April 2009


Petrobras’ Proteus

Virtual reality models of flagship deepwater FPSOs integrate multiple applications and real-time data to aid in design, safety and operations. Proteus rolls-in PI System, WalkInside and RFID tags.

Speaking at the 2009 Daratech Plant asset management conference in Houston earlier this year, Paulo Roberto Oliveira de Araújo, manager of project automation at Petrobras’ UN-RIO unit, introduced the Proteus virtual reality (VR) project. Proteus, (Projeto de Tecnologias Unificadas) provides a realistic environment for pre-handover operator training, safety review and remote collaboration during operations on the company’s semi-submersibles and FPSOs.

Proteus was designed to minimize post-handover design modifications which are costly to implement and which delay first oil. Proteus enhances safety by minimizing offshore head-count and optimizing emergency procedures. During operations, 3D models of production units, integrate Petrobras’ Sindotec document management system, OSIsoft’s PI System, deployed at the operations control center and SAP. Proteus provides information management across the production unit’s lifecycle.

At Daratech, de Araújo showed the use of avatars working on a model FPSO, using VR Context’s WalkInside environment. Avatars navigate the massive VR models assembled from diverse sources such as computer aided design, laser scans and digital imagery. Avatar movement is constrained by realistic gravity and collision detection of objects, making it possible to check out real world interactions with plant equipment such as valve controls. Mobile avatars act as on-site operators, facilitating field personnel safety review, pre-handover training, and remote collaboration.

Other use cases include simulations and movies including disassembly for maintenance. Other interfaces provide access to project documentation, real-time query of process variables, access to maintenance and inspection data reports. A tag reader (including RFID ‘smart tags’) is deployed in the field to link equipment items to online technical documents. Proteus is also used in quality audit and design review. A partnership with the University of Rio de Janeiro’s Tecgraf Lab provides Petrobras with project automation developers.

Petrobras has studied the impact of catastrophic events by linking the VR model to GexCon’s FLACS computational fluid dynamics simulator. Flacs models gas explosion and has been used to modify engineering design to accommodate evacuation routes and personnel safety by simulating emergency situations and optimizing remediation procedures. Petrobras estimates that the system will reduce accidents by 10 % in 2010 and cut the offshore headcount by 20% in 2012. de Araújo concluded ‘Proteus will help us improve safety and increase operational efficiency of our deepwater flagship projects while reducing costs and optimizing oil production.’ Full Proteus deployment begins later this year. More on VR in Petrobras on page 11.


DI International

Drillinginfo and Nick Robinson set up international E&P data service. Initial coverage to target Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Austin TX-based Drillinginfo announced the formation of a new international oil and gas information service at the South East Asia Petroleum Exploration Society conference in Singapore this month. The new ‘DI International’ service is a joint venture between Drillinginfo and Nick Robinson, former founder and joint owner of Integrated Exploration & Development Services (IEDS) before its sale to IHS in 1998.

Drillinginfo CEO Allen Gilmer said, ‘This expansion of our information services is in response to demand from our 3,200 clients. As the domestic oil and gas business falls from favor in Washington, our members are asking for our coverage to include international E&P activities.’

Robinson added, ‘Drillinginfo redefined how oil and gas information and analyses are provided in the US. We are now leveraging its data and information systems to offer sourcing and delivery of international E&P data.’ Initial coverage will include Latin America and Southeast Asia, thanks to the recent acquisition of GeoSolutions Asia (GSA) in Singapore. GeoSolutions President Mark Harris will run DI International’s Southeast Asia operations.


On ROI and competition between ‘digits’ and other projects

Editor Neil McNaughton discusses ExxonMobil’s analysis of digital technologies ‘chasing the same barrels’ as other asset management processes in the light of Oil IT Journal’s eclecticism.

A lot has been written on cost justification for IT projects. The question was asked again at the ESRI Petroleum User Group earlier this year (see our report on page 6 of this issue) in a panel discussion on geographical information systems (GIS) and the digital oilfield. The replies ranged from ‘You can’t do GIS just because you want to!’ to a more measured argument along the lines of GIS being a sunk cost, and a technology waiting to be leveraged. It seems as though for some, we are entering an era of cost cutting with a hangover from the boom years. Almost a mirror image of how the industry entered the boom only a couple of years ago with a firmly anchored cost-cutting mentality that only evaporated when oil broke the $100 barrier. I think that the ‘sunk cost’ notion of an IT asset contrasts in an interesting way with the project-based approach. But before going further with that, I’d like to back off a bit and do some soul-searching regarding the raison d’être of Oil IT Journal itself. 

At last year’s Society of Exploration Geophysicists conference, I was chatting with an SEG luminary and, as is my wont, gave hive a copy of Oil IT Journal for his subsequent perusal. He got back to say that he had enjoyed reading the publication, describing it as ‘eclectic.’

I suppose that that was not quite the analysis I was hoping for! ‘Brilliant’ perhaps, ‘insightful’ maybe. But ‘eclectic’ is close to ‘grasshopper’ and ‘lacking in focus.’ It is true that if you are a geophysicist, then process control is probably off your radar. And vice versa. In the old days of Petroleum Data Manager, we were indeed more ‘focused.’ But at subsequent tradeshows and conferences, little by little we were exposed to stuff like enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, production data, communications, high performance computing and process control. ‘Eclectic’ just kind of crept in.

At the panel session on ‘Digital Oilfield Strategies’ at the 2009 SPE Digital Energy conference in Houston this month (full report in next month’s Oil IT Journal), moderator Mehrzad Mahdavi (Dexa Systems) invited panel members to define the ‘digital oilfield.’ I thought that I had a fairly good idea what the digital oilfield was about at the start of the debate. I wasn’t so sure by the end. But during the buzzword bingo exchanges, one remark from ExxonMobil’s digital oilfield lead, Russ Spahr, caught my attention. Spahr noted that technologies like the digital oilfield are ‘chasing the same barrels as other asset management processes.’

When I first heard this I thought it was kind of strange that digital technology should be in competition with other projects. In an ideal world, digital should naturally integrate projects. But this is not an ideal world.

This dilemma was echoed by Chevron’s Jim Brink at the ESRI PUG who argued that there are smarter ways of improving a brownfield asset that drilling new wells. You can imagine the kind of discussions that could take place inside a major between a geologist with a hot shot ‘attic oil’ play that requires a new well and a technologist with a proposal for a radio frequency identification (RFID) network for oil country equipment tracking or a new supercomputer for real-time production data analysis.

Such considerations add a new dimension to portfolio management. You’ve probably read about methods such as ‘efficient frontier analysis’ which are used to arbitrate between different acreage opportunities or to decide which wells should be drilled. These could take on an almost fractal complexity if you try to optimize investment across acreage, prospects, well targets, technology and IT investment! Which is pretty much why we resort to ‘competing’ for the same barrels, and also, by the way, why management is more than just executing projects that fall within some kind of multi-dimensional creaming curve.

Occasionally, technology comes along that is so compelling it is implemented without any financial justification. My favorite example is the Fax. Never before has a technology had such a wide impact, revolutionizing communications almost overnight, and in the total absence of any hype! There were no conferences on ‘How the Fax will Change your Business.’ No longwinded debates on the Fax’s return on investment! You just heard about it, went out and bought one, plugged it in and switched it on. Bye-bye telex!

Such IT ‘no brainers’ are few and far between, although NetApp’s filers were so compelling to the geophysical interpretation community that some business units went shopping for them without a by-your-leave from the IT department. The ESRI PUG folks see GIS in a similar light and talk enthusiastically of having drunk the GIS Kool-Aid. But more often than not, there is enough uncertainty attached to a new technology to defy monetary analysis.

I think this pretty much nails down the state of the art in technology management, especially regarding IT. It is ‘competing’ with other opportunities, and calling the shots is tough. To the extend that, when Mahdavi asked the panel who was ‘closer to the digital oilfield finish line?,’ panellists were falling over themselves to get to the back of the queue. The consensus was that everyone was close to the starting point of the digital oilfield journey.

The likelihood is that this will be a long trip! ‘Digital’ is constantly re-inventing itself. Just as you have nailed down a perfect combo of digital and process, and when everything is running smoothly, along comes another paradigm, Web 2.0, RFID, social networking, a better mousetrap or whatever; and the whole process starts over. As companies try to look at more dimensions of the creaming curve, more and more technologies and processes are up for ‘re-invention.’

In which context, I think I can live with ‘eclectic.’ I like to think that by venturing out and about into foreign realms—process, engineering construction and finance for instance, our eclecticism is helping in the technology arbitration process. I also think that we are doing a reasonable job in helping ‘de-layer the jargon,’ as one panelist described the process, in a neatly self-referential comment.


Redesigned E&P Catalog includes ‘semantic web’ updates

Flare Solutions’ upstream taxonomy now holds over 100,000 terms and relationships.

UK-based Flare Solutions has released V2.0 of its E&P Catalog, in a ‘complete redesign’ of the product following analysis of usage patterns over the product’s four years of existence. The Catalog now holds over 100,000 terms and relationships. The Catalog is made up of a ‘taxonomy,’ a list of terms used in the upstream and an ‘ontology,’ hierarchical relationships between the terms. The taxonomy/ontology combo can be licensed in a variety of ways. EPCat is a ‘shrink-wrapped’ web-based search and publishing tool for electronic documents, hardcopy and data. An EPCat-Hub version offers a web service for company naming standards and pick lists. These can be installed inside the firewall or hosted as a service by Flare. The Flare taxonomy and ontology can be licensed separately and a web service API has been provided to third parties including Schlumberger, Halliburton, Enigma and the OVID subscription service. These companies use the API to push content to the Catalog from their systems and keep it up to date.

Flare’s Paul Cleverley told Oil IT Journal, ‘The Catalog assures consistent, enterprise scale tagging of documents and data with a standard set of E&P keywords.  The system can then lead the user to the right information or suggest related information topics without the need for a fully qualified query. The Catalog complements Google-type full text search which is often high in recall, but low in precision. Our technology integrates disparate sources of meta-information into a single semantic layer.’

One way of visualizing Flare’s taxonomies is as a ‘hyperbolic tree.’ The public domain source code for this representation was originally developed by Toulouse University and it is now released under the GNU General Public License. A patent application that restricted commercial use of the tool in the US was lifted in February this year when Xerox dropped its claim. The graphical interface allows users to navigate the ontology, ‘pruning’ the branches for fine-tuning a search. Flare contrasts the Catalog with geographical search tools such as MetaCarta which display search results on a map. The Catalog displays search results within the E&P domain itself, in both text and graphical form.

Updates to the Catalog are supplied in the W3C’s ‘semantic web’ resource description format (RDF) making Flare an early upstream adopter of the technology. But Flare’s real value add is in its content rather than a particular delivery mechanism. The Catalog’s detailed E&P subsurface model differs from the knowledge maps used by other tools. According to Cleverley, ‘Search tools, despite all their statistical algorithms and knowledge maps, simply do not (and will never) understand, that ‘well test’ is always related to ‘reservoir pressure,’ or that a ‘limestone’ is also a ‘carbonate.’ They don’t understand that if you search on ‘petrophysical information’ for a well, the results should include ‘density logs.’ Our detailed ‘knowledge map’ is the differentiator. This also helps disambiguate non-unique terms.’

A subset of the taxonomy is sent by Flare to Energistics each year, although, according to Flare, the potential of a true global standard in this area is so far un-realized. Flare is currently working to see how it can help remedy this and is investigating how best to continue to expand and release this taxonomy and ontology into the industry while retaining ‘some element of intellectual property’ on its own work. Early versions of the E&P Catalog were a joint development with Shell (OITJ December 2002). Flare’s clients include Shell, BP, GDF Suez, Nexen and BG Group. Flare received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation this month. More from p.cleverley@flare-solutions.com.


OTC showcases Aramco’s iField, wired drill pipe, ‘virtual’ design

Preview of IT highlights at next month’s Offshore Technology Conference

At next month’s OTC, Saudi Aramco will report on real-time reservoir management with an ‘iField’ Enterprise Monitoring System tracking performance of the new ‘AFK’ development. Permanent downhole monitoring and integrated surface/subsurface modeling has allowed Aramco to optimize production and injection strategies across the three fields.

Singapore headquartered Yantai Raffles Shipyard is using Dassault Systems’ Catia product lifecycle solutions to support ‘virtual’ design and construction of ‘next generation’ FPSOs.  A Rockwell Automation presentation  investigates asset performance management using a variety of overall equipment effectiveness KPIs to plan and optimize MRO. Apache reports on successful use of wired drill pipe in the Van Gogh field, offshore Australia. The IntelliServ network connects downhole steering assembly and LWD tools with a notional bandwidth of 57kbps. This is orders of magnitude more than conventional mud pulse systems, opening up the possibility of real-time formation evaluation at high drilling rates.


ETL Solutions ‘DataPort’ for SAP, WITSML, PPDM

New Transformation Manager tools herald return to company’s upstream roots.

ETL Solutions has announced the ‘DataPort,’ a ‘packaged’ adaptor for SAP, and other supply chain and project management tools. ETL’s DataPorts embed its Transformation Manager (TM) data integration platform. ETL’s roots are in the upstream. It started life as a management buyout of Prism Technologies whose early work on data transformation was sponsored by Shell and POSC, now Energistics. Since then TM has seen successful deployment in financial services and other verticals.

Today, the company is returning to its upstream roots. As ETL’s Karl Glenn told Oil IT Journal, ‘We have been going through an expansion and reorganization and will be renewing our focus on E&P technical data management. We are about to launch new DataPorts for specific data models such as WITSML and PPDM. These new DataPorts will provide service-based data integration of WITSML servers, PPDM data sources and other applications, systems, and work processes.

One satisfied user of the TM is ExxonMobil’s Jim Boud who described TM as ‘an extremely intelligent tool that can handle even the most complex data migration scenarios.’ Boud  recommends the tool to anyone needing to transform complex datasets and commended ETL’s ‘exceptional’ customer support.


Stochastic Simulation, ISA team on history match ‘breakthrough’

Australian company’s Stochastic Reservoir Engine fruit of twenty years R&D effort.

Western Australia-based Stochastic Simulation Ltd. (SSL) is teaming with high performance computing (HPC) specialist ISA Technologies to offer oil and gas companies an ‘innovative reservoir management service.’ SSL’s Stochastic Reservoir Engine (SRE) uses advanced math and high-end processing to perform history matching ‘in a fraction of the time’ taken by conventional software packages. The SRE ‘quantifies field development uncertainty far more accurately than is currently possible.’

A prototype of the SRE was developed over a twenty year period by Andrew Wadsley, of the Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia. Wadsley is a mathematician, petroleum engineer and consultant on reservoir management and production optimization. He previously developed and marketed a suite of integrated ‘reservoir-to-market’ planning and production tools, marketed by Optimiser Digital Management.

ISA Technologies MD Sil La Puma said, ‘ISA Technologies has established market links to the oil and gas industry through the provision of specialist services and HPC for seismic work. The alliance with SSL lets us leverage these relationships to provide a service to the oil and gas industry that will revolutionize the way reserves are determined.’ SSL’s SRE was a winner in the industrial application category of the Australian Information Industry Association’s 2009 ‘iAwards.’


Mark Logic targets upstream with structured documentation

‘Geo-faceting’ and ‘geo-bucketing’ technology for high accuracy search of upstream information.

In a webinar this month, enterprise content management specialist Mark Logic showed how its XML-based content management system, the MarkLogic Server can be used to support targeted query across text and structured information. The webinar focused on the delivery of critical information in a geographical context to engineers in the field. Mark Logic reports that an unnamed US major is using the tool to ‘speed access’ to information and geographic context for improved decision-making and troubleshooting. MarkLogic uses ‘geo-faceting’ to represent the results of a search over a geospatial area and geo-bucketing to show search result densities as ‘heat maps.’

The MarkLogic Server stores text and metadata tags in XML. Documents can be repurposed leveraging real-time analytics to uncover hidden facts and relationships inside enterprise content, helping knowledge workers ‘mine’ the text database for new opportunities. The Server combines existing structure and contextual metadata and enriches it to provide a ‘more granular’ view of content regardless of format or source. Tools such as ‘co-occurrence analytics’ are used to identify commonly occurring pairs of entities.


RSI Simcon and SPT Group team on simulators

Operator training and real-time production management targeted in Franco-Norwegian joint venture.

RSI Simcon, a wholly owned unit of the French Petroleum Institute (IFP) and Oslo-based SPT Group are teaming to provide operator training simulators and real-time production management solutions for the oil & gas industry. The partnership is integrating SPT Group’s Olga multiphase flow simulator with RSI’s Indiss dynamic process simulator for use in combined engineering and operator training simulators. Indiss will also be used for process modelling alongside SPT’s Olga Online EDPM multiphase dynamic production management system. New integrated solutions will be developed to improve full lifecycle use of simulator models and to generate synergies across design, training, online monitoring and control simulators.

RSI’s 130 simulation engineers provide dynamic simulation solutions addressing process design, operator training and plant operations in the upstream and downstream. RSI projects include the OTS for Total’s Dalia FPSO, the engineering and OTS for ExxonMobil’s Canadian Sable Island development and many others. SPT’s EPDM is currently deployed on 20 projects around the world, ranging from gas-condensate and deepwater oil systems to advanced drilling operations. Olga has been used in more than 30 Operator Training Simulator projects worldwide.


IBM System X iDataPlex for Tricon Geophysics

New high performance computing solution provides 25-fold performance hike and 40% energy saving.

Seismic processing boutique Tricon Geophysics has deployed a data processing infrastructure from IBM. The System X ‘iDataPlex’ is a large-scale solution designed for locations which are ‘constrained in power, cooling or space.’ The system comes with the new Intel Xeon 5500 quad-core chips running at 2.93 GHz. Dual processors and 64 GB memory per node are possible with internal storage of up to 12 terabytes per 3U chassis.

The ‘iDataPlex’ is said to provide a 25-fold improvement over Tricon’s previous system along with 40% energy saving. A second system built around an IBM x3950 server offloads pre-processing tasks from the iDataPlex. Both systems operate on Red Hat Linux.

Denver headquartered Tricon claims to be Venezuela’s leading provider of seismic processing services from its Caracas location. The company uses Paradigm’s seismic processing software including Geodepth, Voxelgeo and Vanguard. Tricon also runs the Apex 2000 pre-stack curved-ray time migration software package running on a 128 multi-node PC cluster.


Software, hardware short takes

Geomodeling, Petrosys, Petris, Infusion, Mechdyne, SMT, Mercury, Merrick, New Century, dGB, OSIsoft ...

Geomodeling has announced the commercial release of VisualVoxAt 6.3, its seismic attribute analysis package. New attributes include ‘sweetness,’ principal component and a wavelet transform for spectral decomposition.

Iconics has released OPC ToolWorX V 3.5, a dev kit for OPC-based process instrumentation, infrastructure and software architecture design. The new release comes with an OPC compliance test tool modules and full Unicode support.

The Information Store and Infusion Development have ported the PetroTrek digital oilfield to the Microsoft Surface ‘multi-touch’ presentation platform. The solution combines PetroTrek data access, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Infusion’s ‘Falcon Eye’ GUI.

High end visualization specialist Mechdyne Corp. is teaming with 3D visualization specialist Scalable Graphics on development and sales. New offerings will support applications such as CATIA, Pro/Engineer, Solidworks, ESRI and Google Earth on large-scale, high-resolution display environments. Mechdyne’s Conduit package will be accelerated by Scalable’s Direct Transport Compositor to display large data sets at high frame rates.

The V 6.0 release of Mercury Computer Systems’ Avizo 3D visualization package for scientific data includes an enhanced ‘Earth Edition.’ The new release includes new well positional data and LAS log curve plotting along well paths. A new geoscience GUI and Avizo Earth Edition user’s guide are also available.

Merrick Systems is to showcase its ‘Diamond Tag’ system at next month’s Offshore technology Conference in Houston. The ruggedized RFID-based system tracks down-hole drilling components and withstands pressures of up to 20,000 PSI and temperatures of up to 1,210°C

New Century Software has released V7.0 of its SheetCutter and TemplateDesigner pipeline alignment sheet generation packages with enhanced workflow and tight integration with ESRI ArcMAP. SheetCutter novelties include direct sheet generation from the ArcMap table of contents view.

dGB Earth Sciences and Geokinetics have launched a new system for velocity model building and pre-stack depth migration. The software embeds routines from Geokinetic’s Ethos processing toolkit into dGB’s OpendTect environment. The new functionality was developed with support from Gaz de France and OMV.

The latest edition of OSIsoft’s PI Server now includes Windows Integrated Security for PI, a complete rework of the PI security model. PI Server now leverages Windows security to manage user accounts and single sign-on across Active Directory and Windows local users and groups.. Authentication is performed with the Microsoft Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI), and authorization is handled by PI Secure Objects to assure compliance with data protection standards.

Petris Wellbore Viewer 2.0 sees enhancements to the viewer. Wellbore schematics can be created on the fly and deviated wellbores, log curves, notes, and drilling data such as ROP and WOB can be visualized. Petris AFE is now shipping. The package offers complete management of the AFE workflow. Integration with ERP systems provides SOX-level auditing of the process. V 8.0 of Petris’ quality management package, DataVera promises web browser access to data quality metrics and integration with Google Earth. Petris has added 400 new E&P business rules to the package to the new release.

Petrosys V16.6 includes integration with Zokero SeisWare and drag and drop mapping functionality. Petrosys is also trialing OpenSpirit integration for a future release.

Grooviz ’ RealityLounge now supports the Energistics Rescue data model.

SMT has release a Kingdom version on 64 bit Vista.

PetroNet has introduced an ‘Oracle Accelerate’ solution for JD Edwards’ EnterpriseOne oil country ERP solutions. The package is tailored to downstream refiners and wholesalers’ needs and provides real-time pricing and billing information.

A free toolbox of Petrel plug-ins has been released by Blueback Reservoir. The tools provide functionality that is missing in the standard Petrel.


New Intel chip hailed by upstream developers

Ansys, CMG, Schlumberger report significant speedup from parallelizing and Xeon 5500 chip.

In an interesting exchange on the new LinkedIn Petrel user group, Schlumberger’s Russ Sagert offered some advice on getting the most out of the multi-threading capabilities of modern processors. Parallelizing Petrel is work in progress. Today, geophysics is the most highly threaded domain and Sagert recommends using as many cores as you can. Other applications, such as kriging and volumetrics, are not yet ready for multi-core, but Sagert expects this to be fixed ‘real soon now.’ His recommendation (for modeling) is to go for a fast quad core processor in the medium term. Sagert also noted that the new Intel Xeon 5500 Nehalem chips are ‘vastly superior’ to the 5400 series. Parts of Petrel and ECLIPSE that have been parallelized are seeing three-fold speedup. For virtual machine environments he suggests checking out Parallels Workstation Extreme VM software which has shown six fold speedup on the 5500 chip.

Other companies see similar speedup on the new Intel chip. Engineering software specialist Ansys reports speedup of ‘up to’ 2.15 times over previous platforms for its mechanical and computational fluid dynamics packages. Computer Modeling Group has successfully leveraged the 5500’s on-chip memory controller and improved cache, to effect a ‘big jump’ in parallel performance compared to the 5400 for its OpenMP-based applications. CMG president Ken Dedeluk also noted Intel’s ‘excellent support’ for the company’s parallelization effort. Schlumberger’s Eclipse reservoir simulation unit has also been trialling the new processor and have found it ‘up to’ 3.13 times faster than the 4400 chip running its black oil simulator.

Where does that leave AMD? Intel’s competitor is still in the race and, to celebrate the Opteron processor’s sixth birthday this month, was showing a new 12-core ‘Magny-Cours’ processor to launch in Q1 2010. A 16-core, 32 nanometer ‘Bulldozer’ architecture will follow in 2011. By which time, Intel’s own multi-core Larabee chip should be in production. So it will be parallel or die (or maybe just parallel on-die?)


ESRI Petroleum User Group 2009, Houston

PUG aficionados heard of new developments in ESRI’s product line-up, panel discussion debates role of GIS in the digital oilfield. CygNet technology and Job Tracking Extension enables real-time on maps. Anadarko’s iMaps leverage OpenSpirit GIS tools, regulators excel in geoprocessing.

PUG chairman Charles Fried (BP) noted that the drop in attendance, down from 1600 in 2008 to 1350 this year, was a long way short of the fall in the oil price in the same period.

ESRI showed off the 900 build of ArcGIS Explorer (AGE), a spinning globe front end for data served in-house or from ESRI’s own ArcGIS Online service. AGE, with its Presentation Tools is now sold as a ‘better PowerPoint,’ with its Google Earth type interface augmented with pop-outs of oilfield outlines, extruded to show production rates.

The new ‘optimized’ map services in ArcMap got a round of applause for much improved map load and faster zoom. Map services can be the basis of ‘mash ups’ as illustrated with a drill down into the IHS data set. The IHS web services ‘REST’ endpoint was queried for leases that expire in 2009 and displayed statistics on expiry dates and ownership for an area of interest.

A panel session moderated by Oil IT Journal editor Neil  McNaughton debated GIS’ role in the ‘digital oilfield.’ McNaughton noted the strategic position of GIS at the ‘intersection’ of subsurface, facility engineering, monitoring and control, the ‘C’ in SCADA. Tom Anderson (Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center) described how GIS is extensively used to integrate results from partners and testing programs. Anderson’s vision is for the RMOTC to act as ‘a microcosm of digital oilfield technology and a showcase for real-time data feeds.’ RMOTC plans to instrument its Teapot Dome field to facilitate this. Jim Brink stated that Chevron’s i-Field is ‘all about integration.’ It involves a holistic approach, going beyond SCADA plus visualization to involve an inter-disciplinary approach to better decision making. GIS is central to daily operations on Chevron’s Kern River (8,000 wells). PetroWeb’s Gateway client is used for GIS integration and Matrikon’s ProcessNet displays SCADA data and KPI ‘traffic lights.’ Infor’s Datastream is used in maintenance. Crews used to plan their routes with magnets on a map – this has new been replaced with a 16 x 9 ft. back-projected screen showing crew movements in real-time. David Nemeth (Panhandle Energy) spoke from the standpoint of a gas transmission company. Panhandle takes a subset of SCADA feeds from its 150 compressor stations, blends this with ERP data and updates a geodatabase via an enterprise service bus. A big effort has been put into data clean-up to ‘make sure we are talking about the same valve!’ Tommy Thomas (DCP Midstream) told a similar tale of real-time operations in this Spectra/ConocoPhillips joint venture. In DCP, ‘everything revolves around GIS.’ The company has an enterprise GIS database that serves all users. In the ensuing discussion, it emerged that the GIS/SCADA combo was used in a decision support role rather than in a control mode. GIS-based systems are sometimes seen as an antidote to Excel, the engineers’ ‘tool of predilection,’ an idea that was met with laughter and applause. Brink noted that the ‘i-Field’ push on Chevron’s San Joaquin valley business unit now has a $2 million annual budget and is keeping a ‘value register’ to capture what has been accomplished. This has won support from senior management with the realization that it is as important to keep base business up, to arrest decline, as it is to drill new wells. Thomas put GIS at the center of enterprise IT saying, ‘When you think about it, well data, pumps, even taxes delineated by county boundaries all go back to GIS. In fact there is not much information that isn’t related to GIS in some way.’ PUG luminary Bill Wally asked what happened to cost benefit analysis GIS. For some, the analysis takes place at the project level – with GIS as a sub component. For others, GIS was a sunk cost that could now be leveraged. Thomas did venture that adding tax data to DCP’s ESRI/PODS reference data set led to a $1 million per year saving, ‘You can’t do GIS just because you want to!

A joint ESRI/Cygnet presentation showed how the ArcGIS Job Tracking Extension (JTX) can be used to update ArcGIS Schematics and corporate GIS data stores for cross-domain use of SCADA data. The software understands valves and connectors—rather like a geographic version of Microsoft Visio. Schematics are converted to features for mapping in the new ‘SCADA to visual environment.’ This leverages CygNet’s new Enterprise Operations Platform. The CygNet hub splits incoming data from operations and redirects to GIS and SCADA systems. These are re-combined according to workflow/business rules and QC into the JTX-based EOP. The EOP eliminates data copy between systems and exposes filtered and QC’d data to a wider user base. Pop ups display meters and trend screens.

Tim Donovan showed Anadarko’s ‘iMaps’ development. This uses OpenSpirit’s ArcGIS Extension in automated scans across Anadarko’s G&G projects to keep the enterprise SDE database current. ArcGIS is used as a spatial data management tool used to populate corporate well and seismic data stores. Interpreted data can be sent back to ArcGIS for incorporation into maps. The technology has solved many of the multi-vendor and ‘multi-heritage,’ post acquisition, issues faced by Anadarko. The overall solution combines technology from OpenSpirit, Volant, Petris and GSI/Landworks.

Richard Watson of the Bureau of Land Management showed a fascinating ‘mashup’ of Minerals Management Service and BLM data, creating a huge dataset of undiscovered reserves in the USA. The study has shown potential resources (excluding non conventionals) of 93 billion barrels offshore (although 30% of the oil is ‘off limits.’) A proposal for new leasing in the Atlantic and Pacific was made in the last days of the Bush administration – but this is ‘going nowhere’ today, despite Salazar’s ‘moonshot to energy!’

David Gisclair of the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office stated that FDGC metadata is key to government GIS data but is lacking in lots of stuff of interest to oil and gas. Addressing this issue is a necessity, not a theoretical exercise. Gisclair went on to show some interesting if scary simulations of storm surge modeling. ArcTools and spatial joins show protected and unprotected areas. This has exposed some significant risks, particularly in Lafourche Parish, where a critical levee system has just been decertified by the federal Government! Gisclair recommends that operators take a look at this publicly available data with regard to their tank farms. He also advises that if you are caught out in another Katrina-type surge, you need to run for the ‘sliver by the river,’ that’s where the high ground is!

This article is an abstract from The Data Room’s Technology Watch report from the ESRI PUG. More from www.oilit.com/tech and tw@oilit.com.


IQPC data and document management in oil and gas, Dubai

PDO on how to fix ‘guerilla filers,’ KOC reports on real-time failures and how to avoid them, ODC shopping for environmental compliance system, PDO— ‘everything you wanted to know about compliance but were afraid to ask!’ BSI Systems and Qatargas on information and data security.

Khalfan Said Al Sinawi, described Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) ‘journey’ to records management. A new central archive building offered the opportunity to get a handle on PDO’s physical document archive. This had suffered in the past from ‘guerilla filing’ with everyone tending to do their own thing! Records management is growing in importance as virtually any document, from contract to correspondence, can have regulatory/compliance implications. Records have a lifecycle, from creation, through classification (adding metadata), through maintenance and disposal. Managers tend to avoid taking disposal decisions, so records managers provide guidelines on retention. Risk and regulation governs records management.

PDO’s information management team had developed tools for archival and subsequent search and retrieval. Incoming documents enter the workflow where they are catalogued, boxed and barcoded before storage. Classification is done at the box level which has allowed for a very fast clean-up of the archive. The result is a tidy, well-run archive with 24,000 boxes that are now in store and catalogued in Fugro’s Traxx application.

One reason for the project’s success was that its scope was kept manageable. In particular, no digitizing was performed during the project. PDO is now in a position to perform ‘scan-on-demand’ of frequently used boxes and is planning to add the Shell E&P Catalog standard.

Kuwait Oil Co.’s Hamad Al-Zuabi told of successes and failures of real-time data projects. KOC’s production optimization information system (POIS) connects around 400 wells, but the system had limited use until last year. The problem was hard to identify. There were competent engineers and the technology supplied by Aspen Tech worked well. But something was missing in between. This issue was that there was no life cycle asset-focused process. People were asking ‘Why do we need real-time data?’ ‘Who is it for?’ ‘What problems does it solve?’

Al-Zuabi believes that staff need educating in the use of real-time data, particularly in the light of the ‘data tsunami’ that is approaching. KOC’s heavy oil projects will see increasing use of automation. The problem today is that POIS ownership is unclear, real-time workflows need developing and there is a lack of SCADA systems knowledge. Early attempts to develop real-time workflows for various activities were failures.

This situation is changing with the development of a web portal for KOC’s real-time data. The ‘Sahala’ portal was developed in house in Microsoft .NET code. It is used to automate workflows and provide access to data from both the POIS and in Schlumberger’s Finder. A daily production report now shows outstanding maintenance tickets. This immediately got management attention and is now used to pinpoint HR issues. SCADA systems are different, but the portal approach can be used to put information under the decision maker’s nose!

The Oil Development Co. (ODC) is establishing a road map for the participation of International Oil Companies (IOC) in Kuwait. Ahmed Thaher explained that ODC has signed a protocol with Kuwait’s environmental protection agency (EPA) and is actively seeking IT solutions for environmental compliance. ODC’s requirements are for an ‘agile’ compliance management system capable of providing timely data for interaction with IOCs. The system should embed the ISO 14000 standards.

Another PDO presentation, from Martin Farfan, promised ‘everything you want to know about compliance, but were afraid to ask!’ The last twenty years has seen huge growth in external/mandatory compliance. Compliance starts with business management systems. These can be decomposed into processes prior to implementing policies and standards for control and monitoring. Compliance is now embedded into the information lifecycle.

People present the main risk to compliance, and training and awareness are key. In general, employees are not experts in compliance! A compliance subject matter expert is needed, operating at discipline head-level.

Ahmad Rafiq Al Khatib (BSI Systems) presented a paper on information security management. What originated as a British Standard has now been ratified as the ISO 27001 information systems standard. The standard covers ‘socio-enviro-financial risk’ associated with written, spoken and computer information. It is not (just) an IT standard. Some Emirates mandate 27001 so the standard will soon impacts Middle East National Oil Companies and government organizations. Risk based management systems are ‘an investment in your company’s future.’ In the Q&A, Martin Farfan noted that many oil companies have internal procedures and audits that are on a par with ISO 27001.

Keith Ballantyne (Qatargas) spoke on project information and data security – and on the need for up-front project security audits to ‘strike a balance between bureaucracy and security/access. The appropriate yardstick is the ISO 27001 as above. Company data today is available in hard copy, Fax, in document management systems, on shared drives, USB keys, email and laptops. Many users save data to a laptop hard drive without backup. Security goes beyond access control. Data on laptops and CDs needs encryption in case critical financial information is left in the airport. DOD certified ‘e-shredding’ software is used. And ‘Joe the thief’ occasionally roams around Qatargas’ offices confiscating CDs and laptops that have been left lying around!

This article is an abstract from The Data Room’s Technology Watch report from the IQPC Dubai conference. More information and samples of this subscription-based service from www.oilit.com/tech and tw@oilit.com.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

AGM, ConocoPhillips, Energistics, Enventure, ExxonMobil, ffA, Geotrace, Halliburton, OGC, iCore, LSI, DigitalGlobe, Marathon, Numerical Rocks, OFS Portal, OpenSpirit, Perficient, Permedia, Total.

Mauricio Arboleda has joined Austin Geomodeling as COO, from Paradigm where he was executive VP of strategic consulting.

Marty  Schoenthaler has been named general manager, corporate IT with ConocoPhillips.

Mike Strathman (AspenTech) and Prasad Thrikutam ( Infosys) have been elected to Energistics’ board of directors.

Adam Johnston and David Mayhall have been appointed as senior technical sales reps with Enventure Global Technology.

Steve Cassiani is retiring from ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co. after 40 years of service. He is expected to be replaced by Steve Greenlee.

3D Seismic analysis software and services provider ffA has established a US Subsidiary with new office premises in Houston’s Energy Corridor.

Reservoir services company Geotrace, has established a strategic business alliance in Brazil with GeoQuasar Energy Solutions.

Cris Gaut, president of Halliburton ‘s drilling and evaluation division, is to retire. He will be replaced by Tim Probert who remains leader of  technology, supply chain management, and mergers and acquisitions.

Eleni Stroulia now occupies the iCORE chair in systems services management.

DigitalGlobe is offering a new free imagery alert service with customized email notification of new coverage of an era of interest.

Michael Strachan has been elected to LSI’s board of directors. Strachan was formerly with Ernst & Young.

Steve Hinchman, executive VP technology and services with Marathon Oil is retiring.

McLaren has announced the appointments of Graham Barnet (CEO of Sigma Capital), Jim Fish as CFO and Tony Heywood as a non-executive director.

Mark Brownless has joined Numerical Rocks as sales and marketing director. Mark comes from SPT Group where he was regional manager for MEPO.

Maggie Montaigne, Paul Krueger and Steve Sidney have been elected to OFS Portal’s board. Montaigne is with Halliburton, Krueger with VetcoGray and Sidney with Baker Hughes.

Athina Trakas has been appointed as director european services for the Open Geospatial Consortium.

OpenSpirit has appointed Mehdi Belrhalia business development manager, Middle East & Africa, Terry Berg, formerly with Petrosys, as technical advisor, Nick Gosda (from Schlumberger) as business partner Manager, and Edward Tsang as support engineer in the services organization.

Perficient has appointed John Hamlin and David May as independent members of the company’s board of directors. Hamlin is president and managing partner of Bozeman Limited Partnership, and May is the co-founder and portfolio manager of Third Coast Capital.

Japex/JGI has joined the Permedia R&D consortium. GFZ Organic Geochemistry section is now an advisor for Permedia’s forthcoming Kinetics Plugin system.

Jens Ulltveit-Moe is to step down as chair of the PGS board and will be replaced by Francis Gugen, currently vice chair.

Lloyd Pullappallil is to head-up Quantapoint’s new office in Los Angeles.

Tendeka, the new parent organization for Sensornet, Swellfix andWell Technology, has named Martin Perry chairman, and Neale Carter CEO. Both were previously with Sensornet.

Total has named Michel Hourcard Senior VP in change of its Scientific and Technical Center in Pau.


Done deals

Helix, Baker Hughes, Fugro, EMGS, Rhodia, IFP, Cortex, Dawson, FMC, Emerson, Rackable, SGI ...

Helix Energy Solutions has sold its Reservoir Description Services business to a Baker Hughes unit for $25 million. Aberdeen, UK-based Helix RDS was acquired by Cal Dive International in November 2005 for $31 million. Cal Dive then adopted the Helix name.

Fugro has entered into an agreement with Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS). The deal gives Fugro access to EMGS’ technology while EMGS can access Fugro’s marketing network and operating expertise. Fugro is providing a NOK 150 million secured interest-bearing loan to EMGS, convertible to EMGS stock.

Chemical giant Rhodia is teaming with the French Petroleum Institute (IFP) to offer services and consulting in chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The companies will offer design and implementation of proof of concept trials prior to at-scale deployment. The companies make the bold claim that the new approach could increase oil extraction rates by 20%.

Cortex Business Solutions has entered into an agreement with Wolverton Securities for a private placement of up to  25,000,000 units of Cortex, raising up to CAD $5,000,000. The units comprise  one Cortex plus a warrant for a future purchase of Cortex stock.

Dawson Geophysical Co. has filed a ‘shelf registration statement’ with the SEC for the sale of up to $100 million in debt securities, preferred and common stock, and warrants.

FMC Technologies accepted Emerson’s conditional offer to purchase its  25,000,000 Roxar ASA shares.

Rackable Systems is in the process of acquiring Silicon Graphics’ assets in a $25 million cash transaction. Silicon had filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code which will enable Rackable to acquire the company without assuming the debt. SGI emerged from Chapter 11 in October 2006.

Weatherford has acquired ResLab Integration, which is to change its name to Weatherford Petroleum Consultants AS. ResLab is an upstream consultancy with 50 consultants located in Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger, Norway.

Production Enhancement Group has received a notice of default from its senior lender as a result of the Company’s failure to meet its payments. The company cited ‘rapidly deteriorating oil and gas market conditions, continued impact [..] of hurricanes [..] and the credit markets.’ PEG in discussions with its lender with respect to resolving the situation.


Kongsberg’s Digital Oilfield Tool for Petrobras America

D-Spice-based solution to provide real-time data and forecasts of future operating conditions.

Petrobras America has awarded Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies a contract for the provision of a ‘Digital Oil Field Tool’ (DOFT) to be deployed on its first deepwater production facility in the Gulf of Mexico. The DOFT will provide real-time support, monitoring and ‘look ahead’ forecasts of operating conditions. The system will bridge the offshore on the Cascade and Chinook production facility with Petrobras’ Port Fourchon, LA facility and its corporate location in Houston. Cascade and Chinook is located 300 km south of New Orleans in 2,500 meters of water, a current world record for an FPSO.

The DOFT will be built around Kongsberg’s Dynamic Simulator for Process, Instrumentation and Control Engineering (D-Spice). D-Spice embeds a plug-in of SPT Group’s Olga 2000 multiphase pipeline simulator and also links to various process control systems and third party packages. The DOFT will also be used offline in production planning and operator training.


eLynx Technologies offers web-based remote well surveillance

WellLynx XI uses low orbit satellites to deliver compressor status, tank levels and alarms.

Tulsa, OK-based eLynx Technologies has announced WellLynx XI, a new data communications solution for remote well locations. WLXI combines satellite communications and intelligent input/output technology into a remotely configurable package for oil and gas producers. WLXI plugs into rig site data sources such as eLynx’ own SCADALynx and uses lossless data compression to minimize data charges.

eLynx head of sales Ray McDaniel said, ‘The system is more flexible than most satellite well monitoring devices solutions. Its instant alarm capability and robust communications path via the Iridium satellite network make WLXI a highly reliable well monitoring system.’

Iridium’s low-earth orbiting satellites provide voice and data services for areas not served by terrestrial communication networks. WLXI alarms can trigger e-mails to users and updates to the web interface within two minutes. eLynx CIO Ryan McDonald added, ‘Users can check compressor status, tank levels, casing and tubing pressures, flow rates and even valve positions over the web.’


PODS Spring Meet, Houston

Pipeline Open Data Standards meet surveyed on database usage. Lack of geo data standards noted.

Over 100 attended the Pipeline Open Data Standard Association’s (PODS) spring user group meeting in Sugar Land, TX earlier this month. Attendees hailed from 60 companies located in Austria, China, France, India and North America. The meeting’s theme was ‘mapping our pipeline future.’ Executive director Sheila Wilson noted the pipeline industry’s vital role in today’s economic situation. Hurricanes Katrina and Ike underscored the importance of a functioning, safe pipeline network.

A survey of attendees provided insights into pipeline database deployment in the industry. Most all operator respondents deploy a central pipeline database. Ownership of the database is almost equally likely to be IT, operations or engineering. Management and IT are both in general supportive of the database effort. Oracle (19) pips SQL Server (13) in number of deployments. PODS is the most popular model in this community (that kind-of figures!) with some invited companies using ESRI’s APDM model. High consequence analysis for DOT compliance is performed about 50/50 in house and outsourced to vendors. Integration with One Call systems is patchy. Interestingly, automated alignment sheet generation is now almost universally considered as a ‘standard business practice.’ Most companies are involved in some kind of field mapping to improve center line accuracy. A ‘wish list’ showed that data exchange was the number one ‘issue’ for operators – especially in the context of acquisitions and mergers. Users also asked for better PODS editing capability via vendor applications.

A discussion revealed the key issues that affect pipeline operators information management efforts. Data update workflows are cumbersome and the implications of changes are not always well understood. Metadata quality control is variable and a need was expressed to be able to flag quality data to discourage casual modification. Resolving conflicts with inline inspection systems (ILI) was also a problem area. A lack of industry standards for data representation was noted. PODS members expressed interest in alignment with ISO metadata standards, and/or the SDSFIE US Govt. standard or geographical information standards from the Open Geospatial Consortium. The thorny issue of a standard for units of measure was also raised in the light of multiple regional standards. Governmental agencies are increasingly requiring standard metadata from operators.

At the enterprise level, the debate revolved around the role of PODS in relation to other business processes. While there is agreement that a central asset database forms an integration framework and a single source of reference data, the question of when to record an event and the wisdom of real-time update was questioned.

Users discussed the impact of emerging technology like Google Earth Street View and the Virtual Earth/PhotoSynth combo. Microsoft’s Office Share Point Server was considered a good information-gathering interface but lacked an open GIS format. More from www.pods.org.


Sales, contracts and deployments

CGGVeritas, Autonomy, SPT Group, AspenTech, Emerson, Invensys, Aker, Lacima, TerraSpark, TechCorr.

StatoilHydro has extended it contract with CGGVeritas for the provision of dedicated in-house seismic processing services in Stavanger, Norway. The center provides 4D time-lapse and advanced subsurface imaging. The current ‘multi year’ deal extends the original 2006 contract.

High-end search specialist Autonomy reports major first quarter 2009 customer wins with NetApp and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

StatoilHydro has awarded SPT Group a contract for an online Production Management System (PMS) for its Yttergryta, Mikkel and Midgard subsea developments. The PMS will be configured in EDPM, SPT Group’s ‘digital oilfield’ solution based on the Olga multiphase flow simulator.  EDPM deliverables include transparent pipeline, virtual instrumentation, hydrate inhibitor tracking and hydrate advisors.

Midstream energy service provider EPCO, is to adopt AspenTech’s AspenOne V7 Engineering Suite to ‘better align’ its engineering and operations processes. The toolset was selected for its front end engineering cost estimation functionality and its embedded Aspen Simulation Workbook, a Microsoft Excel interface.

Emerson Process Management reports on the inauguration of Qatargas’ LNG facility at Ras Laffan Industrial City, said to be the largest LNG train ever built. Emerson provided the main instrumentation and controls for the Qatargas 2 project. Emerson is the ‘preferred supplier’ of automation technologies and services to Qatargas. Three more ‘mega trains’ are to come on stream before the end of the decade, each capable of delivering nearly 8 million tons of LNG annually.

Libya-based Waha Oil Co. has awarded Invensys Process Systems (IPS) a ‘multi-million’ dollar contract for the provision of automation upgrades at the company’s oil fields in Gialo, Waha, Dahra, Samha and Defa. IPS will deploy its InFusion enterprise control system to replace Waha’s legacy SCADA at five remote-area operating centers and one control room. The deal includes 30 new remote terminal units (RTU), retrofits to existing RTUs and replacement wireless Systronic units. IPS’ Roberto DiMeo said, ‘Our technology will assure compatibility across different generations of system components and provide centralized, real-time information to reduce operating costs.’

StatoilHydro has awarded Aker Solutions an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract for a gas system upgrade on the North Sea Heidrun platform. The NOK 390 million contract Heidrun Production Pipeline project is expected to increase gas capacity by 16%.

Gazprom Export has expanded its deployment of Lacima’s risk management software. Gazprom’s Vyacheslav Salychev, said, ‘We selected Lacima’s energy risk management software for its wide-ranging valuation and risk measurement capabilities, coupled with its flexibility to incorporate our custom models into an integrated risk analysis framework.’

Mumbai, India-based Bharat Petroleum Co. has awarded a contract to TechCorr USA, for the implementation of an Asset Integrity Management (AIM) program. The AIM includes non-destructive testing (NDT) technologies and inspection methodologies to ‘minimize the risks and vulnerabilities’ of refining operations.

‘Family-owned’ Rocky Mountain E&P outfit True Oil has purchased a license to TerraSpark’s ‘Insight Earth’ interpretation suite. True Oil chief geologist Roger Barton said, ‘With InsightEarth we have been able to interpret complex data and pick faults in a visually-intuitive way that was not possible using any other software.’


Standards Stuff

ESRI PUG/Energistics metadata, OGC data quality, Google’s O3D, energy e-business, RESCUE.

A combined ESRI Petroleum User Group/Energistics meet took place last month to discuss a proposal for a geographic metadata exchange standard for the petroleum industry. Participants recommended the development of an oil and gas profile based on the ISO 19115 metadata standard. A position paper is planned for distribution this summer. Parties interested in taking part in the process are invited to join the workgroup.

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Victor Minor (Blue Marble CTO) has been named chair of the Open Geospatial Consortium’s data quality work group and 1Spatial’s Matt Beare as vice chair. The work group’s mission is to establish an interoperable framework of quality assurance measures and web services to enable ‘access and sharing of high quality geospatial information and to improve geographical data analysis.’

The OGC has also founded domain working groups for hydrology and meteorology with the idea of advancing interoperability. Meteorology standards are intended to fulfill the needs of the World Meteorological Organization and to ‘benefit the world weather, water and climate data users and producers.’

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New software from Google sets out to accelerate take up of browser-based 3D graphics. Google’s ‘O3D’ comes as a plug-in for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google’s own Chrome browser. A JavaScript API provides access to GPU. Ultimately thick client applications such as Google Earth could run in the browser.

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The OASIS e-business standards body has floated the idea of an ‘Energy Market Information Exchange’ (eMIX).  A technical committee is to develop a data model and XML vocabulary to enable collaborative and ‘transactive’ use of energy. The standard sets out to provide interoperable exchange of price and bid information, availability, quantity and characteristics of traded fuels.

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Energistics’ Rescue modeling division is asking for input on 3D model metadata. Items under discussion include a  possible alignment of Rescue units of measure with WITSML, the use of projection codes from the European Petroleum Survey Group and other property type, coordinate system and datum issues.


Husky’s procurement system optimization project

Cortex’ e-procurement system now processing 30,000 invoices per week with 95% success rate.

Calgary-based Husky Energy, one of Canada’s largest energy companies reported recently on its flagship e-procurement contract with Cortex Business Solutions.  Six months into the Husky Procurement System Optimization (HPSO) project, Husky’s suppliers have been working with Cortex to optimize and automate the procurement and payment processes. By early 2009, over 1,000 suppliers were participating in the initiative.

Husky has now expanded the initiative and now requires all its Canadian business units and their suppliers to adopt the Cortex solution. By midyear 2009, this will include material suppliers and suppliers using Cortex’ non purchase order process. Requests for quotation and proposals will likewise leverage the Cortex solution as a mandatory condition of award. Husky’s goal is to ‘achieve and sustain procurement and payment automation across all business units and suppliers.

The system is now processing 30,000 receipts and invoices per week with a sustained invoice success rate of over 95%. Payment is made by direct deposit to suppliers’ bank account. Adherence to the HPSO means that suppliers get paid on time, improving cash flow and reducing overhead.


N4 Systems Field ID Safety Network gains traction

Safety equipment and heavy lifters join RFID-based traceability and compliance solution.

Several equipment manufacturers have sworn allegiance to N4 Systems’ Field ID Safety Network (FIDSN). N4 Systems FIDSN uses radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to provide safety equipment traceability throughout the supply chain and during operations. N4 Systems combines RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, wireless handheld devices and network integration to support ‘paperless’ safety compliance and inspections.

This month, material handling products specialist Columbus McKinnon joined the FIDSN. Columbus will now offer its clients traceability of its product line and will offer its suppliers and customers automated sharing of safety critical data. Lifting clamp manufacturer J.C. Renfroe and Sea-Fit, a manufacturer of lifting and mooring products, are also to join the Network.

N4 Systems also announced that it has expanded its inspection and safety compliance management system to include crane inspections.


Intergraph and SightLogix offer intelligent video surveillance

GPS-enabled video analytics system integrated with control system to provide ‘domain awareness.’

Intergraph has integrated SightLogix’ intelligent video sensing devices with its geospatial decision support solution to provide real-time detection of security threats and incidents. SightLogix’ GPS-based video analytic sensors detect, track and zoom in on intruders and are capable of operating over large perimeters and outdoor areas. When linked with the Intergraph system, GIS-registered target data on size, velocity and bearings of a detected target are combined into an actionable, common operational plan. 

SightLogix’ automated, GPS video analytics are used to ‘lock down’ perimeters and buffer zones. The Intergraph system displays and fuses multiple sensor activities into a single picture to provide ‘domain awareness.’

SightLogix CEO John Romanowich said, ‘Geo-registered detection capabilities are best leveraged by a GIS-capable command and control system. Knowing the location and nature of a security intrusion is essential for areas with a large community of responders.’

The combined system was deployed by engineering firm Quatrotec to protect San Francisco international airport, where the SightLogix thermal sensor along with the airport’s ground radar system have been integrated with the Intergraph control system. The companies note the suitability for such a solution in the oil and gas/petrochemical vertical.


Petrobras builds new CENPES research center

Expanded R&D center will house seismic processing and twin state of the art virtual reality centers.

Petrobras is expanding its Cenpes* R&D facility in Rio de Janeiro into what is claimed to be one of the largest such establishments in the world. The award-winning design, by architect Siegbert Zanettini, houses several state of the art environments in a 300,000 square meter building.

Petrobras’ seismic data processing center will be housed in the new Cenpes along with a new virtual reality center for 3D simulations.

Two immersive VR centers will equip the Cenpes. A collaborative three-sided environment will leverage Barco’s HoloSpace projection system. Another enclosed, immersive environment will deploy Mechdyne’s Cave VR environment. Petrobras already has two legacy VR environments, ‘Galileo Space’ and the 3D Viewing Lab (LabVis). The Cenpes building received a Holcim sustainable construction award for ‘energy and environmental design.’  The environment is said, to ‘favor creativity and innovation, driving researcher  productivity.’

The University of São Paulo (USP) conducted energy saving studies that have resulted in optimized power use and a 50% independence from the grid thanks to an on-site 15 megawatt gas cogeneration plant. More on VR in Petrobras on page 1 of this issue.’

* Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento.


GPU computing to ‘transform’ 3D seismic interpretation

Seismic volume interpretation specialist ffA reports 12-fold speedup on 5GB dataset.

The latest release of Foster Findlay Associates’ (FFA) seismic analysis and volume interpretation package claims a step change in performance. SVI Pro 2009 introduces an interactive facies classification module that uses NVIDIA’s graphics processing unit based (GPU) compute engine to accelerate real-time number crunching.

Speaking at the FFA user meet in Aberdeen last month, NVIDIA’s Jean-Christophe Baratault vaunted the merits of GPU-based computing in oil and gas. GPU computing is set to ‘transform’ 3D seismic interpretation and SVI Pro 2009 is ‘the first commercial application to harness the power of this technology for 3D seismic analysis.’

FFA’s benchmarking was performed using SVI Pro to extract a 3D dip azimuth cube. The baseline timing on a 5GB dataset took 43 minutes on twin quad-core CPU workstation. Running the same computation using NVIDIA CUDA and a ‘mid-range’ graphics board brought this down to 13 minutes, a 3.25-fold speedup. Using a higher end device with three Tesla boards, time dropped to 3.5 minutes for a times 12 improvement. Other enhancements in SVI Pro 2009 include comprehensive color and opacity blending to highlight subtle variations in the data. More from info@ffa.co.uk.


SentryNet wake up call saves production shutdown

Remote monitoring technology from Baker Hughes catches equipment failure in real-time.

Baker Hughes reports that its SentryNet remote tank level monitor recently avoided the shut down of an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico and saved the operator $70,000 in lost production. SentryNet sent an automated email to the Baker Hughes manager indicating that a low usage condition had occurred on the demulsifier injection system. A call to the operator confirmed the pump failure and corrective action was taken, allowing production to continue without incident. This entire monitoring and alert process occurred independently of the operator’s local automation package. SentryNet provides a radio and satellite connection from remote devices such as the tank level monitor to Baker Hughes ‘Beacon’ completion and production operations center located at the Baker Hughes Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) in Houston.

In a separate announcement, Baker Hughes reveals some interesting statistics on a recent extended reach drilling operation on StatoilHydro’s heavy oil Grane field in the North Sea. Again, the Beacon system allowed for remote control of operations from Stavanger. The Inteq ‘AutoTrak’ drilling and evaluation system allowed for a ‘flawless’ single-bit run of 4,305 meters. DeepTrak logging while drilling allowed the trajectory to steer clear of both oil water contact and the overburden, delivering ‘close to 100% net to gross.’ More from info@productionquest.com.


CygNet upgrade combines SCADA and GIS

New release consolidates geographic information systems, process control and ERP.

A new release of CygNet’s eponymous application is claimed to be the first product to combine a geographic information system (GIS) with operational SCADA data. CygNet V 7.2 lets both GIS and SCADA systems maintain their own data sets, avoiding the need for data replication. CygNet deploys a ‘network-centric’ architecture as used in modern high-bandwidth video and imaging systems to deliver high data volumes to applications and end-users.

CygNet CEO Chris Smith said, ‘Our platform aggregates data from diverse field and business systems and delivers contextually relevant, real-time information to every corner of the enterprise. CygNet provides the right information to the right people at the right time.’

The new release integrates ESRI’s ArcGIS toolset to consolidate GIS-based asset information, SCADA data and information from business applications. By locating monitoring and alarm information on a map, users can better analyze historical trends and react to current conditions.

The new release also offers enhanced historical data management and visualization. An enhanced gas measurement repository replicator reduces network constraints, optimizing flow data collection and distribution. CygNet claims over 100 oil and gas producer customers, including ‘most of the top 10’ major independent gas producers in North America.


Invensys gets five year, $50 million Petrobras contract

Triconex/Avantis safety services and solutions support Brazilian’s Business Plan 2020.

Invensys Process Systems (IPS) has signed a five-year, $50 million contract with Petrobras for the provision of ‘comprehensive safety services and solutions’ for deployment in its refineries. Petrobras’ Business Plan 2020 considers health, safety and the environment (HSE) a top priority. The company is investing in new process units for its existing refineries to ensure compliance with new ‘clean fuels’ environmental requirements.

Invensys’ Triconex safety and control systems and Avantis asset management technology will be deployed during the refit of eleven of Petrobras facilities throughout Brazil. Safety policies and procedures are an integral component of Petrobras’ strategic plan to improve automation. IPS is also to supply engineering, systems integration and consulting services along with ‘fully engineered’ safety services and solutions, including logic diagram validation. IPS has been providing products and services to Petrobras for some fifty years.