Wal-Mart CIO Nancy Stewart’s presentation to the 2006 PNEC Data Integration Conference (see the June 2006 editorial) has been turning around in my mind since then. As I hope you remember, Stewart described Wal-Mart as being ‘manic about data’. The mission of Wal-Mart’s Information Systems Division is to let its marketing specialists ‘ask any question any time’. My ruminations, as I said previously, have been along the lines of ‘why can’t upstream engineers and scientists ask any question any time?’ Well, I think that I have finally come up with the answer. But before revealing all, I’d like to look at why the ability to ‘ask any question any time’ (AAQAT) is important to our business.
Macroscopic reality check
Early in most peoples careers there has been some kind of a realization that your interpretation—of a structure’s tectonics, a reservoir’s size or recoverable reserves is implausible. Some old timer, maybe your boss, looks over your shoulder, or lays into you in a partner meeting, to point out that your picture is ‘out of line’. A billion barrel field in a mature basin where the largest field to date is 50 mmbbl is unlikely.
Devil in detail
In the early days, a region’s prospectivity was measured in tried and tested summary units like barrels per acre foot—making it relatively easy to see when things were out of line. Today, the assumptions behind a reserve computation are manifold and may be rather resistant to review. How many Petrel dialog boxes can you be expected to check before you are comfortable with the end result? Just where do all these numbers come from? Are they guesses? There seems to be a general belief that a lot of guesses will somehow converge on the truth, something I find highly improbable.
A similar picture comes from the production monitoring space. Each action—from shutting in a well, controlling a downhole valve, or performing a workover used to be done with a macroscopic analysis of a few parameters like water cut. Today, with real time data, decisions may depend on analysis of an increasingly large amount of information streaming in from the field. Drinking from the data ‘fire hose’ may make it harder to understand what’s actually happening.
The question in both these scenarios (and in many others) is how do you get the most out of larger and larger data sets? How can you see the wood from the trees? One approach, a novelty in the production context, is the use of data mining to derive likely parameter values from the data itself. But to do this, you need to have access to the data, preferably all the data. And this is where the industry is really lagging behind Wal-Mart.
In both the upstream and the production monitoring context, we can’t AAQAT because of what is increasingly looking like a major anachronism—the Project! Let me explain with an example from the web. You have just fired up Google Earth and are looking at Manhattan. Suddenly you fancy taking a trip over to Jersey for a virtual visit to Tony Soprano’s birthplace. Imagine your surprise if, as you panned across the Hudson, Google Earth said ‘sorry, you can’t go there, we will have to take time out to build a Jersey ‘Project’ from our database. This will be ready some time next week!’
This is of course, ridiculous, but it is exactly what the upstream has gotten used to. While you are interpreting one field, you are ‘blind’ to data in the adjoining area. But this is just one example of how our work practices have conditioned us to working with at worst, guesses and at best, subsets of the available data. Seismic processing or geostatistical variogram parameter selection, decline parameters, process control set points—are these always based on all the evidence?
History has put us in position of managing a minimal subset of data, rather than an approach which says, ‘let’s capture and make everything accessible to our knowledge workers’. Most data strategies involve successive filtering of data into subsets, divided by work practice-based demarcation lines. ‘Field Data’, ‘Processed Data,’ ‘Workstation Data,’ ‘Corporate Data.’
Hand to mouth
Vendors and consultants have come along and elaborated data ‘strategies’ that are retrofitted to mask what is really fire fighting, living from hand to mouth. This is evidenced in publications which cut up the data cake into ‘low value’ data (presumably to be handled by ‘low value’ data managers!) through higher value ‘knowledge’ for the engineers and ultimately ‘wisdom’ for the bosses.
This edifice has grown up to hide our inability to provide answers based on all available data because we are still living with so many antiquated demarcation lines. The data, knowledge, wisdom spectrum and the data filtering and loading gymnastics it involves is really just lipstick on the pig.
Data mining, evidence-based reasoning, is the way forward for sure. But to mine data, you have to have access to it! To do this we need to lose the Project and move to data infrastructures designed for AAQAT. With interfaces that, like Google Earth, are dynamic windows onto the big picture. How are we going to do this? Unfortunately, lack of space precludes my answering that question!
With the oil service sector booming, it’s time to buy! US-based Geotrace has snapped up UK upstream software house Tigress Geosciences. Roxar, flush with Middle East petro dollars has acquired Energy Scitech. Geokinetics has finished its purchase of Grant Geophysical. And then there is the big one—the top dollar take-over of Veritas by CGG.
Seismic processing house Geotrace has extended its portfolio into the acquisition space with its purchase of the Tigress subsurface data integration suite. Geotrace CEO Bill Schrom said, ‘The Tigress geoscience applications along with our seismic imaging technology represent the most integrated solution available to the industry.’
Roxar’s acquisition of Energy Scitech is its first since it was acquired by Arcapita Bank. Roxar will now offer clients Energy Scitech’s history matching product EnABLE alongside its IRAP RMS reservoir modeler and its Tempest fluid flow simulator. The combined offering is claimed to be the first commercial solution which allows simultaneous modeling of multiple geological scenarios and fluid flow models. Energy Scitech MD Bob Parish said, ‘To grow and expand our capabilities, we needed the support of a larger company with complementary technology and international support.’
Geokinetics has completed its purchase of Grant Geophysical, a $125 million cash transaction financed by Avista Capital Holdings and Royal Bank of Canada. Geokinetics president and CEO, Dave Johnson said, ‘This represents our second significant acquisition (after Trace Energy) during the last 12 months. We are now one of the largest land, transition zone and shallow water acquisition companies in the world.’
Compagnie Générale de Géophysique (CGG) is to acquire Veritas DGC in a cash and paper transaction valued at approximately $3 billion, a 35% premium over Veritas’ prior share price. The combined group will operate under the name ‘CGG-Veritas’ and will remain a ‘pure play’ seismic company boasting a fleet of 20 vessels, including 14 high capacity 3D vessels, and land crews around the world. The new group will have a combined workforce of approximately 7,000 staff.
Veritas chairman and CEO Thierry Pilenko is to serve on the new board of directors under chairman, Robert Brunck. Credit Suisse and Rothschild acted as financial advisors to CGG and Goldman Sachs was financial advisor to Veritas. CGG’s presentation to analysts claims the timing of the deal was ‘ideal in the cycle’. With oil at a six-month low this looks more like buying at the peak!!
Last month, following Paradigm’s acquisition of Earth Decision, we asked if it was time for an initial public offering (IPO). Paradigm CEO John Gibson has answered our rhetoric by filing an ‘S1’ form to the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) as a preamble to a public offering.
Cayman Islands-registered Paradigm Ltd.’s S1 form is a template for the placement of an unspecified number of Paradigm shares. The S1 includes a prospectus for a future holder for the IPO which, citing a 2005 IDC study, estimates the global oil and gas software spend as around $8 bn., with growth to $11 bn. Forecast for 2009. Paradigm’s share of this cornucopia was approx. $100 million in 2005.
$56 million for EDS
Intriguingly, although the price paid for EDS was a state secret last month, purchase details are there for all to see in the Prospectus. Paradigm paid $56 million for EDS including approximately 3 million shares in its Paradigm Geotechnology unit, $2.7 million in cash and a further $8.9 million convertible debentures and ‘fees and expenses’. The Prospectus also reveals ongoing litigation between Paradigm and Landmark concerning GeoProbe and VoxelGeo (more on page4).
Shell International E&P (SIEP) and Halliburton’s Drilling, Evaluation and Digital Solutions Division have signed a global framework agreement for the provision of a global real-time provision of ‘seamless, secure and open access to proprietary data across the globe.’ The agreement provides SIEP and its affiliates with worldwide access to Sperry Drilling Services’ InSite information technology services and related systems. InSight offers rigsite data aggregation and transmission of the data to SIEP’s real-time operations centers.
Sperry VP Brady Murphy said, ‘This agreement validates the
significant benefits that both SIEP and Halliburton have realized from the real-time
operating environment in the Gulf of Mexico. We are extremely pleased to be
able to expand this capability with SIEP while continuing to develop new benefits
from this emerging technology. Data integration will leverage the POSC/WITSML
standard alongside other drilling software in use within
Houston-based seismic data processing boutique, Geotrace, has installed a high-end storage cluster from Panasas. The Active-Scale storage subsystem runs in tandem with Geotrace’s Linux cluster, streamlining management and system administrative tasks. The Panasas storage replaces Geotrace’s multiple NFS servers, which proved ‘costly to manage and slowed down seismic processing’.
Geotrace sysadmin Matt Gaskamp said, ‘With thousands of nodes in our Linux cluster, we’d like to use as many as possible on processing. Unfortunately, NFS made it hard to keep the cluster busy. Panasas Direct-Flow alleviated many NFS hurdles. We can now stop solving system issues and focus on imaging.’
The Panasas hardware/software storage solution combines a ‘next-generation’, parallel file system and an object-storage architecture. DirectFlow’s parallel data path allows high speed communication between the cluster and storage, eliminating performance bottlenecks that can cause the cluster to idle as it waits for data. A single global namespace provides high scalability and near linear scaling in performance as more capacity is added.
Panasas VP Larry Jones added, ‘Geotrace is one of many energy industry customers that use our system to achieve a competitive edge.’
Petrosys is increasing the range of data output from its mapping and data management applications that is delivered as an XML data stream, formatted with XSL. Petrosys uses XSL to define a range of style sheets that are used to communicate mapping and other metadata to output reports on volumetrics, grids and map queries in a variety of formats.
Volumetrics information can be reformatted for different web browser or output as comma delimited files for import into spreadsheets. Printer-friendly reports leverage the Open Document format (ODF) from OASIS, an office document format based on XML. ODF is already supported by OpenOffice and will ‘apparently’ be supported by Microsoft Office 2007.
Petrosys is convinced that XML has a great future as an archival medium. The growing acceptance of XSL and the XML readiness of office applications mean that clients can invest today in business processes leveraging the power of XML.
Speaking at the 2006 Lehman Brothers’ Energy conference, Schlumberger CEO Andrew Gould reported that 2006 is forecast to see a record level of E&P spend at $260 billion, a 20% hike over last year. Offshore activity is constrained by the lack of rig capacity, high prices and a lack of trained professionals. Gould noted the continuing trend towards exploration—with high oil prices making previously impossible plays attractive. Digital systems are enabling experienced staff in operations support centers to interface with a number of remote operations.
Gould referred to the ‘ambitious claims’ made for real-time reservoir management which ‘will undoubtedly happen at some point in the future’. Today, Gould’s focus is on the ‘digital enablement’ of data streams in E&P operations. Schlumberger’s center in Aberdeen can monitor up to 28 concurrent drilling operations in the North Sea. A similar facility exists in the Gulf of Mexico. Such centers come into their own on complex projects where ‘centers of expertise can be directly linked to the well site in real time to allow the interaction between geoscientists and drillers’.
As a part of its ‘S1’ filing to the SEC, Paradigm reports on litigation with Halliburton regarding the company’s 3D Propagator, Reservoir Navigator and VoxelGeo products that allegedly infringe on Landmark’s GeoProbe patents Nos. 6765570, 5570106 and 5615171. In December 2005, Landmark added Seismic Micro-Technology as a defendant to part of the suit.
Following an unsuccessful attempt at ‘alternative dispute resolution’ Paradigm counter-filed against Landmark in May this year, alleging ‘fraud and misrepresentation, breach of contract, [...] and misappropriation of trade secrets,’ seeking judgment that Paradigm owned Patent No. 6765570, that Landmark had infringed the patent and that anyhow the patent was ‘invalid and unenforceable’. In June 2006, Landmark and Magic Earth refiled their infringement claim, seeking damages and an injunction related to the alleged infringement of Reservoir Navigator and VoxelGeo and sought to dismiss Paradigm’s counter claims.
Way back in its early days, what was then the Petroleum Open Software Consortium (POSC) pinned its hopes on object database technology (Oil ITJ Vol. 1 N° 1). But the object database failed to catch on and since, the upstream has opted for wall to wall Oracle. Today, Fugro’s Data Services unit bucks the trend with its choice of the Objectivity data store for its geological, geophysical and reservoir modeling toolset.
Following an assessment of database solutions, Fugro-Jason selected Objectivity/DB as the data management platform for its applications. Dynamic support for multiple language bindings was considered key since Fugro will use the platform in a heterogeneous computing environment including Objectivity’s C++, .NET for C# and Python. OS support includes Windows, Solaris and Linux.
Brad Woods, manager of Fugro-Jason’s Reservoir Products Division said, ‘Our evaluation criteria included speed of development, schema evolution, performance and scalability. We will be demonstrating one of our first Objectivity-based products within a month and will deploy Objectivity/DB as the persistent data store in all of our future product releases.’
Roxar has just released Tempest 6.3, a new version of its reservoir simulator, which now sports a parallel processing capability. Tempest 6.3 leverages the message passing interface (MPI) standard to run on high performance compute clusters. Tempest models black oil, compositional, dual porosity, steam and coal bed methane.
Tempest is closely integrated with Roxar’s IRAP RMS geomodeling package which now quantifies the effect of uncertainties to minimize risk. Roxar acquired its MPI technology through a partnership with HP. Tempest operates on Linux, UNIX and Windows.
The Roxar press release enigmatically concludes that ‘At a time when the future of some simulators is uncertain, Roxar remains fully committed to development, support and training for Tempest’.
Schlumberger has already tried this the hard way, with its value destructive flirtation with SEMA Group back in 2001. This time around, the oilfield service behemoth is to add an ‘end-to-end information management solution’ to its service offering without risking an acquisition! The deal involves a ‘global alliance’ with India-based outsourcing and IT consultants, Infosys.
The alliance targets the integration of petrotechnical data and applications with financial and human resources ‘back-end’ systems, leveraging Infosys’ ‘global delivery model’ by taking work ‘where it makes the most economic sense’ (India!).
Naren Koduvattat, head of Infosys’ Energy Business Unit added, ‘Infosys is at the leading edge of designing and delivering IT-enabled business solutions to oil and gas companies. Our alliance will provide end-to-end services integrating petrotechnical data with other relevant business systems, which is atypical in the market today.’
Infosys and Schlumberger will build on a working relationship developed over the last several years. This includes comprehensive IM solutions supported by ‘expert system’ integration services. Development of Schlumberger’s legacy data management solution, Finder was outsourced to Infosys a couple of years ago. Since then Infosys’ Southern North America unit has been maintaining Finder’s 12 million line code base.
Tecplot has released a new version of its data visualization and plotting solution for reservoir simulation. Tecplot RS 2007 now supports Landmark’s VIP and includes options for viewing cell data in 3D grid plots, such as arbitrary vertical slices. Techplot RS 2007 was developed with input from reservoir management consultants International Reservoir Technology.
WellPoint Systems has signed a $800,000 contract with an unnamed Calgary-based oil services company for the deployment of its Microsoft Dynamics AX-based oil and gas ERP package. The software will be used to monitor budgeting, job costing, time tracking, payroll and equipment use. WellPoint has already sold the package to HSE Integrated, Innicor Subsurface Technologies and Technicoil Corp.
PetroAnalyst has entered into a joint venture with Interpretive Software Products (ISP) for real time data streaming, via WITSML, of drilling data into ISP’s pore pressure and fracture gradient analysis models for monitoring by shore-based personnel.
Baker Hughes unit Inteq has announced ‘CoPilot’, a real time drilling optimization service. Copilot is a downhole data acquisition and diagnostic tool that samples 14 sensor measurements for real-time assessment of downhole drilling parameters. CoPilot data can be integrated with INTEQ’s RigLink and BEACON services for remote, real time information sharing and control.
Decisioneering has announced Spanish, German and French versions of its Crystal Ball decision analysis package. The localization targets Decisioneering’s oil and gas customers.
Intervera Data Solutions has just released Version 6 of its DataVera data quality toolset. Repetitive quality tasks can now be performed as scheduled jobs and new data quality rules and functions have been added, leveraging pattern matching to find common or standard values. Cross dataset drilldown is now available and the package has been enhanced to work seamlessly with public data stores.
Triple Point Technology has signed a co-development agreement with SAP for the delivery of ‘Commodity SL’, a NetWeaver-based package integrating TPT’s real-time portfolio and risk management technology with SAP’s logistical solutions. The package combines information on the physical supply chain with market-based financial valuations and costs, allowing for ‘opportunistic’ buy, sell or hedge decision making.
The Open Geospatial Consortium has just rolled out four ‘sensor web’ standards for interoperability of mobile devices such as airborne cameras, pollution ‘sniffers’, noise and temperature sensors. The backbone of the sensor web is the OpenGIS Sensor Model Language (SensorML) for ‘discovery and tasking’ of web-based sensors.
Carl Godkin (Dynamic Graphics) has posted a utility for web browsing of RESCUE formatted reservoir models on ftp.dgi.com/pub/rescue.
de Groot-Bril has just released a beta version of OpendTect v2.5.0, available on opendtect.org. The release includes the first version of the new Seismic Stratigraphy Interpretation System (SIS) plugin which offers chrono-stratigraphic horizon tracking, systems tracts interpretation and Wheeler transforms.
Earthworks Environments and Resources has added its MPSI Stochastic Seismic Inversion to the OpendTect framework. Modules include 3D model building, deterministic and stochastic inversion and the ‘probability cube’.
ZEH Software announced ZEH Montage Professional for Windows (ZMP). The package lets users combine CGM and raster graphics into a montage or PowerPoint slide.
Rock Solid Images has been awarded US patents for ‘determining formation quality factor from well log data and its application to seismic reservoir characterization’, (No. 7,088,639) and a ‘method for detecting earth formation fractures by seismic imaging of diffractors’ (No. 7,085,195). The OPERA consortium in Pau, France contributed IPR to the latter.
WesternGeco has acquired the rights to the ‘Monk’ data whitening algorithm from Apache Corp.
Halliburton’s digital oilfield joint venture partner Pavilion Technologies has been awarded no less than fifteen new patents for modeling, optimization and control. The patents ‘bridge plant-to-enterprise gaps with robust model-based production performance metrics’.
Paradigm has announced that it has reached a settlement with French software house Techsia in relation to a patent infringement suite that it filed last year (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 4).
OpenSpirit is currently piloting a new web server that will allow users to view data and launch applications from any OpenSpirit-enabled application or datastore (including GIS data stored in ESRI’s SDE). The OpenSpirit web server (OSWS) will offer data browsing, selection and visualization from a ‘lightweight’ browser.
OSWS offers both casual and power users. Casual browsing targets executives who need a quick spatial view of areas of interest. Power users can get a quick look at project data without tying up application licenses. Selected data can be broadcast to OpenSpirit-enabled applications on the desktop.
The OSWS creates dynamic KML (Keyhole Mark-up Language) layers for viewing in lightweight 3D browsing tools, such as Google Earth, ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer and NASA’s World Wind.
Roll your own
The OSWS includes a subset of the OpenSpirit Framework in the form of a set of web services accessible via http. These can be used in corporate web-based applications to list and query OS data and projects. Web services also send data selection events and return PNG grid images or KML files for GIS data.
The new POSC president and CEO, Randy Clark kicked off the proceedings with his thoughts on a ‘new look’ POSC. POSC is to ‘renew’ its focus on standards; involving others including horizontal IT providers such as Intel and Microsoft—while maintaining an E&P focus. In the area of ‘intelligent energy’ there is a need for more digital standards that link to strategy and offer a ‘compelling value proposition’. ‘We need to make sure that SAP et al don’t get ahead of us in data transfer standards!’
Clark sees PRODML as a ‘short cut’ to the field of the future, with terabytes of data streaming in from fields. This was illustrated with a use case in gas lift optimization—real time optimization changes ‘saw tooth’ manual optimization to a smooth production curve near to the theoretical optimum. Finally, Clark announced that POSC has signed a letter of intent with IHS Energy and major operators to offer a well identity service. Participating oils have agreed to make their data public.
Under its new leadership, POSC is re-branding, with a new mission and a new image. All will be revealed at the November 8 public meeting in Houston. Clark did reveal that the organization ‘will not be called POSC any more’.
Grahame Blakey described ExxonMobil as a mature GIS user whose experience goes back to the 1980s. A company like ExxonMobil has to manage a large GIS ‘database’—in reality, thousands of files in the UNIX file system. These are mostly correctly stored but it only takes a few errors and things fall apart and for users to ask—‘where is my structure map?’ Data management and cleanup are a necessity even though they are neither glamorous nor necessarily a career path of choice.
If data is the rocket fuel of GIS then metadata is the engine oil. A fully defined coordinate reference system is an absolute must. Scale of capture is important as a pencil line is 1km wide at a one to one million scale. It can be hard to decide which metadata standards to use. ExxonMobil strikes a balance between exhaustiveness and what can be easily captured. Exxon is in the process of building an enterprise GIS, starting by porting vendor data to ESRI’s ArcSDE and building its system around an ArcSDE repository with ArcGIS-based data management. Robust data management is the key to making it all happen. Cleanup and metadata capture are fundamental prerequisites.
David Holmes (Halliburton) questions whether all of the data volume explosion is ‘true’ or more accurately, how much of the estimated 40% annual growth in disk storage requirements is self inflicted. Network Attached Storage (NAS) offers ‘instant gratification’ as it is now cheaper to add storage than to hire a data manager. By storing a multiplicity of seismic data volumes we are creating a nightmare for the future.
Observing the rapid increase in server capacity, Holmes anticipates a return to ‘Big Iron’ information management solutions built around large server computers. By 2009, the Norwegian DISKOS databank—whose operations will then return to Landmark—will have provision for 8 petabytes of near line storage.
Thore Langeland, of Norway’s OLF oil and gas trade body, sees the ISO 15926 plant data taxonomy as the lynchpin of next generation real time infrastructure. POSC/CAESAR standards and the TampNett offshore digital infrastructure are ready to support advanced workflows. . But, according to Langeland, ‘We need a complete new set of software to cope with this environment’. To support cross silo XML data sharing, OLF is leveraging the World Wide Web Consortium’s ‘W3C’ Semantic Web and Web Ontolgy Language (OWL). OLF is working on Integrated Work processes across onshore and offshore centers, continuous onshore support. For Langeland, ‘It is time to stop ad hoc approaches in data standardization.’
Liv Maeland described Statoil’s ‘quiet revolution,’ the use of real time data feeds to control drilling and production operations remotely. According to Statoil’s program manager, Adolfo Henriquez, integrated operations means ‘bringing the data to the experts instead of taking the experts to the data’. Statoil’s Sansli Operations Control Center (OSC) now supports faster, better and safer decision making for an average of 6 concurrent drilling operations.
Robust data management
Working in real time mandates robust data management. Here, key enablers are automation and compliance that assure complete, consistent and properly organized data in real time. In the past, users targeted speed of data use, leaving naming conventions for later. This is not an option for real time.
Today’s data standards focus on data not compliance—creating problems for suppliers who provide real time data differently. Statoil now includes data transfer protocols in its standards. Maeland was pleased to note that statistics on data errors caused by service companies show considerable improvement over the last year. Service companies are getting better at performing QC/QA close to the point of acquisition.
Olav Barkved presented BP’s groundbreaking life of field seismic (LoFS) installation on the Valhall field. The permanent seismic recording equipment installed on the sea bed provides time lapse ‘4D’ seismic images of the reservoir for a growing ‘customer’ base. A cyclical workflow of acquisition, analysis, modeling, prediction has been developed around the new tool. Semi quantitative results from the 4 component time lapse data is used to plan wells and workovers.
BP believes there is significant potential to increase recovery through the LoFS approach. To date, seven surveys have been acquired over the seabed array which comprises 120 km of cables and 2,504 groups of 4C sensors spanning some 45 sq. km. Between acquisition, passive recording of the array monitors frac jobs and microseismic events. In what is described as an ‘advanced completion technology milestone,’ Weatherford’s Clarion Seismic downhole fiber optic seismic system is used in VSP imaging beneath the gas cloud.
Life of Field Seismic creates its own special data management problems with a survey size in the 4-7 terabyte range. Interpretation workflows have created some 500 volumes and 600 attribute maps. Such datasets are not amenable to menu driven interpretation so BP has developed an automated interpretation workflow, with limited user input.
Weatherford has announced the ‘first ever’ offshore installation of a permanent in-well optical seismic system in BP Norway’s G-24 injector well in the Valhall Field, the result of a two-year collaboration with BP Norway to design a system suitable for deployment in an injection or production well. The equipment consists of five 3-component optical accelerometer stations and an optical pressure/temperature gauge deployed with the production tubing near the reservoir.
Weatherford VP Tad Bostick said, ‘Weatherford’s ‘Clarion’ optical in-well system is providing both continuous seismic and pressure/temperature monitoring data and is also interfaced to the existing permanent ocean bottom cable system. This allows for the simultaneous collection of permanent seabed and downhole seismic data.’ See OITJ Vol 9 N° 7 for more on Clarion deployment.
The 2006 Plant Engineering Lifecycle Conference (PELC), held last June in The Hague, attracted around 120 engineers from the oil and petrochemicals construction industry. PELC has a strong standards focus with particular emphasis on the ISO 15926 plant data taxonomy standard. Keynote speaker Henk Koese (ABB Lummus) regretted the delay in take up of data integration and standardization—which he attributed to the complexity of the oil and gas supply chain. While plant owners operate on a 20 years plus life cycle, contractors are ‘opportunistic and dynamic’. Contractors ‘roll out and move on’ without much incentive to promote standards.
Current high oil prices have engendered a construction boom. There are now more projects than Engineering Prime Contractors (EPC) can handle. Fabrication is an ‘overheated market’. Equipment supply is likewise constrained—it can take over a year to order a big compressor. Koese sees a new role for EPC suppliers—with a closer relationship between OO and suppliers of key equipment. Here standards could play big role in asset data and manufacturing. But the big question is, ‘can suppliers change role from followers to leaders in standards?’
Peter Zgorelski described procurement of process control systems (PCS) in Bayer. This leverages XML schema and the Prolist/NE 100 database. A workflow might start with a Bayer PCS engineer working with a computer aided engineering (CAE) system to generate an XML enquiry file, leveraging pre-negotiated framework contracts. This is translated to a request for quote to suppliers who generate an XML offer that can be consumed by Bayer’s CAE system. The XML documentation can be reused in plant and materials management systems. Suppliers are mapping in-house catalogs to Prolist compliant property lists.
Steve Pearson (Pearson-Harper) presented Howard Chipperfield’s (BP) paper on web-enabled vendor data collection on BP’s deepwater Angolan development, Greater Plutonia. BP has made information management contractual—telling engineering contractors (EPC) to use ISO 15926 40/224. This involved establishing BP’s own standards and equipment templates which have been web-enabled to help suppliers including KBR (topsides), HHI (hull) and Stolt/Technip/FMC (subsea). Plant data specialist Pearson-Harper was engaged to gather suppliers’ data—discovering many anomalies in tag numbers. Greater Plutonia is a $4 billion project with six FPSOs and 80,000 equipment items. The system is integrated with BP’s SAP system. The project has proved hard because ‘there is 40 years of change going on here’. But today, suppliers enter data once and generate reports for deliverables. Data is then available to meet the requirements of specialist user communities. On the second Plutonia project (block 18), data completion is up from 50 to 90%. Data is available 18 months earlier and is organized to enable data sharing across BP projects. Data accuracy is assured by the validation process.
Fluor Corp’s Onno Paap gave a presentation on the Accelerating Deployment of ISO 15926 (ADI) project which targets ‘integration, exchange, and hand-over of information between all parties involved in the process industries during the entire life cycle of a plant.’ This project will provide a platform for interoperation based on ISO standards ‘leveraging the global knowledge-base of the domain experts from the participating companies.’ One goal is to develop an online Work-In-Progress (WIP) ISO 15926 Repository. This is to leverage state-of-the-art software tools and methodology—especially the W3C’s semantic web work and the web ontology language, OWL.
Robin Benjamins spoke about Bechtel’s data integration and use of ISO 15926. Bechtel’s IT includes Documentum and a ‘home grown’ knowledge management system working in ‘cross functional systems’ and supporting engineering and construction etc. Bechtel started its standard data broker in 1999 and it is now deployed on 69 projects. The tool uses the STEPLib reference data library and has been extended to include ISO 15926 Part 7. Bechtel is now in a position to switch to other data models.
ESRI has a new ‘one-stop’ training and education web site on esri.com/training.
Seitel is studying an offer from ValueAct Capital to acquire the company.
GITA has announced the Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System, giwis.org, a GIS training portal.
CGG has published estimates of the global seismic market as follows (all for 2006). Seismic services:- WesternGeco $2 bn., CGG/Veritas, $1.5 bn. and PGS, $1.1 bn. Global offshore acquisition was estimated at $3.8 bn. and ‘accessible’ processing at $700 mm.
Aspen Technology has asked the SEC for a 15-day extension for filing its Annual Report. A independent review of stock options accounting has determined that certain previously issued financials require restatement.
Baker Atlas has acquired Orenburgnefte-geofizika, a Russian wireline company.
Richard Price has been appointed director of CGG’s 3D marine services. Price hails from CGG takeover target, Veritas DGC.
Chevron Technology Company is opening two new energy technology centers in Aberdeen, UK and Perth, Australia.
Divestco has acquired Calgary-based Cavalier Land. Cavalier’s technology will be combined with Divestco’s LandRite solution.
Expro Group has acquired Houston-based well test specialists PowerWell Services in a $675 million transaction.
IHS has promoted Scott Key to Senior VP, Corporate Marketing.
A group led by Hellman & Friedman and Texas Pacific Group is to acquire Intergraph for approximately $1.3 billion cash.
Paul Maton is no longer with POSC. Maton previously headed up POSC’s European arm.
MicroSeismic Inc. has received a $7 million cash injection from Altira Group, Chevron Technology Ventures and RockPort Capital Partners.
John Fikany has been promoted to VP of Microsoft’s Manufacturing Industries unit. The company’s oil and gas division falls within this organization.
Mike Slee is Regional Manager of Open Spirit’s new Asia Pacific office in Australia. Earlier in his career, Slee formed the data management consultancy, ISA.
Paras has hired Maria Marcano Leal, Paul Marshall, Philip Selley, Leonardo Aritonang and Matt Luheshi to its team of consultants.
Petris has signed an agreement with EPIS to market its technology in China. Petris has also appointed Andrew Zolnai as sales director, Eastern Hemisphere.
HIG Capital has acquired New Orleans-based offshore telecommunications specialist PetroCom.
Sheila Wilson has joined the Pipeline Open Data Standards Association (PODS) as Executive Director.
Dallas-based Avatar Systems has acquired Questa Software for $2.2 million.
Andreas Roenning is to head-up Roxar’s new office in Denmark.
SpectrumData has named Paul Caselli as Data Storage Solutions Manager for Oceania region. JGI is now SpectrumData’s representative in Japan.
Chris Chouker is to run Techsia’s new Middle East unit in Oman.
Total has appointed Jean-François Minster to Senior VP, Scientific Development. Minster hails from the French R&D behemoth, CNRS.
SCADA security specialist Verano has acquired the security services division of e-DMZ Security.
Wireless SCADA specialist vMonitor reports new sales to Shell’s Nigeria unit and Venezuela’s PDVSA.
Rice University has received a $10 million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop supercomputer software.
A survey conducted by the UK’s Energy Institute ‘reveals’ future energy skills shortages.
Susan Morgan of Earth Decision sent the following clarification relating to last month’s lead: ‘Regarding the future interaction between the GoCad Consortium, Earth Decision and Paradigm. The Consortium does not develop our software. Earth Decision maintains the kernel for the Consortium. Going forward, we will remain both a participant and contributor to the Consortium and will share information and collaborate with all members including our competitors.’.’
The Petrotechnical Open Standards Consortium (POSC) has published the fruits of the Production XML (PRODML) Work Group’s labors and is inviting comment from the industry. First announced last year (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 10), the PRODML initiative was kicked off by a group of fourteen energy companies and solution vendors. The project aims to specify basic standards to enable production optimization work flows.
The PRODML workgroup—which spun out of the earlier WITSML initiative—set out on a fast track development to complete a first draft of the spec within a year. Following a review and comment period lasting on the 28th September, the Candidate Release is scheduled for official publication as PRODML Version 1.0, on October 16, 2006.
PRODML addresses general purpose optimization data and application interactions, with an initial focus on gas lift optimization, and real time production optimization. PRODML supports data exchange between applications and data stores in the ‘office’ domain (typically data historian and technical analysis applications) with an emphasis on ‘near-real time’ optimization (i.e. that achievable by changes to the production configuration that can be effected within one day).
Integrated Operations SIG
The previous POSC special interest group (SIG) on Integration Operations is to be re-branded as the POSC Production SIG and is to take over all PRODML activities and deliverables. POSC is to revitalize this SIG to make it a ‘productive home’ for the user and development communities which support POSC’s production standards. Future meetings will address the transition of activities around optimization from the PRODML Work Group to activities structured in the Production SIG.
The PRODML pilots exemplify the scope of data integration on offer. The Shell pilot rolls-in tools from Petex, OsiSoft, Invensys and Weatherford. BP’s gas lift optimizer shows a typical ProdML use case with a combination of real time and manual data feeds used to fire up the optimizer. Optimizer results are then available for study and possible action. Check out and comment on the new spec on www.prodml.org.
Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS), Cisco Systems and Intel have teamed to develop a ‘first mile’ wireless service for oilfield operations. The ‘first mile’ refers to the connectivity of drilling and production facilities into a wider network. The ‘first mile’ solution comprises a wireless fabric of sensors, distributed computing networks and service- oriented applications, removing traditional barriers for instrumentation and improving communication services with access to voice, video and SCADA data.
SIS VP Demetrios Stellas said, ‘We will deliver a collaborative work environment in which geoscientists, petroleum engineers, rig and platform personnel, and other technical and business analysts can access and exploit multiple data sources to improve decision making’.
Schlumberger’s vision includes a global managed network covering the entire oilfield, from the first mile to the last mile, connecting field operations with petrotechnical professionals in the office. A recently alliance with BT is set to provide ‘rich collaboration’ through converged communications and IT services.
The new solution proposes to ‘unwire’ the first mile by deploying a local wireless network leveraging high-bandwidth sensor networks. A ‘resilient’ infrastructure from Cisco includes strong identity management, physical and network security and proactive network management.
The first mile solution was unveiled at the SIS Forum in Paris this month as ‘a digital canopy’ for the oilfield. The canopy moniker has been abandoned in the press release—could this have anything to do with a potential confusion with Motorola’s ‘Broadband Canopy’, first announced in 2002 and already deployed at the Daqing Yushulin oilfield in China?
Octaga is developing an advanced 3D viewing product for Shell’s Norwegian unit. The visualization system will be used to visualize models of Shell’s Ormen Lange producing field at the onshore process plant located at Nyhamna on Norway’s north west coast. Octaga’s offering targets real time 3D data visualization that extends computer aided design (CAD) software. The package allows users to use existing CAD data assets for operational simulation, maintenance procedures, inspection and training.
Shell project manager Tor Guttorm Jensen said, ‘With its high performance, high-quality rendering technology, extensive user-interface toolkit and flexible viewers, Octaga is well positioned to provide Shell with its 3D viewing needs for Ormen Lange.’
Octaga has also developed an X3D plug-in for Adobe. Users can now interact with 3D visualizations embedded in a PDF document. X3D is an ISO ratified 3D scene interchange format for 3D visualization and virtual reality. X3D development was funded by Yumetech, Inc. and the Web3D Consortium.
Merrick Systems has completed lab testing of its ‘down-hole survivable’ Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for drilling and workover operations. The tags were first announced last year (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 5). RFID tagging is used to track inventory in the retail and manufacturing sectors. But developing tags that survive the environmental conditions and harsh treatment of oil and gas drilling operations has proved problematical.
RFID tags have been embedded into drill pipe, drill collars and other down-hole components. Different tag designs were tested at pressures up to 20,000 psi and 272°F. Testing at ‘substantially higher’ temperatures is planned.
Test results show that Merrick’s tag mounting and electronics insertion technologies are on track to provide the drilling industry with RFID tag technology that can withstand the extreme rigors of the downhole environment. The latest tag designs combine ruggedness and ease of installation with economical volume production potential to meet anticipated demand.
Tags can be installed on components during manufacturing or retrofitted to existing components in the field. Once mounted, ruggedized scanning tools can be used to capture inventory data to software such as Merrick’s Rig-Hand. Rig-Hand tracks information such as manufacturer, inspections and usage, reducing operational risk and maximizing a component’s use and life.
MetaCarta has signed an agreement with ESRI to provide its GeoTagger technology as a component of ESRI’s ArcWeb Services (AWS). AWS users will be able to geo-reference data found in unstructured documents such as articles, field service documents, internal reports and web pages and view the results in custom mapping applications. ArcWeb Services allows users to access GIS content and capabilities over the web. Data storage, maintenance and updates are handled by ESRI ‘eliminating the overhead of purchasing and maintaining large data sets.’
ESRI president and founder Jack Dangermond said, ‘ESRI’s GIS technology is continually evolving, and we are excited to extend our capabilities to include on-the-fly processing of unstructured data. MetaCarta’s solutions help spatially enable data that was previous inaccessible—such data is served in a cost-effective manner that helps extend GIS to business applications.’
GIS for Everyone
MetaCarta VP marketing, Claudine Bianchi, said, ‘MetaCarta is supporting ESRI’s ‘GIS for Everyone’ effort by providing on-demand geospatial analysis of documents for business users and GIS professionals.’ Roll-out of the solution is scheduled for Q4 2006.
Gassco, pipeline capacity allocator for the Gassled joint venture between oil and gas companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf has commissioned a major automation project from Invensys to improve its operational capacity. Gassco transports about 15% of Europe’s natural gas through its 8,000 km network.
A key component of the Gassco network is the Statoil-operated Kårstø processing complex north of Stavanger. Kårstø is one of the world’s largest producers of liquefied natural gases, including ethane, propane and butane.
The automation project set out to offer Gassco enhanced commercial management of the asset and to provide real time optimization to Statoil, the technical services provider. The complex Kårstø facility contains multiple line-ups and cross-overs, requires high heat integration and imposes significant energy costs on its operators.
Invensys’ plant, performance and planning model (3PM) offers users with different skill sets access to a unified view of the same information. The company’s ROMeo package lets engineers model and optimize complex processes in real time.
Wellogix has just announced its PIDX Small Business Adapter (SBA). In use since January 2006, PIDX SBA enables small to medium-sized oilfield service providers to implement a low cost, PIDX compliant invoice processing system. The SBA exports invoices into PIDX XML from a vendor’s accounting package and delivers them securely via AS2 to the hosted Wellogix Complex Services Management Suite (CSM). This gives smaller businesses reliability and non-repudiation of receipt and content and eliminates error-prone re-keying of data.
Marc Sailler, President of early SBA adopter SOA Pump and Supply said, ‘The growing number of requests for electronic invoicing from my customers would require me to hire additional resources just to re-key invoice data. The SBA lets me meet these demands with my existing personnel. In the first three months of operation I have seen a reduction of 20 days in my day sales outstanding.’
Wellogix operations director Tim Morgan added, ‘Previously, PIDX implementations cost thousands of dollars and took weeks or months to roll-out. Our SBA is a game-changer for PIDX as it is installed in minutes and costs under a thousand dollars.’
BP has signed a deal with supply-side e-commerce hub, OFS Portal, for the exchange of electronic content and transactional information with OFS Portal member/suppliers.
OFS Portal CEO Bill Le Sage said, ‘BP is building on our industry experience and is demonstrating its intent to be a leading force in eCommerce. This is an important milestone for OFS Portal. Our buyer community now represents 96% of major integrated oil and gas companies’ projected 2006 expenditure in Exploration and Production.’
Following our piece last month on Verano/PlantData’s SCADA security audits, Verano’s Lori Dustin has provided us with the following gory details of what the audit uncovered. In May 2006, an investigation into poor control system performance revealed that operators had found a way around console lockdown, allowing them to install and play games during the night shift, affecting system performance and ‘distracting’ the operators’ attention.
An employee, disgruntled at being fired from a major Asian transport site planted a Trojan to wipe out the site’s main SCADA servers. Transport services were stopped for several days and more time was required to reconstruct the server.
One North American power generation company discovered a laptop taped under a server cabinet running password sniffing software. Potential consequences included leaking of control system passwords and misuse of control system and/or loss of production. In another SCADA scare, a hacked data historian at a power generation company in the US was turned into a spam relay and file server. Here the fix was an industrial strength firewall, IDS/IPS and file, process and bandwidth monitoring.
Image processing specialist RealViz now lets users of its photo-based software applications, VTour and ImageModeler create geo-referenced 3D scenes for visualization in Google Earth (GE). 3D models, virtual tours and other photo-realistic material can be published in GE, pin-pointing exact geographical positioning, courtesy of the GE 3D viewer.
ImageModeler creates photo-realistic 3D models from multiple photographs. The package is used to create models of facilities and plants which can be used to build entire 3D environments. VTour simulates what a person would see walking within the model in photo-realistic detail.
RealViz exports 3D models (polygons and texture maps) to Google Earth using the COLLADA (Collaborative Design Activity) file format, an open standard XML file format from Sony. COLLADA is also supported by other 3D applications and CAD packages from Autodesk.
Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and the LOGIIC Consortium have announced completion of the LOGIIC Correlation Project (LCP) to improve security of US oil and gas critical infrastructure by protecting it from security threats such as viruses, worms and cyber terrorism. LCP partners included major oil and gas companies, the US Department of Homeland Security and vendors.
SRI program director Ulf Lindqvist said, ‘While all industry sectors using process control systems need to protect their systems against cyber attacks, this is particularly critical for the oil and gas sector, where catastrophic events could cause significant losses in terms of human lives, the environment and the economy.’
LCP identifies abnormal events by correlating process control network data with alerts from sources on the business network such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls. LCP partners include Chevron, PDVSA unit CITGO, BP, Honeywell and Symantec Corp.
Quantapoint is about to release PRISM 3D, a new tool for capturing dimensional information from plants digitized using laser scanning devices. PRISM 3D and its sibling, QuantaCAD for PDMS, target oil and gas, refining and petrochemical plant lifecycle operations and data management.
The new package adds ‘hover text’ to show the location of cursor in the digitized plant, making it faster and easier to extract information. Points can also be tagged so that specific 3D locations such as tie points and design points can be identified and shared. Pipe information such as centerline and diameter can be obtained with a mouse click and the digitized plant can be draped around a CAD model.
Quantapoint claims over 750 successful ‘digitized plant’ projects that provide clients with accurate information for design, fabrication and construction decisions, including accurate dimensional fit-up, fabrication, clash detection and construction visualization.
Enterprise single sign-on specialists, New York-based Passlogix, reports it has sold 350,000 licenses to energy companies. Passlogix’ single sign-on (SSO) offers password management for users of multiple enterprise applications. Clients include three of the world’s largest energy companies as well as many independent oil and gas companies which use the v-GO Sign-On Platform to strengthen security and eliminate the need for users to remember many individual passwords.
Passlogix CEO and President Marc Boroditsky said, ‘The sector faces multiple challenges in controlling employee data access—from homeland security to networks extending to offshore platforms. Our enterprise SSO is becoming an industry standard because of its functionality, rapid deployment integration with two-factor authentication devices.’
Chevron has implemented Passlogix’ solution to control access for employees, contractors and joint venture partners. Schlumberger’s Identity Process Security Platform card management system also ran.
UK-based Expro Group is claiming a ‘world first’ for its Cableless Telemetry System (CaTS) reservoir monitoring technology. CaTS was used by BP to remotely monitor pressure and temperature response in an abandoned subsea well on the West of Shetland Clair Ridge appraisal.
CaTS allows real-time information to be transmitted up and down hole without the use of cabling or wireline in the well. Two-way transmission capability enables the remote control of downhole instrumentation, opening the path to the radical redesign of downhole completions.
BP installed CaTS when it abandoned its 206/8-T well in June 2006. Since then, wireless telemetry data is collected, processed and stored on the seabed and uploaded on demand to a supply vessel. The first such data interrogation visit took place in early July when post abandonment reservoir pressure and temperature data was successfully captured.
BP uses CaTS to monitor long-term reservoir pressure build-up following drill stem testing and to study interference effects from activity on the nearby Clair platform.
IBM is to acquire asset management specialists MRO Software for $740 million cash. MRO’s offering is a blend of asset and service management software and consulting, used by many oil and gas companies to manage production equipment, facilities, transportation and IT assets. MRO will integrate IBM’s Tivoli software unit.
Al Zollar, general manager, IBM Tivoli software said, ‘In a recent IBM study, 40 percent of CEOs indicated that asset utilization would be a key focus in strengthening financial performance. This acquisition will provide companies with a single view of their assets, helping them to maximize efficiencies, drive productivity, and innovate across the enterprise.’
The IBM/MRO relationship goes back to 2002 when the companies signed a joint marketing agreement to bundle IBM’s WebSphere with MRO’s flagship Maximo package (OITJ Vol. 7 N°9). The technology is being extended to intelligent IP-addressable assets with RFID. MRO clients include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Hess, PDVSA, BP and CNOOC.
Shell Canada has selected Australian ISS Group’s BabelFish and Operational Conformance products. The system gives Shell real time monitoring of its West Canadian gas producing assets and five gas plants. BabelFish provides visualization, event detection, calculation and modeling tools. The $1 million AS project will be implemented over the next 18 months with 3 years maintenance to follow.
ISS MD Shane Attwell said, ‘This is a significant development for ISS as it provides a major reference site in North America.’
Earlier this year, ISS and its Middle East partner Naizak, announced that Saudi Aramco was to deploy BabelFish in an extensive project. Initial roll-out covers over 200 wells and will be piloted by Saudi Aramco over the next 6 months. Other BabelFish users include Santos, BHP Billiton, Woodside and Apache.