed, putting oil back on stream quickly.

Production data management

Ahmad Al-Hamdan described production data management at the Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO). First set up in 1961 by the Arabian Oil Co. KJO is now a Saudi Aramco/KOC joint venture producing 300,000 bbl/day from 250 offshore wells in two main fields, Khafji and Hout. The old production data management system (PDMS) was IBM AS 400-based. A lot of faxing and printing was involved, creating data duplication and inefficiencies. The new system is built around SIS’ Avocet DM, and OFM running on Sun Servers and a LAN on the gathering station. The project included Finder model building and data loading, web access and training. It is now easy to generate KJO’s official daily monthly and annual reports. Everything connects to KJO’s corporate Finder repository.

Data mining

For Ahmed Abou-Sayed (Informateks), ‘data mining is set to become a tough competitor for simulation.’ Data mining derives system dynamics from historical data. The study investigated key parameters for produced water injection (PWRI) on an offshore field. Informateks used 10 years of production dynamic data to build a ‘behavioral model’. This technique was tested by keeping some well data ‘secret’ from the process. The results showed a ‘remarkable, almost embarrassingly good agreement with reality’. The study showed that the operator could drill shorter horizontal wells with the same results—a $50 million saving. Following verification of the results by engineers and physicists, the study is extending to voidage replacement and sweep efficiency. Data mining was deemed ‘a powerful tool’.

Performance management

Rajendra Kular (KOC) described performance management of the Minagish field, Western Kuwait. KOC uses a panoply of applications in the field’s management—Eclipse, Petrel, VIP, MBAL, Prosper, Kappa etc. Data stores include Finder, LogDB, OFM and the ERP system. Half of Minagish’s wells are on electrical submerged pumps (ESP). ESPs need intensive monitoring to maximize run life. A revamp of Minagish, including a significant data management component, has led to a production hike from 80, to the present 210k bbl/day—mainly due to better voidage replacement. ESP run life is up from 1.5 to 2.75 years. Subsurface teams, well planners and reservoir engineers ‘all benefit from reliable, up to date data’.

Data forms

Saad Al-Hajeri decribed how KOC has developed a range of data access and reporting front end interfaces to its Finder corporate data store. KOC was experiencing problems with inflexibility of form-based interfaces. It was hard to export data to desktop applications and KOC was unhappy with the aging Oracle Developer 6i technology. A move to web-based forms became an attractive option with the dramatic rise in internet literacy. Web pages and hyperlinks ‘shield users from Unix.’ Now an Oracle 8i database serves data to a ‘business tier’ running on Oracle 10gAS. Forms were migrated by recompiling in Oracle 10g. Oracle’s WebUtil library proved an easy way to achieve client side integration running Oracle Forms on the web. Schlumberger’s DecisionPoint, a component of KOC’s GeoPortal is now used for reporting. Future work will enhance forms with a move from Applet to native HTML/JSP/Java with the Oracle JDeveloper tool.

GIS in the oil industry

Eyad Arab, OpenWare, described KOC’s use of standard oil and pipeline data models. These are integrated with Finder and ZMap to representing wells, production facilities and many more specialist objects. CAD data has been loaded along with GIS layers for brackish water, gathering centers, bund walls—KOC’s GIS has over 100 layers. GIS data is integrated with KOC’s asset management system for operations. Finder is used for production and well information. Well surveillance is performed with ESRI’s real time Tracking Server. This tracks moving objects (vehicles) on a live map and can also represent time variant data from a stationary object (like a SCADA data source) as changes in color. GIS has public relations applications and is used to overlay proposed developments with satellite data for land permitting, pipeline management, fire, etc. An oil pits cleaning project was facilitated by satellite imagery. KOC’s project management system is based around a GIS integrated with the FileNet HSE system.

Results Manager

Peter Webb presented the new data management functionality in Schlumberger’s ProSource. Schlumberger wants to give Petrel and Eclipse users a ‘push button’ save like Microsoft Excel. ProSource Results Manager currently covers seismic interpretations from file-based systems like Petrel. This will later be extended to wells, geology etc. ProSource lets users browse project data, capture interpretation results, adding context and metadata and store to Seabed. Information Management for Petrel is evolving from simple deployment for a few users to a multi user Seabed-based asset team. IM for Petrel is due for release in Q1 2006. This new Petrel plug in will run project scans at regular intervals allowing for archival of project snapshots in ProSource. Webb demoed a prototype ‘Petrel Tree’ which will allow for fine control of archival granularity. Commenting some of the new Schlumberger data management functionality, KOC queried the multiple changes in the SIS portfolio—from Finder to Seabed, to ProSource, to eSearch etc. ‘These are great, but they are affecting our psychology and complicating interaction with other vendors.’ Webb countered that SIS does work with third parties—such as ESRI, IronMountain, Documentum and Oracle.

Collaboration session

KOC’s concerns were amplified in the collaboration session that wound up the conference. A KOC spokesperson stressed that data management ‘requires stability.’ Referring to the new Seabed database, KOC commented, ‘We don’t want a new product name, this has a bad effect on employees who have trained and are now used to Finder. SIS should have more user involvement in its product strategy. SIS should concentrate on improving Finder. Much in the way that Microsoft has evolved Excel—it just gets better over time. The Seabed issue is a big concern for our planning effort where we have a 6-8 year horizon.’ While there is support for the Seabed concept, its introduction has alarmed clients who have done a lot of work on the Finder interface. Schlumberger’s Brice Bouffard defended SIS’ strategy saying ‘We are moving to Seabed because we believe it is a better tool that will make our users’ lives easier. Seabed is a fantastic new data model and already has buy-in from government entities and is ready for deployment.’ KOC suggested forming a committee of GCC users, ‘So that SIS can keep us in the picture regarding new products and so that we can liaise without waiting on the Forum to come around.’

This article has been taken from a 9 page report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Research Service. For more information on this service please email tw@oilit.com.


SpectrumData wins two Aussie storage deals

Companies win seismic tape contract from Woodside and Spectrum gets New South Wales’ Archive.

Australia-based SpectrumData and Access Information Management have been awarded a three-year, ‘multi-million’ dollar contract for storage and management of Woodside Energy’s petroleum exploration data assets. AccessIM will consolidating data from some 180,000 tapes and a large volume of paper records, which will then be catalogued and indexed by SpectrumData to a seismic data catalogue.

Holmes

SpectrumData CEO Guy Holmes said, ‘Woodside was looking to employ a specialist in seismic data management rather than just a storage contractor. The Woodside contract with AccessIM lays the cornerstone for future growth in Australia and overseas.’

Data vault

Following verification, auditing and backup, media will be stored in two state-of-the-art vaults built by SpectrumData. These will incorporate VESDA smoke detection, gas flooding fire extinguishing system and thermal motion detector. Fiber links from the vaults to SpectrumData and AccessIM will provide rapid electronic data transfer to Woodside upon request. The Woodside contract includes migration of Woodside’s legacy seismic data to high density media.

New South Wales

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries has chosen SpectrumData to manage its petroleum data archive. A  five year contract covers management, restoration and migration of NSW’s legacy seismic and petroleum data. SpectrumData is currently half way through another contract with the federal Government Department Geoscience Australia to provide similar data migration services—claimed to be the largest contract of its kind ever awarded in Australia.


Folks, facts and orgs…

This month’s movers, shakers et al. hail from 3D Geo, Schlumberger, Ryder Scott, POSC, MetaCarta, Gas Technology Institute, ElectroBusiness, HARC, Hyperion, Infield Systems, CMG, Sungard, PPAM, Roxar, SMT, W3C, Microsoft, ESRI, Multiwave Geophysical and PODS.

3DGeo Development has appointed Rob Yorke as CEO. Yorke was previously with Paradigm Geophysical.

His Excellency Ali Naimi, The Minister of Petroleum and Minerals, opened a new Schlumberger R&D center in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia this month.

Ryder Scott Canada has appointed Fred Dewis, geologist, and Bruce Palmer, petroleum engineer. Dewis was previously with McDaniel & Associates, Palmer with ExxonMobil.

The Petrotechnical Open Standards Consortium (POSC) has elected Jonathan Lewis (Halliburton) as chairman and Tom Halbouty (Pioneer Natural Resources) as vice chairman of its board of directors.

MetaCarta has appointed Noel O’Dwyer as director of business development.

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has published a CD information resource covering Pipeline Direct Assessment (PDA). PDA evaluates pipeline integrity without in-line inspection (pigging).

Speaking at the Howard Weil conference, Schlumberger CEO Andrew Gould saw an accelerating trend towards exploration, with  230 land rigs currently drilling in the US and a ‘dramatic recovery’ in the seismic business.

ElectroBusiness has appointed Bob Ashauer and Doug Lailey as directors, Art Smith as president, Ryan Lailey, VP Sales and Nizam Jiwa to VP Service Delivery.

Bob Harriss is president of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Yiannis Bessiris is manager of Hyperion’s enlarged modeling, simulation and training operation in Pune, Maharashtra.

Infield Systems has appointed Owen Williams as analytical services manager.

Computer Modelling Group and Sungard Consulting have joined the PPDM Association.

Roxar has opened a new training centre in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.

Seismic Micro-Technology (SMT) has opened a new office in Singapore.

A new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) project is to ‘augment’ web services with semantic web technologies by adding semantic ‘hooks’ to the previous WSDL specification. The intent is to automate web service identification and discovery.

Former president, George HW Bush gave the keynote address at Microsoft’s 2006 Global Energy Forum in Houston this month!

We’re hiring!

ESRI is looking for a pipeline industry solutions manager.

CGG unit Multiwave Geophysical is looking for VPs for its seabed seismic geoservices divisions.

The Pipeline Open Data Standard (PODS) Association is looking for an executive director.


Study highlights Chinese service sector growth

French Petroleum Institute report shows all-time high E&P spend and increased Chinese competition.

The annual study by the French Petroleum Institute (IFP) on ‘E&P Activities and Markets’ reveals an all time high of $170 billion expenditure for 2005 driven by the perception that, ‘high oil and gas prices are here to stay’. Key players are investing substantially while competition from Chinese companies is on the rise. The report sees growth continuing through 2006 as ‘prices are firm and no significant downturn in the short or medium term is forecast’. Upstream investment should rise by a further 8 to 10% to $185 billion in 2006.

Doubled

Although oil prices have nearly doubled in the three years since 2002, world E&P capex has only risen by 30%. This is because of lack of access to the most attractive exploration acreage of the Arabian Gulf, Russia and Kazakhstan, an increased tax burden in some oil-producing countries and personnel and rig shortages.

Seismic

The number of seismic crews active worldwide, in decline since 1999, turned-around sharply in 2005 with a 17% rise in the first 9 months of 2005. Offshore seismics grew by 30%. All regions were up, especially Latin America (+50%) and Europe where crew counts doubled. Again, the outlook is good for 2006 with the seismic industry benefiting from the recovery of exploration spending. Data acquisition and processing forecast for 2005 is $ 6.5 billion (25% up on 2004) with a likely increase to around $7 billion for 2006.

Chinese are coming!

WesternGeco maintained its leading market share of 24%, ahead of CGG (17%), PGS (14%), Veritas DGC (11%) and Fugro (6%). The western front-runners were joined by the state-owned Chinese firm BGP whose ‘aggressive’ pricing moved it into the number five position worldwide in 2004 with its 6% market share. In onshore data acquisition and processing, BGP is the world leader with market share of 20%.

Drilling

In 2005, the number of wells drilled should be close to 83 000, an increase of 9%, with North America (+11%) driving this growth. The drilling market is expected to reach $26.7 billion (up 13.5%) sparking massive hikes in day rates for deepwater rigs (+160 to 170%). Nabors Industries is the market leader onshore with 17% of the market followed by Ensign Resource Service and Precision Drilling. Offshore Transocean accounted for 19% of the market, followed by Global Santa Fe (8%) and Pride International (7%). The emergence of Chinese drillers is noted, particularly Great Wall Drilling, the services and engineering arm of CNPC. The IFP’s forecast for the 2006 drilling market is around $29 billion.

Construction

Offshore construction for 2005 reached about $28 billion (+15%) and is expected to attain $30 billion in 2006. Technip, Saipem and AkerKvaerner share the lead with around 12-13% each. South Korean yards are proving successful in fixed and mobile platforms, especially FPSOs, with companies like Hyundai and Samsung positioned to play an EPC role—competing with established providers. So far, Chinese companies only operate in South-East Asia, mostly building FPSO hulls. But their positioning as ‘second-tier’ subcontractors is similar to that of South Korea a decade ago.


Quicklook GOM data from ESA

Earth Sciences Associates offers ‘direct access’ to Gulf of Mexico dataset and GIS analysis of hurricane RITA.

Earth Science Associates has just announced a new ‘direct access’ option for users of its GOM3 Gulf of Mexico database. The new functionality targets users who are just after a quick production number on a well, or who want to know who owns a lease.

MMS

Users also get direct access to the Minerals Management Service (MMS) document server in New Orleans and can view MMS reports and query the MMS database directly from GOM3.

Rita

Last year, ESA performed a GIS-based risk analysis of the effect of hurricane Rita on fields, facilities and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico. ESRI’s geoprocessing capability was used to buffer areas around the storm track. These were ‘intersected’ with producing oil and gas fields to calculate capacity at risk. Approximately 250,000 bopd was produced from fields within 60 miles of Hurricane Rita’s path, or 17% of 2004 GOM production. Wells operated by Shell and Chevron were likely to be among the most severely affected. Detailed analyses of both Rita and Katerina’s impact analysis are available from the ESA website


Peloton RigView rig scheduling system

‘Strategic’ drilling, completion and workover schedules, WellView enhanced with alert management.

RigView, a new product from Peloton, offers streamlined rig scheduling for drilling, completions and well service work. RigView lets those in close contact with the operation maintain the information while giving other authorized users access to the current schedule from their desktops. RigView’s ‘strategic scheduling’ allows for intelligent rig allocation. The product offers land, construction, procurement, environmental and other groups concurrent access to an up-to-date schedule.

WellView

Peloton has also enhanced it flagship WellView application which now includes embedded queries for multi-well reports. The MasterView module has been enhanced with new alerts management. WellView morning reports can be sent to a user’s Blackberry or directed to a ‘lessons learned’ knowledge base. MasterView Alerts addresses data quality concerns by auto-populating overlapping data models from a single point of entry. Business rules can be applied during data capture—for instance a link between WellView and a corporate materials management system ensures consistent inventory management. WellView was largely developed for ExxonMobil.


Rapid’s QDox online corporate repository

Tool adds rich, ‘private’ data option to RapiData well information system.

Calgary-based Rapid Technology has just released Qdox, an online corporate well data repository. QDox was originally developed as Rapid’s own document scanning and secure information delivery system created its flagship RapiData online well information service. Rapid president Lori Adams said, ‘QDox was developed in response clients who wanted the same, online access they get to government data with RapiData for their internal well documents. QDox can be seen as an ‘in-house’ version of RapiData, but with a private, richer data set.’


Data benchmark tools from Exprodat

Packaged approach embeds generic survey metrics from TraQs management consultancy.

Exprodat Consultants is offering a packaged approach to measuring the effectiveness of data management services and systems. Information Quality Metrics (IQM) was originally developed by Exprodat director Bruce Rodney (who also coded WoW) for Shell. A second measurement tool, Information Service Metrics (ISM) was developed by adapting a generic survey metrics system from the TraQs management consultancy.

Smith

Exprodat director Gareth Smith told Oil IT Journal, ‘These tools will provide a nice metrics/KPI ‘stack’ tuned to upstream information management, offering quantitative management of the whole area. We’re currently looking for sponsors for this project.’

Database

IQM/ISM uses a structured survey to evaluate key data management support activities in terms of users’ experience. A live database provides ‘instant’ benchmarking by asset, function or country. KPIs can be compared with other companies or examined over time to expose trends.

Early adopters

Exprodat is offering the opportunity for early adopters to shape the base content of the toolset to reflect their own interest and internal KPIs. The TraQs survey system is already used in the HR departments of several multi-nationals. Rodney and Shell’s Philip Lesslar will be presenting the results of Shell’s IQM analysis at the 2006 PNEC data management conference in Houston next month.


Microsoft business intelligence for BP

Corporate E&P unit to deploy Microsoft OLAP solution designed by Altius Consulting.

BP’s corporate E&P unit has migrated its ‘in year’ group financial outlook planning process to a new system from Altius Consulting. BP’s analysts need access to real time financial, production, resources, and pricing data from its Hong Kong, Houston, Buenos Aires, Aberdeen, and London offices.

Yerbury

BP’s legacy system infrastructure was conceived for local use as BP analyst Graham Yerbury explained, ‘As long as it was serving a single building, it worked adequately. But we needed to extend it to a broader audience through the BP intranet.’

Altius

Altius Consulting recommended a solution built atop Microsoft’s business intelligence toolkit—Microsoft Analysis Services. Arcplan DynaSight provided a user interface to the system that lets users develop their own reports without relying on programmers.

Anderson

Altius’ David Anderson said, ‘Microsoft has changed the price profile for OLAP* technologies. Companies can now access OLAP and relational database technologies for a fraction of the cost they’d have paid a couple of years ago.’ Yerbury added, ‘We used to print off tabs in 65 Excel workbooks—now the information is distributed as a Microsoft Office Word document through the e-mail system or read online. The combination of SQL Server 2000 and Analysis Services has enabled us to do things with our business processes that we couldn’t do before. Cost per seat is down—we are saving around $100,000 per year in maintenance.’ The solution is now being extended to BP’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP.

* On-Line Analytical Processing—reporting by ‘slicing and dicing’ of multi-dimensional data ‘cubes’.


Roxar to leverage Norwegian supercomputer

RMSgeoplex ‘design of experiment’-based modeling to be tested at Norsk Regnesentral facility.

Roxar has signed a three-year agreement with the Statistical Analysis of Natural Resources Data (SAND), a part of Norsk Regnesentral (NR), the Oslo-based Norwegian computing center. NR is to adopt Roxar as an exclusive commercialization partner for reservoir modeling software while Roxar is to fund a number of R&D projects.

RMSgeoplex

The research is to focus on RMSgeoplex, a module that performs stochastic facies and property modeling within IRAP RMS. RMSgeoplex uses ‘design of experiment’ techniques to build descriptions of geological features while honoring well and seismic data. NR was one of the architects behind the core simulation algorithms of RMSgeoplex. NR has been associated with Roxar for 15 years and is also the main research partner on its Roxar’s FieldWatch project.

See our interview with Roxar CEO Sandy Esslemont on page 3 of this issue.


Intelligent data sheets for integrated operations

Sam Mehta (Det Norske Veritas) explains the rationale behind new Norwegian plant data IM project.

The Intelligent Data Sheets (IDS) project targets lifecycle information management for offshore design, construction and maintenance. IDS will facilitate integrated operations by developing neutral product models for data exchange and integration to support new collaborative work processes within and between organizations. The standards-based project, will develop a methodology for exchanging data between applications and across data sheet formats such as ISO, API, or NORSOK. IDS will then develop product models as for data integration and exchange using ISO 15926. A test facility will be set up where reference data can be managed, templates for data exchange can be validated against the requirements of the product model, and interfaces between different applications can be tested. We want to maximize information quality levels and ensure that the test facility supports ISO standardization activities.

W2W

The project will also develop seamless work process-to-work process (W2W) communications to assist in migrating from existing systems to future, collaborative, inter-organizational work processes. Product models will be separate from presentation formats and linked to data sheets and W2W interactions. Previously, data sheets were coupled to presentation formats. Understanding them required context in the form of ‘implicit information.’ By standardizing terms and definitions in a product model, information is defined in a neutral way for use by other applications. We also plant to turn ‘implicit’ information in data sheets into explicit data and include it in the model.

Intelligent data sheet

User definable subsets of the data as well as the full data set can be shared, exchanged and reused across applications, engineering disciplines, organizations. This is the heart of the ‘Intelligent Data Sheet.’ The concept will enable new work processes as data can be packaged on an ‘as needed’ basis as opposed to ‘what is available’ basis.

POSC CAESAR

The project is being funded by the Norwegian Research Council, the Norwegian Oil Industry Association and the POSC Caesar Association. DNV is managing the project. The project is also collaborating with the US FIATECH ‘Accelerating Deployment of ISO 15926’ initiative.


GoM wells to be ‘Workstation Ready’

Hydro’s US arm underwrites data migration project. A2D gets UK Nigerian government contracts.

TGS-NOPEC unit A2D Technologies has begun a project to convert all Gulf of Mexico (GOM) deepwater and key shelf exploration logs to its ‘Workstation Ready’ (WSR). The project is underwritten by Norsk Hydro’ GOM unit with agreement from the US Minerals Management Service (MMS). WSR is based on the Log ASCII Standard (LAS) with extra QC/QA to ensure completeness.

Griffiths

Scott Griffiths, Hydro GOM COO said, ‘A2D’s Workstation Ready well log data is an important tool that will provide us with high quality data when evaluating expansion in the Gulf of Mexico.’ Processing the GOM dataset is expected to take 30 months and will bring the total of A2D’s WSR inventory to over 25,000 wells. As project underwriters, the MMS and Hydro can prioritize wells for their operations, and will receive the data at a cost savings. The project is structured to accommodate a third participant, an option ‘under consideration from several energy companies active in the GOM’.

Kotowych

A2D president Dave Kotowych added, ‘This initiative will make our GOM WSR dataset a strategic asset for the entire industry. We will replicate this model in other exploration regions worldwide.’

Northwest Europe

A2D has also announced expansion of its worldwide offerings to the Northwest European offshore and the Barents Sea. In these areas, A2D offers online access to multi-component GeoData sets for online access and instant download via A2D’s web-based LogLine system. GeoData sets for over 2,000 wells include well logs, interpreted statigraphy, synthetic seismograms and lithology. A2D is now an authorized data release agent for the UK DTI.

Nigeria

A new deal with the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources has made A2D and local partner Tatnet Nigeria the sole resellers on and offshore well log data.

4 million

A2D Technologies offers over four million well logs online, with comprehensive coverage in North America and well log coverage in twelve other countries throughout the world.


Fault-tolerant mesh for Kuwait oilfields

Invensys’ ‘intelligent automation’ to link Burgan gathering centers to unified process control center.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has selected Invensys Process Systems to supply its Intelligent Automation (I/A) system for upgrade and expansion of two crude oil gathering centers in the Burgan fields of South East Kuwait. KOC’s goals were to increase production capacity, improve safety and environmental practices, enhance water treatment and decrease gas-flaring. The I/A Series system includes the new Foxboro Address Translation Station (ATS), which incorporates KOC’s legacy control systems into the new mesh network.

SK Engineering

SK Engineering and Construction Corporation of Korea will install the systems. KOC’s gathering centers are large multi-process plants. The new network will control a variety of processes each involving multiple gas turbines, pumps, compressors, generators, piping, storage tanks, vessels and other equipment.

Self-healing

The mesh is a high-availability, self-healing network whose architecture connects thousands of stations at data speeds up to one gigabit between nodes. KOC is to combine the existing and expanded processes into a single process control system with a common operator interface for all process elements.


Model-based controller for Ormen Lange

Scandpower Prediktor key component of Norwegian gas giant’s flow assurance system.

Norsk Hydro has awarded FMC Technologies, Scandpower Petroleum Technologies and Prediktor AS a contract for the provision of a flow assurance system (FAS) on its giant Norwegian deepwater Ormen Lange gas field. The system will be used to monitor the flow of gas, oil, condensate and antifreeze in the gas, as it is sent from the underwater installation to the mainland.

FMC

The FAS technology stack includes FMC’s FlowManager, Scandpower’s OLGA2000 and Predictor’s APIS model-based controller. The solution is designed to provide a real time online simulation and monitoring environment which will allow flow forecasts to be based on rapid analysis current measurements. At first, the system will be used in an ‘advisory’ mode to guide Ormen Lange production engineers as to optimal settings and procedures. As they become more trusting of the system, the intention is that the model-based control system will adjust these automatically.

Steinar

Prediktor MD Sælid Steinar said, ‘This contract is very important for us. We are becoming a trusted supplier of control technologies and infrastructure which deliver great benefits to the oil and gas industry.’ Prediktor’s APIS provides components for process-control, data-logging and presentation of process information on a web-based platform. Some fifty APIS components are currently deployed by operators including Norsk Hydro and BP.


Petro-Canada rolls-out Excalibur

US unit to deploy P2 Energy Solutions’ hosted solution for finance, operations and Sarbanes-Oxley.

Petro-Canada is to deploy P2 Energy Solutions’ Excalibur package at its wholly-owned US unit Petro-Canada Resources based in Denver. The Excalibur Energy Management system is an integrated financial and operational solution built on IBM’s Unidata embedded DB2 database technology. Petro-Canada has licensed Excalibur applications for, inter alia, accounting, land, production accounting, asset management and inventory control.

Prima Energy

Petro-Canada’s US activity has seen rapid growth following its 2004 acquisition of Prima Energy, requiring improved business process automation and better Sarbanes-Oxley related internal controls. Petro-Canada opted for a hosted solution, with software managed offsite by P2ES unit Petroleum Financial. Internal users access Excalibur through a web browser for financial and operational reporting.

Jones

P2ES executive VP Darrell Jones said, ‘Excalibur gives clients such as Petro-Canada multiple options for using our applications. With more than 30 modules supplying integrated financial and operational solutions for upstream oil and gas companies, Excalibur enables each client to configure a scaleable system based on the company’s needs.’


APQC offers free upstream IT benchmark

Companies sought for free web-based survey on IT costs, productivity and best practices.

The American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC), creator of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, invites upstream oil and gas companies to take part in an IT survey. The web-based benchmark study already has participants representing independents, majors, and national companies in North and South America and Europe.  The survey is sponsored by a ‘leading oil field services provider’ such that APQC is able to offer the results of the study free to participants. The report will include comparative budgets, costs, FTE distributions, and productivity measures. The research also sets out to ‘explain best practices that may help improve performance and identify cost-cutting and improvement opportunities.’ Sign up here for the APQC online benchmark.


Sabine Pass LNG powered by Invensys

Cheniere to deploy state-of-the-art terminal management in new LNG boilerplate design.

Cheniere LNG, Inc., a unit of Cheniere Energy has selected Invensys Process Systems to implement the terminal operations management system (TOMS) for its Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal currently under construction in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. System architecture for the project will integrate Invensys and third-party software with scalability to accommodate additional terminals. Invensys will provide consulting, software products, and a range of integration, implementation, testing and training services.

FEED

The new contract builds on Invensys’ successful completion of Sabine Pass’ front end engineering and design (FEED). FEED established a high-level design of the system and assured ‘upward’ integration from the terminal’s unit level controls to Cheniere’s corporate offices. Cheniere’s specifications for the TOMS include best practices for safety, security and compliance with regulatory reporting.

ArchestrA

TOMS is built on top of Invensys’ ArchestrA modular architecture which offers ‘universal’ data exchange with enterprise systems, standardized interfaces, data storage and web-based access.

More on ArchestrA and its implications for the ‘digital oilfield’ in an exclusive interview with Invensys’ Stan DeVries and John Gilmore in next month’s Oil IT Journal.


Saudi Aramco, Petrobras join Olga 2000 JIP

New partners for Scandpower’s ongoing testing of pipleline flow simulator, Olga 2000.

Saudi Aramco and Petrobras have joined Scandpower Petroleum Technology’s OLGA 2000 validation joint industry project. OLGA 2000 is a dynamic multiphase flow simulator. The OLGA Verification and Improvement Project (OVIP) tests the software and adds enhancements to the tool. Other OVIP participants are BP, Chevron, ENI, ExxonMobil, Gaz de France, Statoil and Total.

OLGA 2000

OVIP is a long term project to collect and analyze new field data by comparison with OLGA forecasts. New experimental data is obtained from tailored lab experiments carried out by the Norwegian Institute for Energy Research (IFE) located near Oslo. Results are fed back into OLGA to ensure the simulator’s code is aligned with all available lab and field data.

Gas condensate

One success of OVIP is improved accuracy in forecasting gas condensate behavior in pipelines. Early forecasts showed large errors in liquid holdup prediction in condensate pipelines. Improvements in stratified flow modeling resulted in better predictions of holdup and pressure drop. The work also covers hydrodynamic slugging in pipelines, flow in deep water risers and void front tracking.