October 2009


Baker Hughes buys into JOA

Service sector major buys into geomodeling software specialist with plans to turn JewelSuite into an integration platform for its own technology including INTEQ logging and communications.

In an interesting move for the upstream software business, service sector behemoth Baker Hughes International (BHI) has acquired a 40% stake in Netherlands-headquartered JOA (de Jager Ontwerp/Advies) Oil & Gas. The share purchase was made via BHI’s Baker Hughes Nederland Holding unit. The deal gives BHI ‘unlimited access’ to JOA’s  JewelSuite reservoir modeling package. BHI is also to fund ‘a significant portion’ of the development required to incorporate some of its in-house wellbore engineering applications as well as the geomechanical technology acquired in its takeover of GeoMechanics International last year (OITJ April 2008).

Nathan Meehan, BHI’s VP of reservoir technology said, ‘This is a strategic move that gives us access to an innovative software tool. JewelSuite will provide our consulting teams (Gaffney, Cline, RDS, Epic and GMI) with integrated solutions for complex reservoirs and development options.’

Like other service majors, most of BHI’s software is coupled with its products and services. Meehan sees further synergies in the deal as JewelSuite becomes an integration platform for BHI’s in-house technologies saying, ‘By integrating technology from our INTEQ product line with JewelSuite, we will be able to provide clients with accurate, real-time information on their assets.’

Gerard de Jager, CEO of JOA Oil & Gas added,  ‘Uptake of our JewelSuite within the BHI organization will significantly extend our user base from operators of complex assets to highly trained consultants. We are currently training BHI’s consulting groups and expect that they will be providing us with input to future development, while simultaneously showcasing JewelSuite’s strengths to clients. Through our funded development agreement, BHI will help us to realize our vision of providing integrated, up-to-date reservoir models, at scales from detailed wellbore neighbourhood to full-field geomechanical models, all in the same framework.

JOA Oil & Gas has 58 employees in 8 different locations. de Jager plans to use the proceeds of the deal to fast-track planned expansion and growth of JOA’s sales and support organization.

Earlier this year, JOA sold a license to its flagship ‘true vertical gridding’ technology to Seismic Micro Technology (SMT), adding a ‘modeling while interpreting’ capability to SMT Kingdom Suite.

In a separate announcement, JOA revealed that the 2009 edition of JewelSuite has received a ‘Compatible with Windows 7’ logo attesting that JewelSuite 2009 ‘integrates seamlessly with Microsoft’s new operating system. JewelSuite will thus benefit from Windows 7 ‘breakthroughs’ such as ‘Multi-touch’, jump lists and GUI ribbons. More from www.joa.nl.


Zeiss Auriga workstation

Ingrain deploys Carl Zeiss’ 3D ‘crossbeam’ focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope for ‘nano-scale’ investigation of gas and oil shales.

Pore-scale rock modeling specialist Ingrain is investigating ‘nano’ scale structure of oil and gas shales with an Auriga CrossBeam workstation from Carl Zeiss.  The workstation combines focused ion beam (FIB) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)to analyze shale porosity and permeability and evaluate unconventional reservoir potential.

Ingrain will use the Auriga to generate high resolution 3D images which are captured with its ‘vRock’ digital reservoir rock model. Ingrain then uses its fluid flow modeling techniques to determine a reservoir’s commercial potential from the vRock digital analogues.

The Zeiss Auriga’s FIB acts like a nanoscale ‘scalpel’ to remove very thin slices of material from a sample and the SEM provides high resolution images of the rock’s structure, distinguishing between voids and minerals. The automated system produces image slices as thin as 5 nano meters.

By our reckoning (actually Wolfram Alpha), that is around five million slices per inch. That should make for a healthy file size—anyone for a hundred exabytes per cubic inch?

More from info-usa@smt.zeiss.com.


SEC reserves rules—from ultra conservative to ‘anything goes’?

Listening to speakers at the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Oil IT Journal Editor Neil McNaughton remembers an earlier life working with an oil and gas promoter when the SEC’s reserves regulations were extremely restrictive. New rules coming in next year open the door to ‘new and proprietary’ technologies. He wonders if the SEC’s loosening of its criteria is a hang over from the pre-Lehman days of deregulation and ‘small government.’

In an earlier life, while working for an adventurous Explorer and Promoter of oil and gas properties, we made what later turned out to be quite a significant discovery. After drilling a couple of wells and getting very excited, management began to plan the next road show.

I don’t know how things are today, but back in those days, a road show involved a mixture of hard(ish) facts, in the form of audited reserves and financials, and softer, enthusiastic geotechnical ‘promotion’ of a prospect’s potential or a field’s possible future size. This was referred to as ‘ramping’ the prospect!

Needless to say, as the same audience attended a lot of road shows, and to a large extent had heard it all before, there was a lot of pressure on to present ‘official’ audited reserves rather than to have to resort to arm waving. This meant calling in the Consultants! We pulled out all our seismic maps showing the stratigraphic play extending over the horizon. We explained the regional geology and the likelihood of a huge extent of the reservoir sweet spot. And so on.

But our arm waving was to no avail. What did the Consultants do? They applied the rules. Our bookable ‘reserves’ were limited to tiny circles drafted around the wells—as demonstrated by well tests. The result was that the road show went ahead (quite successfully as it turned out) and we got on with the drilling program. And no, the field did not go ‘over the horizon’ but it was a company-maker none the less.

The early experience led me to understand that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which wrote ‘the rules’ that our Consultants dutifully applied, was of an exceptionally conservative disposition. To book reserves, you really had to ‘prove,’ as far as such things can be proved, that they were there—with wells and well tests. No seismic interpolation, no geological ‘romance,’ no arm waving. The SEC wanted ‘certainty.’

In the subsequent years, a lot has happened in the industry. People started to use 3D seismic, not just to map reserves, but, with time-lapse, to visualize actual production as it was happening. Seismics was capable of producing pretty unequivocal direct hydrocarbon indicators. Not exactly a well test—but certainly a demonstrable interpolation technique—one that ought to provide a promoter with more than just a little circle of proven reserves around a discovery.

Indeed, industry, particularly the Society of Petroleum Engineers, was engaged in a decade-long lobbying effort with the SEC for it to update its stuffy old requirements and allow for seismic to be used in reserve estimation. Now, after years of deliberation, the SEC has revised its reserves reporting rules which come into effect on Jan 1st 2010.

At this month’s SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, I attended a talk by John Lee* (Texas A&M) who outlined how the rules address a very different situation to that which prevailed when the previous guidelines were introduced back in 1978. Lee noted that since then, ‘technology and markets have changed and new resources like bitumen are important.’ Reserves categories have been revised, the ‘certainty’ criterion I mentioned above has been relaxed from ‘absolute’ to ‘reasonable.’ But most importantly, industry’s lobbying has been successful and the SEC has shifted from its conservative treatment of how reserves are evaluated.

Not only do the new rules allow for the use of 3D seismic in reservoir delineation and reserves reporting, they go further, allowing as yet unknown techniques and even ‘proprietary’ technology. Such novel technology does not even have to be disclosed to the SEC, whose position has changed from prescription (a well plus a well test or nothing) to, as Woody Allen might say, ‘whatever works.’

Reflecting on these presentations, I was struck by how the new SEC rules actually go beyond industry’s initial lobbying—for 3D seismic to be considered as a proving technology. In the future, a company turning to the auditors for validation of its reserves might be able to go along with say some new fangled electromagnetic survey of reservoir extent, or perhaps the low power ‘invisible light’ method we came across at the Amsterdam EAGE.

Alternatively, ‘proprietary’ seismic imaging techniques that turn subsalt synclines to structures may be trotted out. There is, after all, a lot of ‘stuff’ in geophysics that is on the borderline between science and fantasy.

The problem with all this is that it makes the auditor/regulator’s job almost impossible. Instead of having a select number of experts with skills in a recognized discipline, we are expecting them to be fluent in multiple techniques, some of which will be valid in one place and totally inappropriate in another.

Interestingly for those involved in oil country data, this places an increasing burden on traceability of the decision making process. As reserves are booked with reference to heterogeneous workflows, the onus on capture and traceability rises significantly.

How did we get here? Well the new rules may be coming in in 2010 but they have been a long time in preparation. My impression is that as the industry was pushing for specific upgrades to the rules, the regulator’s position was shifting. This was the time when folks were advocating ‘deregulation,’ or at least that regulation should be done with ‘a light hand.’ So instead of just adding to the prescription with say 3D seismic, the regulator seems to have thrown in the towel. All of which has an uncomfortable, pre-Lehman Bros. air to it!

 

* SPE 123793, Modernization of the SEC Oil and Gas Reserves Reporting Requirements. W.J. Lee, Texas A&M.


Haynesville Gas Shale Technology Symposium, Dallas

SPE’s Dallas Section hears of operator data sharing—and warnings of fracture modeling uncertainty.

Some 500 pre-registered for last month’s Haynesville Gas  Shale Technology Symposium organized by the Dallas chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Keynote speaker Floyd Wilson, chairman and CEO of Petrohawk made the interesting observation that sharing of data among operators has been key to the Haynesville shale development and that it has moved the play 5-6 years ahead of where the Barnett was after a similar amount of drilling time.

Eric Eslinger (Eric Geosciences) presented a box model for the gas shale that described the mineral matrix, bound and irreducible fluids and free gas. Eric Geosciences’ GAMLS clustering analysis package was used to fine tune the log to core correlation and produce a probabilistic lithology log. Eslinger observed that the new logging, coring and sample analysis techniques being applied in shale plays are taxing the ‘old-guard’ log storage technologies like PETRA and Recall. Many companies are having difficulties finding places in traditional data models like PPDM for the new measurements.

Among the exhibitors, Dallas-based Horizontal Solutions International caused a bit of a stir by doing live demos on demand of their upcoming LatNav.NET release that will leverage a web architecture to enable easier loading of survey and log data to their solution for correlating LWD data and generating ‘true stratigraphic position plots.’

Geophysical Data Management showed combined laser scanning of physical facilities with Microsoft Live Meeting to enable virtual site-walks with team members around the world.  

Creties Jenkins from Degolyer and MacNaughton reported on the use of Object Reservoir’s Resolve finite element reservoir modeling package to take some of the uncertainty out of material balance, decline curve analysis, and extended transient flow in shale wells. Jenkins also noted that the data availability in the area varied from ‘poor’ (GR logs only, volumes pumped, and daily pressure) to ‘ideal’ (complete modern log suites).  Jenkins also warned of the inherent uncertainty in trying to model fracture conductivity vs. half-length, or trying to model a multi-stage frac where complex fractures interfere with each other. He concluded on a sober note—reminding the audience that, ‘we are making economic predictions and looking for drainage areas and estimating ultimate recovery over 30 years with less than 2 years of real production data!’


National Data Repository N°9, New Delhi, India

NDR updates from ONGC, Brazil’s ANP, Pemex, SAIC, UK DECC and Stephenson & Associates.

Speaking at the 9th Energistics-sponsored  National Data Repository meet in New Delhi, Ashok Kumar (ONGC) offered a company perspective of the proposed NDR for India. The benefits for operators stem from better management of the huge data volumes generated during the E&P process. NDRs promise information on demand and better interaction between oils, service companies and government. Much still needs to be decided, not least, who is to operate and fund the new NDR and what obligations are incumbent on oil companies in regard to data reporting. A consensus needs to be found that allows operators to ‘keep their data-centric commercial interests intact.’

An update on Brazil’s E&P database (BDEP) run by the ANP National Petroleum Agency portrayed a mature NDR run by the regulator. In Brazil companies are legally obliged to provide ANP with all their E&P data. ANP then maintains the data making it available to the public. This means that the BDEP now holds data on 24,000 wells, some 13TB of post stack seismic and 2 petabytes of field data. ANP’s in-house SIATA software administers the BDEP archive.

Lee Allison (Arizona Geological Survey) showed how a web services approach is being used in the USA build the Geosciences Information Network (GIN) from a large number of disparate data sources. GIN wrappers are being developed for 2,000 plus databases and thousands of sample and map collections. GIN leverages open source standards and protocols (OGC, GeoSciML). GIN was adopted by the US Dept. of Energy in May, 2009. More from usgin.org.

Jose Luis Figueroa described a mature NDR, Pemex’ @ditep database. @ditep supports Pemex’ E&P process and reporting optimization effort, integrating technical, government and financial data.  @ditep provides access to a wide range of surface and subsurface data types. Figueroa noted that ‘non-stop proliferation’ of Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and ‘private’ data sets were obstacles on the road to NDR success. In Mexico, dealing with a century of data ‘backlog’ also proved difficult. Data ownership frequently needed clarification and often, ’ executives lack a real understanding of the challenges.’  But Pemex now considers that the value of the information contained in @ditep has been demonstrated and is working to increase its user base (currently 50% of E&P workers).

Joe Neely (SAIC) offered would be NDR builders a short course in ‘sustainable data management.’ SAIC has developed a methodology to ‘establish and improve’ NDRs by ‘bringing order from chaos’ and realizing the true value of Exploration and Production data investment opportunities.

Stewart Robinson of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) called for further collaboration on the development of government data exchange standards. Robinson suggests the establishment of a working group under the auspices of Energistics to prototype some simple solutions to reporting. Earlier this year, the DECC released its own ‘FoxOpen’ portal development as open source technology. Portal technology has allowed the UK to build oil regulatory systems quickly and cheaply with online forms, secure, digitally signed, data workflows and reporting. More on FoxOpen in this month’s ‘Standards Stuff’ section.

Helen Stephenson (Stephenson & Associates) held a workshop on NDR Opportunities for emerging nations.  The workshop addressed practical considerations such as staffing and training requirements, the use of external consultants in the early stages and the need to afford ‘low level’ data management activities with skilled resources and recognition. Stephenson recommends the appointment of a head of data management alongside managers of other technical departments. Foreign operators working in the country are encouraged to train NDR staff in their data centers. Data management has always been the poor relation of petroleum exploration and production and, although everyone agrees that it is important, few companies and organizations do it well. More from Energistics.


CSC announces Petroleum Enterprise Intelligence solution

Information Store’s Petrotrek Digital Oilfield meets Oracle business intelligence.

Earlier this year (OITJ February 2009), Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) and Houston-based The Information Store (iStore) entered into an alliance whereby CSC acts as the prime systems integrator and consulting services provider for iStore’s PetroTrek Digital Oilfield solutions. Now the companies have announced what is described as a ‘Petroleum Enterprise Intelligence’ (PEI) solution for the upstream. The PEI leverages Oracle’s business intelligence applications and the iStore’s data access and visualization technology to provide insights into the financial impact of field decisions and to optimize production operations. PEI spans upstream and operational system, adding analytical functions for E&P, refining and pipeline marketing, energy trading, financials, supply chain and workforce management.

Bob Welch, president of CSC’s Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources Group said, ‘Upstream oil and gas companies can significantly impact their growth and profitability when they have the ability to make fast, smart business decisions. Encompassing everyone from drilling engineers to financial analysts, our approach enables oil field workers to optimize asset performance by delivering the right information to the right people at the right time.’  The offering addresses the areas of business processes, information management, operations and technology infrastructure. More from CSC.


East Resources deploys NEC SAN Storage for E&P

iSCSI D3i storage area network cuts server count from 19 to 4.

Pennsylvania-based East Resources has deployed a storage area network (SAN) from  NEC Corp. of America. East is using NEC’s iSCSI D3i SAN to virtualize its data center. East runs Oracle, SQL Server, mapping tools, billing systems and the Munsys Autocad extender. Data volumes were doubling every year and the existing Dell PowerVault devices ran out of space. East CIO Jason McNutt said, ‘We had to buy more and more servers, which led to more management overhead. Eventually we were operating fifteen different devices, maintenance was time-consuming, and running out of storage capacity was not an option!’

NEC reseller StoreHouse Technologies introduced East to the NEC D-Series.  McNutt said the NEC system is fast, moving 1.5 GB of data in 8 seconds from the local drive to the SAN. Server ‘sprawl’ and growth has stopped and management time has also been greatly reduced. The IT team now supports 160 users and 30 servers (many of which virtual) across multiple locations. East Resources has gone from 19 separate servers in the datacenter to a virtualized environment of four. More from www.necam.com/storage/d3i.cfm.


Venture Production reports successful HSE deployment

eVision’s Permit Vision was tuned to North Sea operator’s requirements.

eVision reports on successful deployment of its Permit Vision application by Venture Production Nederland BV. Venture decided to upgrade its Permit to Work system to address issues such as isolation management and task risk assessment. Venture engaged eVision to design a new workplace safety process leveraging its web based Permit to Work system. Permit to Work groups isolation management and risk assessment into a single system that is claimed to create greater operational effectiveness and awareness. The new system detects conflicting situations at permit planning and creation time, reducing risk and increasing productivity. The tool leverages the DeltaLinqs and NOGEPA standard as used by all operators on the Dutch North Sea. The package was configured to meet Venture’s requirements, capturing local installation knowledge and best practices.

Permit Vision is designed ‘with the end user in mind,’ making the system easy to use, resulting in instant user acceptance and success. Venture HSE Manager Ron Pijtak said, ‘Permit Vision has been a tremendous success. Operational management has a good overview of work being carried out and offshore personnel accepted the system as if it were their own.’ More from www.evision-software.nl.


Schlumberger, Chevron roll-out Intersect

A future release of the ‘next generation’ reservoir simulator to include Ocean API.

Chevron and Schlumberger released their ‘next generation’  ‘Intersect’ reservoir fluid flow simulation package at the SPE ATCE this month. Intersect targets the simulation of large complex, heterogeneous reservoirs and results from a joint R&D effort that started in 2000. Intersect is capable of simulating tens of millions of cells across complex geology and well paths. Intersect supports field management and can handle thousands of wells in mature fields. The package simulates ‘all fluid types and recovery processes.’

Intersect will be released progressively to early adopters whose experience will be used to further enhance the product for general release. Future releases of Intersect will include development tools for ‘Ocean,’ Schlumberger’s proprietary development environment. Schlumberger will continue to develop and support its Eclipse reservoir simulator. Both simulators use Petrel Reservoir Engineering as a front end to simulation, integrating the static and dynamic modeling process. Intersect leverages parallel computing and unstructured gridding and has been tested on tough targets like Chevron’s Tengiz field, Kazakhstan, where Intersect was used to produce hundreds of detailed development scenarios for the field. A few years back (OITJ Sept. 2005), Total was involved in the project whose intent at the time was to migrate Eclipse to Intersect and a ‘scalable, non-proprietary’ cluster system. More from
Schlumberger.


Software, hardware short takes

Kelman, ISS, Emerson, CygNet, EnergyNavigator, EnigmaData, Earthworks, PAS, Matrikon, Octaga, WellPoint.

Kelman Technologies has announced ‘i-Glass,’ a new seismic data management solution that offers clients a secure web portal for management of their upstream data.

ISS Group is working on a new real time data historian for oil and gas and other process industries. BabelFish ‘Capture’ is currently under development as is another new tool, ‘Sentinel,’ an event detection and alarm workflow subsystem.

Emerson Process Management unit Roxar has released EnAble 2.3, its statistical reservoir history matching tool. The new release has simplified workflows, added new diagnostic capabilities and an ‘Estimator Analyzer’ for quick ‘what-if’ experiments. New simulator interfaces include FrontSim, Nexus, PBRS and Acres. EnAble 2.3 can read Tempest  and Eclipse binaries and leverage Eclipse multiple realization license.

Release 7.2 of CygNet Software’s enterprise operations platform integrates ESRI’s ArcGIS toolset to consolidate GIS-based asset management, SCADA data, and information from core business applications. Other enhancements include historical data management, new charting and trending tools and gas measurement repository replication. CygNet also announced the launch of the online CygNet User Group (CUG) Forum.

The 7.1 release of EnergyNavigator’s AFE Navigator adds intra-application messaging, an API for developers and usability enhancements such as a ‘call out’ to another system for AFE Numbering. A new database schema (V16) improves data integrity.

Enigma Data has announced SmartMove 2.4.2 with a new command line interface for kicking off ‘pre configured’ jobs and  support for Microsoft Windows 2008 Server symbolic links. Enigma believes that early symbolic link support will let users plan for future deployment of the technology. The company is also embarking on a major redevelopment of the SmartMove product, integrating its ‘tiered’ management with its PARS archiving product line.

Fugro-Jason has announced PowerLog 3.1, the latest version of its petrophysical interpretation package. The 3.1 release sees the introduction of a new module for thin bed analysis leveraging Baker Hughes’ 3D Explorer multi-component induction tool.

Earthworks has released V2.0 of its MPSI stochastic seismic inversion technology, developed in partnership with ARK CLS. Available as an OpendTect plug in, MPSI. enables investigation of geobody connectivity across multiple realizations, generating reservoir volume estimates constrained by well and seismic data.

PAS has announced ‘Integrity,’ software to ‘map the automation genome.’ Integrity provides a ‘universal framework’ for the aggregation, contextualization, and simplification of data across an entire automation and production management system. The software  interfaces with data from distributed control systems, programmable logic controllers, safety systems and SCADA—adding ‘advanced’ knowledge capture and search. Integrity targets, inter alia, the operational effectiveness of oil and gas, petroleum refining and chemical plants.

Matrikon has announced ‘Excel Reporter,’ that connects to any real-time or historical data source via OPC, providing instant access to process and equipment data from Microsoft Excel.

VR specialist Octaga has announced support for real-time data streams in its 3D plant and facility models. External sensor equipment such as GPS receivers from moving assets or sensor data from alarms, valves or pipes can be incorporated. The moves sees Octaga’s entry into the ‘Integrated Operations’ arena and was prototyped for ABB for monitoring moving cranes onboard ships.

WellPoint Systems has released V5.0 of its ‘Ideas’ oil and gas accounting package. New features improve compliance with local accounting and reporting requirements while still meeting ‘home country’ financial reporting standards.  Ideas has been upgraded to Visual Basic 6 (!) and system reports to Crystal Reports XI, including a data navigator and additional export options. An Authorization for Expenditure (AFE) module provides for project management, commitment tracking, AFE approvals, time writing and AFE reporting. Ideas is currently deployed at over 200 sites in more than 60 countries.


Pipeline Open Data Standard User Group

CartoPac presents mobile workforce solution. Oneok describes comprehensive PODS deployment.

Glenn Vlass described how CartoPac’s mobile workforce solutions can help overcome pipeline field data collection problems such as siloed data and formats, ‘office centric’ workflows and the limitations of mobile devices. Even PODS users are not immune to data issues when confronted with the size and huge scope (225 domains) of the data model and the difficulty of field data loading. As opposed to current field data collection techniques which can be time consuming and error-prone, Vlass advocates a PODS-in-the-field approach. This uses a high-end handheld field collection device from Trimble and allows for structured data collection, by-role user functionality, map-based display and query.

Ed Wilson also addressed field data collection as practiced by Oneok, a natural gas gathering and processing company located in Tulsa, OK. Oneok uses a PODS database in a comprehensive workflow for surveillance and maintenance of its natural gas liquids pipeline network. For helicopter-borne inspection, ESRI’s Tracking Analyst is used to document observations made during a flight. Each observation creates a ROW Patrol report and starts an Inspection and Investigation workflow which kicks off further work in the field – all meticulously recorded in the PODS database and, when the repair is complete, used to produce a new alignment sheet.  The system leverages Outlook’s public folders for electronic forms, GIS validation by a survey group, automated spatial enablement and, if everything passes the QC checks, automatic data upload into PODS. Microsoft MapPoint is also used by field and office personnel. This enables search for a particular equipment item – returning GPS coordinates to the user’s laptop along with ‘turn by turn’ driving directions. Oneok also creates KML files of point and centerline data for consumption by GoogleEarth. This allows field and office personnel to make their own ‘what if’ maps and to preplan new pipelines and stations. More from www.pods.org.


Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans

A good turnout for the plenary session where the future of international, national oils and service companies was debated. Optimization proved a popular theme—with Delft presenting a novel technique for taking operators’ psychology into account. Model based optimization of BP’s Trinidad Field. Brownfield ‘digital’ revamp gets traction from Saudi Aramco. Oxy deploys ‘intelligent agents.’ Total now convinced of ‘digital oilfield’ business benefits.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers sure knows how to put on a good plenary session. The best part of a thousand of the reported 8,000 attendees showed up for the ‘What’s next for IOCs, NOCs* and service companies’ session. Moderator Liam Mallon (ExxonMobil) noted the ‘dramatic developments’ of a steep rise and precipitous fall in the oil price over the last few years. These are ‘trying times,’ but this is a cyclical industry, energy demand will continue to grow. IOCs and NOCs need to listen to each others’ views and to work together to meet energy needs.

Keith Morley (Weatherford) described the NOC/IOC relationship as ‘between a rock and a hard place.’ More changes will come as consumption shifts to the Asia Pacific region and as OECD demand declines. Outside of North America, E&P expenditure in set to ‘explode,’ and the NOCs are the new ‘rule makers.’ Trends towards ‘resource nationalism’ are in fact a good fit with the oilfield services model. The IOCs are now pushing the technological frontiers—along with the service sector innovations such as drilling with casing, solid expandables and managed pressure drilling.

Anelise Lara (Petrobras) naturally concurred with this flattering picture of the NOCs.  Petrobras is planning for a $175 billion spend over the next five years and is second in R&D spend. Petrobras expects to continue to develop the technology it is using to explore and develop its ultra deepwater pre salt basins.

Jay Prior (Chevron) described rising demand in the face of a fragile economy as an ‘urgent challenge.’ IOC’s business models are continuously evolving and there is an increasing need for collaboration. Chevron frequently partners with NOCs on projects. This is ‘nowhere near a zero sum game.’ It is ‘in all of our interests to overcome above ground challenges.’ IOCs act as efficient investors and  technology providers. They offer technology transfer and act as ‘catalysts’ to develop host countries’ human and economic resources. Chevron’s partners get access to ‘hard won expertise’ such as that gained in California’s central valley, now applied to Indonesia’s heavy oil.

Mohammed Al Quahtani (Saudi Aramco) observed that although ‘experts forecast more collaboration’ this sometimes seemed to be ‘more words than action.’ Collaboration is required to find the intersection of common goals and to avoid duplication of effort that has hampered the industry in addressing its challenges. The most important of these today is how to add a required 90 million bopd by 2030—an amount equal to today’s production! According to Saudi Aramco, the world holds ‘150 years of oil supply at current production rates.’ Providing again that technological solutions are found to improve recovery. In fact new technologies dominate Aramco’s scenario. Solutions are being sought through the exchange of ideas and support of R&D consortia and Universities. The service sector has proved very efficient at developing and deploying new technologies developed in Aramco’s Expec R&D center. The company has just announced a Technology Quest event to be held next month in Houston where providers can present new technologies for ‘fostering and incubation’ by Aramco. Regarding the thorny issue of intellectual property and commercialization, Aramco’s main goal is early adoption, it promises a ‘flexible attitude’ on commerciality and IP sharing.

In the Q&A it emerged that not everyone was convinced of the value and roles played by the main stakeholders. The panel was asked what they valued most in collaboration. For Aramco it was long term relationships and openness. For Petrobras, a clear understanding of each player’s long term objectives with technology as the driver for service companies. Petrobras sees the value in reducing risks and assessing the value of a specific technology. Clarity was also a concern for Weatherford—oilfield service companies are ‘at the mercy of their shareholders’ and need a solid basis for new technology development.

Trond Unneland offered a history of Chevron’s involvement in seeding new technologies through its Technology Ventures (CTV) unit. New technologies are critical for oils and a ‘constant infusion’ is needed for success. Chevron pioneered the oil company use of venture capital in 1998 with the creation of its ‘closed end’ fund model. Four funds have launched over the last ten years with a total $250 million endowment. Some 200 target investments have been made, mostly in IT. Chevron likes to look in ‘unlikely places’ for its investment targets. Some 300-400 companies per year are scanned. Deals come in the form of unsolicited proposals (to the CTV website), technology brokers, ‘friends’ and from in-house proposals. Chevron has had a tremendous success with its IT investments and is now seeking to repeat the exercise in oil and gas and renewables. Projects need to impact Chevron’s core business, offer a financial return, have good pilot potential and fit with the CTV portfolio and deal structure. Around 10 technologies per year have been piloted since 2000, ‘value capture’ through technology transfer is estimated at $100 million with an IRR that ‘equates to a top tier VC.’ Successes include a proprietary rod pumping system artificial lift, high performance computing (with 11 systems acquired for reservoir modeling and geophysics) and a spam filtering system that was subsequently acquired by CISCO for $830 million. Unneland has learned that perseverance is important in venture capital. It can take 3-10 years before a target is ready for a float, or goes down the tubes. Unneland stated that the prime rationale for CTV was less the ROI, more the new technology’s impact on Chevron.

Gijs van Essen (Delft UT) presented a fairly technical paper on a ‘null-space’ approach to production optimization with a psychological twist. ‘Lifecycle optimization,’ as opposed to ‘reactive control,’ involves maximizing NPV** over the whole life of a field. Unfortunately, many optimal production strategies, even though valid, are unpalatable to production engineers. Such plans call for short term monetary loss, perhaps asking engineers to shut wells in. The idea behind van Essen’s hierarchical optimization approach is to find an objective function that balances short and long term objectives. The primary objective is to maximize lifetime NPV, but secondary objectives of maximizing short term production are also considered. The technique has been demonstrated on ‘toy’ model reservoirs and can be implemented by alternating long and short term optimizations. Otherwise the technique is computationally a bit beyond real world reservoirs because of the huge number of variables.

Our virtual ‘best paper’ award goes to  Anessa Ramdial (BP) for a limpid presentation of model based optimization of a gas production system in Trinidad. The Trinidad Field Optimizer (TFO), which embeds Aspen HySys and Petroleum Expert’s Prosper, provides an overall representation of the gas terminal including 11 production platforms, pipelines for gas and liquids to shore and onshore to processing and sales. Since 2005, gas prices have been flat with a big drop in 2009, meaning that today, there is a large premium on liquid delivery as long as gas deliveries are fulfilled. Gas dispatchers are using the TFO to eliminate guess work and add revenue by maximizing liquid production quickly. The enabling technology is the rapid simulator, combined with digital metering and communications. The model allows for wells, platforms or trains to be activated or turned off, matching real world situations. Daily optimization has allowed BP to deliver on its gas contracts while maximizing condensate production. ‘What-if’ modeling lets BP try alternative scenarios such as another supplier’s failure to deliver.

A popular theme at recent ATCEs is the revamp of old fields with modern technology. Mohammed Al-Khamis described Saudi Aramco’s ‘i-Field’ revamp of the AFK complex. AFK started producing in the 1960s and shut in the 1980s. Before the revamp the control system was entirely mechanical and there was no surveillance. The revamp included the drilling of 154 wells (most horizontal), a new central processing facility with gas processing and new production and injection facilities. AFK produces from multiple fields and multiple reservoirs per field. Surveillance of the complex crude blends proved crucial. An extensive field data network is connected via an Open Transport Network (fiber) and on to the control room. Operators now have visibility of all three fields and use multi phase meters readings to control injection. The revamp makes extensive use of OSIsoft’s PI System with data replicated to Aramco’s central Dhahran PI Cluster and into its Oracle E&P database. Every well has remote control and the whole field can be shutdown remotely ‘with a single click.’ Real time surveillance provides constantly updated isobaric maps of reservoir – where before there were two maps per year! Aramco’s production/injection strategy can be adjusted continuously. Well performance is likewise optimized. The revamp has added 500kbod.

Greg Stephenson (Oxy) presented the results of trials of IntelligentAgent’s optimization technology. Paradoxically, gas lift ‘works’ even when something is broken, e.g. following beam pump failure. Moreover, data overload and a lack of domain expertise means that such ‘non critical’ failures don’t get fixed. Oxy has been trialing an artificial intelligence approach, using ‘intelligent agents,’ that ‘observe and act on their environment.’ The ‘robust’ technology was originally developed for the defense and intelligence industries.

The agent monitors wells in real time and can be trained to identify abnormal operating conditions such as surges and recommend remedial action. An ‘over defined’ knowledge base holds a multiplicity of known conditions and works even with imperfect data. Some 60 different conditions have been defined and are monitored with 15 attributes of flow rate, valve state, etc. An open architecture integrates many IT environments and multiple commercial nodal analysis platforms. A system dashboard provides drill down for an in depth look at why a particular diagnosis was made. The system has undergone extensive testing and field trials on a mature Western US water flood with around a thousand instrumented and gas lift wells. Oxy now analyzes wells in record time, has improved its production management workflow and now spends less time on data mining. IntelligentAgent and Weatherford co-authored the paper.

Optimization was also the theme of the special ‘Digital Energy’ session where James Griffith (Shell) showed how development planning on an Albertan heavy-oil project benefitted from Halliburton’s DecisionSpace and Compass tools for analyzing fixed and variable constraints on well locations. Subsurface and well construction parameters were tuned by running multiple scenarios and the field’s NPV raised by 10% ($250M) over the base case. The software took input of well targets, geometry and slot templates, and optimized for surface locations and well trajectories, injector vs. producer allocation and geologic targets hit. Results were turned over to a well construction team to implement in the field.

Carol Piovesan of APO Offshore described an intelligent platform solution for taking predictive analytics techniques that have been successfully benchmarked in downhole and production projects and applying them to surface equipment on offshore rigs. The system includes a “Meta-SCADA” data aggregator on the rig, neural networking and self-organizing maps and industry standard dashboards for delivery of Key Performance Indicators. The solution would allow a limited pool of globally dispersed subject matter experts to reduce downtime by as much as 20% by using data streams that today dead-end on the rig floor but could be transmitted over existing satellite links.

Speaking at the otherwise uninspired IT Section session, Total’s Michel-Jean Guillé recounted how Total initially took the ‘digital oilfield’ concept to be a ‘consulting buzz.’ Total is now more convinced of the business benefits. Total has tested digital oilfield concepts on its Sendji field (Congo) with continuous monitoring, KPIs of plant performance to detect sub optimal behavior and gas lift optimization on 54 wells. Real time visualization over the web led to a 2-4% increase in production and reduced visits to the field. Real time geosteering means that  Total now works in a ‘collaboration loop’ with deviations from the geological sparking off updated velocities, geology and adjustment to the well targets. The digital oilfield concept is now considered proven – but less as a ‘big bang’ more of a continuous improvement process.  Again good telecoms are a pre requisite for a successful digitization project. This can be hard in Africa. Total advocates the use of ‘adapters,’ IT standards, telecom/EAI tools and middleware. The company is also a strong promoter of newer standards such as PRODML and WITSML.

* International, National Oil Companies.

** Net present value.

This article is an abstract from The Data Room’s Technology Watch from the 2009 SPE ATCE. More information and samples from www.oilit.com/tech.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

Fugro, AJM, AspenTech, Atos Origin, Chevron, HP, eLynx, ERF Wireless, EuroGas, FT Services, ISS Group, Kowledge Reservoir, Modern Petrotech, Kongsberg, McDermott Will & Emery, NW Natural Gas, OPT, W-Associates, Stingray, Total Safety, Universal Well Site, Azima, Spectrum.

Jakob Ruegg, manager of Fugro’s Offshore Survey activities since 1999, has now joined the board of Fugro NL.

Phil Chan has joined AJM Petroleum Consultants as VP, Advisory Services. He was previously with Talisman Energy.

Jay Manouchehri heads-up AspenTech’s new Middle East office in Bahrain.

Atos Origin has appointed Francis Delacourt VP Strategic Sales, Marc-Henri Desportes VP Global Innovation and Eric Grall VP Global Managed Services.

John Watson has been named Chairman and CEO of Chevron replacing retiree Dave O’Reilly. George Kirkland is Vice Chairman with the Global Upstream Operations brief.

DNV has appointed Kenneth Vareide as new regional manager for maritime and offshore class operations in North and South America.

EDS, an HP company is now ‘HP Enterprise Services.’

Jake Briggs heads-up eLynx Technologies’ new field services/business development office in Lander, Wyoming.

ERF Wireless has obtained FCC approval for some 90 WiMAX locations covering most oil and gas areas in the USA.

Harald Schmidt has been appointed to the Board of Directors of EuroGas.

Gerry Protti has been appointed Director and Chairman of the Board of Flint Energy Services. Protti hails from EnCana.

John Yeudall has resigned as Chairman and Director of ISS Group and is replaced by Evan Cross.

Knowledge Reservoir, and Omani-based Modern Petrotech have announced a joint venture company for the Middle East region.

Kongsberg has appointed Pål Helsing Executive VP responsible for oil and gas activities. Helsing was formerly with Aker Solutions.

McDermott Will & Emery has hired David Birchall to its London office with a view to expand its global energy practice. Birchall comes from Denton Wilde Sapte.

Richard Daniel has been appointed President of NW Natural Gas Storage. He was previously President of EnCana Gas Storage.

Bernard Looney (BP) is now co-vice chairman of Oil & Gas UK. Other co-chairs are Bob Keiller (PSN), John Gallagher (Shell) and Mike Bowyer ( Halliburton).

Jacoby Garcia heads-up Optimization Petroleum Technologies’ new Houston office.

Greg Hess is now with Q Associates at its new Houston location. Hess was formerly with Sun Microsystems.

Chris Cottam has joined Stingray as VP, Global Sales at its new Houston office. Cottam was formerly with Paradigm. Alan Knowlton has been appointed Supply Chain Director.

Paul Tyree has been promoted to Senior VP, North America for Total Safety. Universal Well Site Solutions has announced the launch of its Field Operations Survey Practice ‘to assist buyers, sellers and interested third parties in assessing the value of gas assets prior to sales, restructuring or merger and acquisition activity.’

Azima DLI has announced that its ‘Introduction to Vibration Analysis’ book can now be downloaded for free from the company’s website (www.azimadli.com).

Spectrum has boosted its Houston processing capacity, increasing its CPU count by 50% and adding a 32 core Sun M5000 server with 120Tb of storage. 

Schlumberger has opened a new reservoir completions manufacturing center in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


Done Deals

CAPS, Geospatial Holdings, Helix, Ingrain, Energy Ventures, ION, Kelman, Michael Baker, Weatherford...

CAPS has engaged ParaTools to resell its flagship Heterogeneous Multicore Parallel Programming (HMPP) in North America.

Geospatial Holdings has contracted private investment bank Convertible Capital as its exclusive financial advisor and has completed a $1 million fundraising. Company founder and CEO Mark Smith is to convert a $2 million advance to stock under the same terms.

Helix Energy Solutions has commenced an underwritten secondary public offering of 20 million shares of its Cal Dive International unit. The offering includes an option for the underwriters to purchase an additional 3 million shares.

Ingrain has secured a third round of funding totaling $15 million to advance the deployment of its digital rock physics labs. The round was completed by anchor Energy Ventures and KLP, along with new investors TPH Partners. THP chairman Joe Foster, formerly with Newfield, will join the Ingrain board.

ION Geophysical has won a lawsuit filed against operating subsidiaries of battery manufacturer Greatbatch, Inc. ION was awarded $22 million damages.

ITS Group has announced a $55 million equity investment from energy-focused private equity firm Lime Rock Partners.

 Kelman Technologies has put back the due date of its CDN$500,000 promissory note owing to Epstein Enterprises, a corporation controlled by Seymour Epstein, Kelman’s Chairman and major shareholder of Kelman, to October 30, 2009. The advance, for general working capital purposes was originally due on September 28.

Michael Baker Corporation has sold its Baker Energy unit to a subsidiary of John Wood Group for a cash consideration of $38 million plus an adjustment based on the net assets as of September 30, 2009.

Quantum Energy Capital has held its final closing at $2.5 billion for Quantum Energy Partners V, a private equity fund dedicated to the energy industry. Quantum has more than $5.7 billion of assets under management. Champlain Advisors, LLC acted as placement agent.

Weatherford International’s application for listing and trading on Euronext has been approved. Weatherford applied for admission to listing and trading on the Professional Segment of Euronext of 758 million shares which will list under the ‘WFT’ ticker.


Invensys’ EyeSim VR targets newbie training

Stereoscopic headsets give trainees immersive environment powered by ‘first principle’ simulators.

Invensys’ Operations Management unit has announced the commercial release of its ‘EyeSim’ virtual reality (VR) based simulator offering immersive 3-D interaction with process and facility models. EyeSim leverages ‘first-principle’ simulation and augmented reality to let engineers and operators see and safely interact with the facility that they control. EyeSim employs a gaming paradigm that Invensys believes will be familiar to younger employees and trainees.

EyeSim combines VR, process control simulation, computer-based maintenance and documentation management and other applications to provide a highly realistic and safe training environment for improving operating efficiency and skills. Simulations are driven by the company’s DynSim process simulator and other control system emulation packages.

Invensys VP Tobias Scheele said, ‘The increasing complexity of plants, combined with a changing workforce, demands next-generation tools that can safely and interactively train new operators and engineers without putting them, the community or the environment at risk. This system provides a stable, realistic environment for practicing routine operational and maintenance functions, as well as rarely performed volatile tasks such as plant shutdowns. In addition, using computer models of real equipment allows endless experimentation without taking equipment off line, mitigating risk to production as well.’

Using a stereoscopic headset, trainees enter a completely immersive environment in which they can move throughout the plant. EyeSim targets inter alia the energy, chemical and oil and gas verticals facing knowledge management, training and retention challenges brought on by an aging and dwindling industry workforce. More from www.invensys.com.


National Oilwell Varco, Schlumberger team on IntelliServ

New joint venture to develop real-time applications for ‘open access’ broadband network.

Schlumberger has teamed with National Oilwell Varco (NOV) on a joint venture centered on the ‘IntelliServ’ wired drill pipe to promote uptake of high speed drill string telemetry. While not exactly Ethernet, IntelliServ offers modem like speeds of 57kbps – some 20,000 times faster than conventional mud pulse telemetry. The JV is expected to accelerate ‘intelligent’ drilling solutions leveraging the patented ‘Broadband Network’ technology. IntelliServ also will provide along-string evaluation services that will enable real-time monitoring of drill string conditions, and an unlimited ability to actuate downhole tools on-demand.

NOV holds 55% of the joint venture and provides manufacturing, technical and operational support. Schlumberger, with 45%, brings evaluation and measurement expertise to the table and is to development new drilling-related systems leveraging the technology. The JV is to keep IntelliServ’s ‘open access’ architecture and plans to be the ‘industry standard’ for all high bandwidth drilling operations. At the 2007 SPE ATCE, StatoilHydro’s Henrik Wolter described the technology as a ‘no brainer’ for offshore geosteering and managed pressure drilling (TW0715). More from www.nov.com/intelliserv.


Motorola, Apprion, Industrial Mobility team on wireless

ION wireless network connects MobilOps field mobility solution on Motorola ruggedized systems.

Huntsman Corp. has deployed what is described as ‘one of the world’s largest industrial wireless networks’ at its Port Neches, Texas petrochemicals facility. The network supports Huntsman’s ‘Project Zero’ effort to eliminate injuries, product defects and environmental releases. Project Zero mandated a complete mobile solution to empower operations and maintenance personnel to capture defects, track work progress and to take process and safety related decisions in real-time.

Apprion, Industrial Mobility and Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility Solutions unit provided the solution. Industrial Mobility contributed its ‘MobilOps’ field mobility software for field operations. This lets operators perform electronic ‘smart’ rounds and checklists and capture work requests in the field. MobilOps runs on Motorola’s MC9090 rugged mobile computer. Apprion’s ION system provides connectivity throughout the four square mile plant. The network supports video, voice communications, energy efficiency and condition monitoring. A centralized dashboard brings together application data, regional maps equipment status and maintenance views and reports. More from www.apprion.com.


Reality Mobile gets cash injection

Chevron, Energy Ventures, Dobson pony-up $6.5 million.

Venture capital unit, Energy Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures and the Dobson Partnership have  injected some $6.5 million into Reality Mobile’s dynamic communications and situational awareness technology. Reality’s flagship Reality-Vision uses existing infrastructure and commercially available smart phones to allow users to share real-time video and dynamic data with colleagues located any where in the world.  RealityVision provides ‘forensics quality’ video from a cell phone, camera or other device to any user on the network in real time. The system also allows for GPS-based user tracking. The VC funding will be used to introduce the technology to the oil and gas vertical. More from www.realitymobile.com/.


Sales, contracts and deployments

US NETL, Booz Allen Hamilton, US EPA, SAIC, Paradigm, Santos, ERF Wireless, Platinum Communications, BW Offshore, IFS, ISS Group, Origin Energy, Aramco, Petrobras, StatoilHydro...

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)has awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a five-year, $98 million prime contract for ‘strategic energy sector planning and analysis.’ Core subcontractors to the deal are Midwest Research Institute, Technology & Management Services and WorleyParsons Group. The contract includes ‘energy sector analysis and planning, engineering analysis, research and development benefit analyses, life-cycle analysis, and energy resource development impact assessment services.’

Meanwhile the US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) a  ‘prime multiple-award blanket purchase agreement’ for IT services.  The seven year project is capped at $955 million (for all awardees.) The deal includes call center and application deployment management, network and user support, geospatial services and IT security.

Paradigm has signed a multi-year enterprise contract with Australia-based Santos. The deal gives Santos unlimited access to Paradigm’s seismic interpretation and reservoir characterization products.

ERF Wireless has entered into a strategic agreement with Calgary-based Platinum Communications for the deployment of wireless broadband services to the Canadian oil and gas industry. The deal provides 40,000 sq. mi. coverage for the delivery of ‘digital oil field’ solutions in Alberta.

Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) contractor BW Offshore has contracted IFS for the supply of its project-based business applications. These include project management, material management, human resources, financials and after-sales. Other IFS users include Heerema, Babcock Engineering Services, Harland and Wolff, Dresser-Rand and Yantai Raffles.

ISS Group reports that S.E. Asian joint venture of National Oil companies operating an offshore asset in Asia has selected ISS Group as the supplier for its Asset Volume Management System (AVMS). ISS Group’s Oil & Gas Suite will be used for data collection, hydrocarbon allocations, reporting and data visualization. Contract value is in excess of US$1.25 Million including ongoing annual maintenance and support services. The company also announced an AUD 615,000 sale of its BabelFish tool to Origin Energy for its gas nominations and liquids trucking system.

Saudi Aramco has awarded KBR a contract for front-end engineering and design and project management services on its Shaybah natural gas liquids

Petrobras has adopted cross-asset trading, risk management and operations processing software from OpenLink. OpenLink’s Endur and cMotion solutions will be deployed at its crude oil and refined products business in Rio de Janeiro, London, Houston and Singapore.

StatoilHydro has awarded Tierra Geophysical a contract for the joint development of seismic imaging software.   Tierra’s finite difference propagators will be combined with StatoilHydro’s expertise of imaging complex geological settings with large velocity variations. Tierra is to commercialize software developed during the project including an optimized reverse time migration solution.

ConocoPhillips has contracted Invensys Operations Management for the provision of dynamic simulation technology to be embedded in ConocoPhillips’ proprietary ‘E-Gas’ solution. Invensys’ DynSim software will improve the design, start-up and operation of new coal gasification plants. Invensys will be a ‘preferred supplier’ of dynamic simulation software to E-Gas licensees.


Standards Stuff

UK DECC, FoxOpen, International Energy Agency, JODI, W3C product modeling, RDB2RDF...

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has released its portal technology as open source software. FoxOpen was originally developed by the DECC’s Oil and Gas unit for interaction between the regulator and North Sea operators. The portal handles DECC’s applications and consents systems that require detailed tracking and collaboration.

FoxOpen provides a middle tier Java layer which supports the development of simple or complex forms and their deployment to the web. The Java layer allows the definition of modules using XML ‘metacode,’ to achieve 4GL functionality, using middle tier in-memory XPATH and back-end XML database features. The middle tier Java layer delivers simple HTML and JavaScript to the browser. DECC has made FoxOpen open source in line with the UK government policy and with EU open source directives. More from www.foxopen.net.

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Mieke Reece (International Energy Agency) provided an update of the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) at the NDR9 meet in New Delhi this month. JODI is an international initiative that sets out to improve oil data transparency and harmonization. JODI collates data via an oil supply questionnaire from more than 90 participating countries. The World Database will soon be extending to other fuels including natural gas and annual data on production capacity and investment plans. More from www.jodidata.org.

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The W3C’s Product Modeling Incubator Group has published its final report on the role and scope of product data and initial work on quantities, units, and scales and product ‘structure.’ The POSC Caesar Association contributed to the development of web ontologies derived from international standards, such as STEP and ISO 15926. More from W3C.

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The W3C also announced the formation of a RDB2RDF Working Group to standardize mapping relational data into RDF and OWL. The outcome will be an RDB2RDF Mapping Language, ‘R2RML.’ More from W3C.


ASCI gets global inventory management contract from ConocoPhillips

Inventory ‘right sizing’ leverages optimization technology from Oniqua.

ConocoPhillips has acquired a license to the Oniqua Analytics Suite (OAS) inventory management software from Advanced Supply Chain International (ASCI) unit Asset Management Services. The global deal was struck following trials at three of ConocoPhillips’ largest upstream sites in Alaska, Indonesia, and the North Sea where the software is claimed to have provided an ROI ‘exceeding 400%.’

OAS Inventory was developed by Australian-based Oniqua Enterprise Analytics for asset-intensive industries such as oil and gas. ASCI will install OAS  at 25 ConocoPhillips production and refining facilities worldwide.

Mike Schwarz, VP of Business Development at ASCI said, ‘The challenge for asset-intensive corporations is to maximize their return on heavy plant and ongoing operation investments. This means operating and maintaining complex and diverse equipment in difficult operating conditions. OAS helps here by increasing service levels, reducing downtime – and by optimizing inventory investment.’

The optimization algorithm ‘has demonstrated proven inventory reduction results of 15-25%.’ ASCI is the main North American distributor for Oniqua products in North America and will be responsible for customization of the software at individual ConocoPhillips locations. More from www.ascillc.com.


Yokogawa OTS for Skangass LNG, Exapilot for PTT Thailand

LNG plant gets OmegaLand simulator. Operational efficiency improved at Khanom gas plant.

 Skangass , a joint venture between Lyse AS and Celcius Invest has commissioned  Yokogawa to supply an operator training system (OTS) for its Risavika LNG Plant in Tananger, Norway. The OTS comprises an OmegaLand simulation engine and a safety and automation system made up of the Centum VP integrated production control system and the ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system. The OTS uses the same systems as the actual plant, with identical graphics and alarm behavior. A ‘high fidelity’ model of the liquefaction process allows plant upsets and equipment malfunctions to be simulated offline. John van der Geer, Manager of Yokogawa’s Norwegian operations said, ‘Since we already supplied the SAS and instrumentation, now with the OTS, the LNG plant will use nearly all Yokogawa products.’

In a separate announcement, Yokagawa reports the successful deployment of its ‘Exapilot’ operational efficiency improvement package at the Khanom gas separation facility operated by PTT Thailand. PTT used Exapilot to improve safety during plant shutdown/start-up and also during normal operations. Exapilot has reduced operator workloads by 40% and protect pumps by eliminating unnecessary activity. PTT’s Kanit Pattarakup said, ‘Exapilot is really easy to use and has greatly improved production. This is a real solution package and a good tool for the plan-do-check-act cycle for operational excellence in the plant.’ More from Yokogawa.


Reliance Gas pipeline compressors ‘tuned’ by satellite

Dry Low Nox compressor commissioning in India controlled from GE Oil & Gas’ Florence, Italy HQ.

In what is claimed to be a world first, GE Oil & Gas is using satellite connections to customer sites for the remote tuning and testing of gas turbine combustion systems at eleven pipeline compressor stations owned by Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Limited (RGTIL) of Mumbai, India. Remote tuning is being implemented on thirty-two gas turbines located along the pipeline and is scheduled for completion at the end of November 2009. After this date, future remote tuning will be extended under a long-term contractual service agreement. GE implemented a novel remote tuning and commissioning strategy using a bridge-encrypted internet connection between servers at its Florence, Italy headquarters and manually operated computer terminals located at the remote pipeline stations.

Jeff Nagel, VP Global Services with GE Oil & Gas said, ‘RGTIL is committed to aggressive commissioning targets, so the efficient, reliable and rapid start-up of new gas turbines was critical. In addition, many of the pipeline stations are in remote locations. This project provides a model that we will replicate in future Dry Low Nox combustion system tuning efforts for other customers.’ More from www.ge.com.


Gator Tank Rentals tracks GoM assets with Geoforce

GPS-based equipment tracking solution streamlines operations and customer relations.

Gator Tank Rentals (GTR) has deployed a GPS-based oilfield equipment tracking system from Dallas-based Geoforce across its Gulf of Mexico operations. GTR provides offshore rental equipment services to the oil and gas industry. Geoforce’s web-based asset tracking and management system streamlines operations and simplifies the process of tracking thousands of equipment items across multiple customer locations.

Commenting the move, GTR CEO Carter Askew said, ‘After years of painstaking, manual inventory management of thousands of assets deployed in the field on behalf of many customers, I thought there had to be a better way to manage the process. Geoforce was the right solution for our needs.’

Geoforce’s intrinsically safe GPS tracking devices transmit position data to secure data centers one to four times per day by satellite. Geoforce’s web-based plots inventory at current and historical locations in Google Maps along with offshore lease block information. Virtual boundaries are set to generate e-mail alerts based on movement, and inventory at multiple locations can be managed automatically. GTR now shares asset information with its customers. More from www.geoforce.net.


Schlumberger announces Merak Enterprise Planner

SPE hears of ‘perfect’ reserves management system … as commercial offering rolls-out.

Speaking at the SPE ATCE in New Orleans, Doug MacDonald of Schlumberger’s Merak unit described the ‘perfect’ reserves management and compliance system—without actually spelling out that this was in fact the newly released Merak Enterprise Planner! A reserves management system needs to be ‘consistent, continuous and comprehensive,’ providing the same definitions, year on year continuity and a ‘pan business’ system. The system needs to comply with the upcoming changes in the SEC rules for possible and probable reporting.  The ideal tool should offer hierarchical views—at field, reservoir and corporate levels. Data management should support ‘buckets’ of scenarios, categories and products.

Meanwhile on the Schlumberger booth an answer to all these requirements was being rolled out in the form of Merak Enterprise Planning (MEP). According to Schlumberger Information Solutions VP software, Olivier Peyret, ‘MEP provides answers to complex business questions and helps clients proactively respond to changing market and operational conditions.’

Early adopter tests have shown ‘a 50% reduction in project processing time and a 75% reduction in analysis time.’ MEP uses Microsoft SQL Integration Services to customize workflows to a client’s environment. Data is loaded into a corporate data warehouse—itself coupled to the Merak OLAP data cube for analysis.  More from Schlumberger-Merak.


Excalibur oil and gas ERP package available as hosted service

P2 Energy Solutions’ accounting, revenue, land and production accounting offering now online.

P2 Energy Solutions has announced Excalibur Online, a hosted version of its subscription-based, accounting, revenue, land and production accounting solution for oil and gas. Excalibur Online is an integrated application that manages financial accounting, revenue processing, cost accounting, joint interest billing, authorization for expenditure and reporting.

P2 Energy Solutions CTO David Verdun said, ‘The Excalibur Online subscription-based model is extremely cost effective and is ideally suited to the cyclical nature of the energy industry. Costs are transparent, predictable and controllable by scaling the number of users up or down as needed.  Clients benefit from our industry best practices, IT knowledge and deep resource pool, as well as our centralized SAS 70 compliant data center. This provides clients with the assurance that they have implemented the highest levels of security, system uptime and risk and disaster management through backups and disaster recovery services.’

John Brown, IT Lead for Business Applications at Northwestern Energy added, ‘We have been using Excalibur for ten years to compute royalties and lease rentals. To stay current and simplify our internal processes we are now using the Excalibur Online service. We expect this to save costs on future IT infrastructure and support.’ More from P2 Energy Solutions.


Aclaro, Charlotte team on capital allocation optimization

A newly-developed optimization engine is now available in PetroLook Forecast.

Aclaro Softworks has teamed with Charlotte Software Systems (CSS) to provide optimization solutions for capital planning and project scheduling in the oil and gas industry. CSS’ optimization engine is to be embedded in Aclaro’s PetroLook Forecast application, creating a decision support platform for companies to manage their asset portfolio. The new technology is expected to benefit companies which revise capital programs and operating budgets frequently—particularly in the face of reduced staffing levels.

Charlotte Systems CEO Kevin Kostiuk told Oil IT Journal, ‘We are working with Aclaro in two areas: capital portfolio optimization and drilling program optimization. CSS has expertise in applying advanced optimization technologies to business problems, especially in the energy domain. Our modeling framework implements a new approach that makes state of the art optimization technologies easy to use.  The platform allows a much broader population of users who are not necessarily experts in optimization (e.g. engineers, software developers, business analysts) to solve optimization problems that only specialists were able to tackle before. We released the OEM platform in August 2009 and will have a research/non-profit version in 2010.’ More from www.aclaro.com.


Value Assessment Study shows pipeline optimizer’s worth

Energy Solutions’ offers a six-week assessment to ‘show the value’ of PipelineOptimizer.

A leitmotif of many tradeshow presentations is the need to ‘show the value’ of a software deployment. A new service from Energy Solutions International sets out to fix this by providing a dollars and cents metric prior to deployment of its PipelineOptimizer application.

The six-week fee based Value Assessment Study (VAS) compares actual with optimized results. The VAS quantifies the potential financial benefit of a Pipeline-Optimizer deployment and suggests new routes to increase savings and throughput.

Energy Solutions CEO Jo Webber said, ‘The assessment can demonstrate, in concrete terms, savings identified by our pipeline optimization software. PipelineOptimizer targets efficiencies in DRA and power consumption and increased throughput. Using the client’s data, we can model savings for a one-month period and compare that to their actual results and costs.’

Upon completion of the study, ESI presents all findings along with a detailed cost/benefit analysis to quantify the value of a PipelineOptimizer deployment. More from www.energy-solutions.com.