April 2014


Hard Rock PI cyber test

To secure your processes, go back to school, deploy Microsoft SCM 3.0, checkout Metasploit and test in the cloud. OSIsoft reports results of cyber security challenge at 2014 User Conference.

Speaking at the OSIsoft User Conference in San Francisco last month, OSIsoft cyber security guru Bryan Owen gave a limpid talk on securing process control systems and unveiled the results of the company’s Hard Rock PI cyber security challenge. Owen’s top four mitigation techniques address some 85% of cyber risks. First, whitelist, ‘lock the door and give good guys the key.’ Second, keep apps up to date—newer soft is more secure, ‘we put lot of effort into this.’ Third keep your Windows operating system up to date. The latest editions of Windows Server Core are easier to harden—for instance with only one command you can lose the GUI, ‘you don’t need Solitaire to run PI!’ Fourth, run everything with least privileges, ‘runing as admin is like carrying a loaded gun in your pocket. Get off PI Admin.’

A minimum requirement should be to stand up to the Metasploit online library of known vulnerabilities and, although ‘most audits are not even this strong,’ you need to do more. Owen recommends following the Idaho National Labs free course or developing a program along the lines of Israel Electric’s Cyber Gym. He is also an advocate of Microsoft’s Security Compliance Manager (SCM 3.0). Testing cannot be done on a live process so do it offline, even better do it in the cloud. OSIsoft’s Hard Rock PI challenge was a ‘call to action’ for users to build and test a hardened image of a process, using Microsoft Azure as a safe playground. The challenge ran for a month and saw some 20 virtual machines running. The winner was OSIsoft Bahrain’s Omar Mohsen whose cyber pitch leveraged Applocker, OSIsoft’s publisher rules, and Microsoft’s enhanced mitigation experience, EMET. Owen told Oil IT Journal, ‘The good news came from challengers with fresh innovation and unique approaches. The hardest insights involve gaps that were generally missed. We’ll analyze these areas for potential simplification. The cloud is a safe place to make mistakes. It encourages experimentation and IT/OT collaboration.’ 

We asked Owen if the cloud would be a good place for real world implementations, with sensors communicating directly into the cloud. Owen said, ‘The short answer is yes, although a one size fits all architecture is unlikely. Most sensors today are unfit for direct connection to the internet so a security gateway to the cloud is a practical necessity. Given the impedance mismatch in lifecycles between software and hardware based components this issue will dominate for quite some time. As such OSIsoft is investing heavily in managed components such as the cloud service gateway and cloud aware PI connectors.’ More from Hard Rock PI and from the OSIsoft UC in next month’s Journal.


Baker Hughes bags Perfomix

‘Intelligent energy’ solutions provider and Oracle partner adds PetroSocial drilling and production toolset.

Baker Hughes has acquired Houston headquartered Perfomix, provider of software for ‘intelligent energy’ solutions. Perfomix’ ‘PetroSocial’ drilling and production suite power real-time operations centers and digital oil field initiatives. Perfomix is an Oracle partner and its software is certified to run on Oracle’s Exadata database appliance. The company leverages Energistics standards and, in collaboration with Data Horizon, recently proposed a suite of data structures for national regulators (Oil ITJ Jan 2013). CEO Celestine Vettical is well known in the Witsml/Prodmlcommunity.

Perfomix’ data and advisory services span drilling, pressure pumping, completions and production operations and reporting. The acquisition complements Baker Hughes’ field devices and software portfolio with a ‘modern, scalable and standards-based technology platform.’ Perfomix will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baker Hughes and will be integrated into the company’s remote operations services organization. More from BHI and Perfomix. 


SPE Human factors safety report and some compelling viewing from the CSB

Neil McNaughton expresses surprise at this year’s SPE/SEG event clash. He then compares the SPE report on human factors in process safety with the ongoing efforts of the Chemical Safety Board. ‘Human factors’ are indeed key but not only in the way the SPE describes them.

Last year the annual conferences and exhibitions of upstream’s two major societies (the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists) were back to back—one a week after the other causing some consternation in the vendor community which used to have a few weeks to recover before setting up for the other show. This year things are even more interesting as the SPE is holding its ATCE in Amsterdam the same week as the SEG’s event is taking place in Denver. A couple of years back the two societies agreed to ‘formalize an agreement for intersociety cooperation to benefit their global membership through joint events, programs and services.’ I’m not sure the diary clash is a result of this cooperation or despite it. Aren’t we all ‘cooperating’ now as we ‘break down the silo walls?’

~

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Technical Report ‘Process safety: the human factor*’ (see page 11) is interesting. The report results from a two day event that took place in Houston in July 2012. The summit was organized in response to the US national commission on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which ‘set out the need for sweeping reforms that would accomplish no less than a fundamental transformation of the oil and gas industry’s safety culture.’ The SPE meet focused on such ‘human factors’ in process safety with the aim of creating a ‘common understanding of the strategic challenges for the oil and gas industry, to identify what is known and unknown in the field, and to explore actions required to accomplish the needed change.’

Now this is all very worthy stuff but it raises several questions. The SPE’s initiative merits further investigation. In fact the authors encourage organizations to ‘continually assess safety performance and to be chronically dissatisfied.’ As a chronically dissatisfied sort of a person I thought that I would offer a few ideas.

Firstly we don’t know who the attendees at the summit were and so it is not clear who is authoring the report. It could be that the authors are the top safety experts from oil companies and their safety system providers, managers (who may or may not have safety qualifications), petroleum engineers wanting to learn more or folks interested in having a few days away from the office. There is a problem of the report’s authority here.

Next there is the report’s title. Not so much the ‘human factors’ part (although that is a bit of a mouthful). Rather the ‘process’ side of the equation. The report’s focus is not process control system safety per se. It is not about business process safety per se either. In fact I’m not sure exactly what safety issues are being addressed here, nor what exactly is the petroleum engineer’s role in all this? There may be a little societal scope creep here, I am not sure.

The third thing is that it is much easier to enumerate problems than fix them. What would be good would be to hear some examples of how things go wrong and how safety systems fail. One learning from other safety conferences that we have reported on is that it is a good idea to ‘walk the plant’ i.e. for managers, safety and otherwise, to get out in the field and to see for themselves what is really going on.

The SPE report advises the industry to seek inspiration in the approach to safety as practiced in aviation and nuclear power even though recent developments in aviation and nuclear make one wonder if they are that much better than oil and gas. The report also has resulted in an SPE ‘human factors’ technical section, website and discussion board. These may be doubling up on the existing HSE community, although I had a job navigating the SPE.org website and could not easily evaluate the different communities.

There is another organization that does a great job at ‘walking the plant,’ although unfortunately, it does this after an accident has happened. This is the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB). The CSB considers oil to be a chemical and considers oil and gas incident investigation to be in its remit. The CSB investigates major incidents and has just produced its final report on the 2010 Tesoro refinery fire in Anacortes Washington. The CSB is to produce its final report on Deepwater Horizon next month, and we will of course be providing a summary.

Following its investigations the CSB produces telling videos that use avatars and virtual reality to produce what makes for, I confess, very compelling viewing for the mawkish. But the CSB’s videos are also compelling in a good way, in that they provide exposure to a range of different ‘human factor’ related contributions to different incidents.

From my viewing of a limited number of the CSB’s videos it appears that accidents are not generally caused by esoteric failings that need fancy new technology or a ‘process’ change. They are more likely caused by a failing to apply already well-established minimum industry practices. Sometimes they are caused by a failure to fix what regulators or in-house experts have already flagged as dangerous situations.

The Tesoro report found that the refinery had a ‘long history of frequent leaks and occasional fires during startups.’ The API specs for the steel used and for the risk based inspection technology were both ‘written permissively.’ The CSB found multiple instances in other refineries of steel failing in similar circumstances.

Other CSB videos make it clear that if you walk your plant and it looks rusty and clapped out, it probably is. If you have unfenced installations near centers of population then kids will likely use them as playgrounds and may blow themselves up.

Unfortunately, regulatory capture and pressure from multiple stakeholders to keep old plant running beyond its safe lifetime, and other ‘human’ not to say political factors come into play.

* A free download from the SPE.

Follow @neilmcn


Interview—Steve Roberts, BP

Steve Roberts, VP of BP’s Field of the Future program, speaks of IT trends, the ‘dilemma’ of the operating ecosystem and ‘taking humans out of the process’, and on evolving FotF governance. 

What’s your take on Intelligent Energy’s future?

We are faced with the challenge of the pace of change of technology and facilities that will still be there in 30 years time. We need to keep our systems upgraded and in synch as technology evolves.

Is this possible?

Not entirely but we can anticipate trends. Currently we have multiple devices but the future may see convergence to a single handheld device performing multiple functions—hence the need for device-independent solutions.

Not long ago BP was betting the house on Microsoft’s ecosystem.

This is still pretty much the case. We need a platform for integration although this is something of a dilemma. We want to minimize the field of the future footprint and make it easier to follow the roadmap, to focus on automation and take humans out of the process.

So there will be jobs lost?

We will need more information engineers. But we need more autonomy at the coal face. NASA’s robotics operate autonomously for tens of minutes. We still need to come to a balance on this in drilling.

The approach has been tried, with the Autocon Rig?

There is surely a happy medium that has yet to be found in drilling automation. In other industries like automobile, it’s easy to automate a plant. It is harder in drilling where we are faced with changes in rock types, in fluid chemistry and so on. We need to be aware of all these in real time.

Speaking of automation what about the contribution from the process control industry. Honeywell is at the show. A first?

Yes, and here too we see convergence as large automation contractors buy up smaller companies and expand their footprint. We are also looking to similar convergence and automation in geosciences software.

How is this organized in BP across all the stakeholders… the business (with its own divisions of geosciences, engineering and process), IT and your group.

A governance group meets with representation from all stakeholders. We work on the roadmaps and decide what commercial software to deploy and how to converge.

Who is in charge?

Actually there is an ongoing study on this issue as to whether to continue with the governance group model or to take the whole process under the umbrella of one team with a shared roadmap.

Our current editorial line is of IT inefficiency and the lack of real progress on productivity—what do you think?

There has been progress, look how slick a software upgrade is, at least for operating systems and consumer grade applications. We would like to see similar ease of upgrade from upstream software vendors.

What about patches in the process world?

We are working on testing geosciences software in our ‘innovation lab’ and this will likely extend to the process world. We like the NASA paradigm of pushing a software update out to a Mars probe. Maybe we will be able to do the same to the well one day. Today, BP is stepping back and taking a broader view of the opportunities that ‘intelligent energy’ offers across all its businesses, not just upstream.


More from the Standards Leadership Council

Witsml to Ppdm mapping. Mimosa’s enterprise architecture, units of measure, spill research.

A bit of overflow from last month’s report from the Paris Standards Leadership Council meet. An Energistics/Ppdm joint presentation from Jana Schey and Trudy Curtis investigated mapping between the ‘deep’ Witsml and the ‘broad’ Ppdm data models. Work is still underway with input from IHS and Neuralog. Mappings have been gathered in an Excel spreadsheet which was used in a follow up presentation from ETL Solutions’ Richard Cook. Data loading from Witsml to Ppdm is doable providing it is ‘well formed’ i.e. schema compliant. Apostrophes and ampersands in Witsml comments can cause problems and not all domains are covered in both models. Hand coding tweaks and validation are still required and Ppdm customization may cause other issues. It is a good idea to separate data access from mapping logic using Ppdm’s ‘system_map’ and ‘map_rule’ tables. Cook questioned the use of Excel as a tool for data mapping. A better alternative would be to leverage the ISO Express modeling language as used in Epicentre. But ‘this is not going to happen.’ In the Q&A the use of ETL’s Transformation Manager or IBM’s Rational Rose were considered but rejected as ‘commercial’ tools.

President Alan Johnson gave a wide ranging recap of Mimosa’s ‘open systems architecture for enterprise application integration.’ Mimosa’s common relational information schema (Cris) is now downplayed in favour of data transfer and interoperability. BP used Mimosa components in its downstream data model covering OPC and ISA95. Current projects include OpenO&M and a joint ‘IT Architecture’ effort with Posc/Caesar.

Michel Condemine (4DE Industry) outlined the OPC’s OPC UA meta model with its sub-models for different verticals—automation, smart grid and (maybe) oil and gas. The OMG’s meta object facility (MOF) should be a good way to perform mappings such as Witsml/Ppdm above.

Jay Hollingsworth provided an update on Energistics units of measure (UoM) initiative. The venerable Posc UoM has seen wide use but needs a refresh. This is underway as a joint effort with Ppdm and the SEG to create a machine readable UoM standard for oil and gas. A preliminary deliverable is available in the form of a rather intimidating zip file.

Other Energistics news—a move ‘beyond’ XML to HDF5 and the possible adoption of web sockets in a ‘next generation’ Witsml release to enable streaming data. Energistics is also about to publish an Energy Industry profile of ISO 19115.

The OGC’s Athina Trakas presented new open standards for oil spill response developed under the auspices of a post-Macondo JIP including IPIECA and Resource Data. The standard includes GIS and a reference architecture for a ‘common operating picture.’


More from the SMi E&P data management conference

Records management and disasters. Standardizing Ppdm. ENI, KOC on data management.

Speaking at the SMi E&P Data Management conference in London earlier this year, Paul Duller (Tribal) and Alison North (AN Information) provided a salutary tale of the importance of information management. In 2010, a natural gas pipeline operated by Pacific Gas & Electric exploded in San Bruno, a suburb of San Francisco causing eight deaths and considerable property damage.

The US National Transportation Safety Board determined that inadequate quality assurance in a 1956 line relocation project was a likely cause, along with inadequate maintenance. North was called in as an expert witness because of her experience with old paper records. Her investigations showed that the GIS system that PG&E used for its integrity management program contained ‘inadequate and misleading information.’ The paper records showed that what the GIS system reported as ‘seamless’ in fact had a longitudinal seam that should have had a more stringent maintenance program. North emphasised the risks that companies run from such ‘dark data’ of uncertain provenance that can show up in a legal discovery process. Similar risks are inherent to other corporate data sources such as email.

Robert Best (Petroweb) asked ‘why standardize a standard?’ It turns out that there are good reasons to want to standardize a Ppdm implementation and Petroweb, along with OpenSpirit, TGS and OilWare are working to develop tools (data load, export, triggers etc.) and techniques to make for a robust Ppdm deployment. While the vanilla Ppdm provides the data model and some guidelines, it does not say how primary keys are defined, how well coordinates should be stored or how CRSs are defined. While the Ppdm AREA can be used to define a hierarchy of state, county (or country, block), this is hard to implement. Ppdm is kicking off a work group on implementation standards that is to develop a reference implementation.

ENI’s Paul Richter likened data management to cleaning up a messy child’s room. No sooner has it been done than you are back to square one. Enter data ‘utopia’ where things stay nice and tidy all the time. This can be done with a ‘robust modular framework’ that fits the business’ needs. First, identify your master database and develop a method to reconcile CRS/UOM across different data stores and applications. Then develop a strategy for reconciliation and data maintenance. ENI is working with One Virtual Source (OVS) on such a system, using data quality metrics to trigger clean-up processes. Richter is to present more on this project at next month’s PNEC.

KOC’s Hussain Zaid Al Ajmi described a similar approach using ‘front end’ integration and data QC project in multi vendor environment. Dispersed data has been cleansed and ‘stringent’ naming and UoM/CRS conventions applied and all copied to a new OpenWorks master project database a.k.a KOC’s single source of truth. The plan is now to promote the master to a ‘central authenticated data bank’ and add automated workflows and processes. BP’s Project Chile is reported as taking a similar approach.  


Onshore well integrity study advocates long term monitoring

British Geological Survey research finds problems with onshore well integrity. 

The British Geological Survey (BGS) in partnership with the Researching Fracking in Europe consortium has published a review of global oil and gas well integrity*. The study covers some 25 on well barrier and integrity failure datasets from the estimated four million onshore hydrocarbon wells drilled globally. The BGS’ Rob Ward said, ‘Hydrocarbon well integrity problems are a real issue. While there has been only one reported incidence of a UK onshore well causing pollution due to integrity failure, there is a lack of information for the many hundreds of other abandoned wells.’

Abandoned wells in the UK are sealed with cement, cut below the surface and buried, but are not subsequently monitored. The reported numbers are likely to underestimate the number of wells that have failed. Knowledge of the risks would be better if systematic, long-term monitoring data from both active and abandoned wells were in the public domain. It is also probable that some wells in the UK and Europe will become orphaned and it is important that the appropriate financial and monitoring processes are in place so that legacy issues associated with the drilling of wells for shale gas and oil are minimised.

The risks associated with well integrity failure need to be taken very seriously. Wells drilled onshore in the future (including those for shale gas) will be subject to strict regulatory controls that require a detailed environmental risk assessment to be carried out, approval of well design by an independent inspector, well integrity testing and effective groundwater monitoring.

* Oil and gas wells and their integrity: Implications for shale and unconventional resource exploitation. March 2014 Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology.


HP/Autonomy and VidSys team on big brother surveillance

IDOL and PSIM scan ‘vast array’ of social media, email and surveillance from operations personnel. 

Physical security information management (PSIM) software provider VidSys is to add HP/Autonomy’s Idol unstructured data processing engine to its security solution for operations centers. VidSys’ PSIM platform blends and correlates data streams from sensors, mobile devices and applications to provide ‘actionable intelligence’ to first responders, senior executives and other authorized stakeholders.

The addition of HP Autonomy extends PSIM analytics to diverse information sources including free text, image, audio and real-time video sources. In particular, social and broadcast media will be monitored in real time to ‘anticipate and mitigate’ potential security incidents. According to VidSys, organizations must process a ‘vast array’ of information, including social media, video surveillance, email (really?), case files, criminal records, and physical location data to identify potential threats. In the oil and gas vertical, VidSys poster child is Smartech Security whose Favinca Colombia unit has deployed PSIM software at several of Pacific Rubiales’ international locations. More from VidSys. 


Software, hardware short takes

LMKR, Meridium, P2ES, Energy Navigator, Tendeka, Weatherford, APS, McLaren, CGG, ETL Solutions, GE, Geomodeling, ffA, ID, Ikon, iOra, Kongsberg, Matrikon, JP Graphics, Oildex.

The 2014 edition of LMKR Geographix introduces new products, LMKR Volume Attributes and Well Planner along with other enhancements to the integrated geology and geophysics interpretation suite that runs on Windows 7.

Meridium’s Online, a new hosted edition of its asset performance management software, is a scalable, subscription-based solution for ‘Internet of Things’
applications.

P2 Energy Solutions Managed Reserves 7.0 brings business intelligence to reserves management with ‘accurate historical hierarchies’ of reserves data. New features in P2’s Tobin data experience include customizable ‘My Areas’ to monitor and alert from areas of interest.

Energy Navigator’s AFE Nav 8.0 adds a web front end that runs on PCs, tablets and mobile devices ‘regardless of operating system.’

Tendeka’s FloQuest 7.0 adds integration of distributed temperature and pressure and other production data types.

Weatherford’s Reveal 360 uses ‘morphological component analysis’ to reconstruct gaps in wellbore images.

APS Technology has announced a dynamic directional sensor for use with its SureShot MWD system. The tri-axial fluxgate magnetometer and quartz accelerometer combo was tested using ‘highly-accelerated stress screening’ and claims a 4,500 hours MTBF.

McLaren’s hosted engineering document system, FusionLive, now includes a business intelligence portal to ‘support decision making and reduce process bottlenecks.’

CGG’s EarthModel Builder, part of the Jason suite, is an ‘affordable’ reservoir modeling solution that integrates with PowerLog.

The 5.1 edition of ETL Solutions Transformation Manager adds code completion and automated naming of data relationships, speeding development time.

GE’s Mentor EM is a new handheld, network connectable electromagnetic testing device that embeds ‘deep’ testing experience for weld, rotary and surface inspections in industrial environments.

Geomodeling Technology’s Attribute Studio 7.4 includes a new spectral decomposition algorithm that improves resolution of channel and valley fill.

The 2014.1 release of ffA’s GeoTeric offers ‘even more holistic’ workflows for improved fault delineation, and interactive facies classification.

The 5.6 release of Industrial Defender’s automation systems manager adds NERC CIP compliance and interoperability with leading IT security technologies.

Ikon Science has released new plug-ins for Schlumberger’s Petrel—for colored inversion, ‘extended’ elastic impedance and rock physics workflows.

iOra’s Edge is a new tool for monitoring the status of iOra’s replicator installations used to synchronize remote instances of Microsoft SharePoint in the oil and gas and other industries.

Kongsberg’s LedaFlow 1.5 simulates heat transfer and gas lift in the annulus. Calculations run on multiple cores offering a five fold speed up.

MatrikonOPC has released an industrial data logger, providing third-party remote data collection and data forwarding to a centralized historian. The company has also announced a
MatrikonOPC UA proxy that allows classic OPC sensors to cohabit with UA environments.

John Perez Graphics3D rig virtual tour provides a multi-media fly around a modern drilling rig.

New functionality in OildexSpendworks ePayables improves reporting and automates invoice coding.


Oil and gas high performance computing at Rice

Around 500 hear from Nvidia, Aramco, Intel, HueSpace and SpiralGen on HPC applications.

The oil and gas high performance computing (HPC) workshop at Rice university is experiencing quasi Moore’s law growth in attendance, now at around 500. The ‘forum for HPC professionals’ explores HPC trends and challenges and sets out to develop science and engineering workforce pipeline for the industry.

Nvidia’s Bill Dally announced the end of ‘Dennard scaling’ as today’s microprocessors are energy limited and ‘not getting any faster.’ For Nvidia, the answer lies in ‘hybrid’ CPU/GPU computing with its poster child, the Oak Ridge Cray/Titan supercomputer with 18,688 Tesla GPU providing 90% of its 27 petaflop peak bandwidth. On the programming side ‘pervasive parallelism’ can be done the hard way or leveraging libraries like Nvidia’s Cuda. The cloud represents another way forward, offering a ‘1kW experience in a 1W handheld’ and simplifying data management.

Majdi Baddourah presented Saudi Aramco’s ever rising reservoir modeling cell count which stood at 700 million in 2013 and is headed for the giga scale model real soon now. Aramco is adapting industry standards for ‘unified data exchange’ with a tip of the hat to OpenSpirit and Resqml.

Tesla’s aren’t the only co-processors in town. Leonardo Borges presented work done with Petrobras using Intel’s Phi architecture for reverse time migration. Intel’s unified programming model means that the same code is used across the cpu and the coprocessor (read no need for Cuda) and the dual IvyBridge/quad Phi combos showed good scalability and 23.7 GSample/s for a 5.5 GB domain

Michele Isernia presented HueSpace’s ‘next generation’ development platform for E&P visual computing that sets out to bridge the ‘major technology gap’ between current E&P software and the latest HPC technologies. Hue’s demo ran on a 36 teraflop Super Micro X9DAI hybrid, cloud-enabled with Calgary Scientific’s PureWeb technology.

Brian Duff presented SpiralGen’s technology for automatic generation of 3D fast Fourier transforms. Spiral is ‘software that writes software’ that is parallelized and optimized for various target architectures, in this case an IBM Blue Gene/Q system . The company is backed by the Argonne National Laboratory. More from SpiralGen. 


SPE Intelligent Energy 2014, Utrecht

Intelligent Energy faces sustainability issues and is at a crossroads of automation and change management. Shell’s gas breakthrough toolkit. Statoil’s robotic driller. The ‘guess the product’ game! NASA and automating Mars exploration. Merrick—‘shale is unique.’ Yokogawa and the upstream. Baker Hughes visits NOLA. BP on digital maturity and how ‘jewelry’ in wells is now OK!

Last November we reported from the SPE digital energy technical section that digital had achieved its goal and now sees full acceptance. The message from a slightly downbeat Intelligent Energy (IE), held this month in Utrecht, might almost be that digital/intelligent energy has gone beyond acceptance and is now menaced with decline. Sustainability of digital projects is now the watchword and here, two diverging solutions are proposed. Either work on the people side of the equation with management of change and other ‘soft’ stuff, or automate and get people out of the picture.

Klaus Mueller (Shell) enumerated some IE successes, the well and reservoir management (WRM) toolkit (OITJ Nov 2013) and gas breakthrough control (GBC). The latter has ‘made people’s lives easier’ by stopping flaring and night time driving for tests and maintenance. The GBC units (130 installed to date) include an audio video headset, RFID sensors, heart beat monitors and ‘man down’ alerts. Elsewhere IE initiatives have suffered from challenges to their ownership and sustainability. Some have fallen into disrepair. One IE poster child, the collaborative work environment is only realizing 50% of its potential. Challenges include finding people who want to use the technology. One GBC controller went down for a year resulting in 55k bbl of deferred production. There is a need to do more to inspire people.

Statoil ’s Halvor Kjørholt came out in favor of automation. So far IE has impacted drilling safety and capability but not efficiency. There is a need for a revolution in offshore drilling with real time well diagnostics and accurate information of what is happening downhole. This will be enabled by drilling sequence automation—moving drilling in the direction of process control. Such technology is being installed on a North Sea field. Managed pressure drilling in particular needs more integration with drilling control systems to detect small in and outflows to avoid ‘well control situations.’ Robots are to replace today’s drilling systems. Kjørholt backed up this claim showing a video of Norwegian Robotic Drilling System’s drill floor robot putting nails into a bottle. Robots will ‘talk to each other’ and organize efficient ways of working. Liner and casing drilling and MWD will mean that wells can be made in a single run including cementing.

Mike Ryan described ExxonMobil Canada’s aspirations of lower cost, safer, less complex operations—again enabled by automation and unmanned operations. In another session, Klaus Mueller stated that we need to get humans out of loop. Inter alia to address the old chestnut of data management and get the most out of our facilities. Mueller bemoaned the fact that people don’t show up for meetings, and that budgets for change management have been cut.

At the last IE in 2012 we took some speakers to task for not reporting the software tools of the trade they used in their work. The situation has not changed, in fact this year, several talks were little more than sales pitches for specific products. These curiously stuck by the unwritten ‘no product names’ rule that meant that some investigation was required to understand what was actually on offer. Of course the situation is different for speakers from the majors who unabashedly plug their own products and projects. For instance Shell’s GeoSigns interpretation package is ‘unique in the industry.’ BP even has its own ® to ‘Realtime.’

NASA’s Brian Muirhead provided an entertaining account of Mars (the planet not the oilfield) exploration and showed a spectacular video, ‘Seven minutes of terror’ showing the entirely automated landing of the Curiosity rover. The automation theme was duly picked up on by several subsequent speakers. Muirhead praised the work of the all female team that did the wiring on Curiosity. But calling them the ‘seven dwarfs’ showed that NASA is as macho a business as oil and gas.

Of course Mars exploration was not all rosy, witness the Mars climate orbiter that smacked into the planet back in 1998. This was only partly down to the widely reported units of measure bust, which NASA’s engineers had actually spotted, but failed to communicate to the operators. This ‘people side’ failing was not picked up on although it could have been. Muirhead’s entreaty to ‘take risk but do not fail’ was adroitly questioned and found wanting.

Merrick System’s Kemal Farid emphasized the uniqueness of shale operations which face data management challenges from the large number of wells, fewer engineers per well and an environment where ‘things move quickly.’ In shale operations, not everything is automated. Pumpers work on laptops sitting in their trucks. While HSE and compliance can’t be automated, elsewhere the aim is to automate as much as possible. Production data goes into the hydrocarbon allocation system for aggregation where it may be subject to complex production sharing agreements and reporting needs. Farid moved on to a case study of JW Operating, a ‘fast paced, lean shale operator.’ The unnamed solution to JW’s needs we believe was Merrick’s own production software for unconventionals.

We were excited to see newcomer Yokogawa at the show and chatted with their representative who spoke of the company’s new push into several verticals with a software offering tuned to oil and gas. We were handed a USB stick which was supposed to have some ‘teasers’ for the initiative. A tease indeed. The stick was blank—at least as far as I could tell although I think that stuxnet may be running on my dishwasher now.

Sunil Jose revealed that Baker Hughes’s operational security was inspired from airport security—from a visit with security experts from New Orleans airport. Baker’s risk management leverages a similar real time common view of operations that is standardized across silos. On the impressive triple monitors showing video feeds, production numbers and GIS you could just make out the unmentionable product name—WellLink, now a threat detection device with the capability of precursor detection—going back in time and re-creating events for forensic analysis.

BP’s David Feineman stated that digital oilfield maturity is ‘highly variable.’ Organizational politics has a significant imprint on digital oilfield maturity and its adoption and improvement. The problem set is many dimensioned and can be described as a ‘wicked problem.’ The term comes from systems thinking of the 1980s where a class of intractable, poorly specified problems were identified. These typically have unique solutions i.e. one solution is not applicable to a similar problem elsewhere (in other words, your mileage may vary). Enter Feineman’s digital oilfield maturity matrix with ‘dimensions’ of people, process, technology, strategy and governance and maturity levels from 1 to 5. Requiring people to change is the curse of the wicked problem. Another issue is rapidly evolving technology in IT and a slowly changing process/automation community. Digital may trigger emotional responses and is threatening to organizational structures, upsetting power, status, resource allocation and decision making. Progressing digital oilfield maturity will require improvements in all dimensions and the use of ‘storytelling’ to transfer learnings.

One of the earlier reactions to things ‘smart’ from the drilling community was, ‘I don’t want jewelry in my well.’ In other words, no fancy completions with downhole control to go wrong. A sign of how things have changed was given by Martyn Morris, introducing BP’s latest ‘field of the future,’ the Angolan PSVM FPSO. This, the biggest deepwater development in world, is going to have ‘all the jewelry in from the start.’ Such as, the advanced collaboration environment, downhole flow control, subsea sand detectors and BP’s Isis integrated subsurface information system. Thanks to acoustic monitoring and multi phase flow meters ‘we know exactly what’s coming out of every well.’ 4D seismic has replaced testing to track water movement and changes in the overburden. Slug control has been problematical in riser from the distant Saturno field. Here a software driven slug controller has proved successful, despite initial skepticism from operators.

Gerald Schotman’s (Shell) plenary covered familiar ground for Oil IT Journal readers in PowerPoint spectacular. IE is on a crusade to satisfy future world energy demand, fuelled by population growth and more energy consuming middle classes. Energy needs a ‘man on the moon’ project. Shell’s contributions include work with PGS fiber optic seismics and ‘GeoSigns,’ Shell’s ‘unique’ proprietary interpretation package. Those wishing to share their intellectual property with Shell can log on to the Shell TechWorks site. More from IE in next month’s Journal and from the conference home page.


Microsoft 2014 Global Energy Forum, Houston

More from the ‘Contoso Petroleum’ showcase. Big data functionality. Infosys teams on McDermott’s Pars. Rockwater—the ‘Fedex’ of fluid management. Stonebridge helps Breitburn with its data silo ‘sprawl.’ Gimmal and Transocean's SharePoint engineering document management. And Mura?

Speaking at the 2014 Microsoft Global Energy Forum held earlier this year in Houston, Paul Kimbel’s team kicked off a demo of key Microsoft tools as deployed by the fictitious Contoso Petroleum. First up was Laurie Salmon who vaunted the merits of her Windows 8 intrinsically safe tablet from XPlore Technologies. The familiar W8 interface pops up with tiles to launch applications from Honeywell, OSIsoft, Esri, Siemens and others.

The demo begins with a drill down to well flow data and documentation. Users can share their thoughts with OneNote, use Lync to call up expertise, and visit with Microsoft’s own social network, Yammer. The 82” Microsoft/Perceptive Pixel screen was also on show—impressive as an enormous touch screen, less so as a display (only HD). Seemingly, Contoso personnel eschew writing documentation, preferring instead to make videos to share their thoughts on this and that. You may think that this makes stuff hard to find. But no, video streams are converted from speech to text in the cloud and made searchable.

Microsoft business intelligence guru Tyler Chessman gave a compelling demo of ‘big data’ functionality blending full text search from Microsoft Fast, Power BI, View and Map to inspect and visualize a large dataset of US drilling and production. All ‘run from Excel!’

McDermott’s project analytics and reporting system, PARS is an ongoing development from Infosys that will collate key data from different source systems and provide project data analytics. PARS leverages SQL Server, BizTalk, SharePoint and Team Foundation.

Biren Kumar explained how Rockwater Energy Solutions plans to become the ‘Fedex of fluid management’ and is using a stack of performant telemetry and Microsoft Dynamics AX with payment management from Wells Fargo. The system lets Rockwater keep tabs on fluid levels in mobile tanks and B2B payment. The two year old company claims current revenues of $1 billion.

Breitburn Energy has grown through acquisitions and was confronted with application and data silo ‘sprawl.’ Stonebridge was called in to help develop a new IT solution embedding components from Enertia Software, Merrick Systems and Trenegy, a specialist in ‘cleaning up after the consultants!’ The result is a ‘data hub,’ that leverages a comprehensive Microsoft stack and a Ppdm database.

Gimmal has provided Transocean with an enterprise engineering document management system that includes commercial content management, access to policies, procedures and technical data. The SharePoint solution leverages an existing enterprise document taxonomy from Aker (acquired in 2011).

As in previous years, as far as we can tell from the agenda and website, there was no mention of Mura, the curious ‘Microsoft upstream reference architecture.’ Is Mura work in progress or something to forget? Read (some of) the presentations and (if you have time) watch the (unindexed) videos.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

Berkana, Canary Labs, Magnitude, CGG, iSource, Geoforce, Merrick, Elsevier, Energistics, ENGlobal, FMC, Foster Marketing, Fugro, dGB, GE, Geosoft, Geotrace, Hill+Knowlton, Intertek, Noah, NOV, P2ES, Paradigm, Petrosys, Petrofac, RSI, Superior, TwinEngine, ABB, Wellsite Rentals. 

David Moore has joined Berkana Resources. He was formerly with Shell’s pipeline control center.

Don Mast and Shawn Ebersole are now consultants with Canary Labs.

Carlee Panylyk has joined SeisWare as Canadian account manager.

Nigel Turner is president of newly formed Magnitude Software. Doug Moore is executive VP and CFO.

Rémi Dorval is to succeed Robert Brunck as Chairman of CGG’s board.

Anatol Feygin is senior VP strategy with Cheniere Energy. He hails from Loews.

Glen Kettering is executive VP and CEO for iSource’s Columbia Pipeline Group.

Pat Williams heads-up Geoforce’s new Perth, Australia unit.

Merrick has hired Cynthia Heng to its APAC team. She joins from Cisco.

Elsevier is to publish the quarterly journal of the UK Energy Institute.

Nicholette Ross, formerly of PointCross, is now marketing and communications manager with Energistics.

Michael Martin has joined ENGlobal as subsea controls and integration business manager. He hails from The Wood Group.

CFO Maryann Seaman has been named executive VP of FMC Technologies.

Foster Marketing has named Rachel Bonnette as marketing director, and Kari Schoeffler as account executive. Schoeffler hails from Energy Media Services.

Marion Helmes is stepping down from Fugro’s supervisory board. Fugro is to appoint Antonio Campo to the board. He was previously CEO of Integra Group.

dGB Earth Sciences has appointed Gary Smith as VP sales and marketing. He was formerly with QNX Software Systems.

Charles Nugent has been appointed VP manufacturing for GE Oil & Gas.

Geosoft has appointed Bruce Kohrn as energy segment leader. He hails from Lockheed Martin.

Geotrace has appointed Ram Srivastav as chief metrics officer.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has re-hired Michael Kehs to head up its US energy practice. He hails from Chesapeake.

Intertek has opened a new laboratory in Elmendorf, TX to address the ‘emerging’ Eagle Ford shale market.

Trevor Hicks, Nancy Bradford, and Chris McGinn have joined Noah Consulting.

Marcela Donadio has been appointed to the National Oilwell Varco board.

Former SAP chief executive Léo Apotheker has been appointed to P2 Energy Solutions’s board. Bart Saunders heads up the company’s new office in Bangkok, Thailand.

Paradigm has appointed Dave Rhodes as executive VP sales, services and marketing. He comes from Autodesk.

Cheryl Kuyten has joined Petrosys in Calgary. Jessica Dunlap is North America sales and marketing associate. Jason Dixon has joined the Adelaide office.

Petrofac has reopened its Montrose fire and emergency response training facility in Scotland following a £1.5million upgrade.

Former President of Ikon Science Americas, Murray Christie, has joined RSI as VP North America based in Houston.

Superior Energy Services’ Stabil Drill unit has named Mauricio Alvarez as Latin America sales manager. He was formerly with Frank’s International in Peru.

TwinEngine has launched a new website of oil and gas companies’ social media footprint.

ABB’s Ventyx unit has launched Energy Markets Intelligence.

Wellsite Rental Services has appointed Mark Johnson as president. He was previously with CSI Inspection. Rex Ferrier has been appointed VP, Texas operations. He hails from Irongate Energy Services. 


Done deals

ALS, BMP, AspenTech, StormGeo, ISN, Magnitude Software, Odfjell, Robotic Drilling, SAP, Fieldglass, Sierra Hamilton, Schlumberger, Cubility, Baker Hughes, Wood Group.

Australian Laboratory Services (ALS) has acquired completions services provider, BMP Enterprises. ALS has also ‘joined forces’ with DSI Thru Tubing. ALS’ oil and gas unit was formed last year when it acquired Reservoir Group for $533 million.

AspenTech has acquired Sulsim, a sulphur recovery modeling tool for refineries and gas plants, from Sulphur Experts.

The EQT Mid Market fund has acquired 57.5% of StormGeo, provider of software-based decision support for weather sensitive marine operations. DNV GL is also in on the deal.

ISN has had a £4.6 million investment from Maven Capital Partners. The cash injection targets growth in ICT provision to the oil and gas vertical.

Kalido and Oracle Applications specialist Noetix are to merge to a new company, Magnitude Software. BI specialist Kalido was spun out from Shell in 2001.

Odfjell Drilling is now the main shareholder in Robotic Drilling Systems, whose ‘next generation’ drill-floor technology is scheduled for a ‘full-scale’ test in 2015.

SAP is to acquire Fieldglass, provider of a cloud-based vendor management system for procuring and managing contingent labor and services.

Sierra Hamilton has bought the assets of Hamburg, Germany-based GeoPro and will create a new operating unit GeoPro Geophysics headquartered in Houston.

Schlumberger has acquired Leeds, UK-based Rock Deformation Research. RDR’s structural geology and fault analysis software will be integrated with Petrel.

A group led by Triton Partners is to acquire Cubility from Energy Ventures. Cubility manufactures MudCube, a solids control and waste management system for drilling operations.

Weatherford is selling its pipeline and specialty services business to Baker Hughes for $250 million.

Wood Group has acquired pipeline consultants Sunstone Projects for C$14.5 million. The unit will integrate Wood Group’s Mustang division.


Shell proposes process security reference architecture

Threat-based architecture to leverage ‘smart grid’ cyber security protocols. 

Speaking at the 2014 WIB* Seminar in The Hague last month, Ted Angevaare outlined Shell’s control systems security reference architecture. The SRA is intended to steer vendors to deliver a safe, robust and secure architecture for the process industry. The SRA will also encourage the standard implementations amenable to optimization and use in R&D programs and training.

A ‘threat-based’ SRA needs to enumerate which threats have been addressed. The plan is to use an industry standard threat library rather than a detailed risk assessment. One possibility is to use the ‘smartgrid’ Nescor cyber failure scenario. The WIB is asking vendors to present their ‘vision’ of the SRA as implemented in their own products. To date Siemens, Dupont, Rockwell, ABB, Emerson, Honeywell, Invensys and Yokogawa are involved. Target audience for the SRA includes owner operators, certification bodies, system integrators, EPCs and cyber security institutes such as US-CERT. A first draft of the SRA will be issued for comment in Q3 2014. More from WIB.

* Dutch process automation users group.


Cyber security round-up

Computer Sciences Corp., Siemens, McAfee, Ernst &Young, Iaitam, Industrial Defender. 

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) has announced AppSEC on demand, a hosted service that lets developers test the security of their applications and ‘bake’ security into their code. According to CSC, current cyber security addresses networks and the corporate perimeter leaving organizations ‘highly vulnerable’ at the application layer. 86% of successful cyber attacks penetrate the application layer while a mere 1% of expenditure goes into application security*. The service is delivered from CSC operations centers using HP’s ‘Fortify’ security tools.

Siemens has teamed with Intel unit McAfee to provide security solutions and services to industrial customers. The offering boosts Siemens’ managed security service offering with a ‘next generation’ firewall, security information and event management, endpoint security and threat intelligence. Siemens’ Siegfried Russwurm announced the deal at the Hannover Messe this month saying that the deal would be ‘an important foundation for the future of manufacturing and Industry 4.0.’ Industry 4 is a current EU buzzword covering much the same ground as the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet and other marketing flights of fancy.

The International association of IT asset managers (Iaitam) has teamed with Ernst & Young to offer IT asset management certification using Iaitam’s ITAM360 program. You may wonder exactly what ‘IT asset management’ entails. The wordy release offers little enlightenment. But the topic is, we understand, to be viewed as a ‘C-level’ requirement in the industry. The participation of an EY specialist in forensic technology makes us think it is cyber related. Decide for yourselves by visiting E&Y or Iaitam.

The latest (5.6) release of Industrial Defender’s automation systems manager (ASM) adds interoperability with third party security technologies, providing a ‘unified view’ across heterogeneous operational technology environments.

* The 2013 (ISC) 2 Global Information Security Workforce Study.


Quest Pacifica—pipeline pressure cycle fatigue analysis

New software combines real time data with hydraulic modeling to assess pipeline cracks. 

‘Pacifica,’ new software from Quest Integrity Group is designed to help operators analyze and manage pressure cycle fatigue analysis in aging pipelines. Pipeline failures can occur after long run times due to an accumulation of pressure cycles. Pacifica is based on the American Petroleum Institute’s advanced fracture mechanics methodology and is compliant with regulatory expectations and industry best practices.

The solution compares actual real time Scada pressure data with hydraulic models to estimate pressure loading at potential crack locations along the pipeline. The tool is claimed to produce accurate crack growth predictions, storing pressure data for future analysis. The data is used to prioritize investigations, hydrotesting and in-line inspection schedules. The system is also claimed to increase the information yield from existing investments in Scada systems and on-line monitoring sensors. 


Maersk’s mini Mooc

Upstream education for schools in online computer game. 

The Maersk Group has launched an online computer game and teaching material targeting Danish secondary schools, technical colleges and higher preparatory examination courses with information on oil exploration and production. The free mini open online course (Mooc) combines knowledge of geography, physics and earth science.

Play the game and download the teaching materials. An app will be available real soon now from the App Store and an edition targeted at American high schools will be launched this summer. The game was developed by FRND, Quartz+Co and Serious Games Interactive.


Sales, deployments, partnerships ...

Aveva, Digital Realty, Nimbix, Meridium, Baker hughes, TMK, CGG, Ceragon, CyrusOne, Joanneum, dGB, eCorp, Rice, Nutanix, Eurotech, Kalibrate, Kongsberg, Merrick, Premier Optima Sattiga, Transzap, Palantir, Paradigm, Teradata, RockFlow, XPlore, Technip, China Huang Qiu, Wood Group. 

Engineering consultancy Atkins is using Aveva Everything3D Laser modeller to support its lean construction processes.

Digital Realty Trust has deployed a Nimbix accelerated compute cloud solution at its data centers in Dallas and Houston targeting the oil and gas industry.

Santos’ coal seam to liquefied natural gas venture is using Meridium’s asset management software to ‘eliminate point solutions and spreadsheets and standardized work processes.’

Baker Hughes and pipe producer TMK are working on integrated well completion solutions that include procurement, installation services and technical support. Baker has also signed with CGG to use its RoqScan portable rock property analyzer.

Ceragon Networks’ ‘Evolution’ long haul wireless backbone has been selected by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. for its offshore operations.

RigNet has expanded its use of CyrusOne’s Houston West data center.

dGB Earth Sciences has signed with OMV and Austrian institute Joanneum Research to further enhance OpendTect with new texture attribute code. OMV has purchased and/or upgraded its OpendTect licenses.

eCorp Stimulation Technologies is collaborating with Rice University to optimize its non-flammable propane fracking technology.

Data center infrastructure solutions provider Nutanix has appointed Eurotech Computer Services to provide a virtual computing platform in the UK and Ireland. The offering includes server virtualization, virtual desktops, private clouds and ‘big data’ deployments including Hadoop, Splunk and Hortonworks.

OMV R&M has completed the roll-out of Kalibrate Technologies’ (formerly KSS Fuels) PriceNet as its core retail fuels pricing application. US-based Wawa is also to deploy PriceNet across its network of fuel sites.

Statoil Brasil has awarded Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies a four year frame agreement for riser integrity management on the Peregrino field.

Merrick Systems and local partner Premier Optima Sattiga are to offer production monitoring and optimization services to clients in Indonesia.

Transzap’s Oildex Spendworks solution has been certified for use with SAP ERP.

Dana Petroleum has selected Palantir Solutions’ planning solutions including Palantir Dataflow, Cash and Plan.

New Zealander Todd Energy has acquired Paradigm’s suite of interpretation, formation evaluation and reservoir modeling solutions. The deal includes the Epos data infrastructure and replaces a ‘complex’ multi-vendor legacy implementation. Paradigm has also sold Tricon Geophysics a license to its EarthStudy 360 full azimuth seismic imaging technology.

Siemens is to deploy Teradata’s technology to enhance its manufacturing processes. The deal includes a data warehouse appliance, a Teradata Aster discovery platform and a Teradata Hadoop appliance.

Lundin Norway AS has acquired RockFlow’s tNavigator reservoir simulator as have Vietnamese JOCs Hoang Long and Hoan VutNavigator.

Xplore Technologies has received a $1.4 million order for its iX104 series ruggedized tablets from a ‘leading’ south eastern US natural gas company.

Basra Gas Co. has awarded France’s Technip and China HuanQiu a contract for design of the Ar Ratawi NGL train1.

A Neal & Massy/Wood Group joint venture has been awarded a master services agreement for construction services by the Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago.


Standards stuff

Shell re-releases map symbology. Namur finalizes safety instrument standard. Energistics and SEG to collaborate. OData 4.0 gets thumbs-up. TNO releases iShare@sea. Xbrl’s table linkbase. 

Shell has released its standard map legend/symbology to industry and academia via the UK Oil and gas producers association (OGP). The release includes support for ArcGIS. Assiduous readers of Oil IT Journal may be experiencing déjà vu as we reported in February 2005 that ‘Shell’s standard legend symbology is to be released into the public domain.’ More from OGP.

The German Namur organization is finalizing the latest revision to its NE93 safety instrumentation standard (SIS) and is seeking volunteers to test a new SIS malfunction, reporting and analysis tool.

Energistics and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists are to explore opportunities for joint open standards for oil and gas.

Oasis has ratified V4.0 of its OData standards for an ‘open, programmable web.’ OData has backing from Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, SAP and others. The standard offers querying and sharing of data from relational databases, file systems, content management systems, and traditional web sites. In other words OData is a head-on competitor for the W3C’s semantic web.

Dutch research institute TNO has announced iShare@sea, an open standard for the exchange of maintenance information from sea-going vessels and offshore platforms. The standard is under ongoing development in an EU-backed Horizon 2020 project. More in next month’s Oil IT Journal.

Xbrl, the financial reporting standards organization, has announced ‘table linkbase’ a new ‘business intelligence’ front end to its data cube.


Human factors in oil and gas process safety

New report from the SPE finds poor IT/data systems ‘increase risk of human error.’

The Society of Petroleum Engineers’ new report, ‘The Human Factor: Process Safety and Culture,’ provides guidance on reducing upstream operational risks and improving safety. The report derives from a July 2012 meeting of a steering group of subject matter experts. Section 6 of the 23 page report focuses on the use of information technology in safety which ‘faces challenges as to what information to present to individuals and teams.’ IT is often ‘unclear in its support, appearing to be confrontational or confusing.’ Information overload in the operational environment is a ‘serious and growing issue.’ Another problem is an over-emphasis on the presentation of sensor data rather than usable information. Poor integration of data sources and of different stakeholders’ IT systems ‘unnecessarily increases the risk of human error when making key operational decisions.’ IT systems also often present information in a way that is incompatible with the way people process it. Remote onshore operators lack the sensory feedback experienced on the rig.

The authors are ambivalent on the effects of automation. Safety automation systems can contain dangerous situations but have a high cost when a shutdown is triggered unnecessarily. Drilling IT requires sophisticated intelligence because of the different nature of drilling compared to refinery operations. The report does not mention products or vendors with the curious exception of Ureason’s operational advisories model. Read the full report on 2102 and visit the SPE HF technical section.


Modelica used to analyze offshore oil and gas platforms

ENI presentation combines Scilab and Modelica to perform full physics, risk-based analysis. 

A presentation by a team* led by ENI researchers at the 2014 Modelica Association’s conference held last month in Lund, Sweden, demonstrated how the free language for modeling complex systems was used to simulate an offshore oil production facility. Although there are many software tools for simulating oil and gas flow, there is currently no tool that combines physical (engineering/fluid mechanics) with risk analysis. The paper presents a ‘first step’ in the creation of a such a tool for the specification, design and study of offshore oil facilities.

ENI used new Modelica components to simulate single and two-phase flows in a typical offshore plant and higher level tools for stochastic simulation of costs and risk. The risk simulation uses Markov chains and statistical indicators to ‘assess the performance and resilience of the system.’

The model includes wells, two phase flow in jumpers, manifolds, risers and, on the platform, separators, flares and tanks. Cost and risk simulation used Scilab. The authors are now working to up-scale the approach and address ‘industrial scale’ designs. Download the full conference proceedings.

* From ENI, Eurobios, ENS Cachan and Saipem. 


Augmented reality-based facility management for oil and gas

Kolor Software’s toolset basis of visual plant management system.

A team of Chinese and Australian researchers have just published a paper* titled, ‘Combining photogrammetry and augmented reality in an integrated facility management system for the oil industry.’ The authors propose an ‘augmented visualized plant management system (AVPM) that integrates two visualization techniques and a cloud-based data server.

Case studies show how operators can pinpoint faulty components using switchable photogrammetric and augmented reality scenes and access equipment maintenance information in the database.

The system is claimed to circumvent issues with current approaches which fail to communicate the complex connections and interactions between the components, such as power, control and information systems. Systems based on drawings are replaced by digital representations, eliminating much manually preparation and contextual ambiguity.

Tools of the trade include Kolor Software’s image stitching and virtual tour packages and the Metaio open-source augmented reality SDK. XML code is generated automatically with Kolor’s Krpano, a ‘small, flexible high-performance viewer for panoramic images and interactive virtual tours.’

* Proceedings of the IEEE Vol. 102, No. 2.  


SAS underpins KOC’s predictive asset maintenance

Global Forum presentation uses data exploration on ‘challenging’ steam injection problem.  

George Habek (SAS Institute) presented a paper at the SAS Global Forum last month in Washington DC on the use of SAS in predictive asset maintenance subtitled, ‘find out why before it’s too late!’ Habek showed how SAS predictive asset maintenance (PAM) was used by Kuwait Oil to optimize steam injection in an offshore heavy oil project.

Steam injection proved challenging and a significant fall-off in production occurred a couple of months after operations commenced. Production and injection data was transferred from KOC’s systems of reference to an SAS data mart for analysis with PAM. PAM’s data exploration functionality was used to visualize tags and events and to pinpoint anomalies. SAS Enterprise Miner identified the main culprits for the failing production, injection rates that were too high, or too much chemical additives. The solution is now delivered as a PAM ‘portlet’ to manage the whole injection program. 


Sharecat runs on MySQL Enterprise Edition

Norwegian supply chain portal migrates from Access to open source database.

Oracle blogger Bertrand Matthelié reports that Norwegian supply chain specialist Sharecat delivers its equipment information from a MySQL database. Oracle acquired the open source MySQL database when it bought Sun Microsystems back in 2009. Oracle has strengthened the open source software with the addition of monitoring and backup functionalities and markets the tool as MySQL Enterprise Edition.

Sharecat provides Norwegian oil and gas operators with an online catalog of equipment used in the construction and the maintenance of oil rigs. Product catalogs are updated on a continuous basis with manufacturers, product numbering, data templates and documentation. The solution was initially developed on Microsoft Access which had ‘outgrown its capabilities.’

Sharecat evaluated several databases and selected MySQL for its performance and scalability and low total cost of ownership. MySQL costs are said to be ‘one tenth’ of  SQL Server. Sharecat CTO Tom-Kenneth Fossheim said, ‘MySQL allowed us to build a professional solution to serve our global clients. It is a stable, high performance and cost-effective database.’

Sharecat products run in a Windows-based virtualized environment. MySQL Replication is used both for high availability and to scale-out read operations. Sharecat currently hosts the solution in-house but is evaluating a move to a public cloud to enhance reliability reduce costs. More from Oracle and Sharecat. 


Axway B2B integration supports Gassco data flow

Pipeline operator assures gas flows to the EU with real time business intelligence.

Norwegian natural gas export pipeline operator Gassco has deployed technology from French headquartered Axway to assure data flows across its network and enable reliable and secure business to business (B2B) integration. Axway B2Bi supports Gassco’s business critical processes and provides real time insight into the data the company and its sellers rely on to supply natural gas to European countries. Gassco’s Arne Ferkingstad said, ‘The Axway B2Bi solution is a key to our 24/7 operations, extracting real time data and providing feedback to our partners.’ B2Bi acts like a business intelligence/data mining tool for streaming data.

Some 130 data feeds were mapped to B2Bi which now converts around 3,000 messages per day, delivering data to terminals so the correct gas quantity is distributed to each EU country. B2Bi embeds the secure AS2 B2B communication protocol. B2Bi is a component of the Axway 5 Suite for control and optimization of data flows ‘within and beyond the enterprise edge.’ More from Axway.


Startup Essence announces EssRisk

New software drives Eclipse and other simulators to automate and validate history matching.

Essence Products and Services has just announced EssRisk, a new tool for reservoir production history matching, forecasting and optimisation. EssRisk works alongside reservoir simulators such as Schlumberger’s Eclipse, modifying parameters in the simulation deck and automating the submission of simulation runs to ‘explore the modifier space in a statistically valid manner.’ EssRisk includes hooks for pre and post processing packages with links to seismic and geological modelling packages.

According to Essence CEO Nigel Goodwin, EssRisk’s methodology is better suited to high dimensional complex problems than conventional random walk methods which fail to explore the full problem space and which often produce incorrect answers. The tool uses the latest probabilistic techniques including Markov chain Monte Carlo methods and is a pure, cross-platform Java implementation. EssRisk resulted from a collaborative research project with ConocoPhillips which is a user as is Shell. More from Essence.


Absoft develops SAP portal for Ross Offshore

Joint development addresses drilling costs with dashboard for project planning and support.

A presentation from Norwegian drilling consultants Ross Offshore and Scottish developer Absoft at the 2014 SAP International Oil & Gas conference in Copenhagen this month outlined an SAP deployment that targets North Sea drilling cost reduction. Ross Offshore enterprise resource planning manager Andre Nilsen observed, ‘Drilling projects are so demanding that any system which improves the quality of the work being done has an immediate impact on the commercial viability of a project. This has implications for every person on the platform, installation or vessel, and for every aspect of their work. Everyone needs to be more efficient, more productive and less costly than in previous decades.’

The joint development has resulted in a portal driven by SAP business software that streamlines activities and processes across projects by defining roles, responsibilities and ownership of drilling and well operations. These range from planning equipment and service requirements, to procurement, warehousing and offshore activities, for all personnel. The developers claim a 60% reduction in engineering end user time spent using SAP. Absoft’s Tim Galloway added ‘SAP provides a system where the entire drilling supply chain, engineers, economists, purchasers and drillers, work on a single dashboard aligned with their individual roles and responsibilities.’ More from SAP and Absoft.