I discovered a cute function in Google Earth (GE) while checking out some cycling routes recently. You enter end points and get GE to play a video of your ride. Notionally, you can set camera angle, speed and whatever. Unfortunately, unless these are ‘features’ I have not understood, GE appears to be rather buggy.
The video freezes when the camera clips the mountainside, the parameter setting options want lots of coaxing to work at all. In the end I gave up and went back to the manual zooming and traveling around the wonderful scenery that has to a large extent replaced Solitaire in the geek’s repertoire of futzing away their employer’s time. I concluded that while GE is a great gateway to a phenomenal data set, it is after all freeware. You don’t really expect it to fill a particular ‘mission’.
Not, that is, unless you are a nameless oil and gas major which was the talk of the town last month as it was rumored that some 400 copies of GE had been deployed (should I say allegedly here?) possibly illegally, by enthusiasts who obviously felt that they were getting more mileage out of GE than their own enterprise GIS! You might think that such IT anarchy would be greeted by a reading of the riot act and rapid removal of the illegal software. Not a bit of it! The company bowed to pressure, signing an enterprise contract with Google.
I must say that I found this reaction quite puzzling. The oil and gas business has a great affinity to ESRI whose products constitute many enterprise GIS fabrics. Since ESRI announced its Globe interface (which is pretty much like GE) three years ago (OITJ Vol. 8 N°3), why isn’t everyone using this?
Robert Graham was kind enough to share his presentation to the ESRI PUG with us, including some results from BHP Billiton’s analysis of GE. According to Graham and co-author Katya Casey, GE is good for quick, easy display of geodata. It is fast and intuitive but not customizable. For plotting, labeling and spatial analysis, ArcGIS is the tool of choice. Graham noted that ‘GIS has different technologies for different sets of skills, types of problem, budget and access requirements. GE-like applications are simple to use for geographic reference and simple interactions with geographic information. They are rapidly growing in popularity and can integrate limited amounts of custom vector layers.’
Meanwhile, in another PNEC* of the woods—more of which in next month’s Journal—OpenSpirit’s Clay Harter was showing how to use GE as a front end to geodata from OpenSpirit-enabled applications. The trick is to get OpenSpirit (OS) to generate data in GE’s KML format. This makes for an easy to use GIS window to data with good raster performance, caching for play back and dynamic links that avoid data replication.
We quizzed Harter as to the suitability of GE in the enterprise. After all it is a fat client which flies in the face of the web services paradigm. Harter agreed, there is no API for the GE server, not even an API which would let you extend the GE client. Perhaps most seriously, to quote from the GE website, ‘XML Schema validation is not yet enabled in Google Earth.’
We turned to another GIS specialist (who prefers to be anonymous) working with an international major for a different slant on GE in the enterprise. ‘GE is a double-edged sword. It’s great in creating greater awareness and accessibility of geo-information, but it dramatically raises user expectations of our corporate systems.’
‘A traditional Web-GIS environment, or even something like ArcGlobe looks rather clunky in comparison. Lay users do not appreciate the effort of loading high-res global imagery, or the licensing costs/models of satellite imagery. Once ESRI’s Google Earth look-alike, ArcGIS Explorer, is out, I think we will push that as our primary front end. Meanwhile we are not stopping people from using Google, but we are trying to educate them about what they are seeing in terms of positional accuracy and imagery vintage.’
‘So I think it’s a breakthrough. It’s a disruptive development that is good for everyone as it forces software vendors to have a fresh look at interfaces which haven’t changed in 10 years. I’m not surprised reading in your journal about people already coming out with Google Earth-based data mining systems. However it poses a challenge in education because a good interface does not automatically mean good data, and there’s no point in sticking it on top of rubbish legacy data. I think that’s where most expectations need to be managed.’
My personal opinion is that the GE debate cuts to the heart of web services and what XML is about. If you think that web services are mainly about making the programmer’s life easier, or that they are just another marketing ploy then OK, jump on the bandwagon.
Validate, validate, validate
If instead you think, as I do, that web services are potentially a solution to the interoperability issue and that the most important thing about XML is data validation via the schema, then some circumspection and IT dirigisme may be a necessary evil in holding everything together. Until, at least, Google publishes a validating schema that turns its GIS data browser into an enterprise-strength tool.
* Petroleum Network Continuing Education—Data and Information Conference, Houston 2006.
Schlumberger has acquired Danish seismic inversion boutique Ødegaard A/S for an undisclosed amount. Copenhagen-based Ødegaard will integrate the Reservoir Seismic Services (RSS) division of Schlumberger’s seismic acquisition and processing unit WesternGeco. WesternGeco itself was also the object of a major transaction last month as Schlumberger acquired Baker Hughes’ 30% minority interest for $2.4 billion.
WesternGeco president Dalton Boutte said, ‘By combining Ødegaard’s technical expertise with our high-resolution Q-Technology, we will be able to extend the value of seismic data in reservoir characterization and production management.’
Ødegaard’s flagship ISIS package is a non-linear globally optimized seismic inversion technique that calculates high resolution acoustic impedance. ISIS delivers lithology cubes and fluid predictions based on amplitude versus offset (AVO) analysis. A 4D, time-lapse production seismic data version of ISIS is also available.
Oil IT Journal asked Ødegaard MD Kim Gunn Maver why WesternGeco needed more seismic inversion technology. Maver explained that WesternGeco’s technology was more of a service offering and less productized than Ødegaard’s solution. Maver said, ‘Clients also appreciate our fast project turnaround and sophisticated technology’.
The deal brings Schlumberger’s worldwide marketing resources to Ødegaard’s technology while adding Ødegaard’s specialist head count to the Schlumberger fold. Maver described the people and technology as a good fit.
Center of Excellence
Ødegaard’s Copenhagen office is to become a Schlumberger centre of excellence for seismic inversion. All staff are to be retained, in fact, Maver needs more people.
We also asked Maver why the software company was being acquired by WesternGeco rather than Schlumberger’s Information Solutions Unit. Maver noted that since WesternGeco is now a wholly-owned unit, there will be a ‘closing of the loop’ between WesternGeco’s Reservoir Seismic Services unit and Schlumberger’s Digital and Consulting Services division.
We asked if this might lead ultimately to a Petrel plug in for Ødegaard’s ISIS technology. Maver was cautious, ‘We are working hard on inversion and it should be easier now to go from acquisition right through to reservoir modeling in Petrel. It’s too early to say if there will be a plug in.’
Shell and Calgary-based Computer Modelling Group are to jointly develop a ‘next generation’ reservoir simulator. The project will combine CMG’s capabilities with Shell’s own developers and a worldwide database of operational and subsurface knowledge.
CMG CEO Ken Dedeluk said, ‘This paves the way for a new class of a large-scale, advanced reservoir simulator which will be a step change in performance from current technology. The new simulator will address flexibility, speed, ease of use, general-purpose physics and chemistry and advanced scenario management.’
Paul Ching, Shell’s VP Technical R&D added, ‘Industry is now pursuing complex reservoirs which require better production forecasts. This project will play a key role in decreasing cycle time, reducing uncertainty, and improving decision quality.’ If initial discussions on software specification are successful, software development will be kicked off. CMG will have the exclusive rights to commercialize the software and Shell will have unlimited access for internal use. CMG’s funding commitment for the initial phase is around $500k with a further $2 million annually for its portion of the development costs.
Why did Halliburton/Landmark attend the Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) backed Open Technology Symposium?
Lewis—We went along because Landmark has always focused on standards and openness. Today, this activity is getting more attention with the potential ‘prize’ of a digital asset. We are convinced that no one single vendor can deliver the entire digital oilfield which requires an inter-vendor data integration capability. It’s right that vendors should ‘stick to their knitting’ where they have market share and a solution. Multi vendor initiatives are also necessary because IT spend is rather low. So we will compete by best of breed capability in key areas, and partner with third parties. We will build on our track record success of OpenWorks and on our openness and data availability.
We identified three possible SIS-backed routes to openness: through OpenSpirit, a Petrel plug-in and via the Ocean infrastructure. Does your attendance imply Landmark’s backing for one or other of these technologies?
Lewis—You shouldn’t interpret our attendance as a desire to leverage any of these technologies. These will be two competing infrastructures: SIS’ Ocean/Seabed and Landmark’s DecisionSpace. Clients find this healthy.
What do you think of OpenSpirit as a candidate for interoperability?
Lewis—OpenSpirit does have a rather small data footprint. Also it is a commercial entity. Its success is in large part due to the market presence of OpenWorks and its development kit.
Another possible meaning of openness is via a horizontal IT infrastructure such as Java or Microsoft .NET. Do you advocate one or other of these?
Lewis—Absolutely. We have gone to great length to leverage Open Systems. Landmark has been a leader in the deployment of Linux-based software. We were the first major vendor to port, certify and ship all our major applications on Linux, with huge cost benefits to clients. We have also gained extensive experience of development on Microsoft Windows. Part of our openness philosophy is giving customers a choice. For high-end applications, there is an ongoing requirement for Linux. We will continue to support both platforms. GeoProbe will be available on Windows later this year.
When will we see the Petrobank API we reported on in last month’s Journal?
Lewis—I can’t give any technical insight to this but I can say that we continue to invest in Master Data Store (MDS) and Corporate Data Store (CDS) solutions. We have had phenomenal success with National Data Stores (NDS) and on the corporate front over last three years.
Following the abandonment of PowerModel development and the failure last year of an acquisition, we understand that Landmark is to develop GeoProbe into a full blown geomodeler.
Lewis—We will be delivering a suite of earth modeling modules within the GeoProbe later this year. GeoProbe is unique here because of the sheer scale of models that can be generated. You can examine Terabytes of data in a sequence stratigraphic framework of the basin for prospect generation. You build the framework only once, enabling continuous, incremental understanding of the geology as data comes available.
We’ve seen Landmark’s marketing effort decline a bit over the last year or so. Why?
We continue to invest in fit for purpose marketing. ‘Outbound’ marketing—publishing information—is good. But we have been concentrating more on direct marketing to clients. This has born its fruits. DCS/Landmark has delivered back to back record operating quarters over the last couple of years. Marketing has changed. Ten years ago we and others did deals at major trade shows. Today, deals are done by our professional global sales channels which enable us to better know our clients and provide feedback and insight that informs our technology directions. We have a very close working relationship with our clients and we share with them things that we don’t share in a broader context. Hence the downplay of the major trade shows.
From: Kjell Arne Bjerkhaug, Schlumberger and SINAS MD. “In last month’s lead, ‘Landmark gets Diskos back,’ we noticed your little Deja Vu? at the end of the article hinting that Schlumberger promised an open solution in 2004. That was a statement of our strong will to accommodate Diskos wishes. Alas, we should have known better. We fully intended make Diskos an open repository integrating company workflows. But this proved impossible because PetroBank lacked the API necessary for an open solution. Only by Diskos making an API a mandatory deliverable in this tender the Diskos repository has the chance to become an open solution in the future. I do not think Schlumberger should get the heat for lack of openness.”
From: Stan Devries, Invensys. “I agree with your editorial ‘Calvary coming to digital oilfield’s rescue?’ But while it points out the shortcoming of the reported alliances (Landmark/Pavilion, SIS/Aspentech), and the requirements for simulations, it omitted the accomplishments of vendors who implement ‘real-time’ model-based controllers. Some are focused on equipment optimization (especially gas lift, such as Weatherford EPS’s GL) and others are focused on field-wide optimization (including Invensys SimSci-Esscor IPSM). The statement ‘requires a well thought-out strategy and ideally, some standardized way of synchronizing the outputs and inputs’ has been achieved in a proprietary way inside these offerings. The announcement of ProdML showed how the ‘standardized’ way can be achieved. I strongly agree with the requirement and this is why we and others are enthusiastic about the expectations and likely outcome of ProdML.”
Petris has just announced PetrisWINDS Recall 5.1 which adds a GIS front-end and search engine to data in Recall.
Remedial specialists Hazco Environmental Services has signed a five year, $1 million contract with Decision Dynamics for its real-time job cost control package Oncore, a hosted solution that stores activities and real time costs in a central data repository. Hazco plans to equip its clients with online access to real-time work progress and billing through the web interface.
eLynx Technologies’ SMS4D offers SMS (text messaging) alarms to users of its compressor control software. SMS warnings can also be generated by AlarmLynx, a programmable interface that can be used to warn of tank level, valve position, low pressures, loss of power and intrusion detection.
Golden Software has just released Voxler, an entry-level 3D geo-data viewer for well information, digital terrain models, horizons, seismic studies and remote sensing data.
Ikon Science’s new version of RokDoc supports larger well and seismic datasets, pre and post stack seismics and RokDoc’s ‘Evidence Based Interpretation’ (EBI) methodology leveraging full waveform synthetics developed by Prof. Roy White.
Intergraph’s SmartPlant 3D plant engineering package now supports Oracle and Microsoft’s SQL Server.
Linux Networx is working with Computational Engineering International to leverage work done in the Petrobras Oil Plus Souring JIP to productize a family of application-tuned, tightly integrated, compute and visualization systems.
LogTech has added a visual explorer module to its log data browser. LOGarc VE also offers access to Canadian and US raster log data from a ‘well known data vendor’.
Technical Toolboxes Inc. (TTI)has just released a Salt Cavern Gas Storage Toolbox, a state-of-the-art mathematical simulator and engineering design and operational integrity package for gas storage. The product was sponsored by the Gas Technology Institute, the Pipeline Research Council and TTI.
Schlumberger Information Solutions has published the 12,000 tables of its Seabed 2006.2 data model on its website at slb.com/media/services/software/opensystems/seabed/index.html.
Spectrum Data has published a study of the potential for RFID tags in seismic data management on its website at spectrumdata.com.au/content.aspx?cid=165. The provisional conclusion is the technology is not ready for prime time.
A new version of Mercury Computer Systems’ Open Inventor data visualization library now offers ‘crack-free NURBS,’ and OpenGL shader support. A new ScaleViz extension is introduced. Developers can now access the toolkit through Microsoft .NET languages.
Visean is developing Exchange Point, a WITSML-enabled version of Pulse Omni, its real-time logging and well test system.
GeoFields has announced a new version of its DataFrame ASG automated sheet design and generation application for pipeline operators.
MetaCarta has joined the Google Enterprise Professional program to add its geo-text-based search to Google Earth.
Silicon Graphics has just announced InfiniteStorage 4000, a 4-gigabit Fibre Channel-based storage system for the mid-range market.
The American Records Management Association (ARMA) has published some simple tips for companies seeking improved regulatory compliance and reduced risk in the face of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. The checklist offers advice on minimizing the risks from ‘embarrassing’ e-mail discoveries and costly class-action litigation.
ARMA director Marilyn Bier said, ‘Information is a vital, strategic asset to the organization whose management demands the attention of legal, IT and HR leaders, executives and corporate boards. Unfortunately, most companies fail to recognize that proper IM can be the most effective means of reducing their risks, while also increasing compliance.’
Tip # 1
Assess your ‘RIM IQ’ by boning up on SOX and SEC rulings on data protection. You can start with the RIM IQ quiz on www.arma.org/rimIQ.
Tip # 2
RIM* is everyone’s job. Start at the individual’s desktop and make sure that everyone is aware of what needs to be saved, when, why, and for how long.
Tip # 3
Train your employees in RIM litigation, audits, document preservation, and daily RIM tasks. You might like to check out the DVD-based training program, ‘Keeping Good Company’ produced by ARMA and Kahn Consulting. A compliance web seminar co-authored with Stellent is also available from the ARMA website.
Tip # 4
Evaluate your electronic records policies including e-mail, voice-mail and instant messaging and look into the ISO 15489 (Oil ITJ Vol. 7 N° 3) standard for electronic records management.
Tip # 5
Form a compliance team with members from legal, IT and RIM all be at the table. No one department can provide a complete solution to your company’s regulatory compliance needs. Online self-assessment tools are available at www.arma.org/profiler.
* Records and information management.
Geosoft and Northwest Geophysical Associates (NGA) have upgraded their solution for the management and interpretation of oil and gas potential field data. The GM-Sys modeling applications are licensed as gravity and magnetic extensions to Geosoft’s Oasis Montaj.
GM-Sys now includes a SEG-Y Reader to allow interpreters to integrate seismic data with geospatial, gravity and magnetic models. The 3D version of GM-Sys also lets users work with time-domain-based models which can be converted to depth.
Other features include horizontal magnetic gradient calculations and a ‘cross-hair’ cursor, extending horizontally and vertically across the model, making it easier to align features of interest. Data and models are accessible through a collapsible tree-view. Models can be converted to voxels and displayed in 3D, or used to directly calculate the gravity response. GM-Sys 3D models can be exported to Geosoft, UBC, or GOCAD voxel files.
Belfast-based software house Serafim and Addax Petroleum Services have just announced Serafim Purpose for storage, analysis and interpretation of PVT, SCAL and pressure data. Serafim developed the user interface and database technologies as well as the analysis tools.
Serafim director Peter Cunningham said, ‘Purpose is our flagship product that and is an important step in serving our repertoire of experience and IM products and analysis solutions to the Oil & Gas industry.’
Future, another joint development with Addax announced at the SPE Digital Energy conference last March, is an upstream asset modeler integrating simulation results, production data and surface networks to forecast production.
Future sets out to replace complex spreadsheets with auditable and less error-prone computations. The network-solver calculates production profiles on multiple fields with capacity constraints
Serafim uses a simplex optimizer, ‘innovative’ database design and simplified material balance computation. Future output can be exported to further @Risk or CrystalBall for further investigations.
The roll out phase will concentrate on implementing the software package in Addax offices in Lagos and linking it with the main database in Geneva. Serafim is used in Talisman’s North Sea operations.
POSC Special Interest Group North American Regional Meetings were held in Paradigm’s Houston Visionarium. John Bobbitt (POSC) gave a status and technical update on geodetic integration in WITSML. A new coordinate reference system (CRS) object will use Geographic Markup Language (GML) to embed geo-referenced data. The European Petroleum Survey Group’s CRS* library is the reference. ‘Non-standard’ systems can be defined in GML. A simplified version of the ISO/OGC capability adds geodetically aware 3D (depth) referencing. A web services library of EPSG CRSs in GML is available at www.posc.org/registry/Geodetics311_68/Ellipsoid.xml.
The Global Unique Well Identifier (GUWI) initiative continues to make haste slowly. Kris Gibbons (Shell) traced the workgroup’s history back to a kick-off discussion at the 2003 PNEC. Signed letters of intent have been received from BP, Burlington, ExxonMobil, Marathon and Shell. IHS Energy is proposing to upgrade its UWI service (originally offered as an provision from the original 1996 Petroconsultants/AAPG initiative). The next step is ‘establish a legal framework for a Well Identity Service Work Group including funding and service agreements, governance and operational procedures.’
Paul Maton invited companies to join the Practical Lithology Work Group, whose membership already includes HRH, ONGC, Shell and Statoil. Issues under consideration include different usages between mud loggers and petrographers and mapping to existing nomenclatures from Landmark Graphics, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Shell and Statoil. A WITSML enumeration file will be available for comment in Q3 2006. Maton emphasized the benefits of a standard lithology vocabulary throughout the lifetime of a field’s development.
Alan Doniger reviewed the current and likely future POSC product portfolio. The Daily Reporting to Partners model is under public review, Deployment has started in Norway. The PRODML Work Group due to complete end of August and the Distributed Temperature Survey Standard has seen deployments by BP and Shell (Schlumberger, Weatherford and Lios Technology). Looking further ahead, a ‘co-existence with and or adaptation to’ the SCADA community’s OPC Foundation specs was mooted. POSC also envisages further integration of optimization and reporting and with the POSC/CAESAR world of equipment and facility reference standards. A putative umbrella moniker, ‘epiXML’ was suggested to cover the family of POSC’s XML-based formats.
* Coordinate reference system.
Robert Ryan’s keynote described the use of digital oilfield technologies on Chevron’s Kern River field in California where recovery rates approach 90% in parts of the field. Chevron is starting one Indonesian development with ‘sensors on everything’. One ‘frontier’ is the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) which is no longer the ‘dead sea’. The GoM just will not die, as witnessed by the current move to the deepwater Wilcox fold belt trend. Another approach is to turn unconventional into ‘conventional’ – such as the 3 trillion bbl of oil in the Green River oil sands. Notwithstanding the potential, today’s bidding levels for resources are ‘crazy’ and Chevron is taking a step back.
Aboud Afifi stressed that Saudi Aramco was working hard to satisfy future production needs with a rig count rising from under 40 in 2003 to around 120 in 2006 and flat out to 2011. By 2009, production capacity will be up from 10.5 (currently) to 12 million bbl/day. I-field, smart technology is deployed on new fields. E&P manpower is more or less 15,000. Aramco currently trains 500 graduates, this is to rise to around 800 by 2010.
Shell is one of the select group of companies to be allowed in to explore Saudi Arabia’s ‘empty quarter’, the South Rub al Khali (SRAK). Shell’s Ceri Powell described this as being the size of 1,000 North Sea blocks. SRAK is tough for operations with 130°F in the summer, no roads and 200m high dunes. Shell has shot the largest airborne gravity survey ever and has evaluated the area’s potential with its ‘Light Touch’ laser sensing technique.
Abdulkade Alfifi detailed Aramco’s technology prowess ranging from its in-house seismic processing, through statistical reservoir modeling coupled with high resolution laser scans of outcrop analogs. Aramco’s IField/Smart well Haradh Inc III development includes instrumented quad lateral smart completions. The 10 million cell Ghawar reservoir model runs in one hour on PC technology. Aramco is currently working on PowerS II with unstructured gridding and potentially one billion cell models including smart wells. Geoscience professional development includes sponsored degrees for the 200 Saudi students around the world. Aramco ‘will develop our people and invest in technology to meet future needs.’
Both Jack Casey (University of Houston) and Ricardo Rodrigues (Shell) painted gloomy pictures of the situation regarding geoscience graduate programs and R&D. Casey is sure that the industry needs more geoscience graduates. Peak oil is around 25 years out. But SEG/AAPG membership demographics peak at 51-55 years in 2006 and this cohort will retire in five to ten years. Rodrigues reported on a National Science Board report highlighting declining US science. While R&D funding got a boost from the President’s American Competition Initiative, the bad news is that oil and gas R&D will be terminated in 2007 (from $64 million in 2006). Other programs have been similarly axed. Geoscience departments are dissolving, merging or closing.
The Reserves, Now and In the Future session offered some lively if divergent views on the complex problem of reserves reporting. Chairman Dan Tearpock (SCA) described the many different methods for reserves reporting as an industry ‘train-wreck’. Two years ago an inter-society AAPG/SPEE meet resulted in the first training program for reserves estimators. This initiative was later joined by the World Petroleum Council. Other organizations (SPE/SEG) have been invited to join. Pete Rose (Rose Associates and AAPG President) is skeptical of the use of ‘reasonable certainty’ in the SPE guidelines as used by the US SEC. ‘Reasonable certainty is a probability statement with no confidence level.’ An ‘insidious deficiency’ that ‘brings discredit to reserves estimation’. Rose’s simple remedy: all professional societies should agree on a 90 % confidence level.
Actually, Rice University accountancy chair, Bala Dharan, was happy with ‘reasonable certainty,’ a term that is widely used by accountants. This probably means ‘a 60-70% confidence level’ for auditors. Reserves are key to market evaluation. Reserve growth is highly correlated with market returns. Dharan agreed that there is a confusion of reserves and resources definitions with un-intuitive usage.
Andrew Oram (Moody’s Investor Services) was skeptical, saying that reserve numbers can be misleading. Oram let lose a bamboozling set of ‘exhaustive and rather complex evaluation metrics,’ involving ‘ceteris paribus,’ debt/daily production ratios and the like. How many E&P investors really understand what’s under the hood? For Oram, the debate about reserves bookings will not change business fundamentals. Bookings tend to confirm old news already ‘baked in’ to valuation.
Scott Tinker, University of Texas, described the International oil companies’ (IOCs) ‘trilemma’ of reserves, technology and talent, all of which are ‘at risk’. Only 7% of worldwide reserves are open to US companies. Even the mighty ExxonMobil is only N° 12 in the 2004 reserves hit parade. Overall, IOCs hold less than 10% of world reserves. Technology is at risk as there are only two R&D labs left in US. The last two decades have been about IT research, but we now need to ‘get back to the rocks’. Geology needs tougher enrollment standards and Universities need to break out of their silo-orientation. Other presentations confirmed the parlous state of geoscience education and R&D.
Last year, the abandonment of Landmark’s GoCad-based Power Model left Landmark without a credible 3D modeler. Today, a generic topology engine for 3D modeling has been added to GeoProbe along with enhancements for fault and horizon clean-up and editing. At the SEG later this year, Landmark plans to show more structural validation tools. The upcoming Geoprobe 5.0 release will offer native OpenWorks data access. Oilware’s Log Index Agent builds a catalog of well log data by spidering directory structures and indexing log data down to individual curve level. Standard header images are produced and duplicates flagged. Perigon’s iPoint subsurface data viewer allows drag and drop montage building from data sources such as borehole data, cores, logs and FMS imagery – drawing data from OpenWorks, Finder or other data sources. GateWayPlus, an ArcGlobe-based data browser adds 3D visualization to PetroWeb’s GateWay Plus offers unified access to the main online seismic data vendors, now through an ESRI ArcGlobe interface which is claimed to be an ‘effective way to locate 2 and 3D surveys in remote regions of the world.’ In house, proprietary data can be layered over public data sets. GatewayPlus provides large scale plotting, multiple map projections, local data support and spatial filtering. Reservoir Visualization is turning well logs to 3D ‘seismics,’ transforming large (>1,000) well data sets into 3D volumes that can be interpreted using standard workstation packages.
Melanie McQuinn, IHS Energy, notes that clients tend to want to populate their databases with ‘successes.’ But failures often tell an important part of the story. McQuinn advocates building datasets from all available sources. Here, metadata is the key. IHS has defined globally-valid metadata which will be available in a new ArcMap 9.1-based IHS product aimed at power users.
Pete Stark described how IHS Energy has ‘re-tooled’ its query technology to take advantage of modern data mining and GIS. A parameter-driven spatial query searched 1 million wells penetrating the Barnett shale and retrieved 210 wells with shows.
Lori Hathon unveiled Shell’s computer assisted petrography (CAP) technique, an image analysis system collection and storage of thin section data. CAP measures particle geometry and can be used to estimate acoustic and physical rock properties.
This article has been taken from a 14 page, illustrated report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch reporting service. More from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ESRI Petroleum User Group, the PUG goes from strength to strength – with this year’s head count just short of the 1,000 mark. Bart Hulshof presented an ArcMap transformation certification tool that Shell has developed to manage the plethoric coordinate reference systems used in Europe and elsewhere. The problem is that, while ArcMap issues a warning when a data transformation is needed, the transform may not actually execute. Users assume they don’t need to do anything and carry with significant errors on the map. Shell’s solution is an ArcMap extension, a library of EPSG-approved transformations that execute and verify automatically. Hulsof wondered why this wasn’t a standard ArcMap functionality.
Ingrid Hartz described how IPH Consulting built Copano Energy’s GIS ‘from scratch’. Copano uses its Pipeline mapping system to manage its Texas assets and also, by bringing in third party data from Pennwell MapSearch, performs competitor analysis for potential acquisitions. Likewise, pipe centerline data has been combined with drilling activity data from Drilling Info to identify proximal sales opportunities. The system integrates meter data and most recently, Petris’ ‘one-call’ digging ticket verification system—described as ‘a real timesaver’. Next Copano plans to deploy integrity management, HCA analysis, SCADA and right of way integration.
Danielle Forsyth (Thetus) showed how semantic web technologies can be used to leverage machine readable metadata to search across different information stores. The Thetus Publisher knowledge base was used to support pipe damage loss prevention, to identify gas loss and perform integrity management by identifying special situations where damage is likely to occur and which contractors cause damage. Another development tracks workers in hazardous situations with TenXsys’ monitoring system.
Michael Mixter showed how BP distributes maps to field personnel by creating ‘pmf’ files in ArcView publisher which can be viewed with the freeware ArcReader map browser. The GIS dataset comprises 1,500 miles of pipeline data tagged with information on the accuracy of spatial and right of way information. BP has fixed some of the problems with ArcReader—and now provides its 100 field workers with a system that integrates GPS best practices and solves ‘90% of its issues, 90% of the time.’
Ian Batty shared some dos and don’ts gleaned from Talisman’s enterprise GIS which now comprises 80 million rows of vector data, 250 GB raster data and supports 200 concurrent users. Batty stressed the importance of data management—both of the structured database tables and the file data, likening the latter to management of seismic trace bulk data. Batty deprecates shapefiles, coverages and personal geodatabases. The way to go is SDE (or Oracle Spatial for its data management). Data modeling involves a ‘happy medium’ between thematic modeling and pure relational—‘There is no point in creating the perfect denormalized model, adopting a geodatabase model or PPDM in its entirety. Define the data model that meets your business requirements’. More useful tips in Batty’s paper on www.esri.com/pug.
Structural geology PhD students Heather Campbell (Otago), Deirdre Duggan (Galway), Anne Have Rasmussen (Aarhus) and Zsolt Schléder (Aachen) are the first beneficiaries of Midland Valley’s ‘Challenge Group’, a fast track training program for new hires.
AspenTech has just opened a sales and R&D center with 70 employees in the Zhangjiang high-tech zone in Shanghai.
Guy Perkins has been appointed CEO of ER Mapper’s global operations. Perkins was previously with ESRI and MapInfo.
Petroleum Services group has appointed Catherine Horseman to its London-based
Chevron is to standardize global refining operations on AspenTech’s AspenOne Process Control for Petroleum.
Geotrace has promoted Denby Auble to COO and hired Patrick Ng as VP Reservoir Imaging and Gary Fair to manage its reservoir seismic operations.
Data specialist GuildOne is the first Canadian client for the Houston Technology Center, a business incubator.
Michael Parker has joined the Invensys board. He was previously with British Nuclear Fuels.
Vasily Borisov is the new director of business development for Kadme AS. He was previously with Landmark.
Alberto Mezzatesta is director of production solutions with Knowledge Reservoir. He was previously with Baker Hughes.
Maurice Boutéca has been appointed deputy director of the French Petroleum Institute’s (IFP) exploration and production technology business unit.
Alliance Geotechnical Services, Indonesia, now represents OpenSpirit in the Asia Pacific region.
Jerry Hubbard has joined POSC as VP business development. Hubbard was previously with SparesFinder and has served on API/PIDX UNSPSC committees.
Silicon Graphics has filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Non-US subsidiaries are not included in the filing.
Trolltech has filed an application for listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Betsy Palkowsky is VP product delivery with Volant Solutions. Palkowsky was previously with MetaCarta.
John Campbell has retired from the board of Paras Consulting where he has served as Chairman since 1994.
John Ludden is the next director of the British Geological Survey. He succeeds David Falvey, who retires next October.
Bill Gates presented the first Beta 2 versions of Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 to Chevron’s GM of IT and Strategy, Alan Nunns, at the 15th annual Windows Hardware and Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle this month. Nunns said, ‘Chevron employees in over 180 countries use a standard set of Microsoft products for business productivity. The new platform is an important part of our plan to improve IM across the enterprise.’
The Open GIS Consortium is sponsoring a new standard for geo-enabling RSS feeds. GeoRSS embeds location into RSS feeds which can be mapped by a GeoRSS-enabled client. More from www.georss.org.
HP is to close most all of its data centers around the world cutting 15,000 jobs. Only three, highly automated centers will remain, all in the USA.
InnerLogix CEO Dag Heggelund has done as much as anyone to bring data quality issues into the limelight. His presentation on the ‘Historic Journey to Data Quality Management’ distinguishes internal—storage related quality issues from external quality metrics such as data fit for purposeness and accuracy. InnerLogix’ (ILX) solution allows users to build ad hoc data quality assessment rules to check for instance that surface location elevations fall within a reasonable range.
ILX’ data quality management toolbox includes rule-based correction and notification and quantitative data quality estimators. Once exceptions have been identified, they can be passed to manual data editing tools for correction. Identifying data issues feeds back into improved procedures for data loading and QC.
ILX’ Morris Covington described a GOM project involving data synchronization across multiple projects with overlapping areas of interest and multiple instances of the same well in different projects. Data techs were overrun by trying to keep the projects synchronized keeping the same data in equivalent projects or project areas, and keeping the data current. ILX’ QCPro was used to connect to the 56 applications and data bases including Petra, OpenWorks, Finder, PPDM and Recall. ILX’s data quality management revealed that some wells that had been thought to be vertical were in fact deviated. Other checks revealed bad locations in several projects and some wells moved by a considerable amount due to mis-interpreted deviation data. Covington advocates a shift in geotechnical focus from data delivery to data exception handling which has a much higher value. Covington exhorts geotechs to ‘prepare yourselves for a new relationship with the data suppliers, build a new, higher-value Master store and adopt a new way of thinking about Data Management.’
Lynda Koenen set out to answer the big question, how to measure the production data quality. Along with more general considerations like well reservoir identity, quality metrics can test if top and bottom depths agree with perforations, if well status and produced fluid agrees with production data. The plan is to extend quality to pressure measurements and production test data. IHS Energy’s Stephen Cooper outlined a new initiative for an ‘IM quality framework Oil & Gas’.
Statoil has signed a NOK 100 million, three year technology collaboration agreement with Schlumberger Information Solutions to develop production optimization technologies aimed at extending the life of oil and gas fields. The agreement also covers standardization and automation of workflow processes.
Statoil VP Rolf Utseth said, ‘The goal of the project is to enable us to have updated models as a tool for improved reservoir and production management. We will be testing the technology on new fields and on existing producers the aim of improving oil recovery and increasing production.
SIS president Olivier le Peuch added, ‘This project will accelerate the development of technologies for improved decision-making, from front-end engineering to automated operations—delivering practical solutions to the digital oil field.’
Denver-based TransZap unit, Oildex, has just announced TrendX, a business intelligence tool for oil and gas drilling and production operations. TrendX is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, with data and applications residing on Oildex servers.
TrendX, an add-on to Oildex’ SpendWorks e-payable system (Oil ITJ Vol. 11 N° 2), is used by engineers, CEOs and accountants to gain real time visibility into their company’s current and historic costs, enabling them to make well-informed bottom-line decisions.
Transzap president Peter Flanagan told Oil IT Journal, ‘TrendX is a packaged business intelligence solution tuned for oil and gas. There is no need for the expensive customization that goes with a Hyperion or Cognos-type deployment. Now expenditure and budget comparisons are available instantly to every decision maker in the company—from pumper to president.’
‘The oil business has an abysmal record in this area. Summary information from fields and wells is often only available ninety days after the fact! Analysis also relies on manual data entry and futzing in Excel. The irony is that all the information needed for real time decision making is there. What’s been missing is a way of tying it all together into a data mart.’
Negative cash flow
‘A typical operations engineer is trying to maximize production and minimize spend on maybe 100 wells. TrendX lets him spot problematic wells and shut them in before they start generating a negative cash flow.’
TrendX simplifies pivot tables and makes them usable by field personnel and managers. The package supports triggers and can issue warnings to users who subscribe through the web or by email.
We asked Flanagan if the package allowed for data mining of the whole Oildex database. The answer was no. ‘There is strict segmentation of data from individual clients. This is why the industry now accepts ASP*. Most of our customers are publicly traded companies and their first concern is for a SOX-compliant solution (SpendWorks recently received SAS 70 certification). But it would be nice to mine public data sets or for industry to share data for such evaluations.’
* Application service provision.
Halliburton has just released an electronic version of its ‘Red Book’ for drilling operations. The eRedBook software evolved from Halliburton’s ‘Red Book’ cementing tables reference guide, first published in 1929. Today, the eRedBook includes calculators for daily operations, an interactive wellbore tool for sharing well schematics and information on Energy Services Group products, API pipe data and other resources.
Halliburton senior VP David King said, ‘The eRedBook package is the most user-friendly and complete digital oilfield toolkit available. It’s a smarter way for industry professionals to work.’ The package offers a straightforward navigation system that allows for faster access to accurate information, calculations and design tools to help improve decision making.
The eRedBook software contains all the data from the original, hardcopy RedBook reference guide along with expanded content. Users can transfer cut and paste information to e-mails or other documents. With an internet connection eRedBook’s self-update function will automatically download new content, including calculators, revised API pipe data, and additional features as they become available. Dowload the eRedBook free from www.halliburton.com. You may also like to checkout Schlumberger’s i-Handbook—another free download, from www.slb.com.
OYO Geophysical has published its first quarter 2006 accounts using the XBRL financial reporting language. The accounts leverage W3C technology, namespaces from Edgar-Online and xbrl.org to provide machine readable financial information to investors.
The Extensible Business Reporting Language allows individual investors to download data direct to an Excel spreadsheet or to format it in HTML documents for further analysis. The XBRL specification will ultimately allow for ‘like for like’ comparison of company financials from different sources. Latterly, Business Wire also offers XBRL-based information for many companies.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that 17 companies will participate in an XBRL test program. The companies will help explore how XBRL can improve the financial reporting process, provide feedback to the SEC and enable investors and analysts to assess new techniques for analyzing interactive data. For more information on interactive data and XBRL initiatives at the SEC, please visit http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/xbrl.htm.
Last month, the XBRL International Standards Board (XSB) was set up to enhance the quality, consistency and stability of XBR. The Board will also raise the level of openness, formalize the standards setting process—particularly to facilitate interoperability and accelerate adoption of the standard.
Swift Energy Co. is to implement P2 Energy Solutions’ Oil & Gas Business Footprint, an oil country ERP platform developed around P2ES’ Enterprise Upstream package and Oracle’s eBusiness Suite. Swift will use the OGBF as its integrated global asset management and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform.
The OGBF framework was designed by P2ES and embeds industry best practice processes derived from P2ES consultants’ implementation experience. The preconfigured framework is said to shorten time-to-benefit and lower upfront costs associated with typical ERP roll-outs. OGBF leverages the Oracle eBusiness Suite support performance management, operations accounting and financial management, land management, volumes management and other facets of Swift’s business.
Swift CFO, Alton Heckaman said, ‘We chose the P2ES package following an extensive evaluation process and we will deploy the P2ES Oracle platform to integrate and improve all related business applications.
George Telford, senior VP with P2ES added, ‘OGBF reduces the time and risk associated with large systems implementations. The project team is able to move quickly through the design and configuration tasks and focus on the business process and knowledge transfer to the client. The Footprint brings the cost of ERP down to a point where it is a viable option for a mid-market producer.’
Kerr McGee Corp is to deploy Triple Point Technology’s Commodity XL and its Gas Scheduling ‘Visual Cockpit’ to support its physical and financial natural gas trading. Commodity XL supports gas traders with real-time integration of physical and financial positions, comprehensive risk management, and an integrated back office.
Visual Cockpit, announced last June, provides a central, single screen control point that graphically displays all the information required for complex scheduling. VC solves the scheduling challenges caused by a convoluted interstate pipeline system, intricate FERC regulations, and complexities such as capacity management, storage management, imbalances, book-outs, lending and parking.
Marc Peter, Kerr-McGee’s Gas Marketing Manager said, ‘We wanted a system that automated and streamlined scheduling operations. Triple Point’s solution handled all the complexities involved in scheduling natural gas through a single screen graphical interface.’
TPT VP Mike Ravo added, ‘Our trading solution integrates front-to-back-office and handles all the complexities of physical and financial trading, risk management, and settlement an integrated, real-time platform. With the VC’s added capabilities, traders and schedulers can maximize their productivity on a single platform.’
Houston-based Stone Bond Technologies rolled-out its Enterprise Enabler (EE) Server 2006 at the Visual Studio Live trade show in Orlando this month. EE Server 2006 manages and monitors integrated processes and data workflows such as those deployed in the digital oilfield. EE combines an Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) framework, Extract Transform Load (ETL) technology and workflow management in a single environment. The package allows application integration in complex environments with ‘virtually no programming’.
Stone Bond’s AppComm technology provides native connectivity to standard and proprietary data formats, without the need for adapters or data staging caches. EEE supports WITSML, PIDX, OPC and other communication standards across the digital oil field, as well as being SOA compliant.
Stone Bond CIO Pam Szabo said, ‘EE lets you expose and invoke Web services, build workflows and perform complex data transformations—all without programming.’ Stone Bond is an early adopter of the Microsoft 2.0 .NET framework and SQL Server 2005. A trial version is available from www.stonebond.com.
Petro-Canada is to deploy Information Builders’ WebFocus business intelligence platform following a review of competing products. Petro-Canada’s requirement was for a standard reporting tool for its domestic and international operations—pulling data from multiple systems to provide a corporate ‘big picture’. Petro-Canada developed Enterprise Reporting System (ERS), which embeds WebFocus, which provides consolidated financial reporting and analysis of operating data with both predefined and ad hoc reports.
Information Builders CEO Gerald Cohen said, ‘The detail provided by this type of WebFocus application has enabled financial managers to gain visibility into profitability and to make informed decisions on operational matters - ultimately leading to reduced costs and lowered business risk. The key to analyzing volumes of corporate data is turning it into meaningful reports.’
Houston-based Vaalco Energy is to address its Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues by leveraging NetMass’ online backup service. The NetMass service leverages Asigra’s ‘TeleVaulting’ backup technology to provide agentless distributed backup and recovery. The backup/restore technology helped Vaalco meet its audit requirements in a recent year-end review of accountability in financial records management.
Vaalco CIO Robert Walston said, ‘The NetMass/Asigra solution enabled us to meet our auditors’ requirements for compliance, including proof of security, data integrity, and validity of backup and restore processes. Initial trials determined that the service met our criteria, from hot backup of SQL databases to offsite storage and automated policy-based processes.’
NetMass CEO Mark Martin added, ‘Vaalco is an early adopter of best of breed technology for securing its essential financial records and should be a great role model for other oil and gas companies just beginning to address Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.’
Suncor Energy (USA) is to deploy ProPlan production planning software from Ingenious of Houston. Suncor will use ProPlan to assist with long term production planning and strategy decisions. The multi-year multi-license deal allows Suncor to use ProPlan across its network.
ProPlan provides economic optimization and planning of plant operations using linear and non-linear programming optimizers. The package offers material balance computations and financial analysis—predicting yields, product properties, and the consumption of utilities. ProPlan users include business managers and process engineers in strategic planning, feasibility study and crude oil trading departments.
Suncor is active in the Canadian oil sands market. US downstream assets include pipeline and refining operations and retail sales in the Denver area under the Phillips 66 brand. Ingenious provides software solutions for real time training and optimization, and production planning and scheduling for the process industries. Ingenious is a Houston Technology Center Client company.
ANSYS, Canonsburg (PA), has acquired simulation specialists Fluent for approximately 6 million ANSYS shares and $299 million. Fluent’s suite of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) are used to simulate fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, and related phenomena in ‘almost every industry sector’ including oil and gas, currently one of Fluent’s fastest growing markets. CFD is used to model processes in drilling, downhole equipment, flow around risers and in pipelines and in LNG plants, transport and refining. The combined company will have 40 offices, 17 development centers and approximately 1,350 employees.
Fluent recently teamed with Microsoft to offer a 64-bit version of Fluent tuned to Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 leveraging Microsoft MPI and various interconnect options including Gigabit Ethernet, Infiniband, and Myrinet. Last month, Fluent announced its first International CFD Conference Dedicated to the Oil & Gas Industry to be held in London next November - said to be the world’s only event dedicated to the application of CFD in the oil and gas industry.
IHS has just opened an off-site storage facility to serve oil and gas companies located at Grapevine, in the Dallas/Fort Worth ‘Metroplex’ area. The facility offers a secure, climate-controlled environment for the storage of seismic data, well data, logs and other oil and gas physical assets. IHS has signed asset management agreements with several oil and gas companies in the Metroplex area. IHS’ Jim Wortham said, ‘Oil and gas companies don’t have the people, processes or technology to find their data quickly and efficiently. Companies are also seeking climate-controlled storage to preserve historical records. Mergers and acquisitions also force consolidation of large volumes of records.’ Wortham cited the recent interest in the Barnett share as a case in point, ‘Many companies acquired seismic data in the area 10-15 years ago. Now they need access to their data. With this new facility and our experienced staff, we can assure our customers they will have access to their data when they need it.’
IHS staff will tag, bar code and catalog each item it receives. Requested materials are delivered and tracked as to who requested the materials and when. The facility includes custom-designed, general-purpose records centers, dedicated to an individual oil and gas company, where they can re-locate their file rooms, creating ‘a total physical assets data management solution.’
SAIC has transferred technology used to simulate oil and gas reservoirs to model geothermal energy production. The SAIC study focused on turbulent dual phase water and steam flowing in geothermal wells, a complex and hitherto intractable analytical problem. SAIC’s Sabodh Garg explained, ‘One critical task is to understand the dramatic difference between the liquid and gas velocities, known as the liquid hold-up correlation.’
SAIC’s team used its Welbor proprietary well-simulation package
to determine a generalized liquid hold-up correlation that can be applied to
any geothermal well. The technique now accurately predicts fluid flow in geothermal
well bores and will aid in the search for economically recoverable geothermal
energy sources. The study ‘A new liquid hold-up correlation for geothermal wells’
was published in Volume 33 of Geothermics. The research was sponsored by the
U.S. Department of
Energy, and used well data from Unocal Corporation and Caithness Energy.
Houston-based RigNet has signed a global deal with Sense Intellifield of Stavanger to provide a WITSML backbone for some 120 mobile offshore rigs. The licensing agreement lets RigNet market and support Sense’s SiteCom suite of WITSML-based real-time data management products. Sense was a pioneer in the roll-out of WITSML’s W3C standards-based data communications for drilling operations data exchange.
Sense CEO Borge Kolstad said, ‘This deal makes SiteCom immediately available to a large portion of the global offshore rig fleet and is a major step in standards-based inter-company and application data transfer. Often, real time data professionals spend half their time manipulating data. Now, nearly all of these tasks can be automated.’
RigNet CEO Omar Kulbrandstad added ‘We now offer the only single-source solution that links multiple drilling rigs with real-time onshore decision centers. Our services now include the complete communications package of voice, video, networking, and real-time data management—linking any offshore data source to our clients’ systems onshore.’ include ("copyright.inc"); ?>