February 2014


The cloud Paradigm

Amazon cloud edition of Paradigm’s Sysdrill offers desktop functionality sans the IT infrastructure. Paradigm plans to extend cloud offering to Geolog and other apps.

Sysdrill, Paradigm’s well planning and drilling engineering solution, is now available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Cloud deployment promises rapid provisioning, simplified management and lower costs. CEO Arshad Matin said, ‘Cloud computing is one of the most important macro-trends in IT infrastructure but E&P software vendors have yet to make its benefits available to customers who should be able to focus on the application rather than the infrastructure. With today’s announcement, Paradigm enables customers to do just that.’

Sysdrill on the AWS cloud will be available in two flavors. One offers a full-service ‘deployed instance’ model which will allow users to access the product with no AWS-specific knowledge or interaction with Amazon. The other offering targets IT departments with AWS experience who need to manage their AWS instances themselves. Here Paradigm provides a reference architecture and sizing guidelines for deployment. In a blog posting, Paradigm’s Robert Innes suggested that cloud computing will ‘remove the burden of data storage and management’ from operators. Building on-premises IT infrastructure to manage geosciences and production data is ‘slow and expensive.’ This makes the cloud ‘an attractive option that should appeal to an industry with a globally dispersed workforce.’ But Paradigm is not quite there yet as Urvish Vashi told Oil IT Journal in an exclusive interview (see page 3). Today, both AWS deployment options will give operators a cloud-based version of Sysdrill that is identical to the desktop edition. Getting data from the rig site, and from internal databases into the Amazon cloud requires some hands-on reformatting to Witsml—leveraging Paradigm’s OpsLink toolset.

Paradigm is however in good company in its push for cloud deployment as a quick review of the last couple of years of Oil IT Journal shows. Cloud deployment has been reported from Baker Hughes (running Tubeflow simulations on the Microsoft Azure cloud), by Shell for sandboxing data management solutions, some seismic tests and ‘big data’ analytics. Roxar likewise offers the ability to spin-out compute intensive history match runs to the Amazon cloud. Safe Software’s FME Desktop and Server 2014 introduced support for GIS data on Amazon and cloud databases such as DynamoDB, S3, Google BigQuery and ArcGIS online. Fuse likewise offers a VMWare/EC cloud version of its seismic data management solution. And GE intimated last year that components of its ‘Industrial Internet’ would leverage the Amazon cloud although this was not much in evidence at the GE oil & gas annual meeting (pages 6&7). More from Paradigm.


CGG bags TerraSpark

InsightEarth joins Hampson-Russell and Jason in GeoSoftware business line. Parallel GeoConsulting unit to offer ‘full spectrum’ geosciences services.

Paris, France-headquartered CGG* has acquired TerraSpark, developer of the InsightEarth geosciences interpretation package. TerraSpark was formed in 2008 as a spin-out from the University of Colorado (formerly the BP Center of Visualization).

InsightEarth, along with CGG’s other software offerings, Hampson-Russell and Jason, are to be re-housed in new business lines, GeoSoftware and GeoConsulting. The first unit handles development, training and sales. The second is to offer ‘full-spectrum’ geological and geophysical consulting services, rolling in the ex-Robertson geoscience consulting services (acquired from Fugro in 2012). The consulting unit will also sell multi-client products spanning geological, petroleum engineering and economics along with the NPA satellite mapping service and GeoConsulting-related training.

The new units are led by Kamal Al-Yayha, SVP, GeoSoftware and Mark Weber, SVP GeoConsulting. Reporting on its 2013 financial year, CGG stated that, ‘Reservoir and geology activities continued to be solid, driven by sustained demand for geology products and services and reservoir softwares (sic).’ More from CGG.

* Compagnie générale de géophysique.


GE Florence panel session—innovating and investing in unconventionals

Huge efficiency gains are just a start as independents ‘shrink to grow’ in the unconventional space. Industry is evolving from inventory starved, cash positive, to an embarrassment of richesse and a shortage of funds. North American energy independence is not likely given today’s economics.

Being short on ideas and time this month I thought that I would bring you some more from the ‘industry at large’ folder—specifically my notes from the excellent ‘Fast track on the future’ panel session at GE Oil & Gas’ annual meeting in Florence this month which provided a snapshot of the US shale exploration scene.

Kim Hatfield (Crawley Petroleum) traced the history of US shale exploration with a tip of the hat to the late George Mitchell who opened up the Barnett shale play. While the entrepreneurship of Mitchell and others was a force behind shale development, the key driver was ‘private ownership and 3-5 year leases’ that enabled operators to achieve huge acreage positions and develop them quickly. The result is huge efficiency gains—of 30-50% in drilling. Shale development involves thousands of virtually identical wells and involves taking big risks early on to optimize. Completion efficiency is also a big issue—but here, results may not be so clear cut. Geology ‘may vary’ and tweaks in completion may not show up for months in production figures.

Unconventional production technology is immature. While legacy artificial lift work reasonably well in early life—where liquid production dominates, it is not be so good for multi phase flow in long offset wells. We may be abandoning wells too early. We also need to be able to monitor wells better to understand what zones are producing what. Today there is a chicken and egg situation—we can’t categorize pressure and flows and therefore cannot optimize intervention techniques. We need to come up with better systems, five years after a well has been drilled is too late. We need downhole data and better analytics. One operator reported that eliminating one stage per completion per well would save them $2 billion.

Craig Jarchow (of private equity firm Pine Brook Partners) observed that ‘all innovation comes from pain.’ His pain, as an investor, stems from the significant changes that the non conventionals have wrought on the industry which is ‘no longer focused on inventory but rather on cash flow.’ Prior to circa 2005, the industry was cash flow positive, then the non conventional switch was flipped and industry is now ‘consuming capital.’ The pundits would have it that North America will be self sufficient by 2020/2030, but ‘do the math, it will take $500 billion investment to get there.’ The industry just does not generate this kind of money.

The new short-on-capital, long-on-inventory paradigm is ‘a complete change for oil and gas financing.’ Before, ‘we used to get a couple of guys with a few projects they could flip and double your money.’ Now it takes a whole team to identify and prove-up a play. Whereas $50 million might have done back in the day, the new paradigm requires up to $1 billion equity to start up. The ‘dirty secret’ of unconventionals is that they are hard and expensive plays. It can easily cost $50million to find out if a play will work and there may be 2-3 trials per company. A lot of up-front cash is required. ‘This is the pain that I am feeling.’

But the pain represents opportunity—for innovators to improve efficiency in the supply chain, drilling and completion. Having said that, Jarchow opined that there is only so much that can be done. Unconventionals only work at certain maturity and pressure (i.e. depth), ‘so it will cost.’ There is a lot do in regard of capital exposure. ‘We are still assessing unconventional plays by trial and error which is unacceptable.’ There is a need for improvements to technology and execution that lets companies assess an area, limiting financial exposure to ‘$10-20 million.’ The search for efficiency has caused some large independents to ‘shrink to grow,’ selling off conventional assets to focus on unconventionals where they have expertise.

The moderator (GE’s Mike Ming) tried to steer the debate back to its ‘innovation’ theme asking if investors should factor-in technology development into their projects. GE Aviation’s Greg Morris was positive, citing the impact of additive technology (a.k.a. 3D printing) on accelerating innovation. GE now manufactures its own fuel nozzles using the technique and has taken a large market share away from the incumbent.

Jarchow was sceptical, citing the poor performance of venture capital in green energy. There is risk in innovation, from execution (the quality of the management team), technology (will it work?) and the market (does anybody want it?). Historically, investors in innovation have not been compensated for these risks and technology does often fail. Jarchow cited recent disappointments in water treatment and battery technology to conclude that a portfolio approach was necessary. Hatfield observed that shale economics are ‘so thin that we may be making short term decisions without a concern as to where we will be in ten years time.’ Engineers are under pressure to cut costs and this may impact future production.

Ming again steered the debate back on track asking what the panellists thought of collaboration in what can be a ‘pretty tight’ industry. Will the new resource paradigm transform industry from its ‘proprietary’ business model?

Jarchow agreed that the new ‘abundance mentality’ could make for more collaboration. ‘We have economic incentives in spades—watch this space.’ Hatfield was concerned about this risk/reward equation for frontier areas and thought that protecting intellectual property and expertise remains important. But the prize is there as shale gas is transformed into ‘just in time inventory’ which can be ramped up quickly when needed, ‘damping volatility in commodity prices.’ More from the GE Oil & Gas annual meeting in our full report on pages 6 and 7, and on the event minisite.

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Interview—Urvish Vashi, Paradigm

Paradigm VP marketing explains the rationale behind the move to the Amazon cloud and the different options. Today, data management is performed by customers but Paradigm has plans for Geolog and (maybe) Epos in the cloud. Remoting high end visualization remains tricky.

What is the motivation behind the Amazon web services (AWS) cloud offering?

UV—Customers are interested in reducing friction, reducing infrastructure and for some, moving to less or no IT involvement. For Paradigm the cloud helps us grow the number of ported platforms for our products, providing access from tablets and other operating systems. Starting with Sysdrill, we certify and validate applications on AWS to address both these goals. We are announcing two AWS options. The first, for more hands-on IT-led deployments delivers Sysdrill as an EC2 instance, offering scalability and performance but requiring IT management of the cloud. The second targets companies which just need the application with zero deployment hassle. Here, Paradigm carries all the management burden, setting up the hosting environment and passing through costs to customers. 

So you are not moving to AWS as a development platform?

No not yet. These are cloud-ready offerings, not fully multi-tenant hosting environments. In the longer term there are opportunities here for economies of scale, but we have more work to do ...

How does the data flow into the cloud from drilling/geosteering operations?

Real time data from the drill site is consolidated by the client or service company and fed as Witsml to the Sysdrill instance in the cloud. There is no functional difference between the Amazon cloud edition and a desktop version of Sysdrill.

So no data flows from the rig to the cloud?

No. This could be done but not has yet implemented. The data route goes through our OpsLink data broker for consolidation and output to Witsml.

Although the hands-on option would seem like a good opportunity to combine data management and applications in the cloud. What about Epos in the cloud?

Today Sysdrill is in a stand-alone mode as if it were running in a client’s own data center. We have not validated Epos in the cloud, so you need a connection to your own data center, or you could run everything on your own virtual private cloud.

Is combining data and applications in the cloud where you are heading?

Yes—we are currently testing this kind of approach. This is the first of many steps. We are building more on the cloud but one outstanding problem remains, that of high-end visualization from cloud-based solutions.

Wow! That problem hasn’t been fixed yet? We have been hearing about it for over a decade!

Sure, the industry has been looking at this since the 1990s. The problem cropped up in the old application service provision offerings. But the challenge remains. While Citrix and other solutions exist, they require the use of API libraries inside the software. This is OK as far as it goes but ultimately we will need a new client/server model that just sends a minimal amount of data to the user. But again, this needs doing at the application level.

But with today’s smart phones and tablets this is a totally generic issue..

Indeed but our industry is a bit slow to move to the cloud, perhaps because of security concerns—although Amazon and others are steadily knocking down the barriers. In the end, it’s economics that is driving the move to the cloud.

You mentioned other platforms—do you have iPhone/tablet uses for Sysdrill?

Sure there is a remote terminal option that runs on the iPad—maybe not on the phone.

And this functionality is enabled by AWS?

Yes. Amazon provides great bandwidth, validated ports and a really usable interface.

Who is using the cloud... independents, majors?

We have several smaller companies who are trialling the solution. This is not driven by our major accounts. However, there is not a single major or NOC that has not got some cloud trials running.

What’s next for the Amazon cloud?

Geolog. This should be interesting as it has a larger installed base.

Will you be storing data in the cloud?

Yes.

And offering the ability to compare drilling wells with nearby related wells?

Yes and this is true to a degree with Sysdrill which has a database of drilling knowledge and can tap into third party data stores. We believe that the cloud represents an IT paradigm shift akin to the desktop revolution of the last century. Companies can avoid owning and managing infrastructure. We all have to start somewhere and Paradigm is positioned as a vendor who can help out with this move. More from Paradigm.


Geocap—seismic for ArcGIS, water column mapping

Seismic Explorer for ArcGIS announced. Point cloud water column data for seep investigations.

Norwegian mapping and modeling software house Geocap has announced Seismic Explorer for ArcGIS, a 2D/3D viewer for seismic data in SEG-Y format. Seismics can be viewed and manipulated alongside cultural and subsurface data. The tool allows for interaction with seismic cubes and extraction of random lines. OpenGL, ‘brick-based’ data transfer provides quality rendering. Selected data can be published as a 3D web scene. The solution ‘avoids the hassle of importing all your cultural data into your seismic interpretation system.’

The latest 6.5 release provides enhancements to the maritime zones plugin which now leverages ArcGIS feature classes and table of content. Other improvements have been made to the international boundary calculator and gridding of multiple datasets. The new data link for ArcGIS includes management of  geodatabases, *.mxd, shape files and rasters.

Geocap now also support the bathymetry attributed grid (BAG) standard and allows for viewing and interpreting large water column data sets (up to 12GB per hour of logging). Data can be interpreted as cubes or as point clouds that can filtered and colored by amplitude in order to identify features such as seeps. More from Geocap


Verdande predicts mud motor failure for Hess

Bakken shale trials of artificial intelligence relate ‘microstalling’ to drilling KPIs.

Predictive analytics specialist Verdande Technology reports on successful trials of a new mud motor failure prediction capability available in its flagship DrillEdge solution. DrillEdge uses artificial intelligence in the form of case-based reasoning to analyze real time data feeds and pinpoint patterns in the data that provide early warning of dangerous situations.

The trials were performed for Hess Corp. in the Bakken shale play. Hess’ Matthew Isbell said, ‘An improperly configured auto driller can lead to a drilling dysfunction called ‘microstalling.’ This causes up to a 15% reduction in drilling efficiency and can also lead to failure of the mud motor or bottom hole assembly components, costing approximately $150,000 per incident.’ DrillEdge was used to identify early symptoms of damage by comparing mechanical specific energy (a drilling KPI) with accumulated downhole tool stress.

Verdande COO Philip Wade added, ‘Efficient operations require software-based drilling optimization solutions to reduce non productive time. As operators turn to the factory drilling approach, our solutions are adapting to mitigate downhole tool damage, such as mud motor failure. We plan to expand our drilling optimization portfolio this year.’ More from Verdande


Well integrity standard

DecomWorld white paper traces evolution of internationally recognized Norsok D-010 standard.

A white paper from DecomWorld, authored by Terje Løkke-Sørensen (Add Energy), tells the story behind Norway’s Norsok D-010 well integrity standard. Since its first version, released in the 1990s, the standard has been extended to encompass the whole well lifecycle from drilling and completion through to abandonment. In 2003 Rev 3.0 bolstered the concept of well integrity with the extensive use of well barrier schematics, a technique pioneered by Norsk Hydro (now Statoil). 

Macondo saw a world-wide examination of regulations and practices. In Norway, this led to the publication of Norsk Olje og Gass’s 2011 Macondo lessons-learned report with recommendations for an update to the D-010 standard. This led to V4.0 in 2013 with advice on managed pressure drilling, relief well plans and requirements for capping equipment. Nine additional well barrier elements have been added. Løkke-Sørensen recommends that operators get ready for Rev 4’s robust safety enhancements that will require greater thoroughness and will likely drive costs up. One requirement is that a well must be killable with a single one relief well, which will impact well design. While D-010 is strictly a Norwegian standard, it has gained international recognition as global firms ‘exported’ it to other regions without such a standard. Løkke-Sørensen believes that the D-010 standard leads the world. More from DecomWorld and Norsok/Olje. Those interested in this field should be aware of DecomWorld’s upcoming Well Integrity & Abandonment Conference to be held later this year in Aberdeen. 


GuildOne automates oil country drafting

Zargon oil and gas deploys FacilityStudio for data-driven engineering document generation.

Calgary-based Zargon oil and gas reports successful deployment of GuildOne’s FacilityStudio,  a ‘data-driven’ schematic drafting tool for oil and gas wells and production facilities. Zargon was confronted by costly, inefficient and non-compliant legacy processes for generating its engineering documents (measurement schematics in Canadian parlance).

The advent of  the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) Directive 017 and Enhanced Production Audit Program (EPAP) led to the search for a solution that could ensure compliance with the new rules and resolve inconsistencies between data reported from the field and to Petrinex (formerly the Petroleum Registry of Alberta). One year into deployment, Facility Studio is performing satisfactorily, providing Zargon with a complete and accurate list of wells and facilities and providing Petrinex with the same, accurate data Zargon’s accountants use to validate its joint venture processing agreements with third parties.

GuildOne boasts ten clients and 6,500 wells and facilities using FacilityStudio. The latest release, V2.1 enhances schematic search in a project hierarchy and flags mandatory attribute status as required for compliance. Along with the software, GuildOne offers a business analysis service and a schematic conversion service. More from GuildOne


Weatherford chooses Endeeper’s petrographic modeling toolset

Petroledge and RockViewer accelerate petrological data capture, analysis and reporting.

Weatherford Laboratories’ Brazilian unit is to standardize on Endeeper’s Petroledge and RockViewer solutions for petrographic knowledge management. Weatherford geologists will perform data acquisition and management of sedimentary petrography directly into the tools which are claimed to accelerate petrological data capture, analysis and reporting.

Weatherford Labs  provides rock and fluid analyses including core analysis, geochemistry and reservoir evaluation. The use of Endeeper’s tools will simplify data load to corporate databases of clients like Petrobras using Petroledge and RockViewer software.

Endeeper’s products leverage XML-based knowledge and data models that can be exported for use in semantically-aware applications. Endeeper considers this facet of its knowledge modeling  to be a key differentiator. Endeeper’s engineers have been working with knowledge modelling since the 1990’s and the products are ready for integration based on ontologies and semantic applications. More from Endeeper.


Software, hardware short takes

Blueback Reservoir, EarthQuick, Apache, CGG, EasyCopy Company, EnergIQ, Intergraph, Planar Systems, Rock Solid Images, ZTR Control Systems.

The V2.0 release of Blueback Reservoir’s System Center data management plug-in for Petrel provides an overview of the Petrel environment and usage. The new release provides better management of Petrel, plug-ins and Studio.

Startup EarthQuick has announced a beta version of its eponymous software for use in data rooms and other situations ‘where flexibility and mobility is at a premium.’ EarthQuick provides access to 2D/3D seismic and well data from a Windows 8 touch screen tablet.

Apache Corp. has announced a new media and investor center mobile application (Apple/Android) providing news and market information about Apache to mobile devices. The app also provides operating statistics, reports, stock and market performance, presentations and webcasts.

CGG has released Hampson-Russell HRS-9 release 2 with new unconventional capabilities including azimuthal AVO for fracture identification, multicomponent interpretation and horizontal well plots on seismic sections. The new release also offers tools for computing geomechanical properties for well planning.

The EasyCopy Company has released EasyCore, a tool for capturing core descriptions in digital format and embedding them in third party applications.

Version 2.1 of EnergyIQ’s Trusted data manager delivers enhanced capabilities for well data management including a hierarchical view of data based upon the PPDM ‘What is a Well?’ work. The new release introduces system-wide identifiers for enterprise master data management, a web services API, EPSG conformant coordinate transformations and workflow automation for data loading—1006.

The 2014 release of Intergraph Geospatial enhances analytics, mobility and ‘big data’ solutions. Mobile MapWorks provides real-time reporting from the field and a new Erdas ECW/JP2 dev kit for Android, iOS and WinCE that allows developers to deliver high performance image data using Intergraph’s data compression technology. A 64 bit edition of Erdas Imagine addresses big data problems. Data exchange with Esri file geodatabase is also new.

Planar Systems has announced the Clarity Matrix LCD video wall, a 55” screen with a 0.15” bezel and ‘stunning’ image quality.

RSI has announced version 1.0 of Rock Solid Attributes (RSA) for Petrel, a  plug-in providing some 80 seismic attribute calculations for  relative acoustic impedance, semblance and curvature and more. The package includes the Rock Solid Guide to help select the most appropriate attributes based on geology and interpretation goals. Similar technology is available for SMT Kingdom and SeisWare. RSI is now working on ‘Lithann,’ neural network-driven seismic facies classification.

ZTR Control Systems has announced SnapSite for the iPad, which, used with ZTR telematics hardware, allows for remote viewing of equipment information. Remote assets are grouped together as a site providing drill-down on equipment to check health, maintenance and utilization. 


SMi Oil & gas Cyber Security, London

PwC—‘oil and gas most heavily targeted sector.’ Maersk—‘growing regulatory burden on operators’.

The SMi Oil & Gas Cyber Security conference held late last year in London offered an excellent overview of the problems facing oil and gas operators who are confronted to multiple IT and process security risks. Oil and gas, according to chairman Ed Hamilton (Price Waterhouse Coopers) is one of the most heavily targeted sectors. Attacks come from groups focusing on espionage or sabotage. PwC has identified several state-backed groups targeting oils and has responded to ‘a number of severe network intrusions in oil and gas companies.’ Moreover, while such attacks are on the increase,  regular firewalls, antivirus and spam gateways are ‘not likely to detect an attack specifically tailored to get into your network.’

Claudio Lo Cicero (Maersk Oil) confirmed that cyber-attacks and espionage are on the rise. This brings the risk of disruption to critical processes and of the loss of intellectual property and confidential information. Regulators, aware of the risks, are placing a growing burden on operators of critical infrastructure. Along with the headline grabbing Duqu/Shamoon style attacks, oils are at risk from environmental ‘hacktivism,’ witness the attack on Shell and Gazprom’s systems by groups opposed to arctic drilling. Exxon, BP, Shell, Marathon, ConocoPhillips and BakerHughes’ systems were compromised by the NightDragon spyware for over 5 years before discovery. For Cicero, the first line of defense is your people. Awareness and education are key in that they can turn employees into ‘an extension of the information security team.’

A 2013 Veris study found that 80% of known malware requires some user action to execute. It is also important to go beyond reactive monitoring that focuses on exploit discovery after delivery. Proactive monitoring can identify threats in the reconnaissance and delivery phases before they become exploits. This may involve monitoring internet forums and social media looking for leaked information and checking what information may be freely available from requests for proposals and job postings. Companies must prepare for what is probably inevitable with appropriate processes and capabilities to manage complex incident response, recovery and forensics. Cicero also discussed the pros and cons of managed security services. These may suit companies with insufficient internal cyber security resources and capabilities. Outsourcing may give better protection against rapidly morphing malware that may evade detection by internal systems. On the downside, outsourcing will involve complicated implementation and service level management and will in no sense transfer the risk. Organisations remain responsible for managing both the risk and the service provider. Outsourcing may also deprive companies of perspective and competency in security fundamentals. In his exhaustive treatment, Cicero outlined the security risks inherent to the extended supply chain. According to one study, 42% of breaches in 2012 were the results of third-party mistakes. Visit the conference home page


GE Oil & Gas 2014, Florence

We report from the interface between equipment and IT. How Formula 1 does big data. IT and operations technology convergence. Chevron—‘security is the biggest single challenge to industry.’ Accenture—digital oilfield experienced ‘mixed.’ ENI on ‘irresponsible outsourcing’ and ‘re-sourcing’ core competencies. Predix and the ‘social network’ of machines. IEA—‘you will be gas and oil not oil and gas companies.’ The (not so) secret trick to hire new graduates.

Opening the 2014 GE O&G annual meeting in Florence, Italy this month, Lorenzo Simonelli announced GE’s R&D hook-up with Chevron and emphasized synergies between GE’s oil and gas unit and its many other branches including healthcare. One such example is the X-ray imaging developed for healthcare that is used to inspect pipelines. GE is building a new oil and gas HQ located in Oklahoma. Simonelli expects the US non-conventional sector to grow 50% by 2020.

Chevron’s Manny Gonzalez embellished on the technology transfer theme citing solutions from ‘unexpected places.’ Chevron was recently confronted by casing collapse in HPHT wells caused by mud expanding as it heated up. Discussion with laser scientists at LANL were fruitful as they has exactly the opposite problem with a polymer that shrank on heating. A novel mud system was developed with the new polymer and ‘it worked!’

Accenture’s Jean-Marc Ollagnier addressed the value of big data stating that, ‘we believe that the big data revolution will bring value to business.’ Accenture is mapping big data processes and relevance across industries. In the upstream, data driven analytics will reduce shutdowns, enable asset optimization and predictive maintenance. All with a significant $/bbl impact. ‘Yes there is a big data revolution and it is relevant to your industry.’

Gianluca Pisanello (Caterham F1) was asked for parallels with Formula 1 racing. Formula 1 could not exist without data. Today a racing car is a laboratory on wheels with hundreds of onboard sensors streaming information in real time. Before the race, a ‘driver in the loop simulator,’ (described as a very expensive video game) blends data from the race track and gathers driver-metrics. ‘Virtual data’ such as computational fluid dynamics used in design is as important as real data. Formula 1 leverages massive amounts of data as cars evolve continuously.

Manny Gonzales (Chevron) compared the changes in F1 with the digital oilfield revolution. The GE/Chevron developed Safire multi-phase meter has allowed Chevron to move from one well test per month to one per hour and engineers now see how wells perform in near real time. This information leads to increased production and better, data-driven knowledge of the field. Similar improvement has come from continuous (as opposed to once per year) wireline pressure gauge measurement.

GE’s Brian Palmer asked how talent and data were managed in organizations. Ollagnier stated that the aging workforce issue is for real and is being addressed with significant training programs. Communications technology also plays a role as it lets you move work to people. De-manning offshore platforms is seen as desirable in terms of HSE. The real time operations center is a ‘massive change,’ one Australian operator uses engineers based in India, moving the work to the people. And there is much more to do here.

Gonzales concurred, work now involves teams around the world exchanging data during product development and transcending corporate boundaries. In operations, data is channeled to central locations where reservoir engineers can analyze and recommend courses of action. Chevron has fiber to thousands of wells in the San Joachim valley—but not to Indonesia!

Formula 1 used to rely on its older engineers but this is changing with less reliance on individual experience. Processes have evolved such that data is more than a single person can process. Since year 2000, F1 has seen a ‘spending madness’ that almost brought the system down. Companies were going for as much data as was possible—building multiple wind tunnels at $50 mill a pop! This was unsustainable. New rules have capped testing time, teraflops and wind tunnel use. There is a shift to intelligent, automated leverage of data.

Palmer asked if IT should be viewed as an enabler, as a core operation or indeed if IT and operations technology should merge. Ollagnier recognized the IT/OT convergence issue. We like to talk about data and analytics, cutting across the silo boundaries. But this is not so easy. Companies are just not organized this way and have OT/IT silos which may be at different maturity levels. Operations know the needs of business—but you also need experienced IT folks. One solution is to mix up the roles—to train IT on OT and vice versa. This is an issue, ‘I don’t know what the answer is, but the status quo is not an option.’ Pisanello did not see the problem with IT/OT integration, ‘what are you afraid of? Get IT into your core business!’

Palmer introduced the thorny topic of security and the risk of disruption to operations. Gonzales described security as the biggest challenge to the industry and as at the intersection of IT/OT. Once a company has been penetrated, hackers can ‘sit there and gather information for long time.’ Processes could be altered and cause huge disruptions and safety issues. Industry is working hard to address these issues. For Accenture, ‘security is now a board level issue.’ When every device has an IP address (q.v. GE’s industrial internet?), it will be a new world and a headache for IT security. ‘You can’t have a safe enterprise with all your operations exposed!’

For Ollagnier, the digital oilfield has been a mixed experience with a lack of talent, sponsorship and data quality. Companies ‘may not get what they expect.’ The digital oilfield is not a technology project, it is a game changer with the potential for reduced maintenance, increased production and decreased costs. You need a big target and the right sponsor or you will run into the silo problem. A risk/reward balance needs to be struck, operations may have a comfort zone but there may be interesting ‘exotic’ technology with more risk. The value comes from a holistic approach, this is not just an IT/OT issue.

Palmer invited panelists to give their best shot for big data driving performance. For Chevron—look over your fields and go for extra recovery through transformational technologies including use of data. F1 could not do its business without data—but you need to focus on data quality, availability and move closer to real time and remote operations. More and more of race strategy is dictated from the factory but we fight daily for data quality. Accenture believes that in every business there is a place that can benefit from the digital transformation—look for and find it!

GE’s Jerome Luciat-Labry introduced the panel session on the state of the oil and gas industry observing that while the oil price and economics are good, cost inflation is impacting investment and subsea suffers from an execution bottleneck. Gas is now abundant, coming from sufficiently diverse sources to qualify as the 21 century urban fuel. Gas can be a bridge between the ‘brown’ 20th century and green 21st. This will require a massive investment in infrastructure to connect LNG terminals, pipelines and households. There is a role for small scale solutions (q.v. GE’s LNG in a box) and for a new class of digital technologies, ‘brilliant machines’ that will extend the life of mature assets from Texas to the Middle East.

Christof Rühl (BP) summarized the conclusions of BP’s World Energy Outlook as follows. Looking forward to 2035, there will be enough resources to fuel world demand (which is high but less than previously believed) thanks to unconventionals, oil sands and tremendous energy efficiency. Energy security is a harder question to answer with disruptions from movements like the Arab spring. Sustainability is problematic. Little has been achieved re CO2 emissions which have doubled since 1990—‘climate scientists are alarmed.’ The good news is that massive energy efficiency has produced real reductions even if fossil fuel substitution is still too low. Replacing just 1% of coal used by natural gas would be equivalent (in CO2) to all the current production of renewables. BP sees tight oil production continuing globally and rising to 7% of world production. Shale gas could account for 21% of global gas by 2035, but conventional gas production will increase more than shale gas. For Rühl, the biggest risk is human folly—witness EU energy ‘policy’ and countries with energy subsidies like India and Argentina.

ENI Chairman Giuseppe Recchi described today’s oil and gas outlook as unclear. We are moving from cheap and easy oil to expensive and technically challenging projects. This is reflected in the oil price and in what has become a crowded arena with competition between internationals, independents and, especially national oil companies whose expenditure is growing fastest.

With technical challenges such as 3,000 meter water depths in the Gulf of Mexico, ‘expenditure is growing much faster than production.’ The average delay from deepwater discovery to sanction is now seven years—up two years since 2012. A fact that is reflected in the IHS upstream capital costs index. These are rising because of the increasing role of frontier themes and growing execution times. The latter are partly due to ‘irresponsible outsourcing.’ ENI for one is looking to ‘re-source’ (i.e. bring back in house) core competencies. 80% of ENI’s future will come from giant projects.

Statoil ‘s Lars Christian Bacher discussed the role of technology and globalization observing that our interconnected economies expose us to shocks. There are risks above ground (human rights, corporate responsibility, terrorism) and there is complexity below ground, making for ‘substantial headwinds.’ But the biggest challenge is CO2, where there is ‘indisputable evidence for anthropogenic global warming.’ However, ‘energy is not evil’ and we will need more energy and oil and gas. Another 50% of today’s oil and gas production will be required by 2035 to meet demand (according to the IEA). Bacher reported on a novel green metric, the ratio of metric tonnes of CO2 per unit of revenue. Here, Statoil leads, Gazprom comes off worst. More on this from the Carbon disclosure project. For Statoil, technology is a differentiator—a ‘sub-sea factory’ capability is planned for 2020 with a producing platform and tank farm on the sea bed. This ‘will provide access to new resources in a sustainable and profitable manner.’

There was a wide-ranging debate at the software-focused ‘Predictivity’ session chaired by GE Oil and Gas CTO software, Jesse Demesa. If a $100 printer can tell you when its cartridges are about to expire, why shouldn’t a $100 million piece of machinery? This is one of the core concepts behind GE’s industrial internet paradigm—a ‘social network’ of machines, sensors and software. Demesa reported that GE has sunk $1 billion into this venture over a three year period. Around 1,000 people now work at its San Ramone software HQ in Silicon Valley on data science, cyber security and the cloud. ‘Predix’ is the core industrial platform for all GE’s verticals, on top of which, ‘Predictivity’ solutions are built for each vertical. One such solution is GE’s Reliability Max that centralizes alarms and notifications from remote assets, offering drill-down into plant data. The system is to be deployed on BG Group’s Curtis Island coal bed methane to LNG plant.

Another Predix application is the new ‘Field360’ electrical submerged pump monitor and performance optimizer. This provides a prioritized view of high impact wells along with ‘big data’ analytics from GE’s 14,000 strong installed base. Wells requiring attention are highlighted. GE’s roadmap extends to the subsea where a data agnostic approach allows for data collect from heterogeneous installed systems (not just GE). The embryonic subsea integrity offering gathers pressure, temperature and flow data and rolls it up into a holistic overview. The plan is to raise the confidence level of meter data and to present validated data on a subsea control module dashboard.

The International Energy Agency’s Maria van der Hoeven described the coming changes in the energy economy. Even though there will be a move to lower carbon sources, the share of fossil fuel in world energy will not change much. Coal is still king—especially in China where huge coal expansion is drowning green efforts. The abundant supply of gas is our only salvation. But gas is squeezed between coal and low carbon sources. The world needs efficient, well functioning markets. Shale gas can cut CO2 emissions but beware of fugitive emissions. In one scenario, these make gas look worse than coal! The IEA wants to initiate a conversation on the transformation of the industry to ensure that business is profitable and economically robust. van der Hoeven wound up saying that in the future, ‘You will be gas and oil companies, not oil and gas.’

The session on human resources offered some useful advice to those seeking to engage recent graduates in an industry that is often perceived as ‘dirty’ or ‘not sexy.’ The trick is to get at potential hires towards the end of their university careers. Then, ‘if you pay them more than the vultures (venture capitalists and others in finance) , they will come flocking to your door.’ Visit the GE annual meeting minisite.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

Apache, Baker Hughes, Bechtel, Cross Country Pipeline, CVA Group, Devon, EnerVest, EOC, Flotek, GDF Suez, GE, Harris Corp., IDC Energy Insights, ITC Global, MTN Communications, New Century Software, dGB Earth Sciences, NOV, Aggreko, Paradigm, Noble, Exprodat, Seitel, EarthCube.

Apache has appointed Amy Nelson, president and founder of Greenridge Advisors, to its board of directors.

Baker Hughes has launched ShopBakerHughes.com, an online store for Baker Hughes products.

Bill Dudley has been promoted to president and CEO of the Bechtel group of companies, replacing Riley Bechtel, who is stepping down. Jack Futcher is executive VP and Brendan Bechtel, president of the oil, gas and chemicals business.

Cross Country Pipeline Supply Co., has named Dave D’Angelo as CFO and Tony Gonnella VP Sales.

Henri Clémençon has joined the CVA Group as VP Geosciences. He was previously with Total.

Devon Energy has appointed Barbara Baumann and John Bethancourt to its board of directors. Baumann, previously with BP Amoco, is  president and owner of energy financial advisors Cross Creek Energy Corp. Bethancourt was executive VP technology and services with Chevron.

Ken Mariani has been named president of EnerVest. Founder John Walker retains the CEO role. Steve McDaniel is president and CEO and Jud Walker is executive VP and COO of EnerVest Operating Company.

EOC Ltd. CFO Chan Eng Yewis to step down. He is succeeded by Jason Goh, currently with Ezra Holding Ltd.

David McMahon is VP artificial lift with Flotek Industries. He hails from Baker Hughes.

GDF Suez Energy North America has named Eric Bradley senior VP strategy.

Hasan Dandashly heads-up GE Oil & Gas’ new downstream technology solutions (DTS) business, headquartered in Houston.

Harris Corp. has named Tracey Haslam president of its CapRock Communications business and Mick Lopez senior VP and CFO.

Robert Eastman has joined IDC Energy Insights as research manager for the utility IT strategies. He hails from Calyptus Consulting.

ITC Global has named Jean-Michel Rouylou as executive VP Americas and maritime solutions. He hails from Schlumberger.

Santos Venegas has joined MTN Communications as general manager of its oil and gas division. He was previously with Harris CapRock. 

Erik Helms heads-up NetMotion Wireless’ new EAME HQ in Windsor, UK.

Mike LaMont leads New Century Software’s new integrity management and pipeline compliance consulting unit.

Nanne Hemstra heads-up dGB Earth Sciences’ new office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

National Oilwell Varco has added Raymond Chang to its executive management team.

Jesse Brazier heads-up Aggreko’s new North American remote operations center.

Paradigm has named Somesh Singh as chief product officer. He was previously with NetIQ.

Noble Corp. has named Randall Stilley as president and CEO of its standard specification unit.

Exprodat has joined the Pipeline open data standard (PODS) Association.

Christophe Renier (GDF Suez) has been elected chair of the Pipeline research council international.

Olympic Seismic has changed its name to Seitel Canada Ltd.

Southwest Research Institute has added a new HPHT (750°/30kpsi) test cell for valve performance at its San Antonio site.

Former SEC chair Elisse Walter has been elected to the Occidental board of directors.

Solicitation

The US National science foundation’s division of advanced cyberinfrastructure is soliciting proposals for ‘building blocks’ for ‘EarthCube,’ a facile (sic) environment for the sharing of earth system data and knowledge.


Done deals

FEI, EquityMetrix, Dassault, Flotek, Quantum, Jacobs, ION, Intervale, HubHead, Halff, RAE, Transzap.

FEI has acquired ‘digital rock’ specialist Lithicon in a $68 million transaction and has licensed the Australian National University’s microCT helical scan device.

Oil country ‘big land data’ solutions provider EquityMetrix has received a $5 investment from Peterson Partners.

Dassault Systèmes has acquired Pipeline Pilot developer Accelrys in a $750 million deal. Dassault also recently acquired Apriso and 3D visualization specialist Realtime Technology.

 Flotek Industries has acquired Eclipse IOR Services in a $7 million transaction.

Hamilton Group and Sierra Engineering have combined to form Sierra Hamilton.

Quantum Technology Sciences has secured a $2.3 million investment from private investors to commercialize its real-time intrusion detection technology.

Jacobs Engineering has acquired Eagleton Engineering of Houston.

Flow Data’s owners have acquired ITSA Energy, a provider of IT and automation solutions to the upstream and midstream.

ION Geophysical has raised its stake in OceanGeo from 30 to 70%.

Private equity firm Intervale Capital has launched Tier 1 Energy Solutions, a provider of wireline and completion services headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta.

Oil country asset master data management solution provider NRX has been acquired by HubHead Corp.

Halff Associates has acquired Dallas-based oil and gas engineering design firm TriTex Technologies.

Industrial Capital Strategies has sold pipeline inspection solutions provider UT Quality to RAE Energy.

Transzap, provider of Oildex information management solutions for the oil and gas industry has received a majority equity investment from Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm. Vaquero Capital advised on the deal. 


IBM Watson meets geoanalytics for big data rendezvous.

GCS and Global Touchpoints team on AI-based ‘deep content analysis.’

Geoanalytics boutique GCS is teaming with Global Touchpoints to develop ‘big data’ solutions that combine business intelligence with geospatial analytics. The offer targets state and local government agencies confronted with challenging big data problems in inter alia, energy, utilities and water resource management.

GCS is leveraging IBM’s ‘Watson’ processing engine to perform deep content analysis and evidence-based reasoning on sensor data. Global Touchpoints adds its geospatial solutions to the mix, adding a location component and real-time analysis of sensor data streams. GCS director Rob Kinnear said, ‘Whether the data relates to public health, natural resource or energy consumption, geoanalytics allows the extracted business intelligence to be visualized in a geographic perspective.’

Global Touchpoints claims expertise in machine learning systems that tap into information otherwise hidden in organizations’ internal and external data sources. More from GCS and Touchpoints


AVO Photonics develops downhole fluid analyzer

Weatherford’s downhole multi-channel photometer provides in-situ analysis in HPHT wells.  

Weatherford International has teamed with Avo Photonics on the development of a downhole multi-channel photometer capable of in-situ analysis of reservoir fluids in HPHT* wells. Weatherford’s wireline R&D optical sensor group designed and validated the device which was manufactured by Avo, a provider of ‘private-label’ opto-electronic design, prototyping and production services.

The Reservoir Fluid Analyzer (RFA) comes in a 4.5 inch diameter form factor capable of performing fluid analysis at depths of up to five kilometres. High-quality photometric analysis is achievable at operating temperatures of up to 177°C and 30,000 psi. 

Weatherford senior staff scientist Jess Ford said, ‘Avo’s optical and opto-mechanical design and manufacturing expertise for harsh environment operations and their rapid understanding of the downhole challenges were critical to  create a sensor assembly that would work within our existing wireline equipment.’

Avo CTO Tom Haslett added, ‘Weatherford’s extended long wavelength requirements and high temperature performance needs were a challenge.’ The sensor has now completed several field trials and is being volume manufactured by Avo for commercial deployment by Weatherford. More from Avo and Weatherford.

* High pressure high temperature.


IT and enterprise systems key to successful shale development

Price Waterhouse Coopers’ analyzes unconventional development from engineering standpoint.

A three part publication* from Price-WaterhouseCoopers (PwC) looks at shale/unconventional development from an engineering perspective. The report describes a ‘changed environment’ where oil and gas companies and their E&C** partners are engaged in many repetitive activities and handoffs between functions that look more like manufacturing operations than traditional drilling and production. Here, IT and enterprise systems are ‘emerging as enablers that significantly improve decision making and drive productivity.’

As PwC’s John Doherty explained, ‘E&C companies can leverage their  flexibility and existing skill sets to respond to these issues, taking on a leadership role  for their oil and gas clients.’ The trick is to ‘balancing supply and demand’ with a process known as ‘manufactured drilling.’ This leverages a supply chain approach to balance forecast demand for resources (labor, equipment, rentals and materials) with operational requirements.

But shale drilling has some ‘non-manufacturing’ characteristics. It is not demand led—rather a ‘push’ process driven by the availability of land and capital. It exposes a hybrid paradigm somewhere between continuous and discreet manufacturing. Here PwC advocates just in time scheduling and efficient frontier analysis to balance project cost, project schedule and asset revenue. The approach is claimed to save up to 30% operators costs.

* New conventions for unconventional development for the engineering and construction industry.

** Engineering and construction.


ShalePlay—iPhone app for unconventionals

Bracewell & Giuliani’s comprehensive shale information resource.

Houston-based law firm Bracewell & Giuliani has announced ‘ShalePlay,’ an app for the iPhone and iPad (an Android version is in the works), a ‘comprehensive resource’ for non conventional operators. ShalePlay provides news and information related to shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, including the latest industry trends and updates.

B&G CMO Paul Grabowski said, ‘We created this app to offer clients and others information on oil and gas production in shale plays, providing a one-stop-shop for shale related content.’ Along with the news feeds, ShalePlay provides maps, a glossary of common terms and analysis of current legislation and regulations from B&G attorneys. 


Sales, deployments, partnerships …

Ensyte, Accenture, Gevron, GE, LANL, CyrusOne, Open-IX, Emerson, Esri, Fluor  Corp., Gunnebo, Meridium, Molecule Software, Oildex, OptaSense, SkyVision, Aveva, Petrosys, Rock Flow Dynamics, Trimble, ZTR Control Systems, Alert Management Systems, Epson Electronics, Geodetics Inc.

Ensyte has upgraded UGI Corp.’s legacy VB6 edition of Gastar to its new Windows presentation foundation platform.

Statoil has awarded Accenture a global contract for the supply of outsourced finance and control services. The deal covers joint venture, financial, statutory and tax reporting, production and revenue accounting, financial master data management and more.

Chevron Energy Technology Company and GE Oil & Gas have formed the Chevron GE Technology Alliance to develop and commercialize technologies to solve critical issues for the oil and gas industry. The Alliance builds on an existing collaboration on the development of the Safire multiphase flow meter along with swept frequency acoustic interferometry metering technology from Los Alamos national laboratory (LANL).

Colocation solutions provider CyrusOne has achieved multi-site data center certification from the Open-IX North America Association. The standard certifies data center interconnection exchange capability.

Emerson Process Management has completed a ‘massive’ process automation upgrade of BP’s Whiting, Indiana refinery. The ‘large and complex’ start-up involved a global team of 80.

Esri is partnering with the group on earth observation system of systems (GEOSS), established to monitor issues such as disasters, health, energy, climate and more. Esri is to work with Italy’s Earth and space science informatics lab to integrate ArcGIS Online into the GEOSS data access broker. This will make ArcGIS Online content discoverable from Geoss search portals such as DataOne, CEOS, CUAHSI and OneGeology.

Fluor Corp.’s JGC joint venture has received an engineering, procurement and construction EPC from Chevron Canada for the proposed Kitimat LNG.

GE Oil & Gas and BG Group have partnered on a ‘ReliabilityMax’ predictive maintenance project targeting  unplanned downtime on turbomachinery deployed at BG Group’s QGC coal seam gas-to-LNG plant on Curtis Island, Australia.

Shell Denmark has formed a partnership with the Gunnebo security group which is to deploy its closed cash handling solution, SafePay, at Shell’s petrol stations across Denmark.

GE’s Digital Energy business is collaborating with Meridium to offer customers Meridium’s asset performance management APM alongside GE’s SmallWorld offering.

Molecule Software’s cloud-based energy trading software has been selected by Vinmar International.

Oildex has signed a five-year agreement with WPX Energy for deployment of Spendworks, its cloud-based eInvoicing and accounts payable automation platform.

Distributed acoustic sensing specialist OptaSense has signed with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to provide the industry’s first multi-well 4D DAS vertical seismic profiling system to monitor 12 steam-injected oil wells over a three year period.

SkyVision has been awarded a five year contract by Nigerian South Atlantic Petroleum for the installation and management of its corporate voice and data services in Benin.

Petrochemicals engineer Burgasnefteproekt reports ‘significant cost savings’ with the use of Aveva Laser Modeler to capture the as-built asset and create a 3D model of an existing flaring system.

Petrosys has signed an exclusive three-year agreement with Rock Flow Dynamics to distribute its tNavigator reservoir simulation solution in Australia, New Zealand, PNG and Timor-Leste.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to deploy Trimble’s Fleet Management and Visual Cargo consignment management solutions in its finished products transport business.

ZTR Control Systems is partnering with Alert Management Systems (AMS) to enable heavy equipment rental customers to integrate real time equipment data from their fleet directly into AMS EasyPro. ZTR’s i3 adds telematics feeds, providing a information on the location, health, utilization and maintenance status of equipment.

Epson Electronics America has announced a strategic partnership with Geodetics Inc. to develop a ‘tactical’ edition of the Geo-iNAV GPS-aided inertial navigation system. The solution targets real time, high-precision positioning and navigation for manned and unmanned air, sea and ground vehicles and will interface with Epson’s G362 and G352 inertial measurement units. 


Standards stuff

Geosparql, Ordnance Survey, CEN, CENELEC, ANSI, Open Geospatial Consortium.

Following to last month’s item on IBM’s enterprise ontology, we received the following from John Goodwin of the UK Ordnance Survey regarding GeoSparql: Ordnance Survey does not currently use GeoSparql but intends to migrate its linked data offerings in that direction. Elsewhere there are not many implementations (from what I can tell) apart from Oracle and Strabon. Personally I like GeoSparql but others prefer NeoGeo (2001). Hopefully the differences will be resolved soon.

European standards bodies CEN and CENELEC have launched the ‘Societal stakeholders’ toolbox’ (SST) to encourage people to get  involved in EU standardization activities. The SST targets organizations defending the interests of consumers, protecting the environment and promoting the health and safety of workers.

The American national standards institute has released the energy efficiency standardization coordination collaborative (EESCC) roadmap for public comment. The EESCC outlines action-oriented recommendations to advance energy efficiency in the built environment through standards and conformance activities.

The Open geospatial consortium is seeking comment on the candidate GML in JPEG 2000 encoding standard V2.0/ This standard defines how the geography markup language (GML) is used to embed geographic content within JPEG 2000 images. 


Telemedicine for remote workers/Expat psychology

NuPhysicia—remote access to medical data. Ipieca/OGP—psychosocial risks for oil & gas expatriates.

Houston-based medical service and solutions provider NuPhysicia has released NuChart, a mobile application for employees working in remote and offshore locations. NuChart provides access to to personal health data created with NuPhysicia’s InPlace worksite health and medical services. NuPhysicia’s Oscar Boultinghouse said, ‘This tool makes health data easily and securely accessible, linking a person’s worksite health care to their regular health care. Patients can access key health data and share it with their doctor as part of their overall health management.’ The service also provides access to the Center for Disease Control’s traveler Information. NuChart can be downloaded from Apple iTunes or Google Play.

In an unrelated announcement, the OGP and Ipieca organizations have released a report ‘Managing psychosocial risks on expatriation in the oil and gas industry.’ The 28 page document offers guidance to companies and individuals on the impact of expatriation to individuals and their families. A comparison of 12 oil and gas companies shows that ‘different preventive actions are applied across the industry to manage the complexity of psychosocial risks.’ The report outlines a risk based strategy for prevention and intervention which requires ‘navigating a high level of complexity.’


Envision VP advocates blended learning for plant operators

Database-driven, full physics simulators and ‘Flip’ learning teach high risk startup/shutdown ops.

Speaking at NRG Events’ Global oil and gas training and simulation forum in Abu Dhabi this month, Envision* VP Santosh Joshi , VP with e-learning and simulation specialist Envision, described how e-learning systems can blend 3D models and full physics simulations for upstream (NGL and LNG) operator training. Technology-driven training blending simulation with other modes of learning can be the fastest path to build competency.

Most petroleum plants have 10 to 20 major processes and it is impossible to have custom OTS** due to resource constraints. DCS-based OTS availability may be limited by hardware and instructor availability and requires prior knowledge of the DCS and process fundamentals. Such tools are unsuited to field and maintenance operators, process technicians and engineers. Joshi advocates ‘Flip’ teaching as popularized by Sal Khan’s Kahn Academy, leveraging Envision’s database driven generic simulators and high-fidelity mathematical Models to deliver task specific training.

The toolset allows operators to devise specific training programs for high risk, uncommon activities such as startup and shutdown and to prepare operators to run the plant without error. Envisions’ learning management systems keeps track of trainee scores and ‘makes sure that your operators are up to the task.’ More from Envision.

* Envision is a wholly owned unit of GSE Systems.

** Operator training system.


Petrotechnics rolls-out iOS edition of Proscient

Operational performance, permit management and predictive risk for mobile workers.

Petrotechnics has announced an Apple iOS version of its Proscient operational performance and predictive risk platform. The iPad/iPhone versions offer a mobile solution for frontline operations staff in hazardous industries. 

Proscient allows oil and gas and other verticals to improve production efficiency and lower operational risk with policy-based workload management. The application offers permit management and checks that operations policy is put into practice, improving maintenance effectiveness and reducing the backlog.

The mobile version works in online or offline mode to support frontline processes such as isolations management and gas test recording. Integrated barcode and QR code scanning allows operators to understand the current status of isolations and work programs, reducing human error and increasing safety and efficiency. 

Petrotechnics VP Scott Lehmann said, ‘Proscient’s mobility capabilities will help the industry move away from legacy, hard to use mobile operating systems solutions to familiar, intuitive iPad/iPhone devices which can be deployed in Zone 1 and 2 intrinsically safe housings.’ 


Arma announces information governance assessment

American records management association introduces software based compliance metrics.

The American records management association (Arma) has announced the ‘official’ information governance assessment program, a comprehensive resource designed to help organizations assess and mitigate information risk. The program embeds Arma’s ‘body of generally accepted practices,’ international and national-level standards and legal and regulatory requirements.

The assessment also provides an ‘authoritative and objective’ measure of an organization’s information governance (IG) maturity.

The software helps identify IG risks, measure their severity and track mitigation progress. Information governance requirements relating to FCPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, and COSO are covered along with the alignment of IG and IT. Other topics include auditing and information integrity, security, third-party risks, disaster recovery and litigation holds and e-discovery. Prices start at $4,995. 


Data migration Cook book

ETL Solutions data guru advocates smart documentation with open source tools.

Speaking at the PPDM data management symposium late last year Richard Cook (ETL Solutions) advocated documenting the data resource. The recent joint Energistics/PPDM effort on mapping between the Witsml and PPDM data models (more in next month’s Oil IT Journal) has provided a comprehensive mapping document. But in general, copying and pasting into Excel is error prone and lacks automated checks for typos and other defects. While the approach may be valid for mapping between such ‘stable’ data models, more volatile models require better tools, possibly using source documentation to extract mapping information programmatically.

In general, most PPDM implementations are a subset of the full model. The approach can be used to document exactly what subset has been deployed, saving time and revealing non-standard usage. Even when based on a standard, accurate and clear information on the model is key to efficient use and maintenance.

Cook wound up with a run through some useful tools. The H2 database is a small, well supported open source database capable of holding the complete PPDM schema with constraints enabled. ETL has successfully loaded the Teapot Dome sample data set to H2 for experimentation ‘without the need for IT support or a database administrator.’

Turning to the documentation question, throwing hundreds of pages of static documentation to new hires will likely be counterproductive. It is much better to use innovative tools such as interactive Python.

This can be used to develop a ‘Wiki’ notebook for interactive programming with links to PPDM and other data models via Python. This kind of environment can pull metadata directly from the model and provide live, data-driven documentation showing up the subtle differences between given implementations. Read Cook’s presentation and visit ETL Solutions


Startup NexDefense offers control system fingerprinting

Intellishield founders to offer patented Sophia real-time network monitoring tool.

Cisco’s Intellishield founders, Derek Harp, Michael Assante and Mike Sayre have reunited to create NexDefense, a provider of cyber security solutions for industrial control systems and critical infrastructure. Assante stated, ‘Industrial automation and control systems have been developed over decades initially with little concern for security. Today, sophisticated adversaries are capable of hacking their way into these networks. Owners of industrial systems understand the challenges, but have few tools to work with. We are building toolboxes and contributing to community efforts to empower the defenders of control systems.’

The startup has signed a patent and copyright deal with the Battelle Energy Alliance*, operator of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), for exclusive rights to the Sophia ICS network fingerprinting and monitoring tool. Sophia was developed at INL during the past three years with an investment of over $1.5 million from the US Department of Energy.

Sophia performs real time, passive diagnostics, building a network’s fingerprint and monitoring activity. Abnormal communications are flagged for further investigation, monitoring or action. Early trials with major utilities and control system vendors demonstrated the benefits of the fingerprinting process. Sophia is currently used by several federal government units including Homeland Security, the Army and the Navy. NexDefense is inviting participants in a phase II Beta test.

* Battelle, Babcock & Wilcox, URS Corporation, Electric Power Research Institute and MIT.


Real time volatile monitoring during drilling operations

Block Engineering to supply Fourier transform spectroscopic gas monitor to driller.

Block Engineering, a manufacturer of quantum cascade laser (QCL) and miniaturized Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy solutions has signed a long-term supply agreement with an unnamed provider of hardened, field-based systems in the oil and gas drilling industry. Block’s Mini-FT spectrometer will provide real-time monitoring of C1-C5 hydrocarbons.

The gas monitor comes with wireless radio communications and custom-developed software integrated inside a compact explosion-proof enclosure that enables mounting of the system directly at the mud-pit. The unit delivers on-line measurements every 1-2 sec and eliminates the need for consumables (unlike conventional gas chromatographs). More from Block


SpotterRF radar plugs surveillance gaps

C20 unit offers low cost control of ‘slew-to-cue’ video surveillance of oil and gas wells.  

SpotterRF has announced a new C20 short-range wide area surveillance radar for monitoring remote well sites and other unmanned facilities. The solar powered unit provides 360° imagery with a 120m range at a price point that is claimed to beat existing 360° solutions. The C20 system provides industrial security managers with high end radar security incorporating automatic camera ‘slew-to-cue’ capability that hitherto has only been available to the military. The C20 automates monitoring range-limited cameras. The rugged, solid state unit’s wide vertical beam scans the whole area many times per second with a one meter resolution and can pick-up and track very slow movers. Kyle Holman, president of American Security Consulting said, ‘Video surveillance for oil wells and other remote sites is a huge cost center. This compact radar shows great potential and will lower cost and decrease response times.’ More from SpotterRF.