June 2013


MaraDrill PoC

PI System evangelist and project manager with Marathon Oil, Ken Startz, outlines ‘MaraDrill,’ a proof of concept data infrastructure for ‘factory drilling’ of the Eagle Ford and Bakken shales.

Speaking at the 2013 OSIsoft user conference in San Francisco earlier this year, Marathon’s Ken Startz presented ‘MaraDrill,’ a proof of concept (PoC) demonstration of the use of OSIsoft tools to develop a comprehensive data infrastructure in support of its ‘factory drilling’ effort in the Eagle Ford and Bakken non conventional plays. Marathon’s use of OSIsoft’s PI System goes back to 1988 with an installation at its Robinson, Illinois refinery. Its first OSIsoft ‘salesman’ was founder and CEO Pat Kennedy. Today Marathon has four PI systems installed in its upstream operations around the world.

Marathon has now leveraged its PI System investment across its unconventional resource plays with the new high frequency data infrastructure, along with web-based tools, PI WebParts and Coresight and Microsoft’s SharePoint platform.

The MaraDrill PoC was launched early in 2012 with three Helmerich & Payne rigs operating in the Eagle Ford and Bakken. Data from the rig’s Omron control system was aggregated with vendor data using PI’s OPC interface. A satellite link brings the consolidated, high frequency data stream in to Marathon’s Houston HQ. Drilling KPIs such as rate of penetration, weight on bit and mud flow rate are captured with 1 second time stamp resolution to the PI Server. 

Data visualization and analysis is performed using PI Coresight and the PI Excel data link. Data is also served to Spotfire for post well analyses of parameters such as rock strength and to predict penetration rates of subsequent wells for logistics and planning purposes.

Another compelling use case is pinpointing stick-slip drilling problems. Such issues can be spotted in the new high frequency data sets where they were obscured in the legacy Pason recording system. Stick-slip mitigation has led to a 40% hike in penetration rate on some wells and has reduced costs associated with downhole MWD/LWD tool damage.

Providing accessible real-time data at the rig and remotely has improved Marathon’s decision making through ‘consistent and easy-to-access data.’ More eyes on the data means significant time and capital cost reduction. A 5% reduction in drill time equates to a $1 million/rig/yr saving.

Startz concluded that using the real time PI System/SharePoint infrastructure has proved easy to configure and flexible. Capturing standardized operational data into a ‘single version’ of the truth has brought visible, actionable data to all. Download two related Startz’ presentations from 1306_0101 and 0102 and/or reread our report from the 2013 OSIsoft user conference in last month’s Oil IT Journal.


P2ES bags ISS

$45 million cash bid gets thumbs-up from independent expert. Chairman recommends offer as a good opportunity in ‘uncertain market environment.’

P2 Energy Solutions is planning to acquire Sydney, Australia-based ISS Group, in a $45 million cash transaction. ISS develops software for oil and gas and mining—notably its BabelFish data integration and analysis platform.  The offer price represents a 50% premium to the ISS share price before the announcement.

ISS commissioned an evaluation of the terms of the bid from independent expert RSM Bird Cameron which has determined the offer to be in the best interests of shareholders representing, in its analysis, a premium to the assessed fair value of ISS Share of ‘between 17.9 and and 37.5%.’

ISS Chairman Evan Cross said, ‘The board believes that the cash offer from P2 represents a good opportunity for shareholders to realise value and secure an attractive premium in an uncertain market environment.’ The company’s key management has entered into new employment agreements on terms satisfactory to P2ES. Steinepreis Paganin is acting as legal adviser to ISS. BabelFish users include Chevron, BHP Billiton, Woodside, Santos, Rio Tinto, Shell, BG Group, BP, Hess Corporation, Maersk, Petronas and PTTEP. More from ISS and P2ES.


Demographics, skills shortages and safely producing the black gold

Witnessing a recruitment frenzy at the EAGE, Neil McNaughton reflects on some of the tales we tell ourselves—of oil and gas as a technology laggard and of the graying workforce. He also listens in on a timely ‘Face the Facts’ BBC Radio 4 program—a front-line report from booming Aberdeen.

Industry always likes to have a good tale to tell and when a good tale has been told once, it is usually picked up on and repeated ad-infinitum until it is generally accepted as fact. A while back, one ‘good tale’ was that the oil and gas industry was a technology laggard and should seek salvation by taking on board more shiny new technology, or by hiring more systems integrators with some secret sauce that had proved its worth in other more ‘with it’ verticals. This good, if rather nebulous tale, was widely told by the vendor community and was received reasonably well by engineers looking for something to spend their R&D money on.

Another good tale was and is that of the graying workforce—the notion that as the baby boomers retire, more or less all at the same time, there will be a sudden dearth of skilled folks available to do the work.

The trouble with tale oft told is that it eventually gets more scrutiny than it merits which may expose weaknesses in the argument and or unintended consequences. I am thinking, if oil and gas is such a laggard, who would want to work there? And if the workforce is stretched what will the effect on safe project execution be?

There was good news on the hiring front at the London EAGE where it was obvious that something is afoot. The whole show has been turned into a massive recruitment parlor. Vendors are recruiting, oils are recruiting, everyone is hiring! Oils had massive stands in the front of the exhibition floor where they vaunted themselves as technology leaders. And they also had little recruitment booths scattered around the place ready to press any passing warm body into service. In regard of the dearth of applicants? I am pleased to report that the 2013 EAGE was thronging with young faces.  

As these young faces appear, the tale of oil and gas as a technology laggard is becoming something of an embarrassment. In the face of subsea completions in kilometers of water, petaflop HPC capacity it is probably about time that the ‘technology laggard’ tale was itself retired.

A good contribution to the workforce debate came in an edition of John Waites’ ‘Face the facts’ program last month on BBC Radio 4 (podcast available) which looked at the skills gap facing the newly booming North Sea oil industry.

Waites interviewed PriceWaterhouseCooper senior partner Mark Higginson who foresees a rosy future for the North Sea with an extra 30 billion barrels to be recovered and another 30 years of activity—a ‘huge national advantage’ [even though which beneficiary ‘nation’ may be uncertain]. Higginson categorized the employment situation as a demographic ‘time bomb.’ As older workers retire, skills shortages mean that ‘projects may take longer or simply not happen.’ Higginson opined that there was a need for some 120,000 extra people in the UK North Sea.

Aker Solutions’ Matt Corbin concurred. Aker has created around 500 jobs at its Aberdeen subsea business, building components for Statoil’s Åsgard and BP Schiehallion revamp.  Aker plans to bring in personnel from other industries and retrain them for oil and gas. Waites asked, ‘what if you don’t find them?’ Corbin replied, ‘then our customers will go elsewhere.’ The shortage has seen Aberdeen employment all but eliminated and day rates double to $800 ‘easily.’ Kevin Forbes, COE of Oilandgas-
workers.com said that the skills shortage was serious and was being compounded by the fact that the workforce is moving abroad to ‘higher wages, a better climate and tax free salaries.’

John Waites observed that the UK government has put both technology and the oil and gas sector at the heart of its recovery strategy. Industry has some £14 billion of investment plans for 2013 but is struggling to find project managers and other key personnel.

Higginson put the problem down to the cyclical, ‘boom and bust’ nature of the oil and gas industry with major job cuts in the downturn of 1990/2000 when oil was around $30 and industry ‘shut down.’ This has left a hole in the demographic, contributing to the lack of senior personnel.

Ecosse Subsea Systems MD Mike Wilson described the situation as ‘getting harder by the month’ as skills are spread thinner and engineers turnover every 6 months. There is a lot of stress in Aberdeen to meet delivery dates and ‘corners tend to be cut.’ Projects are being delayed and the tight employment situation could affect safety as engineers with only 3 or 4 years experience are ‘now in charge of major operations.’ Some may be up to it, others may not.

Oil & Gas UK CEO Malcolm Webb acknowledged the shortage but denied that the issue was affecting safety or indeed that the  situation was out of control. Webb described the problem as ‘a nice one to have,’ reflecting a dynamic industry and employment growth.

Where does all this leave the ‘graying workforce’ tale? I’m not sure. Most gray’ workers I meet are still hard at it  (or available for work) even though they may have officially been ‘retired.’ Perhaps  I’m not seeing the full picture. Maybe I should spend more time on the golf course or on the beach. Come to think of it, it’s a while since I added to oldsports.com.

~

I thought that I should bring to your attention an insightful piece by John Dizard which appeared in the obscure but informative Financial Times’ Fund Management supplement of June 24. Dizard takes a swipe at another good tale—that of the US shale oil ‘game changer.’ Dizard pigeonholes the USGS (which recently upped the shale oil ante in a new reserves report) as ‘working for the US ministry of truth,’ and is skeptical about shale oil’s sustainability. Close observation of railroad car loading reports from Union Pacific, ‘not a bad proxy for shale oil production’ shows slowing growth suggesting that shale oil’s ‘triumphalism’ might need to be reconsidered.

@neilmcn


Letters to the editor—re data management ‘professionalization’

In response to last month’s editorial, Gareth Smith (Exprodat) argues the special cases of GIS and legacy data and Gary Arthur Lundeen (Westheimer) is sympathetic to the professionalization cause.

From Gareth Smith, MD Exprodat Consulting

A great article, and it was interesting to go back to your original 1996 piece and think how little has changed. One key issue is that E&P companies are still battling with legacy data and this is awfully hard to automate. It requires painstaking analysis and a level of domain skills that are largely lacking in the E&P DM field. One of our associates has been doing some work for a mid-size E&P company on seismic  survey metadata and entitlements. This requires an eye for detail and good domain knowledge and it has proved a struggle for the company to absorb this data and manage it point-forward.

I think you’re absolutely right—people need to be taken out of the equation as much as possible. I can never see E&P DM being the career of choice for bright young graduates. Maybe the focus  should be less on legacy, more on point forward. Legacy seems to drive many E&P DM strategies and this perhaps leads to the people focus.

In our world (spatial), the limited number of formats, de facto Esri standards and stronger open standards efforts make automation easier. There is a move towards web services as the integration method of choice. Both within GIS and between GIS and E&P applications. Spatial certainly appears to be ahead of mainline E&P data.

~

From Gary Arthur Lundeen, president Westheimer Energy Consultants

Regarding your May editorial, the lack of data management recognition by business leaders and decision-makers is not new or unique to data management. Another area that has struggled for recognition is operations research (OR). The problem is that OR permeates organizations—with practitioners in finance, operations and marketing. But neither OR nor data management need separate departments devoted to their respective disciplines. Putting it another way, everyone does math, but that doesn’t mean organizations should have math departments. 

While I believe that creating another department ‘silo’ is a hollow goal, I am sympathetic toward professional certification. In OR, the Informs organization delivers a certified analytics professional rather like the accountants CPA or the Project management institute’s PMP. As university costs skyrocket making the value proposition of a college degree questionable, ‘apprenticeships’ and certification may be a better option for bright young adults to pursue instead of college.  Data management could be such a profession, or perhaps a better word is skill. This would provide companies with a pool of certified people available for hire as data managers to work in any department where data management is key.  And, indeed, one role for data managers is in developing automation for their profession and skills!


Master data management in Statoil

Statoil and IPL investigate different MDM architectures, trade-offs and the ‘art of the possible.’

A joint presentation from Statoil’s Eldar Bjørge and IPL’s Chris Bradley at the 2013 IRM UK Master Data Management conference in London earlier this year offered advice on selecting a master data management (MDM) architecture. IPL reports that 85% of supply chain management service ‘incidents’ are due to master data errors. These come from siloed applications and data stores which lack a common terminology. IPL has provided Statoil with a 13 point methodology to help make a business case for MDM. This includes an MDM maturity scale where Statoil is currently between level 1 and 2 (MDM gaining recognition) with the objective of a level 4-5 (MDM defined, adopted and managed).

The authors observe that business projects won’t wait for all encompassing master data to be delivered. The answer is for MDM subsets, delivered ‘just in time’ as projects start up. In E&P, MDM is about ‘compromise and the art of the possible.’

Architectural choices are important. MDM can be single or multi domain with various trade-offs. As MDM spans more business domains it loses in domain specificity. An enterprise-wide MDM ‘hub’ is not the only choice. A middleware MDM solution may be appropriate if data is stored across multiple source systems. ETL-based synchronization with an operational data store is another option. A stand-alone application-neutral MDM store with an industry specific data model appears to be the solution of choice. This is achieved via a ‘data virtualization’ approach providing a ‘360°’ view of constituent repositories. More from IPL and IRM-UK.


Total’s Pangea just misses TOP 10 at Frankfort HPC event

China’s Tianhe-2’s 34 petaflops blows away competition. Saudi Aramco’s Makman iDataPlex cluster.

The latest edition of the authoritative TOP500 list of global supercomputers was unveiled this month at the 2013 International supercomputing conference in Leipzig. The TOP500 list is headed by Tianhe-2, a home brew machine at China’s national university of defence technology. Tianhe-2 report 34 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark from 16,000 nodes each with two Intel IvyBridge controllers and three Xenon Phi (previously the Intel MIC) ‘supercomputer computer on a chip’ parallel processing units—a total of over three million cores.

Total’s Pangea supercomputer, a Xeon E5-based SGI ICE with a mere 110,000 cores (Oil IT J February 2012) comes in at N° 11 with a 2.3 petaflop peak.  Other new oil and gas entries for 2013 are Saudi Aramco’s Makman, a 500 teraflop IBM iDataPlex DX360M4 cluster at N° 60 and Petrobras’ 350 teraflop Grifo06 Itautec cluster at N° 219.

The fastest Windows cluster is the 2012 entry of the Microsoft/HP ‘Faenov’ cluster running Windows Azure whose 167 teraflop bandwidth puts it at N° 241. Only three out of the 500 machines are cited as running Windows. Almost all the other TOP500 machines run Unix or Linux.


New energy resources from Colorado State, TNO, Shale Experts

Advanced Energy Legislation tracker. TNO’s shale Argument map. Shale market intelligence tool.

Recent contributions to the shale debate this month from Colorado State University, Dutch R&D group TNO and a new information portal from Houston-based Shale Experts. Colorado State has announced the Advanced energy legislation tracker (AEL), an online database of energy-related legislation pending in all 50 states, ‘from solar to natural gas and everything in between.’ The database was created in partnership with Advanced Energy Economy. AEL tracks the 2000 plus current bills likely to impact energy as they move forward.

TNO’s contribution is an ‘argument map’ of shale gas production in EU member states. The attractive document, produced by The Argument Factory, summarizes arguments for and against shale gas production. It has been produced with such fairness to both sides of the argument as to paralyze any decision maker—thus effectively weighing in on the side of the ‘anti’ lobby.

Shale Experts has announced its online market intelligence tool (a.k.a. a website) focusing on global unconventional resource plays. The portal includes an M&A transactions database, rig data, a midstream infrastructure projects database, GIS data, maps and news. Coverage includes emerging plays such as the Cline, Permian and Eaglebine along with Canadian and International plays.


Accenture to merge Tullow’s supply chain and finance

SAP-based business transformation to leverage Accenture’s Enterprise Services for Energy.

Tullow Oil has awarded Accenture a management consulting and systems integration contract to ‘transform’ its finance and supply chain functions. Accenture is to design and implement a new SAP-based solution to replace the existing systems. The new system promises to integrate technology and business processes through the development of a new ‘target’ operation model.

 Accenture will work with Tullow to implement the financial accounting and controlling module of the SAP ERP Financials solution, materials management with the SAP ERP application and the SAP for Oil & Gas set of solutions. Accenture’s Enterprise services for energy methodology will underpin the transformation and the company will provide change management support to Tullow’s teams.

Tullow CIO Andrew Marks said, ‘We selected Accenture based on its industry expertise and its understanding of our operating model.’ Accenture had been working with Tullow since 2011 on SAP deployment in accounting during which time the need for integration with the supply chain became ‘increasingly evident.’ More from Accenture.


Kongsberg teams with Dynamic Graphics

Partnership set to offer real time drilling data visualization and analytics.

Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies (KOGT) is teaming with Dynamic Graphics (DGI) on real time drilling data visualization and analysis. DGI president Art Paradis explained, ‘The drilling community now has access to far more data than was previously available but rationalizing this is a challenge. Our 4D visualization technology can reveal hidden relationships in this data and improve decision making.’ KOGT’s Ben Lovell added, ‘We have been discussing how we can enhance key workflows that we have developed with our clients leveraging DGI’s technology.’

DGI recently announced CoViz 4D V7.0 with drag-and-drop data loading from Schlumberger Petrel and Landmark’s SeisWorks. New features include hyperspectral imagery display and stereoscopic viewing. Optional geophysics modules for petroelastic modeling and volume synthetic seismic generation were also announced at the 2013 American Association of Petroleum Geologists  convention.  More from KOGT and DGI.


Palantir announces new data management platform

Palantir DataFlow plugs gap in cross discipline, life-of-field workflows.

UK-based Palantir Solutions has launched a new E&P data management platform, Palantir DataFlow. DataFlow enables cross-functional E&P teams to manage life of field data across key business processes. Palantir claims that DataFlow addresses a gap in current cross-departmental collaboration and data management.

Palantir’s senior VP Kirk Hanes said, ‘DataFlow is already in use with some of our major clients. Feedback has been positive on the solution’s ability to streamline core business processes. The tool provides an accurate, up-to-date view of the portfolio and can track changes with an audit trail.’

DataFlow targets asset managers, engineers, economists and commercial managers involved in complex workflows. Data stored in multiple, disconnected systems and spread sheets is consolidated to a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 database ensuring proper version control and revision management.

DataFlow allows documents to be captured in a configurable hierarchy. Document templates ensure standardisation and comprehensive capture of data, images and attachments. Documents can be connected via scenarios for production, opex and capex reporting. Palantir clients include Apache, GDF Suez, Hess, Husky, Maersk, Nexen and Tullow. More from Palantir.


Software, hardware short takes

Energy Navigator, Blue Marble, Gyrodata, Ikon Science, Intergraph, Geovariances, Paradigm, Oildex, Petrosys, Safe Software, Spirit Global, TD Williamson, Varel, Larson.

The 6.2 release of Energy Navigator’s ValNav reserves management tools includes a new ‘Five year equation’ methodology for unconventional reserves evaluation.

The 14.2 release of Blue Marble’s Global energy mapper adds support for the UKOOA P6/98 seismic positioning format.

Gyrodata has announced the GWD90 directional survey tool, capable of surveying wells with over 90° of inclination while drilling. A new communications link allows for a memory multishot survey to be run while tripping for additional accuracy.

Ikon Science has announced ChronoSeis GRI, a new tool for seismic reservoir characterisation that uses prior geological knowledge to guide seismic inversion and produces lithofacies and reservoir property volumes within a structural and chronostratigraphic framework. GRI produces 3D reservoir model properties and probabilistic reservoir evaluation from multi-realization analyses. The approach is claimed to be particularly suited to 4D seismic monitoring.

Intergraph is consolidating SmartPlant 3D, SmartMarine 3D and 3D Materials handling Edition into a single solution called ‘Smart 3D,’ slated for release later this year. The ‘2014’ release offers model data reuse. FEED designs using different catalogs and specifications cab be repurposed leveraging rule re-use, tag re-naming and specification interchange. The new functionality was used on the Shah gas project and got a thumbs-up from Saipem CIO Ugo Salvi.

The 2013 release of Geovariances’ Isatis for Oil & Gas has just rolled-out with ‘MAAFK,’ a new tool for time-lapse seismics. MAAFK, a.k.a. multiple acquisition automatic factorial kriging automates the extraction of common features (or differences) between surveys, eliminating acquisition noise and artefacts.

Paradigm’s 2011.3 release brings new GPU-based, real time voxel rendering to SeisEarth along with multi-horizon flattening, horizon slicing and property extraction. New interactive disk roaming allows investigation of massive 3D data volumes with limited system resources. SKUA now includes automated intra-formation seismic interpretation. 

Oildex has announced Stakeholder, a new portfolio management solution for royalty owners, based on  Oildex’s hosted financial data platform.

The 17.5 release of Petrosys’ mapping database will include hooks to DownUnder GeoSolutions’ Insight 3 interpretation suite.

Safe Software’s FME 2013 SP2 release adds Active Directory single sign-on functionality, background map viewing of ArcGIS Online basemaps and  support for MySQL clone, MariaDB.

Spirit Global Energy Solutions’ has announced Genesis, an ‘intelligent’ artificial lift management device for downhole and surface artificial lift assets.

 TD Williamson’s 20-inch multiple data set inline inspection tool offers deformation, axial magnetic flux leakage, mapping and more. New SpirAll MFL technology locates hard-to-detect pipe defects.

Varel has launched a smartphone-based hydraulic analysis application for modeling annular velocity in multiple drill strings and bits. The app includes specs of fixed cutter and roller cone bits along with a quick reference total flow area calculator.

Larson has added new features to VizEx GeoTech for printing full length logs side by side and new DWG format conversion.


De Maximis Project Portal for Eagle Ford development

ESRI PUG presentation highlights use of environmental data in 500 well drilling program.

Speaking at the 2013 ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG) in Houston last month, Angela Remer of De Maximis Data Management Solutions and Travis Faul (Edge Engineering) described work for a ‘confidential’ client  on a cloud-based solution to land and environmental management in support of an ‘aggressive’ drilling and development program in the Eagle Ford shale.

The client was confronted with a 500 well drilling program and 200 miles of pipeline to lay, all of which required a major environmental/compliance effort. Drilling sites are governed by multiple stakeholder bodies from the EPA, the Advisory council on historic preservation, the US Army corps of engineers (responsible for water use) and many more.

A workflow was designed spanning initial subsurface location selection, permitting and finally, ‘collaborative’ staking—all to be completed within a time frame of a week or so per location. The workflow was underpinned with tailored field data capture and a cloud-based document management system. Mapping was key to the project—layers from national and state data sets were combined with client-specific facilities maps to enable desktop location assessments. These were sent out to field workers who used a combination of Trimble GPS devices and iPads.

The cloud at the heart of the system was De Maximis’ ‘Project Portal,’ a web based application, originally developed for environmental industry professionals. Project Portal is a secure repository for data, documents and schedules that provides team members with a common meeting place and tools (including GIS) to access and manipulate project data. The portal has halved the client’s staking effort and there have been no violations to date. The client now relies on Project Portal in emergency management planning. De Maximis leverages ESRI ArcObjects in its portal development. More from De Maximis, from Edge and from the PUG.


EAGE 2013 Conference, London

Non conventionals in Europe. Landmark’s revamped data management. Schlumberger’s volume-based modeling. Kappa on shale gas reserves. BP, Total, Exxon on reserve estimation.

The 75th edition of the EU association of geoscientists and engineers’ (EAGE) conference saw some 7,000 delegates and 350 exhibitors. At the opening ceremony, nobility was to the fore with a welcome from HRH Prince Andrew and a keynote from Lord Oxburg who opined that the next big things will be ‘environmental change, China, social media and big data.’ On the environmental change front there was good news, Arctic Canada and Siberia will be more habitable, elsewhere the news is not so good.

Petrofac CEO Ayman Asgari focused on the ‘long tail’ of oil and gas production coming from hundreds of thousands of fields. Asgari quoted a Pemex chief executive who described Mexico’s oil fields as ‘apples that had each been bitten once!’ Petrofac is developing integrated delivery models that better reflect client needs. These can include local content, training, delivery—whatever is required. ‘Don’t just do it like you do in Aberdeen or Houston, adopt local best practices and people. Look to China, India, and the middle east rather than the OECD.’

Andrew Gould (BG Group) was  a bit more sanguine. Opportunities are increasingly closed to private capital as NOCs flex their might. New plays such as unconventional and the Arctic require higher prices and complicate development decisions. Oil and gas is getting more risky. The In Amenas hostage crisis was the culmination of a trend. Today, there are armed guards on tankers and some operations are shut in, ‘costing billions.’ Much of the risk is being borne by the service industry. Unconventionals have raised the industry’s public profile enormously and ‘we need to communicate better.’ Fossil fuel will remain important for a long time.

A Forum on ‘Exploration through 2050’ included a discussion on the role of geosciences in non conventional exploration. There is a sense that shales are homogeneous ‘blanket’ plays requiring relatively little geosciences input. But this has not proved to be the case. Geoscience has a role in the search for ‘sweet spots’ of high TOC, frackable rock. BP’s Mike Daly reported that the Eagle Ford shale is nearly 1,000 meters thick but only 20% is frackable—and the good stuff is not omnipresent. Others reported that unconventionals are about ‘land, water and logistics’ and that the subsurface is ‘not an issue at all.’ Shell’s Alison Goligher

advocated a ‘manufacturing mindset.’ The idea is not to drill a ‘perfect’ well, rather many wells under the curve. Ashok Belani (Schlumberger) opined that, ‘Drilling hundreds of non productive wells as in the USA may not be the best way!’

On the data management front, a presentation on the Landmark stand had SeisWorks on Linux running in parallel with DecisionSpace desktop on Windows 7. Both were synchronized with a single data instance running in OpenWorks R5000. The latter is emerging as a data management platform of choice for some major clients. Data management, cleanup and audit tools are available along with data object unique IDs, date stamps and a dev kit. Landmark intimated that OpenWorks could manage data for 3rd party applications for which we read Petrel.

A Schlumberger booth presentation showed new volume-based modeling technology that has finally made it from the IGeoss acquisition (Oil ITJ April 2010) into Petrel. Tetrahedral volume modeling is set to overcome the limitations of pillar grids in complex tectonics, producing ‘water tight’ simulator-ready models. 

Bill Shea (Smart Reflections) was getting a good crowd for his pre stack interpretation workflows. These leverage high-end technology from Fraunhofer for speedy data roaming.

Kappa’s Olivier Houzé presented on estimating shale gas reserves. As we have reported previously, Houzé is circumspect about current bullish shale gas estimates. Shale gas models are all poorly constrained. The popular ARPS methodology raises the question of the ‘infamous’ B factor which wrongly assumes terminal reservoir behavior. Houzé recommends watching closely for changing B factors in year on year reporting. All these issues will be debated at a future non conventional summit to be hosted by the SPE, OGRC and SPEE in September 2014.

Deborah Shields (Colorado State) observed that Europe’s shale potential depends on its being developed and produced. Obstacles to this include water use, access in areas of high population density and environmental concerns. Shale gas may have a negligible impact on gas prices unlike in the US. There is debate as to its ‘sustainability’ and its impact on the development of renewables. Shields’ contribution is the ‘integrated sustainability assessment’ (ISA), a way of selecting between different options. Shields also referred to the IEA’s ‘Golden rules for the golden age of shale gas.’

The reserves evaluation session focused on the Petroleum resources management systems (PRMS) from the SPE. BP’s David MacDonald outlined how the PRMS might dovetail with the widely used 2009 UN Framework Classification (UNFC). This is a potential route to a global classification system including the PRMS and the Chinese, Russian and other systems, a ‘resource Esperanto.’ Also at issue in oil sands reporting is which system to use, PRMS or the mining industry CRIRSCO classification. UNFC reporting is independent of commodity type and free of ambiguous terminology like ‘reserves.’

Pierre-Louis Pichon (Total), who is chair of the SEG’s reserves committee outlined the use of geophysics in resources estimation. The PRMS guidelines include a chapter on seismic techniques with instruction on how for instance un-penetrated fault blocks should be evaluated. The PRMS offers detailed instructions on interpretation and when a well is needed to move reserves from one category to another. The general idea is for a technology framework that demonstrates repeatability and prior success.

A presentation by ExxonMobil’s David Johnston described how the reserves of the Norwegian Ringhorne field were revised following a 4D seismic survey. It took an accidental discovery and 18 appraisal wells drilled over a 30 year period to kick-off the Ringhorne development, the ‘the most expensive golf course in Norway.’ The reservoir is ‘completely transparent’ seismically and was only properly imaged on 4D data seven years after initial production. The 4D data led to a 60% hike in Ringhornes’ proved plus probable reserves. In the Q&A Johnston opined that 4D seismic could be considered as ‘reliable technology’ in the SEC’s classification—but, like all geophysics, this is a case-dependent call. More from the EAGE in next month’s Journal.


2013 PNEC Data Integration, Houston—Part II

Pioneer on data virtualization. RoQC, Petrel data management and the oxymoron. Tiandi’s data factory. Petronas Carigali’s data doctor. Talisman on well planning in DecisionSpace. More …

Our best paper award for the 2013 PNEC goes to Martha Gardill for her presentation of Pioneer’s four year journey to data virtualization. Pioneer’s activity in unconventional exploration has seen the deployment of multiple ‘best of breed’ applications leveraging different architectures and data integration mechanisms. The downside of best of breed is that the onus falls on the operating company to bring it all together. This can be tricky as the authoritative source of data may not be evident and there may be overlap in application capability.  At the start of the program in 2009 Pioneer evaluated three options—direct access to data stores, build a data warehouse, or develop a ‘self service’ data system. The latter was chosen partly because of application scalability issues and also concerns over compliance issues with multi-user access to data. The solution, Pioneer’s ‘self serve data system’ (SSDS) leverages Composite Software’s data virtualization engine alongside Tibco’s ActiveMatrix Business Works business automation platform. SSDS has democratized data access for Pioneer’s users. Power users can develop views, access applications and use reporting tools. Most use cases are for read-only access but the Tibco messaging bus also allows for update. In the Q&A, Gardill revealed that the biggest challenge was finding the right data virtualization tool.

Ian Barron (RoQC Data Management) asked, ‘Is Petrel data management still an oxymoron?’ Schlumberger’s Petrel interpretation flagship has been ‘well received by users but reviled by the data management community.’ The problem is that with Petrel, it is too easy to get data in and copy it around. Soon, nobody knows which is the correct version of the truth. The current dogma is that all Petrel items need quality flags and metadata, but no user does this.

However, things are changing as Schlumberger gears-up for ‘serious’ data management. Current ‘straw man’ functionality allows standards to be embedded in Petrel deployments, helping to find and fix non compliant data. In Petrel Studio, standards can be broadcast to local projects. Third party tools such as Blueback’s project tracker can help de-dupe project data and check coordinate reference systems. RoQC’s eponymous toolset further enhances data audit, looking for unlikely or missing values. Barron concluded that Petrel data management has come a long way in the past year and foresees more improvement in the very near future.

The rapid ‘factory drilling’ approach to non conventional development in the US is impacting data management as Tiandi Energy’s Richard Ward outlined. Working for Hess Corporation, Tiandi has developed a streamlined approach (a.k.a. the data factory) to gathering and consolidating legacy data, much of which has been given a new lease of life as source rocks are re-evaluated for their reservoir potential. Unconventional legacy data is a ‘back to the future’ problem—the Bakken shale was first drilled in the 1920s. Core data is of particular interest to non conventional operators—for total organic hydrocarbon evaluation and rock mechanical studies. Rather than seeking to capture all this diverse information in ‘the mother of all databases,’ Tiandi has developed a simple transmission standard so that teams working on core data records can capture the required information which can then be consolidated and loaded to Perigon’s iPoint. The workflow allows Tiandi process ‘hundreds or thousands’ of wells per month. The actual standard transmission format may be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet.

Daljit Singh described a fairly common situation in Petronas Carigali whose legacy production information management system (PIMS) was showing its age. A decade after its introduction PIMS users were reporting discrepancies between reconciled string and sand production volumes and between OFM and PIMS production figures. A 2010 data quality study found that many applications modules were out of date, that data ownership was unclear and that many users still preferred using Excel. Moreover, management was overconfident in data quality. Petronas has now developed a ‘data doctor’ audit tool to pinpoint data anomalies. The data doctor was developed with Oracle SQL/ PLSQL, Javascript and HTML. The situation is that Petronas’ legacy data has now been cleansed. The tool is now used on current flow data in a continuous data quality management effort. The ultimate aim is for a single central database, with managed data ownership and standards and a dedicated data quality team to eliminate data errors at source.

Fred Schwering described how Talisman Energy was ‘breaking down the silos’ between geosciences and engineering with Landmark’s DecisionSpace collaborative well planning application. DecisionSpace needs feeding with data—surface data from ArcgGIS, subsurface G&G data and drilling specs for well path planning. A rather complex workflow involves combining GIS data into a ‘feasibility layer’ showing possible pad locations. Geoscience interpretation from Petrel and drilling specs are imported via OpenSpirit, using OpenWorks as a staging database. Once everything is in the same place DecisionSpace generates ‘really accurate’ drilling-ready well plans. The approach supports expensive, complex non conventional operations. DecisionSpace ‘knowledge nuggets,’ ad hoc well bore annotations, are used to flag anticipated drilling hazards.

Ernie Ostic gave a thinly veiled commercial for IBM’s InfoSphere metadata workbench as a means of tracking information ‘lineage.’ In general, the value of information degrades with time as crucial details as to provenance may be lost. This is a critical situation in the event of a safety incident—an HSE report may be available but is it up to date and authoritative? Data lineage needs to be ‘ingrained’ in the enterprise culture. InfoSphere empowers users to capture lineage and reduce information latency.

Petrosys’ Volker Hirsinger reported on a thorough test drive of various cloud-based data storage options available to smaller multinationals. While the regular internet is OK for smaller documents, sharing large SEG-Y files or large databases is harder to do without an IT-supported WAN. Cloud-based storage is an attractive proposition. But not all clouds are equal. They may not behave as advertised and some lack an intuitive interface. SharePoint repositories can be hard to set up and have proved unstable. The ‘cloud’ may be a complex ecosystem of multiple stakeholders making for multiple potential points of failure. Public clouds like Dropbox are much faster than private clouds but may have file size restrictions. Legal issues and security are further concerns. In the end, Petrosys uses multiple cloud-based workflows in different contexts—along with FTP and USB/disk data transfer. More from PNEC.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

Energistics, Acorn, L1 Energy, UMMBC, OGP, ION/GXT, Panopticon, Petex, Rockwell, SeisWare, Rowan, SCS Global, TD Williamson, Technip, Allegro, Anadarko, Argus, CGG, Baker Hughes, Chesapeake, Chevron, Deep Down, Devon, Landmark, Drilling Info, ETAP, Rosneft, ExxonMobil, Express Energy Services, Fiber-Line, Halliburton, Ikon, Intertek.

Jay Hollingsworth is joining Energistics as technical director. He was previously with Oracle.

Former VP ConocoPhillips Robert McKee has joined the Acorn Energy board.

Lord Browne,  Andrew Gould and Jim Hackett are advisors to L1 Energy a new investment vehicle backed by Russian venture capitalist Alfa Group.

The Utility Materials Management Benchmarking Consortium has commissioned ScottMadden and Oniqua to conduct a global study to compare inventory management and optimization in oil and gas and other industries.

Domingos Andrade has joined the UK’s Oil and Gas Producers association as website developer.

Bill Menger is now director of high performance computing at ION/GXT.

Tony Evans, former VP of Analytics with SAP, has joined Panopticon as COO.

Zahid Yoosufani has assumed the role of director and leader of the University of Texas at Austin’s Petex unit.

Verne Istock has been elected as lead director of Rockwell Automation.

Rod Fries has joined SeisWare as senior business development manager.

Rowan Companies has appointed Tore Sandvold to its board. He was formerly with the Norwegian oil ministry and chairman of state-owned Petoro.

Julie Gengo is new marketing specialist for SCS Global Services.

Nick Dring heads-up TD Williamson’s new maintenance center in Abu Dhabi.

Alain Marion is director of Technip’s new innovation and technology center in Rueil-Malmaison, France. 

Allegro Development has appointed Aditya Srivastava as Senior VP and CTO. He comes from JDA Software Group.

James Kleckner is now Anadarko’s executive VP international and deepwater. He also joins the executive committee.

Argus has appointed its COO Neil Bradford to its board of directors.

CGG has named Christophe Barnini as senior VP group communications. He also joins the management committee. CGG’s Sercel division has appointed Arnaud Surpas to executive VP global operations and CIO.

Mike Sumruld is now VP and treasurer of Baker Hughes.

Chesapeake Energy has named Bob Lawler as CEO. Patrick Craine has joined as chief compliance officer.

Jeff Shellebarger has been named president of Chevron North America E&P succeeding Gary Luquette who retires.

Randy Warner has joined the board of oilfield services company Deep Down.

Dave Hager is now COO of Devon Energy. Tony Vaughn is now VP E&P. 

Ralph Limbaugh, co-founder of Landmark Graphics, has died aged 75.

Drilling Info has appointed Maria Carballosa as executive VP and CMO. Michael Wayne, formerly of RigData, is director of oilfield services.

ETAP has opened a Houston office a.k.a. the Gulf Coast a ‘center of excellence.’

Rosneft and ExxonMobil have signed agreements establishing a joint Arctic research center in Moscow.

David Brunnert has joined Express Energy Services as executive VP and COO. He hails from Weatherford.

Bill French, formerly of GE, has joined Fiber-Line as president and COO. Rosie Savage has joined as Global Marketing Manager. She hails from FMC.

Doneivan Ferreira heads-up Halliburton’s new Technology Center at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

JRS Petroleum Research, acquired by Ikon Science last year, is now trading as Ikon GeoMechanics.

Intertek has expanded its North Dakota field and laboratory operations with inspection and testing services for Bakken shale operators.


Done deals

Argus, Jim Jordan, Foster Wheeler, Ingen, NorthAm, Genscape, VesselTracker, Invensys, Spiral, Savage, Ft. Worth Pipe Services, Wireless Seismic, Antech, Aramco, Calculus, GE, Salof, SeisWare.

Price reporting agency Argus has acquired Jim Jordan & Associates, provider of market intelligence on methanol and transportation fuels.

Clariant has invested in Ultimate EOR Services, a provider of enhanced oil recovery solutions.

Foster Wheeler has acquired Aberdeen-based upstream consultancy Ingen Ideas and NorthAm Engineering of Monterrey, Mexico.

Energy information provider Genscape has acquired Vesseltracker.com, a provider of real time data on ship movements, ownership and management. A free trial of the service is on offer.

Invensys revealed that it paid £38 million to acquire planning, scheduling and crude oil management software house Spiral Software last year.

Supply chain solutions specialist Savage is to acquire Fort Worth Pipe Services.

Wireless Seismic has a completed a $12.5 million funding round. Anchor share-holders Chesapeake Energy and Aramco’s Energy Ventures unit were joined by Total’s Energy Ventures arm.

AnTech has secured a ‘substantial’ investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and London-based Calculus Capital. The cash will be used to launch AnTech’s new directional drilling solutions.

GE Oil & Gas has completed its acquisition of nearly all of the assets of the Salof Companies, a designer and manufacturer of small–scale liquefied natural gas technologies based in Schertz, Texas.

SeisWare has completed its acquisition of 3DSEIS, a seismic interpretation package developed by Vest Exploration Services.


Petrel 2013 introduces multi user collaboration

SIS president Uwem Ukpong, ‘standard workflows and a clear understanding of risk.’

Schlumberger’s Information Solutions (SIS) unit  has announced the 2013 edition of its Petrel E&P interpretation flagship. The new release brings advances in integration and multiuser collaboration along with improved petroleum system modeling, structural interpretation and production analytics.

SIS president Uwem Ukpong said, ‘Petrel allows customers to standardize workflows from exploration to production—and make more informed decisions with a clear understanding of both opportunities and risks.’ New technology addresses structural modeling of complex subsurface features in pre and sub-salt reservoirs. The release also brings improvements to seismic imaging through pre-stack, wide azimuth analysis, and improved links with WesterGeco’s Omega seismic data processing environment. Geomechanical is available to validate interpretations in complex depositional environments and 1D petroleum system modeling is available for charge maturity risking.

A new beta test methodology has been used to develop the new release. Petrel’s software architecture tracks and audits beta testing to ensure that the full range of new functionality is tested. 30 client companies took part in the beta test program.

Petrel Studio is positioned as a collaboration and knowledge management tool. Users can share notes across Microsoft Lync and a SQL Server database is available for results capture.

The Petrel 2013 announcement downplays data management—although Studio Manager is cited as providing ‘core IM workflows and consolidated user and data administration.’ More on Petrel 2013 in our report from the 2013 EAGE on page 6 and from SIS.


Kongsberg real time solution for Chinese driller

Significant contract sees SiteCom’s Witsml solution deployed at six regional CNOOC centers.

The Chinese national offshore oil company (CNOOC) has awarded Sandvika, Norway headquartered Kongsberg oil and gas technologies (KOGT) a ‘significant’ contract for the supply of its SiteCom real-time drilling information solution. SiteCom will be deployed at six regional centers to consolidate real-time and historical data, reports and other rig data and serve it to CNOOC professionals.

SiteCom is a web-based solution that leverages Energistics’ Witsml standard to broadcast drilling and geological data. KOGT is a member of the Witsml governing committee and SIG and ‘actively encourages adherence to this standard for data transparency and cross-platform exchange.’

Non compliant feeds are converted at the rig site to Witsml during aggregation. This means that ‘client data is not tied to proprietary data archiving and retention.’

The CNOOC deal results from KOGT’s decision to invest in the rapidly growing Chinese market and was won with support from KOGT local partner, Chinese Automation, in Beijing. Delivery started last month and is expected to be completed before the end of the year. More from KOGT.


DTE Energy goes live with Blackstone Trellis trading software

Natural gas pipeline management solution deployed at DTE Pipeline and Bluestone units.

San Francisco headquartered Blackstone Technology Group has announced that its ‘Trellis’ natural gas pipeline management solution is now up and running at two wholly-owned DTE Energy units, DTE Pipeline and Bluestone Gathering. Trellis is a web-based, pipeline and transaction management system that manages commercial activity and business intelligence reporting.

DTE Energy’s Steve Richman said, ‘We researched the market for an IT solution and concluded that Trellis best fit our needs in terms of its technology that allows us to respond to changing business needs as we grow our asset portfolio. We are pleased with its configurability, implementation, and ease-of-use.’

Trellis is deployed by utilities, LDCs, storage, gathering, and pipeline companies to manage the full spectrum of their complex business and ensure regulatory compliance. Features include counterparty, contracts, customer choice, nominations, scheduling, measurement, allocation, trading, billing, and credit and risk management business functions. More from Blackstone.


OGP offers fatigue risk management

New life saving rules and workplace fatigue management system.

The UK Oil and gas producers association, OGP has published two safety related reports. A new version of its life-saving rules (LSR) addresses risk mitigation and fatality reduction. The LSR focus on modifying worker and supervisor behavior by raising awareness of high risk activities and recommending simple actions that individuals can take to protect themselves and others. Download the LSR. Another OGP report tackles workplace fatigue, also a safety risk, especially for shift workers. Performance indicators for a ‘fatigue risk management system’ are available.


Sales, contracts, partnerships and deployments

Canary Labs, Exele, FEI, Oklahoma University, Intergraph, Petrofac, KPOC, Mubadala Petroleum, Kongsberg, KSS Fuels, Petrolview, Mustang, SCDM, Technip, FMC, John Crane.

Canary Labs has entered into a partnership with alarm management solutions provider Exele Information Systems to create a new product, ‘TopView for Canary’ to alert operators to pre-defined anomalies ‘before they become serious.’

FEI and the University of Oklahoma are to collaborate on the establishment of the ‘FEI-OU pore scale characterization laboratory,’ at the Mewborne School of petroleum and geological engineering. Research will focus on the development of quantitative methods to classify shales and the economic assessment of tight oil and gas plays. The collaboration agreement includes FEI’s Helios NanoLab 650, DualBeam and QEMSCAN automated mineralogy tool.

Eni Norge is to manage engineering data with Intergraph’s SmartPlant Enterprise Solutions in the Barents Sea Goliat field, in climate-challenging conditions. SmartPlant Foundation, SmartPlant Instrumentation and SmartPlant P&ID will also be used. SmartPlant was also selected by Kebabangan Petroleum Operating Company (a joint-operating company of Petronas Carigali, ConocoPhillips and Shell) for gas fields offshore Malaysia.

Petrofac’s joint venture with Mubadala Petroleum, Petrofac Emirates, has been awarded a US$500 million onshore engineering, procurement and construction contract by ADCO for expansion of compression facilities at the Bab Field, south-west of Abu Dhabi city.

Kongsberg has been awarded a ‘significant’ offshore integrated monitoring and control system contract with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering for four Transocean new-build drill ships, with an option on another six units.

KSS Fuels has entered into a partnership with Petrolview of The Netherlands to combine service station and fuel price data and location intelligence analytics and performance forecasting. KSS also announced the addition of Miller Oil and Schmuckal Oil to its cloud-based fuels pricing solution, PriceNet Cloud.

Wood Group Mustang has been selected by Williams to provide survey, engineering, design and program management for its Purity Pipeline projects.

SCDM Energie has adopted Paradigm’s Skua subsurface suite and the Geolog formation evaluation solution as its corporate standards for reservoir modeling and petrophysical analysis.

Technip has been awarded a ‘substantial’ (€100 to €250 million ) lump-sum contract by ExxonMobil for the development of the Julia field.

FMC Technologies has received a $26 million order from ConocoPhillips Australia for the supply of subsea equipment to the Bayu Undan Phase 3 project. FMC also received subsea equipment orders from ExxonMobil for its Julia development, from Anadarko for Heidelberg field and from Shell for a portfolio of Gulf of Mexico projects.

John Crane Production Solutions, a subsidiary of John Crane, has been awarded a four-year contract extension to supply artificial lift equipment and services to all of OMV Petrom’s operations in Romania.


Standards stuff

Energistics fluid/PVT. Fiatech ISO/Proteus mapping. Oasis CMIS, OData 4. OGC REST controversy.

Energistics is floating a Fluid and PVT Analysis project, to be run through the Prodml special interest group.

Fiatech has kicked-off a new project, ‘ISO 15926 information models and Proteus mappings’ to document P&Ids and 3D models in terms of ISO 15926 classes and templates. The original models were defined by the Proteus project along with an XML schema, XMpLant. Anchor project members AVEVA, Bentley, Bechtel, CCC, and Noumenon are looking for additional members to ‘engage and contribute.’

Oasis is about to release CMIS, content management interoperability services, an interchange model for content management repositories.

Oasis has also announced the OData 4.0 spec along with the OData Atom and JSON Formats. OData is a REST-based protocol that simplifies the querying and sharing of data across applications for re-use in the enterprise, Cloud, and mobile devices.

A storm has been brewing over the Open Geospatial Consortium’s proposed Geoservices Rest API culminating in a letter from the board of the open Source Geospatial Foundation (Osgeo). The situation was summarized in a statement from open source GIS advocates who asked, ‘Is OGC losing its Way?’ The signatories claim that the new standard will herald the end of 15 years of collaboration on GIS interoperability. The concern is that the new API is too closely bound to specific tools such as Flex and Silverlight, ‘creating immense confusion in the marketplace.’ The authors state that ‘rubber stamping existing software from a single vendor’ (read ESRI) ‘is unfair and anti-competitive.’

OGC has also announced a call for public comment on the Open Modelling Interface V2 (OpenMI) and its accompanying reference manual. The standard supports interoperable computer models of environmental and other processes with on-the-fly data exchange.


‘Rig-centric’ reporting solution for Noble Drilling

Customized IDS DataNet TourNet Pro combines IADC and operational reporting in web-based solution.

IDS has delivered a ‘rig-centric’ reporting solution for deployment across Noble Corp.’s world-wide drilling fleet. The ‘next generation’ reporting solution, TourNet Pro (TNP) is a component of IDS’ DataNet suite. TNP has been tailored to Noble’s operational reporting requirements, replacing a legacy reporting system. This used to handle mandatory IADC reporting and operational reports as separate processes which meant that data was available for monitoring KPIs.

TNP was customized to capture and use drilling data in real time, ensuring that data only needs to be entered once. This continuity enhances operational and IADC reporting and means that Noble has immediate access to KPIs on fleet-wide performance. Noble selected IDS and TNP following an extensive definition and selection process. The web-based solution offers configurable dashboards and data exported to any document format. Noble Corp. reported revenues of $3.5 billion for 2012, 30% up on 2011. More from Noble and info@idsdatanet.com.


Cyber security round-up: HP, DHS, IDGA, DNV/Kema

HP 2012 Cyber Risk report. IDGA Cyber Magazine. DNV Kema on Middle East vulnerability.

HP’s 2012 Cyber Risk Report sketches out the vulnerability landscape from industrial data to web and mobile risks. The 23 page report offers ‘actionable security’ that organizations need along with best practices to minimize security risk. The Open source vulnerability database and other studies show declines from 23% in 2011 to 20% in 2012. Still, one in five vulnerabilities could allow attackers to gain control of a target. While vulnerabilities are on the decline, they still pose a threat. Even mature technologies can pose a threat, witness the recent Department of Homeland Security recommendation that the Oracle Java SE platform should be disabled in Web browsers. In the control system space, SCADA vulnerabilities are up from 22 in 2008 to 191 in 2012. Mobile platforms likewise represent a major growth area for vulnerabilities.

A special edition of Cyber Magazine offers a warm up to IDGA’s upcoming oil and gas cyber security event in Houston next September. Badger Group’s Paul Williams writes on cyber risks to Gulf of Mexico joint ventures and the impact of the White House’s recent cyber security executive order. 

DNV’s Kema unit reports that the energy sector in the Middle East is particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks where threat awareness is ‘insufficient.’ Governments need to coherent cyber security strategies. Regional MD Mohammed Atif said, ‘This is a situation to worry about, a cyber-attack on energy supplies and routes in the region would impact the entire world.’ More from DNV/Kema.


Ernst &Young on IT security and safety risk to oil and gas

Oil and gas judged at risk from ’hacktivists.’ Advice to travelers. What to protect.

A new report* in Ernst & Young’s Business Pulse series looks at risks and opportunities in oil and gas. The report quizzes oil and gas execs who attribute a 1 to 10 ranking for each threat or opportunity. The study compares the 2013 survey with an earlier 2011 analysis and looks forward to 2015 for future trends.

The increasing sophistication of oil and gas control systems and increased automation have had positive results. But the risks associated with having a physical network controlled digitally are ‘significant.’ Oil and gas are likely to be among the primary targets for cyber attacks by industrial spies and ‘hacktivists.’

Some companies adopt radical measures, one told E&Y, ‘When we go to particular countries we go with clean cell phones and clean computers. We don’t store any information, we don’t transmit any information back home and we don’t go on any networks.’ Majors in particular recognize that there is little they can do to protect against the most skillful attacks. Ernst & Young’s Ben Taylor advises, ‘Companies need to be selective about what information they absolutely have to protect, and protect it at all costs.’ According to E&Y, IT security ‘has moved from the periphery of a company’s risk management structure to the core of its operations.’ This conclusion is somewhat supported by the study as IT security was absent from the 2011 study and entered at the N° 9 slot in 2013. However the execs expected it to decline as a threat (to N° 10) in 2015.

E&Y gives the oil and gas vertical a thumbs-up for its ‘managerial and technical expertise,’ a core strength.

* Business Pulse: Exploring the dual perspectives of the top 10 risks and opportunities in 2013 and beyond.


Amalto and Spira team on days sales outstanding reduction

‘Field-to-finance’ solution combines e-field ticketing with business to business integration.

Amalto Technologies has teamed with Calgary-based wireless field ticketing specialist Spira Data on ‘Field-to-Finance,’ (F2F) an e-commerce solution that is set to speed invoice payments. F2F combines Spira’s ticketing and data capture tools with Amalto’s business-to-business integration services.

According to Amalto, oilfield days sales outstanding (DSO) can be as high as 100 days. Companies are seeking ways to receive payment faster gain visibility into financials. CEO Jean-Pierre Foehn said, ‘DSO has reached epidemic proportions and is costing industry billions of dollars each year.’ The configurable solution is compatible with all back-office ERP and accounting systems. More from Amalto and Spira.


McLaren Software engineering document control service

Hosted and outsourced ‘cradle-to-grave’ offering supports Albertan oil sans project.

A hosted, cradle-to-grave service for engineering document management on capital projects, McLaren’s document control service (DCS) addresses the requirements of major engineering projects. Anchor tenant is a major Alberta oil sands operator. DCS includes an outsourced document control service provided by ‘experienced document controllers.’ Project documentation is captured to a privately-hosted, cloud-based implementation of McLaren Enterprise.

CEO Paul Muir said, ‘Clients tell us that controller turnover can be as high as 50% per year, adding cost and risk to a project. These costs trend higher where document control skills are at a premium—especially in remote locations.’

DCS is based-on McLaren Enterprise ‘OnAir’ and is hosted in one of McLarens’ tier 3 data centers. The pre-configured solution embeds best practice document control processes gained from two decades of industry specialization. Deliverables management and transmittals management are included in addition to project document control workflows, mark-up and reporting. Controllers recruited and trained by McLaren supplement the customers’ own document control team. The service is available now in North America and Australia with further geographic coverage and a separate ‘asset operations’ service planned for later in 2013. More from McLaren.


Kepware and the oil and gas ‘ATM’

White paper pinpoints five challenges to industrial control systems.

A 25 page white paper from Kepware Technologies’ president and co-owner, Tony Paine titled, ‘More data, more sources, more problems’ discusses control system data access with reference to oil and gas. Paine identifies five challenges to plant and process automation—interoperability, functionality, reliability, scalability and safety. Modern facilities deploy multiple programmable logic controllers, distributed control systems, flow computers and other data sources in a heterogeneous environment.

Problems accessing data across disparate devices can result in a lack of information-based decision-making. The search for functionality makes for the deployment of multiple solution providers and communications protocols.  Scalability may be overlooked as operators seek to solve their immediate communications issues. For Paine, custody transfer is the industry’s ‘cash register’ and, like the ATM in banking, requires secure, high reliability, redundant systems to avoid costly downtime.

The white paper offers a useful ‘Bluffer’s Guide’ to industrial control systems where a plethora of computing and other hardware may be deployed. Although systems should be able to communicate via a universal standard like OPC*, in reality ‘this may not be practical.’ The answer is a communications gateway (read KepServer), an abstraction layer between OPC and the multitude of device-specific protocols. 

* Open Connectivity standard for automation.


Azbil supports Exxon’s legacy control systems

Introduced in 1975, the Honeywell TDC2000 controller gets new lease of life through 2025!

Tokyo-headquartered Azbil Corporation (formally known as Yamatake-Honeywell) is to provide long term support to ExxonMobil for its use of Honeywell TDC2000-based control systems. Azbil is a co-developer and a co-owner of the TDC2000 technology and intellectual property. First introduced in 1975, TDC 2000 is now the target of an upgrade path to Honeywell’s Experion process knowledge system.

For companies with a large TDC2000 installed base who are not quite ready to make the switch, Azbil is offering support and services through to year 2025 including component redesign and refurbishment, provision of skilled engineering resources, failure analysis and training. The Azbil program is designed to help ExxonMobil avoid obsolescence, increase reliability and remove the time pressure to make decisions relative to a complete system migration. Azbil is also redesigning the TDC2000 electronics to reduce the number of components on a card and the number of cards required for a particular application. It is interesting to reflect on the longevity of control system technology as compared with IT! More from Azbil.


DNV Genie offshore engineering data model

New Sesam Genie design software eliminates time-consuming data transfer.

DNV Software has announced a single engineering data model for offshore design, modification and operations. The date model is delivered as a component of the 6.4 release of DNV’s Sesam Genie design tool and is claimed to eliminate the need for multiple data models and time-consuming data transfer. Genie is used to design and analyze offshore structures made of beams and plates such as drilling rigs and FPSOs. All design data is persistent facilitating efficient, iterative re-design of a structure.

DNV Software MD Are Føllesdal Tjønn said, ‘Genie’s world wide growth in sales has allowed us to invest in further development. Now the offshore engineering offers an integrated environment for structural modelling, environmental load calculations, structural response analysis and engineering evaluation and redesign.’

The single model solution includes tension and compression analysis, a customer request that reduces ‘superfluous’ investments in separate systems. Genie provides a consistent user interface to complex connections between structural components and accepts data from third party systems—said to be a timesaver in life extension analysis. More from DNV Software.