April 2010


Matlab real time framework

Wintershall and TNO Science and Industry eschew vendor-based solutions, preferring a Matlab-based, object-oriented software framework for production monitoring and perhaps, control.

Speaking at the SPE Intelligent Energy conference in Utrecht, NL last month (more on page 6), Hans Reijn provided an in-depth look at Wintershall’s flagship Integrated Production Management System (IPMS), a key component of its €11.5 million Den Helder, NL-located Remote Controlled Operations (RCO) center, claimed as one of the most modern platform control rooms in the world. Southern North Sea assets are hooked in to the RCO via microwave radio.

The IPMS, co-developed by Wintershall and TNO, was designed to address production from increasingly complex, small reservoirs in the face of a liberalized EU gas market. At the heart of the IPMS is a model-based advisor that uses real-time data to align production with market conditions. The advisor provides event detection, condition monitoring and helps operators ‘make informed decisions that add value to operations.’

The Advisor is a classic case of model-based optimization, where real data is continuously compared with the output from mathematical models of the component physical subsystems. A divergence between the two indicates some abnormal condition—which can usually be identified by comparison with a library of known behaviors. The system combines TNO’s experience of model-based monitoring and optimization using a Matlab-based system architecture with Wintershall’s asset models and real-time infrastructure. Real time production data streams to the OSIsoft PI System historian and is compared with models of critical asset components including reservoir, wells, flowlines and surface equipment.

The system covers the entire asset, from reservoirs to top-sides. Combining the large number of individual components in software requires an object-oriented framework and a configurable architecture. The system also handles the frequent changes in asset configuration. Matlab and third party toolboxes provide functions for statistics, filtering, modeling, and data visualization. TNO has extended these with an in-house developed toolbox for reservoir, well and equipment modeling.

Matlab is now the basis of the real-time monitoring application and connects directly to PI System. A library of Matlab routines targeting production modeling and forecasting has been developed. These can be called from Matlab itself, or from other industry models such as GAP or MBAL. Reservoir and wellbore models developed in Excel can be incorporated into the real time environment. Reijn’s paper (SPE 128300*) describes in detail various component calculations including material balance, flow rates, choke settings, inflow performance and more. Model use cases include salt precipitation mitigation by water wash using an IMPES simulator.

* oilit.com/links/1004_16.


Comply or die

Startup ComplyData LLC announces an ‘Intelligent Portal,’ a hosted solution for keeping up-to-speed with safety and regulatory information.

The ComplyData Intelligent Portal (CDIP) is a hosted, subscription-based service that provides oil and gas companies with an online solution for the organization of compliance, safety and regulatory information. The CDIP helps ensure alignment with the current requirement of the US Department of Transportation operator qualification and environmental, health and safety regulations.

ComplyData MD Darla Bell said, ‘Ever-changing oil and gas regulations can be overwhelming and regulators are requiring more communication and transparency between owner/operators and contractors. CDIP streamlines the compliance process, allowing users to focus on their business and less time on paperwork.’

The CDIP currently supports the oil and gas vertical, but industry specific applications are being developed for other industries. Bell’s team includes Jim Wilmsen, CTO, formerly senior director of product architecture with IHS John Ripley, CFO, formerly finance manager at Microsoft Dynamics. More from complydata.com.


More on ‘open’ publishing, software. Deepwater Horizon incident.

Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton provides an update on the situation re open access in oil and gas publications and re-examines Microsoft’s upstream reference architecture. He reflects on happenings in the Gulf of Mexico, their impact on the ‘digital oilfield’ and on the industry at large.

Well, I did not heard back from the Society of Petroleum Engineers since my ‘open letter’ last month. Hmph! I sent a copy to Phil Christie (last year’s EAGE president) who offers the following, speaking as an ordinary member. ‘A new constitution is being considered for the EAGE which [emphasizes that] the association exists to serve the interests of its members and not those of the Office employees or sponsors. While sound finances are necessary, these are not the reason for the Association’s existence. It is important to remember which part of the animal is the tail and which part does the wagging.’ On the topic of access to publications, Christie pointed out that the EAGE, unlike the SPE, offers free access to members for its papers. But he is against wider public access. ‘Our members interests come before those of the general public. Access to publications is one of the reasons that someone would want to be a member of a professional society in the 21st century.’

~

In the January 2010 issue of the EAGE’s First Break, there was a good example of how commercial puffery masquerading as science creeps under the editorial radar in Mike Sternesky’s article1 on the Microsoft E&P Reference Architecture. A sister article2—from Mike Brulé (ex-Microsoft, now Technomation) in the SPE’s Journal of Petroleum Technology likewise praised the reference architecture. No mention of Microsoft was made although this can be explained by the SPE’s schizophrenic attitude to what it perceives as commercialization. Or perhaps the intent was for a more subliminal advertorial!

A post3 on Microsoft’s Oil & Gas blog by Chris Van Dyk vaunts the merit of StreamInsight as a component of the Reference Architecture. We asked for more and got a pointer to Microsoft’s earlier vaporware4. I fired back, ‘Thanks for the link—but we were already aware of this. I was thinking more of something that you could load in Visual Studio and get doing stuff with. Are there plans for any code/libraries?’ We are still waiting for an answer!

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While many bang on and on about the importance of social networking and the like and the fact that oldies don’t ‘get’ Facebook (I don’t), I would like to offer a counter argument. Many younger IT decision makers lack a historical knowledge that might help them understand the interplay between vaporware and the spreading of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). A knowledge of IT history also helps to put things into context and reminds us that even big established companies with ‘unassailable’ positions can come unstuck.

About 40 years ago, there was a general belief that, ‘You will never get fired for buying IBM.’ This status quo was eventually shaken by a developers revolt—compiler guru Stephen Johnson likened programming an IBM mainframe to ‘kicking a dead whale down the beach5.’ So Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie deigned Unix, adhering to the principles of openness and ‘keep it simple, stupid!’

Today things have moved on a lot. ‘Commercial’ Unix, always something of an oxymoron, has been replaced with Linux while IBM’s market domination has been more than replicated with the Wintel duopoly. The question today for IT decision makers is ‘Can you get fired for buying Microsoft?’ For an iconoclastic answer to that I quote one ‘Macalope6’ who ‘knows a thing or two about corporate IT’ and observes that, ‘Very little of it makes any sense. You know what they say about trying to teach a pig to dance, right? It wastes your time and makes the pig implement a Microsoft-only corporate standard for enterprise-level software delivered solely on Dell hardware.’ Writing in MacWorld, he would say that wouldn’t he! In a similar vein we received an observation from a developer working at the oil and gas IT coal-face reporting that ‘scripting is back in’ with the corporate adoption of Microsoft’s PowerShell. Our anonymous contributor bemoaned the fact that ‘This is Microsoft’s copy of Perl and it will be just as good … in about 5 years!’

~

As I write this editorial, I am listening to the dreadful events unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. As editor of an IT journal I hesitate to get into issues such as safety and the environment. But at Intelligent Energy (IE), BP laid strong claims to ownership of much of the deepwater drilling technology that has been so severely tested by the Deepwater Horizon. Also, it has become quite commonplace to hear from representatives of the majors, speaking at IT and data conferences, who claim that the industry has an exemplary safety record. Many do not agree with this assessment—see for instance the release from the United Steelworkers Union7, made a few days before the accident.

The debate on operator/contractor responsibilities is on. Other issues such as automation and de-manning may not be directly involved in the incident—but watching the ROV trying to grab the handle on the shear rams made me think of the IE discussions on automation, on remote control and monitoring and safety instrumentation. At IE these were intellectually stimulating debates. There was a feeling that this was work in progress and that the industry does not yet have the answer. Well we need one now. According to press reports, the rig did not have a black box. Presumably there was some onshore monitoring and logs in the ACE8 may hold the answer.

However you do the risk analysis for deepwater oil and gas, there are a lot of folks out there watching events with baited breath. It’s their hearts and minds that count. They can stop a whole industry in its tracks as Three Mile Island did for nuclear.

1 links/1004_3, 2 links/1004_4,

3 links/1004_5, 4 links/1004_6,

5 links/1004_7, 6 links/1004_15,

7 links/1004_13, 8 Advanced Collaboration Environment.

Note that while SPE’s JPT article is in the public domain, the EAGE’s First Break is members-only.


Wellstorm’s WITSML Service Platform

CEO Hugh Winkler explains why, with a standard like WITSML, data housekeeping is still required to blend disparate data streams—enter the ‘drilling data processing center.’

Wellstorm has announced V 2.0 of its flagship WITSML Service Platform (WSP 2). WSP 2 serves as enterprise repository for drilling information. The new version introduces ‘WSP Apps,’ a drilling data processing system. Oil IT Journal asked Wellstorm’s CEO Hugh Winkler for more.

In drilling operations, companies have a lot of people running specialist applications. Engineers may run Perform Toolkit, the G&G guys run Predict and Geologix, the geosteering folks Geolog. Interoperability across these tools has been helped by the WITSML data exchange standards. But in practice, problems remain when combining live data streams from rigs with historical data from different domains to drive decision support tools.

WITSML has removed some of the ‘friction’ but not all of it. Today, you still see one to one connections, ad hoc workarounds, bailing wire and duct tape. Each application makes assumptions about channel mnemonics, units of measure, the availability of certain computations, sample rates, the meaning of missing data and so on. One service company might deliver torque in amperes—but another application requires Newton-meters—so we need to apply a motor constant before we can calculate mechanical specific energy. Every day, every new project, every new software component introduces new hassles. It’s still a many to many problem which is destroying the value companies expected from their WITSML investment.

Worse still, computations embedded in applications are not widely accessible across the company due to barriers such as licensing schemes and proprietary databases. Often, the best way to make a calculation and share it with others is Excel. But as we all know, if you are emailing screen dumps and Excel files around to show people data or calculations, then IT has failed in its decision support role.

Imagine if seismic processing switched software vendor for every step of the workflow—A for correlation, B for NMO, C’s stacker! And suppose that when you’re through, the results remain in a silo, unusable by other processes!

Going back to drilling, what’s needed is a drilling data processing system that lets applications and data providers work together. Wellstorm’s WSP 2 is such a system. It orchestrates the flow of data across domains with server-side plugins. WSP allows scripting using a rich JavaScript/XML language.

WSP 2 does not replace specialist point applications, it enables them, fills the gaps and lubricates the machine. Plugin processing jobs are used to QC data, cleanse, filter, transform, monitor and send alarms.

WSP 2 exposes the whole WITSML data model for the well, rig or field so that applications can draw upon historical data, offset wells, or on information about the BHA, drillstring and casing. Jobs can run periodically in batch mode or on demand. WSP 2 lets you automate processing workflows so that your downstream apps work correctly.

You can also perform high value, proprietary calculations on the data. For one customer, we have built WSP Apps calculating drilling performance metrics derived from high resolution real time data. For another, we are implementing a custom pore pressure estimation algorithm not available in their existing software tools. These apps directly read, and create new WITSML so you can use current results downstream. More from wellstorm.com.


PPDM Houston User Meet

Baker Hughes, Infosys, Noah Consulting, P2ES, Petrosys’ projects—and a hint at PPDM 4.0.

Around 80 turned-out for the PPDM Association’s first two-day Houston User Group meet last month chez Hess. Baker Hughes (BHI) teamed with Infosys to provide a blow by blow account of BHI’s PPDM-Based Well Header Master. PPDM 2.8 and work done in the What is a Well project laid down a philosophical backbone, with an ESRI SDE/Oracle stack running on a Veritas/Solaris fail-over cluster. ETL services were provided by Oracle Warehouse Builder—although this power tool required considerable effort to use in the complex E&P data context. Other tweaks were required to make PPDM performant in a production environment.

Noah Consulting and partner P2 Energy Solutions offered insights into the various elevations, heights and datums present in data models, software and the real world. A seemingly straightforward issue that is in reality full of pitfalls as these attributes are shared across industry databases including Ocean, Epos, R5000, OpenSpirit and PPDM. The importance of getting datum right is of some importance when drilling a horizontal well into a thin sand!

Petrosys described several PPDM migration projects undertaken for clients in Australia and North America (the company also leverages PPDM in its own dbMap product). Petrosys has assisted Santos with its PPDM-derived in-house database and the Cooper Basin partners (Santos, Origin and Beach) use dbMap/PPDM to share joint venture data. dbMap’s seismic data management capability has been leveraged by Apache, PGS and Chevron and Petrosys recently converted BP Houston’s Finder seismic database to PPDM 3.8, leveraging Petrosys’ flavor of Oracle spatial indexing. Other flagship Petrosys projects include bespoke developments for Marathon, Origin Energy, Santos and Saudi Aramco. The latter involved the development of a pressure mapping extension to Aramco’s in-house developed production database.

PPDM CEO Trudy Curtis outlined the planned changes for the upcoming 3.9 release—scheduled for later this year. Curtis noted that some planned changes to the model were deferred during the 3.8 release and are still pending a decision from the modeling team. These changes, to primary key structures, and to mandatory columns, will be ‘highly destructive’ to existing models and will have a high impact on implementers. Options are—biting the bullet and making the changes, deferring them again (till 4.0?), or abandoning the change altogether. Comments to links/1004_1. Presentations from the User Group available on ppdm.org.


General Dynamics gets $11 million IM contract from MMS

GD’s Information Technology Unit gets five year deal for G&G data and interpretation support.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has awarded General Dynamics’ Information Technology (GDIT) unit an $11 million contract for the provision of information management support services. The five year deal extends an existing arrangement whereby GDIT is providing the MMS’ Office of Information Management Services (OIMS) and regional program offices with coordination and planning of the Gulf of Mexico Region’s information management activities.

GDIT will provide data collection, analysis, imaging and data retrieval services as well as geological interpretation tools support and seismic data archiving. Additionally, GDIT is to establish and administer quality assurance standards and policies, perform comparative analysis on oil and gas data, maintain records in accordance with MMS practices and assist in editing and publication support. The work will be performed in New Orleans. More from gdit.com.


Schlumberger bags IGEOSS

Structural geology software from Stanford Rock Physics Project to embed Petrel.

Schlumberger continues its spending spree with the acquisition of IGeoss, a French software boutique provider of structural geology software. IGeoss functionality will be embedded in Schlumberger’s Petrel geosciences flagship. The toolset targets fractured reservoirs and the impact of stress regimes over time, particularly in sub-salt, compressional and shale gas plays. Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) president Tony Bowman said, ‘Clients are exploring and developing in increasingly complicated geologic settings. IGeoss, along with Petrel and PetroMod will help geoscientists understand the complete petroleum system throughout their exploration, development and production workflows.’

IGeoss was founded in 2004, to commercialize a structural geology code base that was originally developed at the Stanford Rock Fracture Project. Characterization of fractured reservoirs has come into the limelight recently with the surge of activity in non-conventional reservoirs. More from igeoss.com.


Fugro signs enterprise deal with OpenSpirit

Deal sees enablement of Trango, PowerLog and Jason Geosciences Workbench.

Fugro has signed a corporate-level business partner agreement to leverage the OpenSpirit interoperability framework across its units. Fugro Data Solutions and Fugro-Jason will be the first to leverage the OpenSpirit software development kit. OpenSpirit will ‘streamline data search and transfer between applications and data stores’ for users of Fugro’s applications including the Trango seismic data management application, PowerLog and the Jason Geoscience Workbench.

Deryl Williams, President of Fugro Data Solutions Canada said, ‘Customer workflows will benefit from better data control and seamless access from their interpretations systems.’ More from openspirit.com.


Gould—reservoir characterization portfolio ‘complete’

Schlumberger chairman sees technology as oil’s future. Integration to follow acquisition spree.

Speaking at the 38th Annual Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans last month, Schlumberger chairman Andrew Gould described 2010 as a ‘transition year for energy’ as a nascent recovery in oil demand and OPEC discipline is leading to stronger prices. For natural gas, the picture is very different with short-term supply growth from a rapid increase in LNG capacity and the remarkable phenomenon of unconventional gas. Gould doubts that the gas glut will lead to a price fall as costs of extraction and rapid decline rates make for higher costs. Also the IEA forecasts gas demand to rise constantly out to 2030.

Gould then turned to the relative cost of future oil and gas sources. The world is not short of either oil or gas but the industry is challenged by more difficult types of hydrocarbons. There are ‘ample’ resources but transforming them into reserves will make a significant call on technology. This implies a long-term commitment to R&D and commercialization.

Technology is needed to help recover unconventional oils and gases. Technology again is required to explore and develop frontier areas such as the deepwater and the arctic. And finally, technology is required to target enhanced recovery from fields already in production—where new technology is likely to make the biggest difference in the short term.

Gould sees technology as the basis of Schlumberger’s leadership position noting en passant, that, wireline and MWD excepted, Schlumberger’s technologies all result from acquisitions. In petrotechnical software, the acquisition of ‘a small company building exploration workstations’ has led to the ‘Windows’ of the oil and gas industry [Petrel].

Looking forward, Gould considers that, apart from some niche technologies, both Schlumberger’s reservoir characterization and development portfolios are complete. What remains to be achieved is a major integration challenge—particularly with regard to the Smith acquisition where ‘much remains to do.’

Gould wound up introducing Schlumberger’s new COO, Paal Kibsgaard, who will handle the day-to-day running of the company while Gould concentrates on the technology portfolio and on completing the integration of Smith. More from slb.com.


Software, hardware short takes

Paradigm, Fugro, Geosoft, PE2S, Geovariances, Ingrain, SMT, AGM, Kappa, Venture, Enigma ...

Use of Intel’s Math Kernel Library has brought ‘up to’ a 50 fold speedup to model building in Paradigm’s Skua 2009. Tests with Intel’s X25E solid state disk show an additional 1.4x factor.

The 8.2 release of Fugro-Jason’s Geosciences Workbench now runs on ‘all current Windows operating environments’ as well as Linux. The release includes a ‘multi-attribute well interpolator’ for building low frequency geologic models from seismic attributes.

Geosoft’s 2010 release adds enhanced multidisciplinary workflows spanning geology, geophysics and geochemistry. The Geochemistry for ArcGIS extension includes 3D draping, colored histograms and probability plots. Data management is improved with ODBC, JPEG 2000 and GoCad voxet support.

P2 Energy Solutions is reassuring clients concerned by IBM’s disposal of its UniData solution to Rocket Software. P2ES warns—‘Don’t believe the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). UniData is deployed at 62,000 sites and 3 million users at corporations including Anheuser-Busch, Amex Hyatt. High performance, multi-value databases like UniData make up about 9% of the database market.’

Geovariances has announced Isatis 10.0 with parallel processing for sequential gaussian simulations, sequential indicator simulation, kriging and more. The new version boasts a 10 fold speedup over the previous release and connectivity with Roxar RMS.

Ingrain has announced CoreHD, a 3D high-definition computer tomographic scanner for ‘whole core’ analysis. The tool provides 1,500 cross-sections per meter of core or alternatively, mimics borehole image and density/atomic number logs.

Seismic Micro-Technology has released Kingdom EarthPak Advanced with improvements to reserves and economic evaluation, volumetrics and Monte Carlo simulation for probabilistic reserve evaluation.

V 2.0 of EnergyIQ introduces a direct read from IHS’ EnerdeqML web services domestic data feed to any OpenSpirit-enabled data store. Target clients include ArcGIS, Kingdom, OpenWorks, Petra, GeoFrame, Finder and Recall.

Austin Geomodeling’s 4.0 release of its Recon flagship includes version and scenario management for risk assessment, Windows and Linux 32/64 bit support and integration with OpenSpirit, Landmark R5000, a Petrel Plug-in, and new data mining functionality.

Kappa Engineering has developed a set of training videos for users of its well test software—more from kappaeng.com/videos.

Badley GeoScience has announced a TrapTester to Petrel direct link and a 64 bit build for Redhat Enterprise Linux 4 and up.

Weatherford has announced Field Office 2010, an integrated suite of production optimization software for artificial lift, flowing wells, and production assets.

Venture Information Management has tuned its V-KIT data profiling application to help customers with migration to Landmark’s R5000 release.

Enigma’s SmartMove 2.4.2 sees a new command line interface, SNMP traps and support for network monitoring.

JewelSuite has announced an ‘AESubs’ plug-in to evaluate geomechanical consequences of production such as subsidence and induced subsurface strain.


ESRI 2010 Petroleum User Group, Houston

SAFARI outcrop database. BP’s ‘RUOK?’ crisis management, Chevron, Exxon pipeline routing, OMV.

Nicole Richter (University of Bergen) described ‘Safari1,’ a geological outcrop analog database for reservoir modelers. Her Virtual Outcrop Geology group does 3D spatial data collection using Lidar, hyper-spectral imaging and photography. Processing allows, for instance, dolomites and limestones to be distinguished on point cloud data. Another project, EUSA, the empirical understanding of sedimentary architecture, is collecting large volumes of spatial geological outcrop data to study internal architecture. 19 oil companies are involved through the FORCE consortium.

Brian Autio showed how ARC GIS server underpins BP’s crisis response effort. Previously, BP used Microsoft Virtual Earth, now Bing Maps, but was confronted with limitations in programmability. BP, with help from Infosys, has now migrated to an ARC GIS Server with a Microsoft Silverlight client. Maps now include live data from external sources including Impact Weather, Spatial on Demand, Horizon Marine and ESRI’s data appliance. These feed into BP’s MXD data layer, the ARC GIS Sserver and out to the BP intranet. The GIS portal integrates with BP’s ‘RUOK?’ crisis management application, an employee database for the Gulf of Mexico region, constantly updated with employee location and status.

Geoff Price unveiled Chevron Pipeline Co.’s pipeline route optimizer, GISPro, a tool for ‘early phase’ route optimization for pipelines. GISPro derives slopes from a digital elevation model and integrates business rules for social, construction and environmental aspects. A ‘least cost’ path is computed from the discreet cost surface and build scenarios. Interesting examples included the San Andres fault area integrating geohazards, vegetation population densities and rainfall.

Another pipeline GIS presentation came from Scott Byron (ExxonMobil) who has been working on risk-based pipeline route optimization for the Persian Gulf region. A similar approach to Chevron’s was used to identify 36 risk factors, both on and offshore. These were categorized according to probability of occurrence and potential impact. Risk evaluation was performed using the Brown and Peterson method2 and other methods. The IGAT4 oil pipeline route crosses the Zagros Mountains in an active earthquake area, costing $1 billion.

Christoph Smolka showed how a ‘COTS3’ web application, SynerGis’ WebOffice has simplified GIS integration for OMV. ArcGIS Server is a powerful tool but requires much customization. OMV opted to use a COTS application as a front end to ArcGIS. A spinoff was a hassle free migration from ArcIMS. Also WebOffice filled various lacunae in ArcGIS such as missing coordinate systems. OMV E&P WebGIS provides drill rig route planning, highlights facilities and HSE relevant sites along with street maps.

1 links/1004_9.

2 links/1004_10 and 11.

3 Common off-the-shelf.


Society of Petroleum Engineers Intelligent Energy 2010, Utrecht

BP traces ten years of intelligent energy. Aramco claims Khurais largest i-field in the world. Pai questions IE cost accounting. More on Petrobras’ GeDig, Pemex’ ALAS, Valhall ACE. Total on data validation and reconciliation. BG, Woodside checkout Web 2 in oil and gas. Perdido takes Shell Smart Fields to the ‘next level.’ Peter Kapteijn sets the ‘ultimate test’ of E&P intelligence.

In his keynote, BP’s David Latin noted that it is now ten years since the inception of the digital/intelligent oilfield concept which has since evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for BP and others. BP’s Field of the Future is now realizing the CERA promise of a ‘myriad of opportunities that a digital infrastructure will bring.’ Latin cited BP’s 2 million data tags and thousands of kilometers of fiber in the Gulf of Mexico. The ‘prize’ here is the potential to increase the last century’s 35% average recovery rate—perhaps near to the 80% theoretical limit. Novel remote sensing technology from NASA got a mention as did Art Weglein’s project to do seismic imaging with no prior knowledge of the subsurface. More futuristically, Latin spoke of ‘tiny down hole data collecting robots,’ which will send information back on pore space dimensions and other reservoir parameters. Close collaboration with the computer gaming industry and the use of real time information are also key, but digital energy’s most precious resource is people. Latin paid tribute to Halliburton’s retired Energy Services CEO, Edgar Ortiz, described as an ‘industry visionary’ of the digital oilfield.

Doug Suttles (BP) followed, announcing that despite last year’s economic volatility, the long term trend for the energy business is up, as developing economies and a recovering economy impact demand. The outlook is fundamentally robust—‘you are one of world’s growth industry.’ Turning to technology, the game changer in the Gulf of Mexico is seismic imaging—which BP performs in-house on its own 27,000 CPU cluster with 6 petabytes of storage.

BP’s Field of the Future (FoF) initiative began in the North Sea when a small group advocated a digital oilfield approach and promised a 1,000 bbl/day production hike on a single asset. Despite initial skepticism, they delivered! Today’s FoF applications include 20 multi zone completions which show a massive potential for increased recovery. Prudhoe Bay’s recovery has risen from 40 to 60% thanks to extended reach drilling, coiled tubing and the largest gas reinjection plant in the world. Other FoF flagships include life of field seismics on the North Sea Clair development and a 10,000 bopd production hike on the Gulf of Mexico Thunderhorse field from real time optimization. Intelligent Energy (IE) has come of age. Success factors are ‘materiality’ and scale and bold leadership that targets and delivers clear benefits. In the Q&A (and indeed elsewhere at the show) some questioned how ‘digital’ or ‘intelligent’ could realistically be ring fenced in a cost benefit analysis and distinguished from other technological breakthroughs.

Mohamed Al Qahtani described how Saudi Aramco is hiking its gas production to 10 TCF/year by 2015—all ‘i-field enabled,’ with real time measurement, optimization and control. Business value comes from a whole spectrum of operations including supply/distribution across integrated networks and facilities including 23,000 km of pipelines, 40 oil plants, 7 refineries and terminals and ships. All of which is coordinated centrally at the OSPAS Command and Control Center. Khurais, with a 1.2 mm bopd capacity, is the largest i-field in the world. All wells have permanent downhole monitoring and remote control. Aramco is building a big new facility for computer simulation which will be up and running in September 2010. The goal is to increase recovery from the current 50% to 70%—a ‘realistic’ objective thanks to ‘smart’ technology.

Meyer Melody noted that Chevron’s i-field is now in its 8th year. Chevron originally considered that ‘automation’ was key—as in automated data gathering. But there is more to ‘i’ than automation. A transformation comes about when an entire workflow such as production optimization is addressed. The East Texas Carthage gas field with over 1 TCF reserves was discovered in 1936 but still has hundreds of producers. An i-field makeover included a revised workflow that means operation ‘by exception.’ Smart centers provide remote access to specialists. Chevron’s compression decision support center, staffed by specialists, is helping migrate maintenance from a ‘time based’ to ‘condition based’ activity, detecting abnormal events ahead of time.

Bichsel Mathius claimed that the Smart Fields initiative has created around $5bn in value over the 2003-9 period for Shell and its partners through real time monitoring, smart wells, 4D seismic etc. But technology is only part of the answer. Of equal importance are new ways of working and determining the right level of ‘smartness’ for each field. The Gulf of Mexico Perdido field was ‘born smart’ with remotely assisted operations. Advanced software tools shift burden of monitoring and control to an automated system in New Orleans. There is also increasing application on brownfield assets in Oman, the North Sea and Groningen. Shell’s collaborative work environments bring people together and break down the silos. Value also comes from the integrity and safety of operations. IE is attractive to young grads and is boosting world energy supply.

Satish Pai considers that digital energy is allowing to Schlumberger to reduce the number of people needed for a given job—‘avoiding hire and fire by leveraging a smaller population of experts.’ But Pai doubts that it is really possible to split out the contribution from digital in a cost/benefit sense, ‘It just has to be how you do business.’ In the early days of IE, Schlumberger had three operations centers. Today there are 31. The big issue now is the balance between people and automation. Is the process the key, with human intervention only when things go wrong? Or are people key, with automation simplifying their workload? In the airline industry the main failures are people-related and it’s the same in Schlumberger. Automation will reduce failures—but would you get on a plane without a pilot?

Pedro Benoni presented Petrobras’s staged expansion of its ‘GeDig’ digital oilfield deployment in the Campos Basin. Petrobras is trying to wean its engineers from Excel with an integrated asset model, real time workflows and an operations and maintenance portal. The IAM is used to assess development strategies and to size capital equipment. Models are also used for operational surveillance, using computation-light proxy models to ‘bring simulation into day to day operations.’ Petrobras has also been working with Schlumberger on self organizing maps to categorize well states and prioritize intervention.

Pemex’ Burgos asset is likewise undergoing a digital transformation as Schlumberger’s Fabio Corbellini outlined. Burgos is a massive brownfield with 3,500 producers—70% with artificial lift from 63 compression systems. To combat the usual engineering domain silos Pemex has moved from a traditional linear workflow to a more collaborative solution. This resulted in the 2009 artificial lift advisory system (ALAS) for workover candidate selection and a 20% production hike.

Chevron’s Jim Crompton and Helen Gilman made a brave attempt to look at what’s next in the digital oilfield. Crompton predicted that in 15 years, ‘we won’t be using PowerPoint—or at least, I hope we won’t!’ Chevron sees ‘smarts’ extending from the well to ‘business rules built into equipment, power, chemicals and spare parts—getting the process closer to the truth.’ Echoing Pai, Crompton noted an ‘interesting debate’ as to whether future structures will be manned or not. ‘There is still a role for people offshore, but we will be able to withdraw folks in the face of a storm—and still operate the facility.’ Chevron is engaged in discussions internally and with other stakeholders as to whether remote operations will mean ‘fewer or no people.’ In any event, new fields are designed with a high level of automation. Gilman regretted that despite the success of the digital oilfield, ‘We still need to justify fiber and expenditure on connectivity. We need to move to a situation where this is a given.’

Trevor Garlick gave an enthusiastic exposé on BP’s flagship Valhall advanced collaboration environment (ACE). For BP, the ACE has come of age and now supports day to day operations and interventions such as slug control with dynamic well modeling. The Valhall ACE saw the world’s first remote cement job and has resulted in ten people moving permanently ashore. The Valhall ACE is now moving from a surveillance role to remote control as witnessed by a mini control room actually inside the ACE.

Oil IT Journal’s best paper award goes to Jean-Paul Couput (Total) for his presentation on monitoring and data reconciliation. Couput notes that while DO/IE and collaboration are now givens, data and data quality remain the big problem. Well measurements are plagued with uncertainty, errors and poor access to sensors for testing. Much time is lost checking data. Total has implemented a data validation and reconciliation (DVR) solution with help from French software house Belsim. The DVR goes way beyond conventional data clean-up, leveraging redundancy, uncertainty and constraint equations (as used in the refinery) to detect errors and build a consistent data set. Virtual metering, data mining of raw PVT and flow measurements, dynamic flow models, and embedded thermodynamic models are combined in a proxy model of the real sensor network. The system has been successfully applied to gas balancing on a 200k bopd West African FPSO and for production monitoring of an unmanned Middle East offshore platform. Intelligence in the system correctly identified bad multi phase flow meter configuration and questionable test data. Advanced DVR is now a key element of Total’s field monitoring solution—closing the gaps between measurement and the IT world.

A session on social media and Web 2.0 in oil and gas heard from Jennifer Morrison on BG’s corporate knowledge portal and Andy Watt on Woodside’s ‘innovation capture.’ The BG Connect portal provides a forum for discussions on topics such as Petrel vs. IESX and is trialing blogs on departmental issues and new technology. The portal connects BG’s global workforce through a ‘people finder’ and virtual conferencing. Woodside’s Innovation Improvement Zone—‘WIIZ’ provides visibility of current projects. Users can navigate from the home page, select a group, person or opportunity and see who is putting in the good ideas. Everything is tagged on use—the more stuff is used, the more useful it gets. Users can vote on ideas or set a challenge—all voices are heard. Early work with Zope and Plone did not thrive. Woodside is now using SharePoint. Now ‘nobody needs to do Excel or PowerPoint—just use SharePoint’s real time charting.’

Another presentation the Perdido Gulf of Mexico development—the the world’s deepest spar in 8,000 ft. of water—showed how Shell is using remote assisted operations, exception-based surveillance in its collaborative work environment. An engineer sitting in a replica control room on the 26th floor of 1 Shell Square, New Orleans is a ‘fully-vested member of operations team,’ with a DCS Console and a video link to Perdido.

Another Shell New Orleans facility is ‘The Bridge’ where data from GoM and Brazilian operations is monitored. If flow or pressure data is out of spec, the system alerts operators. This is ‘not a subversive effort to supplant humans—but a data mining exercise.’ A collaborative work environment (CWE), if badly

implemented, is just ‘a very expensive telephone.’ Initially the idea was, ‘Build it and they will come.’ But ‘they’ didn’t. To make the CWE work, ‘you need to change the way teams work together—and to make sure they leverage these investments. Shell’s CWEs embed Energy Components, FieldWare, Petex and RT Data Historian. Perdido has taken Shell’s Smart Fields to the next level.’

Peter Kapteijn (Maersk) suggested that the ultimate test of E&P ‘intelligence’ will be how we handle the environment and greenhouse gasses (GHG). Today, the world faces a ‘perfect storm’ as rising temperatures mandate GHG reduction and/or sequestration—all in the face of rising energy consumption. We need to get CO2 emissions down to 14GT over the next 50 years. Options include replacing coal with shale gas—although this implies converting 1,400 GW of capacity! Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is understood—but we need 3,500 Sleipner projects! In other words, ‘we need to build a worldwide E&P industry once over.’ This is a huge, but not un-doable task. Renewables have very low potential. If we don’t act, by 2030 ‘all GHG bets are off,’ world temperatures will rise by several degrees. Holland will be tropical and we will all have wet feet! Such are the twin challenges to E&P—provide the world with affordable energy and mitigate CO2. This will be achieved by combining IE concepts and early, CO2-based EOR-cum-sequestration. We need novel, integrated oil, gas and CO2 systems.

This article is an abstract from a Technology Watch Report produced by The Data Room. For more information on Technology Watch, visit oilit.com/tech or email tw@oilit.com.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

AMEC, C&C Reservoirs, Chet Morrison, Deloitte, Energistics, Energy Ventures, ENGlobal, Energy Solutions, FMC, Geospatial Holdings, OpenSpirit, Honeywell, Ikon, Kadme, McLaren, NETL, more ...

Amec has named Kirk Barwick director of operations for its Paragon Angola joint venture with Prodoil. Barwick is a 31 year Amec veteran.

David Jenkins has been appointed senior advisor at C&C Reservoirs. Jenkins was previously with Marathon Oil.

Bobby Lott has joined Chet Morrison Contractors as VP Well Services. Lott was previously VP of Superior Energy’s Well Services Division.

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) has named Denise Peppard VP and chief human resources officer. Peppard hails from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Former Chevron exec Peter Robertson is now senior advisor to Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions.

Duncan Junor (Halliburton) and Steve Roberts (BP) have joined the Board of the Energistics standards body.

Kristian Lier has joined Energy Ventures as Investment Manager in Houston. Shantanu Agarwal joins the company’s Aberdeen team as Associate. Lier was previously with DnB and Agarwal with Schlumberger.

Ed Pagano has been named CEO of ENGlobal Corp. He was previously with WorleyParsons. Pagano replaces Bill Coskey who will continue to serve as chairman.

Juan Serina has been promoted to VP marketing and product management with Energy Solutions International. He has been with the company since 1995.

FMC Technologies has made the following appointments—John Gremp (president and COO), Bob Robert (Executive VP Energy Systems), Maryann Seaman (VP, Treasurer and Deputy CFO) and Mark Scott (VP Administration). Scott hails from Dresser Inc. The others are internal moves.

Mark Smith, chairman and CEO of Geospatial Holdings is now also president following David Vosbein’s resignation. The company has also appointed Tom Ridge and Tim Sutherland to its board.

Geo Point Technologies has named Jeffrey Jensen president and CEO and Jeffrey Brimhall CFO, secretary and treasurer. Brimhall hails from Resolute Energy.

Honeywell has named Krishna Mikkilineni and Bask Iyer to its Executive Management Team.

Seismic interpretation ‘guru’ Mike Bacon has joined Ikon Science as principal geoscientist. Bacon hails from Petro-Canada.

Manpreet Singh Monga has joined Kadme as service delivery manager. Monga joins Kadme from IBM.

Kuljit Bawa has joined McLaren Software as VP Global Sales. He was previously a founding member of Staffware.

Tony Cugini is the new director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

OpenSpirit Corp. has promoted Suri Bhat to MD and Brian Boulmay to director of business partners.

Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Suedeen Kelly, is to co-chair Patton Boggs LLP’s energy industry practice and ‘help clients navigate the changing energy landscape and prepare for new legislation and regulations.’

DNV has appointed Antony DSouza as its regional manager for Middle East & Indian Subcontinent.

Baker Hughes has opened a new operations base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The 100,000-square-meter facility houses laboratories, offices, repair and maintenance operations and a Beacon remote collaboration and monitoring facility. Baker Hughes will further expand its Saudi Arabian footprint next year with construction of the Dhahran Technology Center, a multi-million dollar R&D facility in the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals ‘Techno-Valley’ location.

The US Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage has kicked-off its website on links/1004_2.


Done Deals

Kelman, Acorn Energy, AspenTech, Hampson-Russell, Coreworx, Cortex, Energy Ventures, MetaCarta ...

Following a difficult 2009, Kelman is going private and will be amalgamated into a new wholly-owned subsidiary of Seyco, a corporation controlled by Seymour Epstein who is chairman of Kelman’s board of directors and a major shareholder.

Acorn Energy is to acquire control of US Sensor Systems, currently field testing a ‘fiber optic geophone.’ Acorn already owns 10% of the company and has options for up to 84% at an aggregate consideration of approx. $6 million in cash and paper.

Aspen Technology has signed two new commercial agents in the Middle East—Arabesque Group, in Kuwait, and Independent Technical Services in

Abu Dhabi.

CGGVeritas unit Hampson-Russell sold the commercial rights to its GLI3D refraction statics package to Houston-based GeoTomo.

Acorn Energy subsidiary Coreworx is to acquire Decision Dynamics Technology (DDT). DDT shareholders will receive 1 million common Acorn shares.

Cortex Business Solutions has sold $6 million worth of stock to a syndicate of underwriters led by CI Capital Markets. The deal includes an option on $1 million more.

Energy Ventures and Simmons Parallel Energy Fund have invested £7.5 million in Aberdeen-based Red Spider’s remote open/close well intervention and completion technologies.

ENGlobal Corporation has acquired selected assets of Houston-based automation specialist Control Dynamics International. Terms were not disclosed.

Nokia has acquired MetaCarta Inc.

Schlumberger has combined with Smith International—Smith shareholders receive a 37.5% premium on their holding. Schlumberger also acquired Houston-based Nexus Geosciences which is to integrate its WesternGeco business unit. And again—Schlumberger has acquired Geoservices in a $1 billion transaction.

SGI has bought selected assets from Copan Systems—expanding its storage portfolio to include a ‘scalable, energy-efficient’ massive array of idle disks (MAID). Purchase price was approx. $2 million cash.

TerraSpark has received a $6 million investment from Lime Rock Partners to ‘accelerate’ the commercialization and development of its Insight Earth seismic visualization and interpretation products.


NAM has wireless enabled its onshore well test rig

Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology adopted after stringent field tests.

Shell-ExxonMobil joint venture Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) has built a mobile well test operations unit for use across its onshore assets. NAM has selected Emerson’s Smart Wireless Technology, a self organizing wireless network, to enable faster set up and operations of its well test sites. Previously, NAM wired test equipment was cumbersome to set up and multiple cables made for a safety hazard and corrosion and cable breaks were frequent problems.

NAM Assistant Operation Supervisor André Lahuis said, ‘We carried out extensive testing before switching to wireless. We used special equipment to generate every possible type of inter-ference, but the wireless signal was not affected. Emerson’s encryption makes the system completely secure from outside interference.’

NAM now has three mobile test units equipped with Emerson’s wireless sensors for differential pressure and temperature. Lahuis added, ‘Now, when we get to a site, we put the sensors on the apparatus, install the gateway receiver, switch the system on and get on with other tasks. Within minutes, the sensors have registered with the receiver and are working correctly.’ NAM is now also using the Emerson wireless pH transmitter to test the acidity of the oil produced on test. More from emerson.com.


EnQuest deploys Dyadem Stature

‘Harmonized’ risk management solution provides single global ‘risk register.’

UK-based independent E&P company EnQuest has chosen Dyadem’s ‘Stature’ operational risk management solution to create a ‘harmonized’ risk assessment, monitoring, and mitigation system across its Aberdeen facilities. Stature provides a comprehensive view of risk management priorities and helps create corporate best practices and shared lessons learned. The solution includes audit trails to ensure compliance with regional regulations and provides corporate visibility of risks and compliance across regions, business units, and sites. John Atkinson, EnQuest’s Asset Manager said, ‘Stature has combined our data into one global risk register, provides trending reports and has virtually eliminated the reporting duplication of effort.’

Previously EnQuest used non-specialized software to complete risk assessments—but the lack of corporate standards and the need for a more efficient solution convinced EnQuest of the need for a dedicated solution. Stature Workgroup, Dyadem’s entry-level solution is a web-based platform that lets teams access a centralized database. The solution provides risk assessment data, knowledge libraries and standardized templates saving time and ensuring consistency across past, present and future analyses. EnQuest was formed from the demerged North Sea interests of Lundin Petroleum and Petrofac. More from dyadem.com.


The MathWorks/Matlab Virtual Energy Conference

Quantitative Energy Models on LNG shipping. RWE AG on energy pricing and SAP integration.

Speaking at The MathWorks’ Energy Virtual Conference last month, Tristram Scott described how consultants Quantitative Energy Models use Matlab to study LNG terminal operations. LNG tankers take several weeks to reach their terminal destination for offloading, storage and or re-gasification for local markets. Price differentials between local and remote markets mean that operators may opt to divert shipments to more lucrative markets.

QEM’s Matlab-based models consider month ahead prices and shipment diversion costs. Diversions are considered only if they are clearly profitable—i.e. when a certain threshold probability is exceeded. To determine this, a ‘price duration curve’ is generated from gas prices—the PDC provides an estimate of the time that prices are expected to be at or above a certain level. Scott’s paper provides an in-depth look at the Matlab code behind the PDC and other indicators including maximum storage capacity, release and injection rates.

Another option for LNG operators is as feedstock to hydroelectric storage (pumping water to an uphill reservoir for later turbining). Here QEM uses stochastic dynamic programming to simulate arrivals and storage options. Scott concluded that LNG terminals fit well into framework of the standard hydro model and that the flexibility of having storage at an LNG terminal has considerable value.

~

Another Matlab event this month highlighted RWE AG’s use of Matlab to develop an energy pricing engine integrated with its SAP enterprise resource planning tool. The risk management system for natural gas trading a.k.a. ‘EwITA’ (Entwicklung IT-Zielarchitektur Gas) takes account of linear and non linear factors affecting price volatility and replaces previous ‘inconsistent implementations’ of the formulae throughout the enterprise in the legacy system and in Excel. The Matlab Compiler and Builder JA were used to create the production version of the system and interface with SAP. Since February 2009, when EwITA went in production, it has had zero downtime. A recording of the webinar is available at links/1004_8 (login required). More from mathworks.com.


Sales, contracts, partnerships and deployments

Emerson, Aker, Mimosa Systems, AGM, Caprock, IDS, Samit, CB&I, WorleyParsons, Ikon Science, ARKeX, Kadme, Tata, Fugro, Paradigm, Caesar Systems, EnerSys, FMC, SMT, OpenTrust.

BP has selected Emerson as ‘single-source’ provider for UK measurement audits and engineering support in a three-year, £2.25 million contract to be managed by Emerson’s METCO Services unit. The deal includes offshore and onshore measurement audits and engineering support of BP installations in the U.K.

Aker Solutions has signed with BP Norge for the provision of sub-surface consultancy services. The three-year agreement, with Aker’s Geo unit, includes operational and wellsite geology services.

Forest Oil has automated its email archiving and e-discovery processes with Mimosa Systems’ ‘NearPoint’ solution. Microsoft SharePoint-based NearPoint provides e-discovery and records retention for regulatory compliance.

BP has extended its enterprise agreement with Austin Geomodeling for its Recon and StratalSlice 3D geological interpretation and visualization toolset.

Atwood Oceanics has signed with CapRock Communications for the provision of VSAT connectivity to its global fleet of offshore drilling units.

IDS has signed with Samit Enterprises for resale of its DataNet2 in India. DataNet2 provides web based reporting tools for drilling, geology and well completions.

CB&I and joint venture partners WorleyParsons and Aker Solutions have been awarded a revised contract for front-end engineering and design from Shell for Phase II of the development of Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan oil field. The new contract is worth £170 million.

Ikon Science and ARKeX have teamed on a new service providing an integrated modeling workflow using full tensor gravity gradiometry data and Ikon Science’s rock physics technologies and reservoir characterization workflows.

Kadme has signed with Tata Consulting Services for deployment of its Whereoil Enterprise solution for a Norwegian client. Whereoil will be leveraged to build a portal to access G&G data in Openworks projects and Corporate databases. The partners will also provide ArcGIS Server integration.

Fugro has selected Paradigm’s depth imaging technology for its worldwide seismic processing centers.

The US Minerals Management Service has replaced its in-house developed Montcar economics package with Caesar Systems’ PetroVR solution.

EnerSys Corp. has teamed with D-RoTH, Inc. to offer alarm management expertise to SCADA system users. New regulations for control room management have created a need for oil and gas operators to refresh their operations and SCADA systems. EnerSys has also announced a teaming with User Center Designed Services (UCDS) to develop turn-key solutions for SCADA and the control room around UCDS’ ‘high-impact’ HMI solution.

Total has awarded a $210 million contract to FMC Technologies for the supply of subsea production equipment on its West of Shetland Laggan-Tormore field. The deal includes 12 multiphase meters, 10 subsea control modules and associated control systems.

Cypress E&P Corp. has completed installation of SMT’s Kingdom interpretation package on Isilon’s Scale-Out NAS platform.

An unnamed ‘leading international oil and gas company’ has awarded Paris-based (that should be a clue) OpenTrust a contract for the provision of a trust-based security infrastructure to protect key IT assets, users and their devices. The implementation enforces corporate security policies across servers, devices and end-users and devices.


Standards Stuff

IESG rolls out GeoURI. Open Grid Forum binary data standard, PCA/FIATECH Joint Reference Data.

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) has announced ‘GeoURI,’ a uniform resource identifier for geographic locations as a ‘Proposed Standard.’ The spec has backing from the IESG’s Geographic Location/Privacy (GEOPRIV) Working Group and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) communities. A GeoURI identifies a physical location and coordinate reference system in a ‘compact, human-readable, and protocol-independent way.’ The default coordinate reference system used is WGS-84. Geographic locations in this document are defined using WGS-84, equivalent to the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) Surveying and Positioning Committee EPSG (European Petroleum Survey Group). More from links/1004_13.

The Open Grid Forum has published its Data Format Description Language (DFDL) v1.0 Core Specification. The XML spec describes the structure of binary and textual files and data streams and targets data exchange in HPC, grid and distributed computing. More from ogf.org.

The POSC Caesar Association and FIATECH have announced a ‘Joint Operational Reference Data’ project that sets out to create a ‘stable, scalable and commercially-viable operation of the ISO15926 reference data system and associated services.’ Deliverables include a business model for the project and sustainable long term operation.

A neat website visualschema.com houses XML schema for a range of standards including PIDX (links/1004_14, although it does not appear to have been updated for a while.


Dual mode safety system for BP Angola

Dresser Masoneilan kits-out PSVO FPSO with emergency shutdown system.

BP Angola has selected a dual-mode analog and digital system from Dresser’s Masoneilan unit for emergency shutdown of its PSVO (Plutão, Saturno, Vênus and Marte) floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). The Dresser SVI II ESD analog safety units will be integrated into the Yokogawa Pro-Safe-RS safety instrumented system and Yokogawa PRM asset management suite. Oil IT Journal asked Dresser’s Piotr Pojedynek why analog systems were still deployed in the day of the ‘digital oilfield.’ He explained, ‘While we are in a digital era, the safety system segment lags. Users are not yet ready to adopt a fully digital safety system. Traditional shutdown systems used a 24volt DC signal which was either on or off. Consequently users had no information on system state during normal operations or during a trip. Our new solution provides an analog safety system alongside a Hart capability that provides bi-directional digital communication at all times.’ The Hart protocol piggybacks a digital signal atop the 4-20 mA analog feed. The new solution provides continuous diagnostics during a safety trip and enables partial stroke testing of the emergency shutdown valves at regular intervals. More from dressermasoneilan.com.


Wireless World

FMC Technologies, Oil & Gas RFID Group team. Access International’s ‘nano-positioning’ sensors.

FMC Technologies has teamed with the Oil and Gas RFID Solution Group (OGR) to develop RFID tags for use on hydraulic fracturing equipment. The companies plan to develop equipment and data standards that speed take-up of the technology. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is used to identify and track parts as they move from the well-site to the service center. The tags replace engraved serial numbers on metal bands that require reorientation of heavy objects and careful inspection of the band to identify the part. Adam Berg, Engineering Service Manager at FMC said, ‘The intent is to increase safety and efficiency, while also realizing cost savings for our customers.’ OGR members include BP and ExxonMobil. More from rfidsolutiongroup.com.

Dallas-based Axcess International has signed a contract for the provision of a wireless personnel identification and tracking system to the operator of a large oil platform in the Far East. The Dot MicroWireless’ tags are used to secure perimeters and to count worker ‘in/out’ status as mandated by regulations such as those from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. ‘Nano-positioning’ sensors transmit individual worker’s on-the-job status and issue an alarm in the event of a ‘man-down’ situation. An AxcessView application expands the access control system to full workforce management solutions. The deal is valued at around $100,000. More from axcessinc.com.

ERF Wireless is extending coverage of its wireless broadband network across the Haynesville shale area. Full cover across the Texas-Louisiana is expected by early fall 2010. More from erfwireless.com.


Going, going … green!

TechniData’s GHG compliance ‘quick start’ package. A.D. Little rolls-out Carbon Equity Index.

Markdorf, Germany-based TechniData has introduced a ‘GHG MRR Quick Start Package’ for organizations affected by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule (40 CFR Part 98). The new rule mandates yearly GHG reporting to the EPA, starting from 2010. The software embeds TechniData’s experience with the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), Title V permitting and NESHAP and builds on SAP’s EHS foundation. More from technidata.com.

ECPI, the Milan-based research, ratings and indices company, and consultant Arthur D. Little have announced the Global Carbon Equity Index, a list of 40 ‘carbon-savvy’ public companies. Top ‘carbon-cutting’ performer from the carbon-intensive oil and gas sectors is Milan-based Eni. The evaluation included carbon emissions and mitigation strategies. According to the release, ‘sustainable investment portfolios are no longer greenwash.’ More from ecpindices.com.


Tanks-a-Lot deploys Geoforce’s asset tracking

Offshore equipment renter uses intrinsically safe GPS devices to corral inventory.

Offshore equipment provider Tanks-A-Lot (TAL) has deployed Geoforce’s GPS tracking system to manage its global oilfield equipment inventory. Geoforce’s web-based software uses a blend of GPS, radio frequency identification (RFID) and other wireless technologies to automate field asset management. TAL president AJ Cannata said, ‘Geoforce’s system streamlines an otherwise cumbersome process and enables us to provide our customers with visibility and intelligence into their assets, which is very valuable to their operations.’

Geoforce’s intrinsically safe GPS devices transmit position data to secure data centers one to four times per day using satellite communication networks. Equipment current and historical location is shown on Google Maps along with offshore lease block information. Virtual boundaries can be set to generate e-mail alerts based on movements. TAL also uses the software to manage lifting compliance related tasks for each asset such as mandatory visual inspections, load testing, magnetic particle inspection, and more. More from geoforce.net.


UCL, Weatherford, Silixa develop fiber optic flowmeter

Chevron-led consortium to develop continuous flow measurement with backscattered laser light.

Weatherford has joined a Chevron North Sea led consortium that is developing a new continuous flow measurement device that uses fiber optics developed by UK-based startup Silixa. The project is developing a permanent in-well flow meter based on Silixa’s Idas technology. Idas provides continuous sampling of the acoustic field in the well by analyzing backscattered laser pulses. Other applications include sand control performance monitoring, gas breakthrough, artificial lift optimization and more.

Some of the early R&D on the technology was performed at University College London’s (UCL) Optoelectronics Research Group. UCL, where professor Charles Kao received a Nobel prize for Physics, is also a member of the project. The project includes the development of a neural net-based data processing system. The project has a budget of £1 million over three years—with £750,000 coming from the British Government’s Technology Strategy Board. Silixa has backing from Chevron’s Technology Venture’s unit and Lime Rock Partners. In a separate announcement, Weatherford unveiled a ‘mutually exclusive’ agreement for marketing Idas-based in-well monitoring systems. More from silixa.com.


Cranfield researchers compute risk to offshore equipment

Palisade Corp’s @Risk used in Monte Carlo modeling of R&D, deployment and lifetime risks.

Researchers from the Cranfield, UK School of Applied Sciences report on successful application of Palisade Corp’s flagship @Risk Monte-Carlo-based extension to Microsoft Excel to evaluate and mitigate the risks associated with the development of high-end subsea oil and gas equipment. Subsea equipment is deployed at great depth and often in hostile environments. Potential intervention costs in excess of $10 million place a huge premium on assuring long term reliability by spending time and resources early in the product design lifecycle.

The Cranfield researchers used two engineering risk analysis techniques, reliability, availability, maintainability (RAM) and life cycle costing analysis (LCC). RAM focuses on the ability of system components while LCC evaluates the financial big picture including cost of repair and lost revenue due to downtime. System components are characterized by a ‘time to failure’ distribution and thousands of model runs used to build an overview of failure modes—balancing likelihood of failure with ease of maintenance and consequences.

Cranfield’s Karl Woods said, ‘@RISK’s sophisticated analysis enables us to measure the unknowns, and combine reliability forecasts with the cost of breakdowns, thereby illustrating that lack of investment in making a product more reliable can often be false economy in the long term.’ The project was part-funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. More from palisade.com.


IFP gives Modelica thumbs-up

Open Source toolkit from Sweden’s Linköping University sees upstream take-up.

A recent announcement from the French Petroleum Institute highlights the growing importance of the Modelica language to optimize oil and gas systems and

processes. Modelica came out of process R&D performed at the Pelab unit of Sweden’s Linköping University and was originally designed for refinery process modeling. Modelica differs from traditional ‘system-based modeling,’ where components connect via pre-defined inputs and outputs. Instead Modelica components are described with mathematical equations—allowing for more flexible interactions.

The IFP has used the Modelica-based ScicosLab toolset to model a complete drilling platform and reports that this was achieved with only nine components—as opposed to some 500 which would have been required using the traditional approach. Alongside its use in various consortia, Modelica is also embedded in several commercial applications, notably Catia from Dassault Systèmes which acquired Modelica specialist Dynasim in 2006. More from modelica.org.


WellPoint Systems rolls-out Dynamics-based EAM

Microsoft Convergence Conference hears from oil and gas enterprise asset maintenance developer.

At the Microsoft Convergence Conference in Atlanta this month, Calgary-based WellPoint rolled-out an extension to its Microsoft Dynamics AX-based oil and gas financials package. The new enterprise asset maintenance (EAM) solution, Daxeam, integrates maintenance operations with Microsoft’s Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Daxeam provides a single point of data entry and source of record for vendors, inventory, assets and more. The unified environment spans maintenance operations and the back office including security, logistics, workflow and reporting.

WellPoint Systems’ business unit director Phil Earle said, ‘Partners and customers told us they wanted a fully integrated EAM solution—one that integrates maintenance functionality with Microsoft Dynamics AX.’ EAM targets operational efficiency, optimized resource utilization and provides real-time visibility of maintenance operations. The solution will be available in Q2 2010. More from daxeam.com.