December 2008


IBM ‘F2’ rolls out

StatoilHydro commissions ‘intelligent oilfield’ solution for offshore turnarounds. WebSphere-based solution leverages work done on ‘TAIL’ integrated operations project.

StatoilHydro has signed a long-term agreement with IBM for the implementation of an ‘intelligent oilfield’ solution for the management of production turnaround projects. In 2006, turnarounds and unplanned shutdowns were the single most important cause for lost production in the Norway’s Tampen area. A typical turnaround for a large offshore producing field involves between 10,000 and 80,000 man-hours along with a significant amount of deferred production. Traditionally, repairs and shutdowns are based on a fixed maintenance schedule. But the new solution, jointly developed by IBM and StatoilHydro R&D, allows for more pro-active turnaround planning, reducing downtime and production losses.

StatoilHydro project manager Tom Anders Thorstensen said, ‘Much of the production losses on the Norwegian continental shelf come from shutdowns. We believe this solution developed in partnership with IBM is vital to implementing more effective work processes, will help save costs and substantially boost production.’

The pilot for IBM’s turnaround planning solution was developed as a component of StatoilHydro’s ‘TAIL’ Integrated Operations program. The solution leverages IBM WebSphere components including the Business Process Modeler and Process Server along with the IBM/Ascential DataStage/QualityStage analytical toolset. The solution comprises three building blocks, a turnaround knowledge analyzer, a risk analyzer and an optimizer. The latter contains tools for ‘on-the- fly’ development of multi-asset turnaround scenarios, identifying the one that minimizes production losses.

IBM project manager Kaare Finbak told Oil IT Journal, ‘The interesting part of this project was analysis of the large amount of historical data from previous shutdowns, and the development of a solution for continuous monitoring of the performance of ongoing turnaround projects from start-up to end. Here IBM’s  WebSphere products were used to both identify the significant key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyze historical shutdown data.’

With IBM’s knowledge management tool, StatoilHydro will be able to manage planned shutdowns up to a year in advance, preventing additional losses and increased expenses. Planning and preparation for a shutdown begins 14 months ahead of scheduled maintenance. StatoilHydro can now evaluate potential areas for improvement well in advance against a standardised set of key performance indicators.

The solution, codenamed ‘F2’ is based on open standards and may be offered to other industries in the future – possibly as a component of IBM’s Maximo maintenance, repair and operations offering. Following several successful pilots, the solution is to be implemented at around 35 offshore sites.


Inteq’s ‘aXelerate’

Baker Hughes’ new technology heralds fivefold increase in downhole mud pulse telemetry bandwidth—to 20 bps. For more, try a wired drill pipe!

Baker Hughes’ Inteq division has announced a significant increase in bandwidth available for logging and measurement while drilling. The new ‘aXcelerate,’ high-speed telemetry service offers both mud-pulse and wired-pipe data transmission.

Baker Hughes Inteq president Paul Butero said, ‘aXcelerate enables real-time transmission of high-speed, high-resolution data from all of Inteq’s downhole services. Our clients gain a more comprehensive understanding of the downhole environment and can optimize their drilling programs and take immediate remedial action when required.’

Sustained data rates of twenty bits per second have been achieved – five times current mud pulse rates of around three bits per second. For higher bandwidth requirements, the IntelliServ Network’s wired-pipe telemetry can be deployed. aXcelerate has been used successfully in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Brazil, and the Middle East. The IntelliServ wired drillpipe (a.k.a. IntelliPipe) was originally developed by Grant Prideco (OITJ December 2006) which was acquired by National Oilwell Varco earlier this year.


Oil IT Journal declares 2008 the year of geomechanics

Looking back over the year, Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton declares 2008 the year of geomechanics. Rock engineering and computer modeling of pore pressure and stress is popping up everywhere—from exploration through drilling to reservoir management.

If I were to say that 2008 was the year of geomechanics, specialists would think I had lost my grip. Geomechanics has been studied and used in oil and gas prospection, drilling and production for decades. I started writing this editorial as an educational piece and slowly realized that a lot has been going on in this field recently, and that if 2008 is to be the year of anything in upstream IT, then I reckon it has to be geomechanics. Before I defend that claim, I had better explain what geomechanics is all about.

A popular dinner table or coffee machine dialog starts with the question, ‘When you take petrol (sic) out of the ground, does the surface of the earth sink?’ The correct answer is something like, ‘Err, that’s a good question,’ or ‘Um, it depends...’ A simpler answer is, ‘No.’ As oil or gas is produced from a reservoir, water flows in to replace the oil and generally, the rock itself has strength that holds up the overlying strata.

Consider the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia, the largest in the world. According to Saudi Aramco’s Shiv Dasgupta, speaking at the Las Vegas SEG meet last month (more on pages 6&7), satellite InSar radar has showed no surface deformation despite the fact that some 58 billion barrels (about 10 cubic kilometres) of oil have been extracted from the field since first oil in 1951.

How does Ghawar hold up? The reservoir is a limestone with a large amount of pore space and great permeability, but the rock matrix, the framework of the reservoir, is strong enough to hold up the overlying strata.

But it is not like this everywhere. Think what would happen if you pumped a seriously large amount of water into a reservoir, much more than required to replace the produced oil? Eventually, the pressure exerted on the overburden will exceed the weight of the rock, causing the overburden to start ‘floating’ on the injected water producing not subsidence, but perhaps a small rise in the ground surface. This is an ‘overpressured’ reservoir, actually quite a common situation in nature.

To understand these issues, imagine an earth made of a strong, porous rock filled with water to the surface. If the rock is strong, it is holding all of its own weight. If you could place a pressure gauge inside the rock at depth, you would measure the ‘lithostatic’ pressure, the weight of a unit area column of the rock from measurement point to the surface. If you moved the gauge into the pore space, you would measure a considerably lower pressure, the hydrostatic pressure, of a unit column of fluid above the measurement point. That’s fine for strong rocks like Ghawar’s limestone or a consolidated sandstone. But what happens when you put a decent section of unconsolidated sediment into the above situation? Above, the pressure regimes are as before, lithostatic in the rock and hydrostatic in the pore space. But below the shale, and depending on the shale’s own strength, suddenly some or perhaps all of the weight of the rock above is transferred to the fluids in the unconsolidated shale.

This is an overpressure situation which can have lots of consequences, both good and bad. If the shale is capable of producing hydrocarbons, a bit of heat will get the cooking process going (given enough time) and the geopressure will expel the hydrocarbons into nearby reservoirs where they will hopefully be trapped (otherwise... think of the pollution!). If you are drilling through these zones, you may have to watch out for the sudden changes in pressure regime, particularly as you penetrate an isolated reservoir within the shale, which may produce a mud ‘kick’ or even a blow out. Inside the reservoir, peculiar pressure regimes may help or hinder production and upset the fluid flow models that reservoir engineers play with.

For earth scientists of a certain age and background, like myself the North Sea’s Ekofisk field was an eye opener. Although the mechanism was more complicated than the process I describe above, the production platform was sinking by a few meters as the oil was produced, and was jacked up in a rather extraordinary feat of engineering. The complex process that caused Ekofisk to sink was more to do with a gas cloud in the overburden than the reservoir itself. Interestingly, this gas cloud was very easy to see on the seismics although it was interpreted by all as a fossil collapse structure over the field. An early example of seismically derived geomechanics in a sense.

Today, a lot of activity takes place in ‘geomechanically sensitive’ environments like offshore West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. Problems vary from unconsolidated sediments, through mobile salt to high pressure high temperature environments. The drill bit enters all these like a ‘foreign body’ with results that can surprise. Speaking at the SEG in front of an image of a burning rig, Alan Huffman (Fusion Petroleum Technologies) described geopressure as having ‘serious HSE consequences’ as well as being key to prospect viability. A Schlumberger/Hess presentation showed how geomechanics is combined with life of field seismics to mitigate well failure.

Geomechanics has come of age technically but also commercially with the acquisitions—by Halliburton, of geomechanical boutique Knowledge Systems (OITJ May 2008), and Baker Hughes of Geomechanics International (OITJ April 2008). Schlumberger and Weatherford jumped the 2008 gun with their acquisitions of, respectively VIPS (May 2007) and Advanced Geotechnology (April 2007).

Finally, a compelling example of the consequences of getting geomechanics wrong was evidenced at the 2008 AAPG Cape Town conference where a debate on the disastrous 2006 Lusi blowout in Java, Indonesia, and the resulting spectacular mud volcano put the probable cause as the drilling of a gas exploration well.

~

Finally an apology for this late issue. Yes, it is now 2009 (Happy New Year by the way) and yes, this is the December 2008 issue. Unfortunately, our conference attendance was very intense in the fall and we have a considerable ‘backlog’ of writing. OK I’ll own up, I took some time off over the festive season too! But if you think about it, a week or two of cumulative slippage over 12 years of publishing isn’t too bad...


Industry at large

CERA reports on ‘recession shock,’ Deloitte on M&A, AD Little on expats and CNN on Aramco.

A couple of reports from Cambridge Energy Research Associates* provide an in depth analysis of the ‘Recession Shock’ that is happening to the oil and gas industry. Costs have risen dramatically in the last few months (albeit with signs of a recent reprieve) as the oil price drops in the face of what CERA estimates as a 300,000 bopd decline in demand for 2008. The medium term impact of reduced E&D budgets may well sow the seeds for the next oil price spike sometime in the next 5 to 10 years according to CERA. 

The question of who will be around to see the next boom is addressed in a report by Deloitte’s Anna Andersen. Deloitte notes a significant imbalance in market reactions to the squeeze as major oil company shares are down only one third since May, but the AIM index of midcap oils is down by 60%. Moreover the cash crunch is hitting the midcaps harder than the relatively debt free majors. The possibility of a January Acquisitions and mergers (A&M) ‘sale’ is to be weighed against the likelihood of the situation worsening over the next few months, with putative acquirers—majors, large independents and NOCs, adopting a ‘wait and see’ stance well into 2009.

A report ‘Expat Games**’ from Arthur D. Little (ADL) addresses the issue of who will be working for the expanding NOCs, noting that ‘the promise of localizing talent in the Middle East oil & gas industry has yet to be realized.’ The ADL report claims that ‘forty years on, the Middle East’s oil and gas sector still relies on a highly paid, short-term, expatriate workforce.’ Despite the intention of developing a local talent pool through ‘systemic’ knowledge transfer, today’s NOCs ‘continue to rely on expatriate talent.’ Mid Eastern NOC’s need to abandon their ‘hierarchical, centralized, and slow-moving business models.’

A different slant on the efficacy of one Mid Eastern NOC can be seen on a recent CNN webcast*** featuring Lesley Stahl. Saudi Aramco’s ‘slow moving business model’ has resulted in a mind-bogglingly advanced control center for its country-wide operations. Aramco president and CEO Abdallah Jum’ah can be seen showing off the control room where ‘every facility, every pipeline and every valve in the Kingdom is monitored and controlled.’ An interesting facet of Aramco’s operations is the use of ‘geosteering by instant messaging,’ controlling a bit 3 miles down on a rig 400 miles away!

Although the ‘graying’ workforce and staff shortage issues will likely become less acute as the recession bites, a report**** from Oil & Gas UK on the demographics of the oil and gas sector suggests that the problem may have been overstated. In the UK today, the average oil ands gas worker is 41 years old, pretty well the same as any workforce. Chris Allen, health, safety, social and environment director with Oil & Gas UK, explained, ‘The average age of the offshore workforce has remained unchanged from 2006 and also shows steady growth in the female workforce.’ Oil and Gas UK uses Bebo and Facebook to communicate on the merits of the industry to school leavers. The offshore research leveraged data from the internet-based Vantage ‘personnel on board’ system.

* www.oilit.com/links/0812_1

** www.oilit.com/links/0812_2

*** www.oilit.com/links/0812_3

**** www.oilit.com/links/0812_4


Petrosys announces ‘return’ of PPDM 3.8-based dbMap

In-house master data store development is back! Petrosys offers bridge to R5000 and Petrel.

A new release of Petrosys’ mapping package sees the ‘re-emergence’ of the dbMap Petrosys Data Management brand. The move reflects the renewed interest in in-house developed master data stores. As Petrosys CEO Volker Hirsinger told Oil IT Journal, ‘The DIY master data store is back, especially on PPDM, hence the opening for Petrosys DBMap.’

The new 16.5 Petrosys release includes connectivity to Schlumberger’s Petrel and support for Landmark’s R5000 release. The Petrel plug-in allows exchange of Petrosys grids with Petrel projects, direct gridding of Petrel seismics and import of Petrel seismic faults to Petrosys.

Petrosys’ gridding now includes kriging-derived variograms and anisotropy. By leveraging directional trend analysis, features such as river systems, dunes and mountain ranges can be mapped more realistically. In the 3D viewer, users can now save a series of camera viewing positions as a collection of ‘viewpoints’ or bookmarks which can be rendered as an mpeg movie along with time-series data for presentations.


Texas Railroad Commission funds historic data digitization

Data preservation effort captures records from East Texas supergiant oilfield.

The Texas Railroad Commission has awarded Austin-based Neubus a two year contract for the digitization of historic hearing records from the East Texas region as part of a historic record preservation initiative. The records documenting the history of the East Texas supergiant oil field are to be published as national historical records thanks to a $150,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The Railroad Commission, the state’s energy regulator, is to match the federal grant.

The funds will be used to digitize records of national historical significance from regulatory hearings involving fields in the East Texas region from 1932-1972, when production from the area peaked. East Texas was the site of the most prolific oil boom in the state’s history. The East Texas Oil Field, which spans five counties, was instrumental in helping the United States and its Allies win World War II by providing a large, and reliable domestic source of fuel for the war effort. By 1931, the field produced more than one million barrels of oil per day, which far exceeded demand and led the Commission to establish prorated production levels.

The data will be searchable from search engines such as Google and Yahoo and on Texas Heritage Online. The files to be archived under the grant represent about three percent of the Commission’s hearings file collection. Unlike other Commission files that have been digitized, these files are in paper format only and have no backup in case of a disaster.


Zokero announces SeisWare 7.0 and new acceleration technology

PC-based interpretation package now embeds Open Inventor from Mercury Computer Systems.

Calgary-based Zokero has just released a major upgrade to SeisWare, its PC-based seismic interpretation package including new 3D Seismic visualization functionality and data management. SeisWare 7.0 also includes enhancements to time slices, log editor, culture editor, data import and export, wavelet analysis, and much more.

SeisWare’s graphics have also recently been enhanced using the Open Inventor .NET 3D graphics toolkit from Mercury Computer Systems. Open Inventor allows seismic data to be rapidly rotated, sliced, and animated. In addition, 2D and multiple 3D seismic volumes, horizons, faults, grids, wells, and attributes can be viewed simultaneously using different color schemes.

Zokero President Ed VanWieren said, ‘We’ve added functionality, customer requested enhancements and a new look and feel. SeisWare 7.0 development was based on user feedback and has been redesigned for efficiency and easy of use.’ Zokero claims a SeisWare user base of  over 600 geoscientists world wide, with customers in companies of all sizes from majors to independent consultants. More on Open Inventor from http://3dviz.mc.com.


Paradigm integrates GOCAD/SKUA with Epos

Epos integration framework preferred to OpenSpirit for data connectivity in ‘high order’ workflows.

Following its 2006 acquisition of Earth Decision, developers of the Gocad and Skua earth modelling tools, Paradigm has been working to enhance integration of the Earth Decision software tools with its existing portfolio. This will allow for the use of facies classifications from Stratimagic and Geolog inside Gocad and Skua models and to constrain reservoir models with simultaneous inversion and other ‘high order’ workflows involving SeisEarth, Voxelgeo and GeoDepth. Paradigm also reports progress on data and application integration between the Rock & Fluid Canvas and Gocad/Skua.

Data connectivity has been provided by Paradigm’s Epos libraries and services. Oil IT Journal asked Paradigm why Epos was used over OpenSpirit (in which Paradigm has a share). The answer is that linking through Epos avoids the creation of intermediate data models (as would be required with OpenSpirit) and results in ‘a more performant and cleaner connectivity solution.’ Paradigm does use OpenSpirit connectivity to access E&P data from third-party repositories. The company is now working on the identification and proliferation of ‘shared components’ for history capture and scripting in the Epos environment.


Landmark revamps data compression offering with DeepStor

Working with partners NetApp and Storwize, new storage solution offers 30% space saving for seismic data.

Landmark has re-jigged its data compression offering since last year (OITJ October 2007). Working with partners NetApp and Storwize, Landmark has developed ‘DeepStor’ a data storage and compression combo. According to product manager Mark Spieler, Landmark was doubtful as to the merits of compression on seismic data. But tests performed by NetApp’s Tom Ledoux confirmed lossless and accurate compression/decompression. Early tests for Oxy suffered some performance hits, but Storwize’s 64 bit box has hiked performance by 30%.

DeepStor comes with 420 or 840 drives per cabinet with a FCAL or copper interface. Seismic data typically sees 30% compression (100 GB stored as 70GB). High compression and good query performance is reported for large Oracle databases. According to Storwize, data caching means that ‘a lot of queries don’t hit the disk’ and the reduced data transfer compensates for compression time.

DeepStor is a component of a longer term Landmark/NetApp initiative to anticipate a rapidly changing storage landscape. Ledoux ventured that in 2010, 2TB solid state drives will replace FCAL. He also sees tape drives disappearing by 2012 for some companies. Landmark is in the process of testing DeepStor prior to migrating its Petrobank data management environment to the new solution. Landmark already runs eight StorWize boxes internally.


Caesar Systems teams with Decision Frameworks on education

Decision support specialists collaborate on PetroVR/DTrio-based workshops.

Caesar Systems and Decision Frameworks have announced a strategic alliance to provide education, training and consulting services to improve upstream decision making. The alliance revolves around Caesar Systems’ PetroVR toolset and Decision Frameworks’ ‘DTrio’ decision analysis workflow package.

Two workshops are planned for 2009, ‘Frame N’ Go’  and ‘Project Jumpstart.’  Frame N’ Go is an overview of project planning principles, followed by hands-on work sessions where attendees evaluate different development plan options for a variety of projects ranging from offshore deepwater to unconventional gas.

Project Jumpstart allows a project team to learn decision analysis principles, set up and evaluate their own field development plan. Caesar Systems CEO Victor Koosh said, ‘This alliance is relevant in a business environment where E&P scenarios are becoming more complex with greater risks, higher costs and tightening global credit investment markets. Knowledge transfer to the next generation of decision makers is crucial to E&P success.’ PetroVR clients include Apache, BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Murphy Oil, PDO, Pioneer, Shell, Sonatrach and Total.


Software, hardware short takes

Fugro, Stark, Joshi, New Century, Quorum, Paradigm, WellPoint, Omnisens, eLynx, geoLOGIC, Epsis and Triple Point.

Fugro has announced ‘G2,’ a ‘high performance’ satellite navigation service combining the US GPS and Russian GLONASS systems with Fugro’s own reference stations. Consistent decimetre accuracy is claimed worldwide.

Stark Reality has announced ‘Horizon Tools,’ a commercial plug-in in for de Groot-Bril’s OpendTect environment. Horizon Tools provides dip, azimuth analysis, spatial smoothing and structural analysis. Closure calculation with a ‘spill or seal’ model provides a variety of volumetric quality measures for a prospect, creating a ‘closure attribute volume.’

Joshi Technologies has released JTI.Horizontal 7.0 with support for multi-fractured horizontal wells and new completion types. Sensitivity analysis illustrates the impact of different inputs on rates and reserves in graphical form.’ 

New Century Software has announced Facility Manager 2008,  merging functionality from previous applications. FM 2008 performs centerline maintenance functions, adding new lines, reroutes etc. all within a the pipeline GIS. A new GUI combines ESRI ArcMap with a tabular interface for dual monitor setups.

Quorum Business Solutions has announced Quorum LNG Transaction Management (QLNG). QNLG automates contracts, vessel scheduling, nominations, inventory and accounting. Multiple operators and shippers can share the same terminaling environment.

Paradigm has rebranded Focus, its seismic processing system as ‘Echos’ following a trademark dispute. Paradigm has been using the Focus brand name for 17 years!

A new release of WellPoint Systems’ WellPoint Integrated Suite (WIS) combines WellPoint’s Energy Broker (ENB) and Energy Financial Management (EFM) solutions in a single package. WIS 4.1 promises improvement to operational efficiency, international financial management and business analysis for marketing and pipeline operations. WellPoint’s solutions are built on the Microsoft Dynamics AX financial solution. 

Omnisens has released a new fiber optic sensing system ‘Ditest STA-R’ with simultaneous, accurate temperature and strain measurement over ‘tens of kilometers’ using standard single-mode optical fiber. The system offers remote control of instruments and data management and analysis capability for pipelines, power cables, umbilicals and flowline monitoring.

eLynx’s new SCADALynx Mobile offering provides instant access to production data Blackberries and smartphones.

A new version of  Geologic Systems’ geoSCOUT package (V 7.4) includes usability enhancements and an Ownership Analysis module for calculating well interest. Shapefile ‘themeing,’ and enhancements to the DST and production evaluation charting tools complete the new release.

Epsis, Viju, Tandberg and Cyviz have announced ‘Ex,’ an interactive camera certified for offshore use. Ex transfers video or  still photos along with sketches or comments to onshore locations via broadband.

Triple Point has now embedded functionality from enterprise credit risk solutions provider Rome Corp., acquired earlier this year. Version 5.0 of Commodity XL for Credit Risk is an end-to-end solution for exposure management, collateral management, counterparty management, credit analytics and credit scoring and reporting.


PPDM 2008 Fall Member Meeting, Calgary

Hess reports on enterprise deployment of PPDM and Talisman on IM cost/benefit analysis.

PPDM CEO Trudy Curtis noted steady growth through 2008. PPDM now has around 100 member companies and is also to introduce a new individual membership. Most members are software companies and most funds come from oils. PPDM 3.8 was released this year and 3.9 is in development. As requested by membership last year, focus has been on improved documentation, especially for the data management DM module and a new Wiki. The ‘what is a well?’ workgroup is underway and a ‘mineable oil sands’ work group is being scoped. Among the 20 or so new members this year are ConocoPhillips, Energistics, Marathon and Repsol YPF.

Fred Kunzinger described the state of play of PPDM and data management at Hess. Prior to the project, Hess’ multiple offices worldwide had multiple ways of doing things. There were no global standards, processes or technologies and a perception that data management and other support functions were just an overhead expense and that they should cost as little as possible!

Hess has now seen the data management light and considers that, ‘proper data management is critical to E&P success.’ Data management has been embedded in two key Hess programs – ‘Exploration Excellence and Efficiency’ (E3) and Subsurface Evaluation Method. Interestingly, Hess considers that as a fast growing company, now is the time to realize a data infrastructure before it is too late.

A data governance structure was established with workgroups for seismic, SCADA, well, geology and interpreted outputs. These allowed Hess’ large legacy data sets to be mapped into a structure of primary, added value data and ‘intellectual capture’ categories. A bespoke PPDM 3.7 database and ESRI SDE GIS was established for standard data storage. Naming conventions were set up. Compliance was successfully sold as a ‘performance  management’ issue rather than a ‘data management” issue. Hess also standardized its interpretation platform (on GeoFrame, Petra and Petrel). Hess has developed an exhaustive data ‘credo’ including the idea that ‘Data belongs to the company - data does not belong to an individual or team.’

Talisman’s Chin Lonnie’s presentation investigated metrics of IM project costs and value. The technique has been developed to track progress of various Talisman IM projects that are underway. Key performance indicators are used to track project progress, measuring resource allocation by geography, well count and man hours. Well IM costs varied from $90 per well to over $200 – with a significant difference between interest and operated wells. These were used to create IM AFEs, for joint venture billing and as a baseline for productivity measurement. On the demand side, costs savings were computed from the reduction in data acquisition time. Talisman now has a handle on its IM costs and has demonstrated million dollar savings from its IM.


Society of Exploration Geophysicists 2008, Las Vegas

SEG presentations ranged from plenary sessions on global warming and water resources to more ‘a propos’ matters such as Aramco’s seismic production monitoring and a claim from Repsol that commodity supercomputing heralds the demise of the seismic processor as we know it! CSEM is putting up a brave defense of its ’breakthrough’ status but geomechanics is where the action is.

Plenary sessions at the SEG had a distinctly ‘green’ flavor this year with a special session on geophysics and water resources and a presentation from Eric Barron of the National Center for Atmospheric Research on the ‘Changing debate on climate change.’ Barron’s thesis is that the notion that increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) promote warming is now ‘incontrovertible.’ On this point, there is ‘no argument.’ The real debate is a) how much warming comes from anthropogenic CO2 and b) how fast and c) how significant its impact will be. a) and b) ‘will be matters of debate for a long time,’ so decision makers focus on c), a political, not a scientific question that is ‘tied to your own sense of values and risk.’

Something of a consensus emerged from a recent White House meeting of experts. GHG is increasing from oil, coal and other sources. Our planet has warmed by 0.6°C in a century. ‘Warming is real and there is no ‘magic bullet’ to fix this, draw down will take centuries.’ Modeling with and without anthropogenic CO2, adding in solar effects and aerosols and ‘you’ve nailed it for the last century.’ But the future is harder. There is uncertainty of between 1 and 6 degrees in the models leading to a huge range of predictions. Predictions can be divided into what is ‘virtually certain’ to what is speculative. It is ‘virtually certain’ that the stratosphere will cool and ‘very probable’ that surface temperatures will increase by from 0.5 to 2°C by 2050 and by 2.5°C by the end of the century. This ‘remarkable consensus’ includes the skeptics and forecasts a rise that is from 3 to 9 times that of the previous century.

Global precipitation will increase, sea ice will retreat in the Northern hemisphere and the Arctic will warm from the albedo effect. It is ‘very probable’ that sea level will rise 5 to 40 cm by 2050. Different models of the continental US out to 2100 show from ‘not much change’ to up to 8°C. ‘How can we believe such differing models?’ Similar wide divergence comes from predictions of precipitation. Predictions of the granularity that is of interest – i.e. for hurricane frequency or for Las Vegas’ water resources ‘won’t be known for decades.’ Even if warming eliminates the forests of Georgia, our grandchildren will never have seen them and may look at the new grasslands and say ‘how fine’. Heat waves and vector borne diseases are more serious if uncertain threats. But these are amenable to public health infrastructure improvement as the 1,000 fold difference in the incidence of dengue fever on either side of the US/Mexico border shows. There will be ‘different outcomes for rich and poor countries.’ Other model predictions for the US include a dwindling snow pack in the Rockies—bad for skiers and water managers. According to a US Navy model, the Arctic will be a theatre of operations by 2020 and ‘we need to start building icebreakers now!’ Warming is a ‘given,’ its impact is uncertain. Although we don’t know if there will be more hurricanes, we are pretty sure that it will be dry in Denver. Wealthy nations can manage some effects, others will be more exposed. Surprisingly the SEG offered no opportunity for questions at this well attended talk!

Shiv Dasgupta (Saudi Aramco) described a daring experiment performed by Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC R&D center to test passive seismics for production monitoring. Aramco expects that ‘real time’ geophysics will contribute to production enhancement. Forward modeling of a water flood does not tell us where attic oil is left. Only geophysics can image the interwell space, prevent water breakthrough and introduce some determinism into the stochastics. Techniques include 4D seismics, microseismics, EM borehole and surface, electroseismic and micro gravity and satellite/inSAR. Dasgupta showed passive seismic hypocenters at the Arab-D reservoir. These were calibrated by stopping injection for a month – then restarting injection at very high rate. This gave ‘pretty conclusive results’ and suggested that water is going along a fracture trending right into an older dry hole. The challenge for the ‘intelligent’ field and recovery optimization is integration. Permanent geophysics will create a paradigm shift.

The Forum Session on ‘Managing groundwater resources’ was judged slightly off-topic for the SEG by the Forum chair, but it was interesting in that water is experiencing its own ‘peak,’ analogous to oil and gas, and also because of the showcasing of Schlumberger’s new Water Services division. Dave White (Schlumberger Water Services) claimed that aquifers are harder to model than oilfields because of recharge and environmental coupling. Geophysics plays a significant role in monitoring and enabling subsurface engineered solutions. Models do help in aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). ASR is used for strategic reserves and peak shaving. In the Middle East, one country has created a 30 day supply ASR to mitigate desalination plant failure by storage in a 100m deep aquifer. This involved time domain EM, nuclear magnetic resonance, well logs, magnetic resonance (CMR tool) and core data to determine permeability. The study was unusual in that high end oil and gas technology was applied to a water study. White concluded that oilfield technology including geophysics can be applied to the water business if costs can be managed.

The SEG was a platform for Repsol along with partner IBM to roll-out of its US ‘Kaleidoscope’ high-end, GPU-based seismic processing project. We covered this in last month’s Journal, but a talk from Repsol’s Francisco Ortigosa underlined the potential impact of ubiquitous HPC in oil and gas. Ortigosa is an evangelist for compute intensive reverse time migration (RTM) the only technique that accurately images complex salt structures of the deepwater Gulf of Mexcio. Repsol’s Kaleidoscope supercomputer gets around 120 TFLOPS out of 8 racks using the IBM QS20/QS21. By 2013, ‘all companies will have petascale computing’ and this will change the game for seismic processing.  A decision tree was used to analyze the value of information of RTM processing. With today’s ‘astronomical’ drilling costs and reduced computing costs, the time for RTM is now. Ortigosa predicts that soon (maybe by 2010), seismic imaging will all be done inside oil companies.

Svein Ellingsrud (EMGS) thinks that controlled source electro magnetic prospection (CSEM) a.k.a. sea bed logging, has also evolved to ‘commodity’ status. Today there are ‘5-6 vessels operating’ and over 400 surveys to date, a $200 million world market. More growth is possible, but this requires more ‘acceptance.’ Will CSEM be as big as marine seismics? ‘We can only speculate*.’ Computer power is ‘up to it’ but again, this is ‘dependent on market acceptance.’ In the next 5 years we will see stronger sources (20,000 amps or more) and perhaps towed streamer acquisition is a possibility.

Alan Huffmann’s (Fusion Petroleum Technologies) geomechanics paper started off with a slide of a burning oil rig, Huffmann observed that ‘even infill drilling can give unpleasant surprises’ and pressure prediction can have a ‘large HSE impact.’ Pore pressure prediction is about a holistic model of the basin’s history. Pressure regimes start as ‘normal,’ in an open, drained system. Then compaction disequilibrium comes into play in a shale dominated system. Rocks stop fluids escaping and water begins to carry load – generating ‘undercompaction’ and higher porosity than expected. Most deepwater systems fall into this category. Worse surprises come from ‘unloading’ systems such as clay diagenisis, aquathermal and  hydrocarbon maturation.

Schlumberger and Hess offered a geomechanical tour de force, integrating results from Schlumberger’s ‘Visage’ modeler with Petrel and Eclipse in a study of well stability and caprock integrity. Seismic inversion, core data, drilling and well test data were used to extract a stress field forward model this throughout the life of the field. 4D seismic data was used to ‘close the loop’ and monitor depletion induced fracture strain. This correctly predicted a well failure after about a month of production.

* This suggestion has been made before (OITJ October 2004). Subsequent slow progress with the technology suggests this is unlikely, a view apparently shared by the investment community!

This report is an extract from The Data Room’s Technology Watch report of the SEG—more from tw@oilit.com.


High performance computing in the geophysical spotlight

Petaflops? They’re here now! IBM, Chevron, Tierra, Convey and Intel slug it out over which hardware will prevail.

From the HPC standpoint, the SEG was overshadowed by the HPC flagship SC2008 event the following week where the big news was the breaking of the Petaflop barrier by the Los Alamos Lab’s ‘Roadrunner.’ According to IBM’s Tom McClure, most oils see the in-house petaflop barrier falling by 2010. But the reality is that one oil company already has a Petaflop installed! The Linux cluster has brought about this revolution but the ‘x86’ architecture is now hitting the ‘power wall’ leading to a proliferation of esoteric architectures in projects such as Repsol’s Kaleidoscope. Here, IBM’s Cell BE gives phenomenal compute bandwidth (120 Gflops in a 22 sq. ft. bay). But the catch is, you need to vectorize your software.

Tamas Nemeth (Chevron) is using a field programmable gate array (FPGA) from Maxeler Technologies. Capacity hikes can be obtained by better technology or parallelism. FPGAs offer both at the expense of some awkward programming.  Various memory and bandwidth ‘gotchas’ mean that speedup may be good for some routines and less so for others. Given the amount of work involved setting up a job, it is necessary to predict speed up for different hardware solutions. FPGAs are easy to predict and hard to program, while the reverse is true for the GPU. But there is potential for predictable, high computational speedup.

Alex Loddoch (Chevron) explained how GPUs act as co-processors to 3D acoustic wave equation migration by over 10 fold and heralding the ‘return of vector computing.’ NVIDIA CUDA holds center stage here with today 240 cores per GPU and up to 4GB memory. Memory transfer is good but size is limited – 4GB is too small for a 20GB billion cell model. Data must be sliced, leading to more data transfer and reduced efficiency. Comparisons with ‘equivalent’ CPU-based solutions are hard, but Loddoch reckons ‘an order of magnitude of speedup is achievable and programming is easy.’

Christof Stork (Tierra Geophysical) compared performance of a finite difference algorithm across FPGA, Cell, GPU and x86 architectures. The appeal of this novel hardware stems from the fact that ‘Moore’s law is done, kaput.’ Stork warned that just as MIPS used to be considered ‘meaningless indicator of performance,’ GFlops should be taken with a pinch of salt. Stork’s analysis came out in favor of working hard to speed up Intel’s CPU-based architecture, although ‘heterogeneous cores are the future.’

The SEG finished up with an HPC Workshop Chaired by Keith Gray with around 150 in attendance. Steve Briggs told how Headwave was focused on prestack volume visualization and analysis. Here GPU is ‘much easier now that CUDA is there’ although Briggs warns ‘You can do a lot of cool stuff with GPUs but they are not going to handle full datasets.’ They present many bottlenecks and roadblocks—and this is in the face of expanding data sets.

Steve Wallach (Convey Computer) described programming Cell-like architectures as ‘a nightmare.’ Programmer productivity is where it’s at, performance is a giveaway. Convey is refocusing on uniprocessor performance with a new ‘hybrid core’ computer that will expose standard Fortran, C, C++ to programmers. This uses an Intel socket and a Xilinx FPGA, tuned in hardware for oil and gas, financial services etc..

In the ensuing panel discussion, both Jim Ballew (Appro) and Pradeep Dubey (Intel) were skeptical regarding the advantages of the CPU. For Ballew, ‘it is and always has been about memory. A GPU could be infinitely fast—the issue is bandwidth between processor and GPU.’ Dubey agreed, adding that Intel’s answer, ‘Larabee,’ will be released ‘real soon now.’ Regarding the claimed GPU speedup Dubey suggested checking the (Intel) base line which could be ‘2x or 200x off.’ In a recent sort benchmark an Intel 4 core chip beat all GPU contenders.

This viewpoint was not shared by AMD’s Kevin McGrath who sees a hybrid future. The CPU will dominate the near term for many codes but GPU-like devices are very good at delivering performance. Programmer productivity is a challenge and needs open industry standard, tools like Brook+, OpenCL as  opposed to ‘proprietary environments’ (like CUDA?).

 This report is an extract from The Data Room’s Technology Watch report of the SEG—more from tw@oilit.com.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

AGM, Aspentech, Aveva, Baker Hughes, CDA, CygNet, Energistics, IADC, IFP, ION, Invensys, Object Reservoir, Roxar, RSI, Ryder Scott, Seismic Ventures, Siemens, TGS-Nopec, Total, MIT and WellPoint.

Austin GeoModeling has teamed with GeoQuasar for software, training and consulting in Latin America. GeoQuasar president Marcos de Almeida was previously Paradigm Geophysical.

Alison Smith has joined AspenTech as VP marketing strategy and research. Smith was previously with AMR Research. AVEVA has named Matthew Cuerdon as VP marketing for Asia Pacific and Dave Coppin as executive VP of AVEVA NET Solutions.

Derek Mathieson is VP, CTO and chief marketing officer with Baker Hughes. Mathieson was previously CEO of WellDynamics.

Common Data Access (CDA) has appointed Christine McKay, Maersk Oil’s UK subsurface information manager, as its new council chair and director of the board.

CygNet has named Mike Hill as VP sales, Steve Robb as VP business development, and Doug Rauenzahn as director of product management. Hill hails from Invensys.

Original North Sea well logs belonging to the UK government were lost when fire ravaged a lorry in Tetbury (UK). The logs were being shipped to India for digitization.

Wendy Swales has joined Energistics to assist in business development and building member relations.

Claus Hemmingsen, (Maersk) has been elected chairman of the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

Jean-Jacques Lacour is now director of the Strategic Implementation Division of the French Petroleum Institute.

ION Geophysical has appointed Jim Hollis as President and COO. Hollis was previously with Landmark Graphics. Thomas Marsh and Nick Vlahakis have been appointed to ION’s board.

Invensys Process Systems has appointed Pierre-Francois Coissac as VP Sales for Europe, Russia and Africa. Coissac hails from Alcatel.

Joel Walls has been appointed VP and chief petrophysicist of Object Reservoir and Winston Carrillo as distinguished advisor, corporate development. Carillo was previously with PDVSA E&P.

Tone Kråkenes is product manager for Roxar’s flagship reservoir modeling solution, IRAP RMS. Ana Fonseca Nordang and Anne-Lisbet Hatlem Lindal have joined Roxar’s marketing arm.

Arthur Cheng has joined Rock Solid Images as senior rock physics adviser—he is to continue his involvement with Cambridge Geosciences, the company he founded in 2000.

Ryder Scott  has supplemented its Houston staff with the addition of four petroleum engineers—Bukky Ojo, Eric Sepolio, Lucas Smith and Ali Porbandarwala and one geologist—Timothy Smith.

Steve Rutherford has joined Seismic Ventures as director of its newly formed Direct Hydrocarbon Detection Services Division. Rutherford was previously with Anadarko.

Siemens has appointed Martin Read as an advisory board member. Read was formerly chief executive of Logica.

TGS-NOPEC has teamed with West African Geophysical Seisdata Co. on secure facility for data storage, tape copying and seismic processing in Lagos’ Lekki Peninsula area.

Total and MIT’s Energy Initiative are collaborating on R&D in support of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

WellPoint Systems has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Dubai-based Quorum MENA to resell its Microsoft Dynamics AX solution set within the Middle East, North Africa and India regions. 


Done deals

Epoch, Canrig, Satyam, Geospatial Holdings, SGI, Getech, Schlumberger, Helix, Emerson, more...

Epoch Well Services has merged with Canrig to create a drilling technology company offering a range of drilling hardware and software products and services.  The new company, named Canrig Drilling Technology is headquartered in Houston. 

Satyam Computer Services chairman Ramalinga Raju has left the company after admitting a $1 billion hole in the company’s balance sheet which was ‘riddled with fictitious assets and non existent cash.’

Geospatial Holdings is to acquire Reduct NV from current owner, Delta Networks.  Belgium-based Reduct develops underground pipeline mapping technologies including the ‘DuctRunner’ smart probe pipeline mapper.

Silicon Graphics, Inc. has received a delisting notification from Nasdaq as its market value has fallen below the minimum $35 million requirement. 

Getech has acquired the assets of Lisle Gravity of Denver, CO. These include over 3 million onshore US gravity stations.

Gazprom has signed an advanced technology framework agreement with Schlumberger to enhance the efficiency of exploration and development for hydrocarbon resources. The agreement covers Gazprom fields in Russia and worldwide.

Helix Energy Solutions is to refocus its activity on deepwater construction and well intervention services and is to divest its oil and gas assets and its 58% share in Cal Dive International.

Reservoir Exploration Technology (RXT) ASA is going public with the issue of up to 2,156,250 shares at NOK 6.40 and 276,000 bonds at NOK 100 for potential gross proceeds of NOK 13.8 million in equity (share capital and premium) and NOK 27.6 million in bond loan. Oslo-based RXT specializes in multi component seismic seafloor acquisition.

Rockwell Collins has acquired high end visual display solutions provider SEOS which will become part of Rockwell’s Simulation and Training Solutions organization.

Emerson has acquired Bay-Tec Engineering of Napa, CA, expanding its services offering in the design, engineering and implementation of process automation systems for the life sciences, refining, and other industries.  Bay-Tec’s expertise covers a wide range of process automation technologies including digital automation systems, safety instrumented systems, programmable logic controllers, human machine interfaces and advanced control applications.

Weatherford is to ‘Redomesticate’ from its current Bermuda corporate location to Switzerland in early 2009.


Cyber Security self-assessment toolkit announced

Industrial Defender is to distribute a control system security test for US Dept. of Homeland Security.

Cyber risk specialist Industrial Defender (ID) has just announced the availability of the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)  Control System Cyber Security Self-Assessment Tool (CS2SAT). DHS selected Industrial Defender as a licensed distributor of the CS2SAT, a software package that assesses the security (or the ‘cyber security posture’ in the DHS jargon) of control system and SCADA networks. The assessment tool was developed by the Idaho National Laboratory for the DHS’ National Cyber Security Division.

Sean McGurk, DHS Director of Control Systems Security noted, ‘The Control System Security Program is pleased to team with Industrial Defender in distributing the CS2SAT and working directly with asset owners to strengthen the cyber security posture of the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources.’ ID president and CEO Brian Ahern added, ‘CS2SAT self assessment is a preliminary to comprehensive security assessment’ For a limited time, CS2SAT, a $399 value, will be offered free of charge to qualified asset owners.


Extronics deploys Firetide ‘intrinsically safe’ wireless mesh

Wireless technology used to link Murco’s tank farm to control room over a kilometer away.

Invensys has delivered a novel wireless mesh network to UK-based Murco Petroleum’s Milford Haven refinery based on technology from UK-based Extronics and Firetide Inc. of Los Gatos, CA. Murco’s Milford Haven offsite operations facility handles the storage and transfer of highly combustible materials at tank farms and terminals. Over 1,500 manual valves around the facility perform a variety of functions, many of which require exact positioning to liquids delivery to the pipeline network. The operational improvement contract was awarded to Invensys, which turned to Extronics for a network solution that could be deployed in hazardous areas. Extronics MD John Hartley explained ‘The Firetide mesh was the only wireless solution that could deliver the throughput required for networking a facility spanning distances of nearly 1 mile.’

Firetide lets operators use mobile equipment such as rugged wireless Windows Mobile PDAs and RFID tags to relay valve status information back to a central control room and view plant status. The system enables real-time work scheduling so operators can pick up a new route to work on and provide their status at the same time.

Firetide’s Ethernet-based wireless technology links the tank farm to the control room over a distance of approximately a kilometer without costly trench and cabling. In total, Extronics deployed 15 Firetide wireless mesh nodes each housed in an explosion-proof enclosure.


Oilennium announces distant learning management system

Flexible online education tool leverages US Department of Defense ‘SCORM’ e-learning specification.

UK-based Oilennium has announced an online ‘Learning Management System’ (LMS) targeting the oil and gas industry with a range of interactive training tools claimed to maximize user retention. The LMS allows employees to learn new skills or augment existing ones to assure compliance with employer standards and advance their careers. 

Users can log on to the LMS and access interactive courses, instructional movies, audio clips and documents. According to Oilennium MD Kevin Keable, ‘We can integrate any type of learning tool from an animated quiz to a video demonstrating how to run coiled tubing.’

Study modules are delivered as ‘Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)-compliant files. The SCORM e-learning specification was developed under the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Distributed Learning initiative. SCORM allows the LMS to monitor and record a user’s progress. Oilennium’s programs are available in Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. Oilennium’s flagship e-learning client is Weatherford International.


Absoft to improve Total’s invoice workflow ‘visibility’

ReadSoft’s ‘Documents for Invoices’ key to automated invoice processing system.

UK-based Absoft is working with Total E&P to improve process efficiency, reduce errors and increase invoice ‘visibility’ with the deployment of ReadSoft’s Documents for Invoices (DfI). DfI is an automated invoice scanning solution that reads data from paper invoices and inputs data into accounting systems and invoice approval workflows. In the two months since going live, the system is already matching 40% of Total’s materials invoices with its SAP system first time.

A Total spokesperson said, ‘Total needed an electronic system to facilitate processing and approval of accounts payable invoices via its SAP System. DfI was chosen for its better performance and integration with SAP.’ E-invoicing allows invoice information to be accessed quickly and easily via Total’s intranet, reducing processing time and minimizing the risk of sensitive data being lost through manual error. The solution is also helping to cut Total’s carbon footprint by reducing paper usage. Total’s DfI license is good for up to 30,000 invoices per year.


Sales, contracts and deployments

OFS Portal, ION, CapRock, Globe Claritas, SPT, Coreworx, Emerson and PinnacleAIS.

Calgary-based Petrobank Energy and Resources has joined the OFS Portal community as a trading partner. OFS Portal provides e-commerce trading functionality through the use of the API’s PIDX electronic invoicing standards.

ION Geophysical has signed a five-year agreement with Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), for software from ION’s Concept Systems division. PGS will upgrade its seismic vessels to Concept’s ‘Orca’ command and control package. Orca manages the complex data workflows onboard modern seismic vessels, including hardware, software, and positioning technologies.

Transocean has signed with CapRock Communications for global satellite communications coverage for its offshore rig fleet. The five-year deal consolidates Transocean’s existing VSAT systems and services into a single network. CapRock’s  teleports and regional support centers will provide Voice over IP, secure access to the corporate network and broadband internet.

Sesmic processor Spectrum Group has upgraded its seismic data processing capabilities with the latest technology from Globe Claritas. Spectrum CTO Ron Silva said, ‘With these new tools, any parameter that affects the data can be adjusted and visualized in real time. This is a powerful addition to our processing suite, complementing our existing technology with powerful QC and interactivity.’ An interface to Globe Claritas enables Spectrum to use its proprietary ‘SPA’ programs within the new processing environment. The new software will be deployed on Spectrum’s Sun SPARC and Linux computing clusters worldwide.

Rashpetco selects SPT Group’s eField Dynamic Production Management System (EDPM) for real time monitoring of its South Sequoia and Rosetta Fields. The solution will be deployed by SPT Group and its North Africa regional partner OnSpec Engineering Solutions. EDPM is powered by OLGA, SPT Group’s flagship dynamic multiphase flow simulator. Other system components include Emerson’s ‘DeltaV’ process control system. Rashpetco is a joint venture of Egyptian Gas, BG Group and Petronas.

In a separate announcement, SPT Group has signed with Indonesian engineering consultant PT Synergy Engineering (PTSE) for the sale of a perpetual OLGA license. The software will be used for PTSE’s core flow assurance services. Engineering document and workflow specialist Coreworx has announced CAD $3.1 million worth of contracts with oil and gas multinationals for major capital projects. CEO John Moore said, ‘These awards contrast with the media’s portrayal of a global retrenchment in energy infrastructure spending due to falling prices and demand. We are positioned to benefit from the largest and most complex construction projects ever, the rebuilding of our oil and gas infrastructure and upgrading the world’s electric grid.’

BP Oil is to deploy Emerson Process Management’s ‘DeltaV’ safety instrumented system (SIS) at fuel storage and distribution sites across the UK following a technology evaluation by Glasgow, UK-based Trident Engineering Consultants. The SIS will be used in BP’s tank overspill protection systems. The systems comply with IEC61511, an international standard for process industry safety systems. DeltaV SIS ‘predictive diagnostics’ monitor the whole safety loop, diagnosing faults before they cause spurious trips.

Pasadena Refining System Inc. (PRSI) is to deploy PinnacleAIS’ UltraPipe platform for inspection data management. UltraPipe provides advanced mechanical integrity functions for petrochemical facility requirements. The package manages inspection activities, data and statistical analysis and future inspection planning and optimization. The PRSI refinery in Pasadena, TX is a 50/50 joint venture of Astra Holding USA and Brazil’s Petrobras.


Standards Stuff

Energistics, Aramco, PODS, Cape-Open, Total, Prosim, Edigas, OMG and Oasis ‘Blue’

At the Energistics Middle East region meeting and WITSML public seminar in Dubai last month, Saudi Aramco was recognized for its commitment to WITSML. Julian Pickering of BP presented the award to Aramco’s Kamal Al-Duhailan, administrator of Aramco’s drilling and workover division of the petroleum engineering application services department.

The Pipeline Open Data Standards organization, PODS, has released V 5.0 of its pipeline data standard for comment by members. The PODS annual user group meet was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike. A replacement conference has been scheduled for March 31-April 1, 2009.  Topics are to include pipeline GIS, PODS spatialization and an introduction to PODS seminar. More from pods.org.

The Cape-Open organization has announced a ‘wizard’ for Cape-open unit operations in Fortran. The wizard was originally developed for Total by ProSim SA and has been donated to the membership by Total and can be downloaded from the Cape-Open website members area. Cape-Open has  released its Cape-Open Logging and Testing Tool (COLTT).  COLTT enhances the performance of Cape-Open compliant software development. The open source software is now a SourceForge project.

Edigas has migrated its European gas data interoperability codelist from a legacy Microsoft Excel format to the new Edigas V 4.0 XML implementation.

The Object Management Group has approved several new specifications including a ‘Reference Metamodel for the Express Information Modeling Language’. Express was used by POSC to define the Epicentre upstream data model and for modeling of STEP, ISO TC184 industrial data and in POSC/Caesar’s ISO 15926 data model. OMG is now working to standardize a representation of Express using its own ‘XML Metadata Interchange’ (XMI) specification.

The OASIS e-business standards body has announced a ‘Blue’ initiative, ‘to foster discussion on the role of open standards and sustainability.’ OASIS Blue ‘builds on the sustainable, environmentally sensitive nature of the Green movement, extends its appeal by including principles such as the value of greater efficiency, of reduced infrastructure cost, of more effective use of resources, and the benefits of economic growth.’ Keep taking the (blue?) tablets!


IM toolset supports Chevron’s construction effort

Coreworx information management supports design and construction across production and refining.

Acorn Energy unit Coreworx has teamed with Chevron to specify new functionality in the latest release of its information management solution for major capital projects. Coreworx 6.3 supports the front end design and construction phases of complex projects such as offshore drilling platforms, refineries and other large infrastructure projects.

Mary Lorys, IM analyst with Chevron said, ‘The new transmittal and workflow functionality of Coreworx will enable us to manage the thousands of documents we receive weekly. Initial results suggest that the new release will significantly increase productivity.’

Coreworx is being rolled out across Chevron flagship production developments in offshore Angola, the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, China and Kazakhstan. The toolset is also supporting refinery expansions in the US and Singapore.

Ed Fry, manager of major capital project IM and technology support added, ‘For the past 10 months, Chevron project staff have worked closely with the Coreworx development team to design the enhanced system. We plan to roll out Coreworx 6.3 to Houston and Singapore in December and into London during second quarter 2009.’ More from info@coreworxinc.com.


Comos maintenance management for GdF Norge asset data

Invensys unit wins ‘integrated operations’ contract from new Norwegian operator Gaz de France.

Gaz De France (GdF) Norge is to deploy the Comos technical and maintenance data management solution on its new Gjøa platform. In 2010, Gaz de France Norge will become operator on the Gjøa field and will use Comos to manage operational engineering, documentation and maintenance management tasks.

GdF Norge MD Terje Overvik said, ‘Comos won the contract after fending off fourteen competitors during the tender. Comos came across as professional and reliable during the negotiations and their systems provided the best functionality to meet our requirements.’ GdF Norge Operations Manager Kjell Ola Jørgensen added that, ‘These systems will contribute greatly to us meeting our Integrated Operations goals.’

Comos Industry Solutions will work closely with Gaz de France Norge to implement the new systems, and will also establish integration with other systems, third-party support and data import. Comos MD Stephan Rohleder added, ‘With this solution, Comos and GdF Norge are launching a new phase of integrated operations with an operations and maintenance solution that embeds data consistency throughout the asset life cycle.’ In October 2008, Comos developer Innotech was acquired by Siemens and rebranded as Comos Industry Solutions.


New ePayments system for oil and gas disbursements

JC Data and Neofirma team on hosted, energy-focused payment system.

JC Data Solutions has teamed with Neofirma to combine JC Data’s payment management services integrated with Neofirma’s online energy asset management. The joint offering targets efficiencies in oil and gas disbursements and financial data management. The new ‘Payment Manager’ (PM) solution is a hosted service for energy companies managing monthly payments to royalty and working interest holders. PM links a company’s existing accounting system to payee information, posts payee statements online, issues email notifications, print checks and archives statements. PM uses Neofirma’s hosted service to administer and communicate with payment stakeholders.

Neofirma CEO Jim Holder said, ‘Market research revealed this to be an area that was underserved in the oil and gas sector – or geared to costly services to very large organizations. Combining our industry-specific solutions into an integrated offering allows us to provide an immediate cost-effective solution to an expensive and growing problem.’ Neofirma provides databases and secure on-line reports to track land and lease obligations, supervise the exploration process, optimize daily operations and manage payments.


ShareCat life of field spares management for Buzzard revamp

Nexen is to capture its spares inventory, QA and workflows in advance of project phase.

Nexen has awarded ShareCat Solutions a contract for spare parts management at its North Sea Buzzard enhancement project. The contract includes gathering, validation and analysis services of the spare parts for the field’s fourth platform. Scope of work includes the assessment of the spare part supply chain for accuracy and completeness and the quality assurance of installed equipment information over the life of the field.

Martyn Campbell, Nexen’s maintenance team leader said, ‘We wanted to capture the platform’s spares needs for the life of the field and not just the first years of operations. Capturing this information during the project phase is more cost effective than identifying it in later years. Consolidating spares and warehouse inventory for the complete asset and its ongoing needs will minimize the operational costs and provide rapid response to new materials requirements.’

ShareCat provides a library of standard equipment information and spare parts data collected from original equipment manufacturers. When supplier data has been checked for accuracy, it is used to prepare material records for Nexen’s SAP system including the bill of materials for each tag on the facility.


Agribusiness IT for Nigerian oil remediation

Anviron/TerraSolve teams with Italian LIA on environmental modeling and carbon credit analysis for NNPC.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation unit Integrated Data Services has awarded Seattle-based Anviron’s TerraSolve subsidiary a five year contract for environmental modeling and carbon credit analysis of its reclamation projects. The project includes a provision for data management services and an enhanced application for workflow support.

The Nigerian contract will leverage a 2008 joint venture between Anviron and Laboratorio Internazionale Agricoltura (LIA), an agricultural IT vendor, for a ‘state-of-the-art’ test facility and environmental database running in TerraSolve’s data center.

TerraSolve/LIA CIO Antonio Mussino said, ‘Our environmental modeling programs will provide NNPC with real-world data and comprehensive analysis tools. These will help NNPC’s geoscientists and engineers develop remediation and redevelopment strategies for the coming years.’ Aviron estimates the size of the petroleum remediation industry as $360 billion of which over $100 billion is in design, analysis, engineering and ‘pre-remediation’ services. 2008 turnover for the test facility is valued by Anviron at over €3.3 million.


HSE dashboard leverages Microsoft technology stack

Applied Information Sciences develops SharePoint-based solution for Hercules Offshore.

Applied Information Sciences (AIS) has supplied an HSE dashboard to Hercules Offshore. The dashboard was developed by AIS using a Microsoft technology stack, extended with Infonic’s SharePoint Geo-Replication technology. Hercules Offshore wanted to standardize HSE processes across its 130 global vessels, drilling rigs and offices and to solve data collection and late manual reporting challenges. The HSE dashboard solution provides information on injury, environment, near misses and root cause analysis inter alia. Collaboration workspaces support a variety of HSE notifications, audit trails, KPIs, trends and data drill down. ‘Proactive’ behavioral audits can be compared with historical incident information to spot trends and focus training effort.

The technology stack includes Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS), SQL Server, InfoPath Forms, Exchange and Office. AIS claims that this kind of development delivers more functionality and costs half of competing off-the shelf solutions. From get go in September 2007, the project took 6 months to complete across Hercules’ fleet. AIS is to productize an adaptation of the HSE dashboard as ‘SafetyTrack.’ Infonic’s Geo-Replicator is used to solve the replication issues that are said to have thwarted enterprise-scale SharePoint deployments to date. Infonics ‘byte level difference’ replication has also been used by Shell’s oil tanker fleet to cut satellite communications costs.


Meridium ‘Smart Cuts’—a topical solution for troubled times

Solution offers ‘what-if?’ analysis of budget restrictions on owner-operators.

Asset management software provider Meridium has announced ‘Smart Cuts,’ a topical solution for today’s economic conditions. Smart Cuts lets companies evaluate the impact of proposed cost cutting measures on production, compliance, safety and the environment. Smart Cuts helps organizations make ‘data-driven’ decisions by conducting ‘what-if’ analyses and documenting the implications of budget reductions. The approach is based on Meridium’s Asset Strategy Value Accelerator, a service and software combo.

Risk analysis evaluates consequences and probabilities of proposed cuts with the goal of minimizing exposure. An asset strategy gap analysis is included in the final report along with an ROI summary of proposed solutions.

Meridium VP Roy Whitt noted, ‘As a plant manager in the mid-1990s, I was told to reduce the workforce and cut costs. Such decisions were made with little objective information or formal analysis. An approach like Smart Cuts would have provided a solid basis for cost reductions without increasing risk, or at least, understanding the impact of the cuts.’

Last month Meridium rolled out a new software package, ‘Asset Health Indicator’ (AHI) an extension of its Asset Strategy Management flagship application. AHI links corporate asset strategy with critical data to flag when expectation are not being met and to trigger alerts for appropriate corrective actions. AHI works with existing Meridium data sources and with ‘excursion events’ from condition-based monitoring programs and process historians.


NRX shows-off ISO 15926 solution at Malaysia PCA meet

End-to-end compliant workflow developed for Petronas Carigali Information Management.

At the first Petronas-hosted meet of the POSC-Caesar Association last month, Toronto-based NRX, together with SAP and ALCIM, demonstrated an ‘end-to-end’ ISO 15926 workflow for asset management. The project is a component of the Petronas Carigali Information Management initiative (PCIM – OITJ May 2007). NRX Asset Center’s ISO 15926 data connector was used to connect to ALCIM IQM and synchronized with SAP’s enterprise asset management (EAM) solution.

NRX Asset Center operates as an open platform with connectors to a wide variety of data stores and standards. With standard integrations with SAP software for EAM, Open Text LiveLink, Documentum, XMpLant Schema, and more, the endorsement of a standards-compliant ISO 15926 connector enables asset lifecycle interoperability for all stakeholders, including owner/operators, suppliers and engineering companies. NRX provides Asset Information Management (AIM) and master data management solutions for capital projects along with operational solutions for maintenance and supply chain efficiency. NRX is an active member of the US FIATECH organization’s effort to accelerate ISO 15926 adoption and has now joined the Norwegian POSC Caesar Association.