Volume 20 Number 5


Asset data integrity

BP's proof of concept engineering data management system targets shift from current 'fragile, expensive proprietary integration' to Mimosa-based solution from Assentricity.

Addressing industry challenges at the 2015 Fiatech technology showcase and conference, held earlier this year in Boca Raton, Florida, Mark Brunton unveiled BP’s engineering data interoperability proof of concept (PoC). The BP PoC sets out to assure the integrity of asset information across operations systems. The PoC seeks to achieve a ‘four-way match’ across physical assets, work orders, engineering drawings and permits. Engineering information, work management and control of work systems must be aligned with physical assets. This is to be achieved by managing tag and equipment data in a system of record, along with processes for change management and data synchronization with secondary systems.

Brunton observed that while reference data à la ISO 15926 is critical, it does not deliver interoperability without connectors to software tools. Here, commercially available solutions depend on ‘fragile, expensive and proprietary integration.’ The PoC is based on the Mimosa open industrial interoperability ecosystem (OIIE), an attempt to ‘clarify’ how standards including ISO 15926 and the Open O&M initiative can be used together. BP is funding project management while software vendors are funding the development of standard adaptors for their solutions. These include IBM Maximo, Bentley eB Insight, OSIsoft PI System and SAP.

Pending OIIE clarification, the ‘glue’ that binds these solutions is a combination of the IOM-OG equipment register from Assetricity and SAP Netweaver Process Integration. Assetricity provides out-of-the-box support for project information handover and the OIIE use cases. BP recognizes that aligning brownfield systems is complex and expensive. But today, at a minimum, all greenfield projects, and IT&S deployments should deliver systematic, automated control of the integrity of engineering information.

Testing of the solution is ongoing as vendors complete the adaptor development. BP considers that the concept has already been proved, but collaboration with other stakeholders is required to deliver benefits at industrial scale. Meanwhile BP is to leverage the program’s results in its systems and tools strategy. Lessons learned will be shared through the Standards Leadership Council (SLC) and the Fiatech Owner operator advisory panel. BP hopes that the reference data libraries can be standardized across owner operators. More from Fiatech and on page 7 of this issue.


Emerson buys ESI

Pipeline software specialist Energy Solutions International acquisition adds modeling, leak detection and scheduling to automation portfolio.

Emerson Process Management has acquired Energy Solutions International, provider of software and services to the oil and gas pipeline industry. ESI’s decision support software targets operational efficiency, profitability and safety across transmission, storage, marketing and distribution. The acquisition adds to Emerson’s automation and operations management portfolio with pipeline modeling, leak detection, and scheduling together with their commercial applications for transactional accounting and inventory management.

ESI is to become a part of Emerson’s remote automation solutions unit specialized in Scada and fiscal measurement solutions. Emerson’s Craig Llewellyn observed, ‘Pipeline and terminal customers are facing increasing challenges to maintain safe operations and achieve financial success. ESI together with Emerson allows us to offer a complete spectrum of automation and application solutions to help them achieve their goals.’ ESI CEO TengBeng Koid added, ‘This is a great opportunity for us to grow our business and help solve our customers’ hardest automation and operational challenges.’ More from Emerson.


Go green or go west!

Neil McNaughton brings you the industry zeitgeist from a rather downbeat Madrid EAGE as reflected in the opening plenary. Spain makes progress on fracking. EAGE goes green. SPE president advises 'go west' (to Mexico). Russia in decline as energy power. IEA - more energy innovation needed.

I thought that since we would not be reporting from the EAGE* for a couple of months that I would bring you a short summary of the introductory plenary session now before the zeitgeist got cold.

Spanish minister for energy Alberto Nadal Belda observed that green issues apart, the world is still dependent on oil and has no near-term substitute. It is important for a country like Spain to explore, ‘to know what we have.’ Spain recently promulgated a new law establishing rules for shale exploration that sets out to deliver wealth to affected communities and offer ‘fair compensation for risk takers, the local community and the country.’ In a veiled reference France’s ban on fracking, Belda observed that ‘it’s not very smart to forbid a particular technology.’ ‘We can’t afford, from one day to the next, not to use oil and gas.’

EAGE president Philip Ringrose then took the stage to give the state of association address. The EAGE now takes both energy and the environment seriously. Ringrose’s presidential theme has been to making the EAGE and earth science more ‘sustainable.’ This has involved re-casting what used to be near surface geoscience as green and setting up a green fund for suitable projects. To date these have included preserving the rainforest in Costa Rica and developing a system that scavenges drinking water from the air which is currently testing in Madagascar. Members are invited to submit suggestions for other sustainable earth science initiatives to greenfund@eage.org.

Helge Hove Haldorsen (Statoil and SPE president) thinks that the solution to the energy challenge lies in collaboration, citing Frank Ryan’s book, Darwin’s blind spot.’ The technology involved in deepwater exploration and fracking is  amazing but we need to watch out for our social license to operate. Population growth means more cars and a need for more energy. In 2014 renewables represented only 5-10% of world energy use, ‘You all have “changing the world for the better” in your job description. On the other hand, the fall in the oil price has caused some 150,000 layoffs. But the SPE is there to help—check the spe.org website (we did, 90 jobs currently on offer).

But the real news is that if we don’t invest, the world will see a 20 million bopd shortfall by 2020. Young explorers should ‘go to Mexico’ for the July 2015 bid round. Closer to home we need to implement E&P 2.0 leveraging big data, the internet of things and the like. One problem is that our forecasts are ‘increasingly wrong’ due to systematic bias. Haldorsen likes to analyze projects in terms of good and bad risk (brisk and grisk!) He invited analysts to follow the advice of the late Theodor van Golf Racht viz. ‘if you are wrong, be wrong in the right direction.’

Gonzalo Escribano of the Elcano Royal Institute spoke of a geopolitical transition as power is shifting in the producer landscape. Escribano sees the world in terms of ‘Energy power,’ a blend of infrastructure, investment and spare capacity. In this context he sees Russia as being in decline for the next few decades particularly if it continues in its geopolitical rivalry with the EU. The US will remain center stage thanks to its domestic production and geopolitical stability. The narrative is different for the EU where there is a shift from hard to soft energy power. This could be an attractive model for others to follow, representing ‘a trend to more value-laden narratives in global energy markets’ (sic).

Simon Bennett from the International energy agency (IEA) traced (quickly) the last 250 years of innovation in energy. We often hear that energy needs more innovation, but a lot has already been done. Energy history is characterized by regular, decades-long transitions between fuels as better and cheaper alternatives are discovered. Major transitions include the shift from biomass to coal in the 1800s an from coal to oil in the 20th century. Meanwhile, the demand for lighting and heating has risen 10,000 fold in the last in 250 years while prices have fallen spectacularly. Both electricity and oil came in with very high price tags. By 1970 the world was ripe for a third transition, but nothing happened. The system stabilized around high oil consumption. Meanwhile, electricity demand stagnated which was unforeseen in the IEA’s population-based energy predictions. Today although the climate challenge is vast (coal and oil use needs to reduce quickly to meet the 2°C limit), there is a lack of demand for low carbon services. Low carbon energies will likely take a similar decadal amount of time to gain traction as earlier transitions.

While the IEA’s models out to 2040 include an enormous amount of hydrocarbons there is no growth scenario for oil and gas. More innovation is needed in developing the increasingly interconnected energy system. There is also big potential for renewables in the power sector and carbon capture and storage is of interest to this (geoscience) community. The fall in photovoltaic costs is also dramatic and very significant. Battery technology is improving at a comparable rate (though there are skeptics). The installed base of energy using technology not matched by current investment and innovation in energy supply equipment. Energy is no stranger to transitions but these take time.

Of course the other facet of the zeitgeist at the EAGE was, as one acquaintance put it, that the industry is going through ‘its worst crisis ever!’ In my next editorial I’ll try to unpick some of the above comments and reflect on subsequent developments. Not least the fact that the Pope himself has put the boot into an industry already on its knees!

* European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers

@neilmcn


Oil IT Journal interview - Keith Robertson, PetroDE

Following Anadarko's enterprise-level acquisition of PetroDE's cloud-based upstream data browser, Oil IT Journal talks to its CTO about the company's history and technology choices.

How did you folks get started?

I began my career as a software engineer six years ago working with a geophysicist colleague who was having trouble  keeping up to speed on oil and gas activity. I developed a small data browsing app for him which was in use for a couple of years before we expanded its scope with help from student developers at U Colorado. This developed first with funding from friends and family and later with a couple of million of  funding from investors.

What’s the elevator pitch for petroDE?

To provide easy access for all oil and gas data sources, for instance IHS, Drilling-Info, RigData and many more.

Why don’t folks use, say, the IHS client?

Because PetroDE works across multiple data sources and is faster and more intuitive than Enerdeq. Specialists will use other tools like Petra and Kingdom that provide some data access. But PetroDE targets all data sources. It is a meeting place where users can congregate and see all their geo data from a single tool.

You initially leveraged Google Earth...

We started out on Google Earth but this was deprecated by Google last year and the API will be turned of at year end 2015. So we have now ported the app to Open Layers*.

We recently reported that Esri is now the focus of GIS integration in the upstream. How does Open Layers compare?

Open Layers does a great job but it (and we) are not competing with Esri. Power users can still generate content (say contours) in Esri and upload a geodatabase to our server. But our philosophy is that geoscience end users don’t have to ask someone else to produce a map.

What about unstructured data integration?

We are not really doing this yet. In fact oil and gas has lots of structured data sources. Even newsfeeds are structured now.

And in-house company data?

Not yet either although you can upload a geodatabase to our server.

And what is VPAC?

VPAC stands for virtual private accelerated cloud. Our standard product runs on the shared Amazon EC2 cloud but some clients (like Anadarko) consider that this presents a security risk. Here we offer a secure connection to an Amazon virtual private cloud (VPC) instance. The data is in the cloud but has the same security as behind the firewall. The VPC can also be used to run an Active Directory instance for secure authentication.

Is Anadarko the first VPAC client?

Yes.

* PetroDE plans to leverage the open-source Cesium Google Earth replacement when it has Open Layers support. More from the PetroDE blog.


More from the 2015 SPE Digital Energy at The Woodlands

Cisco - 'fog computing' at the edge. Shell/OptaSense on the world's first permanent in-well fiber acoustic sensing. Chevron on governance of the upstream workflow transformation.

We’ve said it before but the SPE Digital Energy is a firehose of upstream IT news for us. Hence this overflow section. Rik Irons-McLean (Cisco) presented a new paradigm-cum-buzzword as in ‘fog’ computing—number crunching at the foggy if not cloudy ‘edge.’ You still don’t get it. Never mind, this is Cisco’s answer to the challenge of centralized cloud computing and involves ‘distributed intelligence’ and pushing data decisions to the remote edge of the enterprise.

A veiled reference was made to a Chevron pilot of analytics done at the wellhead ‘edge’ for stuff like artificial lift optimization, digital acoustic sensor data management and ‘virtual’ control of drilling automation. Smart ‘internet of things’-type devices analyze and act ‘at the edge.’ Data then flows up to fog nodes and is stored in the cloud. Nodes combine operations and IT in a single device and can talk to each other in ‘east-west’ as opposed to ‘north-south’ flow from device to cloud. GE, Rockwell, Schneider and OsiSoft were acknowledged in the presentation. More from Cisco.

Speaking of DAS, a Shell/OptaSense presentation unveiled the ‘world’s first’ permanent DAS in-well production monitoring system installed in a tight gas well in northern British Columbia. DAS provides an economical means of monitoring temperature and noise in a flowing well and monitoring perforations for build-up, shut in, slugging, failed start-ups post frac. The broadband system operated from DC to 10khz. Different frequency bands show liquid uploading and crossflow effects. Mid range frequencies show which inflow valves are flowing and high frequencies show gas lift valves’ operation. DAS generates massive amounts (1TB/day) of data and the IT stack looks for all the world like Cisco’s ‘fog’ with a local rack doing pre-processing before upload of highly compressed summary data to the cloud over a 3G modem.

Birlie Bourgeois gave an update on Chevron’s smart fields/upstream workflow transformation (UWT) program. This has evolved from the earlier i-Field program and is now focusing on governance across 15 different business units. UWT is treated like any other capital project. Its components (IT standards, skills and functional workflows) are evaluated across R&D, universities and elsewhere in industry. Components are filtered on cost and impact and then developed for enterprise roll out. Bourgeois observed that ‘deployment does not mean success.’ The idea is to retire competing, one-off legacy solutions, to ‘create excitement’ and to prioritize ‘off the shelf’ over ‘built from scratch.’ Chevron is also seeking a balance between a common solution and innovations from the business unit. For complex cross discipline projects such as waterflood optimization, ‘you need co-ownership with (only) one champion.’ ‘If everyone owns it then no one owns it.’ In fact the UWT is a temporary part of the equation. Once a solution is installed it is handed over to the function as a reservoir management project. More from Digital Energy at the SPE.


Midland Valley and GiGa IS - 'geology in space and time'

Swiss cross-border geomodeling leverages 'revolutionary' 4D spatial data manager.

Midland Valley reports on an innovative, ‘open’ 3D geological modeling solution from the Swiss federal office of topography’s GeoMol cross-border data modelling project. The EU-backed GeoMol project is investigating the potential of Alpine foreland basins for energy storage and production including hydrocarbon potential.

Midland Valley’s contribution leverages its Move structural modeling package which has been extended to work with third party 3D data stores. Amongst these is GiGa info-systems’ ‘revolutionary’ Geosciences in space and time (GST) system. GST stores spatial data in any relational database using open standards such as the OGC’s simple feature standard. GST is agnostic to the underlying database management system.

The GST link provides Move users with the ability to store and retrieve data in a 3D enterprise scale relational database and access full or partial features via spatial querying. The GeoMol project uses Move as the geologist’s access point for cross-border data covering the Alpine Foreland Basin area in six national areas. More from Midland Valley.


Jason, Hampson-Russell, Insight Earth updates

Major releases from CGG GeoSoftware's flagship geoscience suites.

CGG GeoSoftware has revamped its product line with ‘major releases’ of new technology across its portfolio of Jason, Hampson-Russell and Insight Earth software. CGG believes that the new technologies can help E&P companies ‘better manage volatility and improve performance’ in these difficult times.

The 9.0 Jason release adds anisotropic inversion for wide-azimuth seismic, a synthetics toolbox and an integrated platform for sharing of well information across PowerLog, Jason Workbench and EarthModel FT. The common platform supports well, seismic and geostatistically-derived lithology across the seismic to simulation workflow.

Version 10.0 of Hampson-Russell sees the addition of two new tools: RockSI, an interactive tool for exploring the relationship between rock properties and seismic data through petro-elastic models and GeoSI for pre and post-stack stochastic inversion.

Insight Earth 3.0’s PaleoSpark offers improved carbonate reef interpretation resulting from an optimized stratal slicing process and SaltSpark enhances the update of complex salt velocity models. In addition, a new dip-guided autotracker for horizons, faults, salt, canyons and other geological features in 2D, 3D and Curtain Slice modes reduces interpretation cycle-time while increasing accuracy. More from CGG.


Paradigm 15 rolls-out at EAGE

New features address non conventional exploration, data management and interoperability.

At the Madrid EAGE Paradigm unveiled the latest release of its eponymous upstream interpretation and data management suite. Paradigm 15 offers a ‘high-definition platform,’ interdisciplinary workflows and third-party data integration. Duane Dopkin, VP geoscience, said, ‘Advanced quantitative seismic interpretation and tight integration between earth modeling and velocity determination help users achieve accurate results quickly.’

For non conventional exploration the new release helps prioritize expenditure on asset with the ‘sweetest most profitable spots,’ those with the highest TOC, most fractures and biggest net pay area. Other tools help achieve optimal well spacing in 3D, avoiding drilling too many wells and knowing ‘how close is too close.’ The software also supports drilling scheduling and planning and optimizing fracking and re-fracking. During drilling, non-productive time is minimized by optimized geosteering to stay within the productive formation and avoid drilling hazards with real-time pore pressure prediction. 

For data managers the new release adds bi-directional exchange of seismic data between Epos and Schlumberger’s Petrel. Horizons, well and reservoir data can be exchanged via a Resqml plug-in for Petrel that Paradigm has developed. Other novelties include better performance loading simulation and production data from CMG and Eclipse and loading of production data in IHS format. A two-way Recall to Paradigm Geolog connector is now also available. Checkout the informative Paradigm 15 data sheet for more on the new release.


Schlumberger backs a different 'open ocean'

Liquid Robotics floats open source software development for its Wave Glider ocean robot.

Sunnyvale, California-based Liquid Robotics has announced an ‘open oceans partner program’ to accelerate the creation, integration and deployment of new technologies and applications for unmanned ocean systems. With backing from strategic partner for the oil and gas vertical Schlumberger, Liquid Robotics is adding functionality to Wave Glider, claimed to be the world’s first wave and solar powered ocean robot. 

The program includes a suite of open integration and development tools, web services and an API for the Linux/Java-based operating environment and scalable IP backplane for unmanned maritime systems. Liquid Robotics CEO Gary Gysin said, ‘We are at the forefront of a technology revolution for the ocean. We are bringing the open systems, rapid innovation model of Silicon Valley to a maritime world of special purpose systems.’ More from Liquid Robotics.


Software, hardware short takes

Baker Hughes, Pegasus Vertex, IEA, Energy Navigator, Energy Solutions, Esri, Geomodeling, FFA, HP, IHS, INT, ITT, Kongsberg, Meera Technologies, Permasense, RFDyn, Spectro Scientific.

The V6 release of Baker HughesJewel Suite, developed in cooperation with Shell supports ‘data-driven’  decision making across the upstream. More in next month’s Journal.

Pegasus Vertex’ Dr. DE drilling software is now available as a free mobile app, Dr. DE Lite, available for Android and iOS devices.

The US Energy information agency (IEA) has announced a new version of its energy data portal with expanded tools and capabilities to track global energy market trends. An API is available for automating information access.

Energy Navigator has updated two of its software packages. Value Navigator 6.5, adds a custom products feature for reporting injectables, water floods and other well products. AFE Navigator 8.1 includes a new ‘non-AFE’ workflow for request to drill scenarios and approvals.

Release 12.2 of Energy Solutions’ ‘Synthesis’ sees a technology refresh along with new functionality for order-to-cash logistics for marine terminal operators.

Esri Maps for Office 3.0 makes it easier to make maps from data in Microsoft Excel, comparing data sets and working with different  coordinate systems.

Geomodeling’s AttributeStudio 7.6 offers a streamlined shale data analytics workflow to identify seismic attributes, drilling or completion parameters that affect production in horizontal wells.

FFA has released a GeoTeric plug-in for DecisionSpace under Landmark’s iEnergy partner program. Users can now move seismic volumes, horizons and well data rapidly between the two platforms.

HP has announced over 3.2 million IOPS at sub-millisecond latency for its latest HP 3PAR StoreServ 2000 flash storage system.

IHS Kingdom 2015 sees enhancements to fault and fracture attribute mapping, dynamic map updates and new 3D visualization capabilities. A new Kingdom Gateway plug-in for Schlumberger’s Petrel streamlines data exchange.

INT’s J/GeoToolkit 3.4 includes a new analysis package with FFT, windowing and math functions. The release adds support for CGM transparency, layers and Tornado plots.

ITT’s i-Alert 2 is a Bluetooth-enabled monitor that tracks equipment vibration, temperature and run-time hours, syncing data to smartphones or tablets. The device enables rapid connection of equipment to the ‘industrial internet of things.’

Kongsberg’s LedaFlow 1.7  transient multiphase flow simulator includes functionality for non-Newtonian fluids, wax appearance temperature, 3D visualization and new flowline profiling tools.

Fuse IM has been rebranded as Meera Technologies. Xstreamline is renamed Centrum and Expedite is now Omni.

Permasense’s ET210 monitors the integrity of topsides and surface equipment. The non-intrusive integrity monitoring system uses sensor technology and wireless data delivery to monitor for metal loss from corrosion or erosion.

The 4.2 release Rock Flow DynamicstNavigator includes a model designer for geological modeling and pre-processing of data for dynamic simulations. Other enhancements include support of Linux Slurm support and GUI improvements.

Spectro Scientific’s MiniLab 53 provides on-site oil analysis using IP acquired from Emerson Process Management in 2012. The MiniLab allows plant personnel to monitor lubricant chemistry, contamination and machinery wear.


2015 PODS operator forum, Houston

Pipeline Data Model Association addresses stringent regulatory/reporting requirements. Boardwalk Pipeline migrates to PODS/ESRI spatial platform; Google Maps and Wilbros' Integra Link also ran.

The Pipeline Data Model Association held the 2015 Operators’ Forum in Houston earlier this year. The pipeline industry is facing challenges from increasing data volumes driven in part by more stringent regulatory data requirements. On the IT front there is a need to make pipeline GIS more accessible, to track the multiple technology advances while assuring interoperability. PODS in engaged in reorganizing itself to better respond to all of the above with a next generation version of the PODS data model at center stage. Ongoing strategic initiatives include defining a ‘standard’ PODS implementation with sample views and standard reports for NPMS and PDMSA, Esri Spatial modularization and a PODS ‘lite’ edition. The data model is also to be extended to the offshore and construction domains. PODS is also working to finalize its PODS ArcGis linear referencing model (Alrp—Oil IT Journal Vol 20 N° 3) for the Alrp 1.0 released towards the end of later this year.

Tony Rizk outlined Boardwalk Pipeline Partners’ geographic information system (GIS) modernization. This set out to build an infrastructure for modern field data collection, simplifying data validation and help field workers to ‘know their systems, know the risks and manage the integrity of Boardwalk’s assets. This has involved the migration of all subsidiaries to a uniform PODS/ESRI spatial platform that allows native Esri tools. Boardwalk has automated the production of alignment sheets and developed tools for high consequence analysis, maximum allowable operating pressure and other risk-based analytics. Internal and external corrosion data sources (CorrMD and CPDM) are now synced with the GIS as are OneCall (IRTHnet) tickets for third party damage data. The ‘first of its kind’ system leverages a cloud-based GIS running on the Amazon EC2 environment. Users with Boardwalk credentials can access the system from anywhere in the world. The end user GIS viewer is driven by Google Maps. In view of Google’s shifting stance on its Maps API (see the PetroDE interview on page 3 of this issue), there is an alternative GIS front end that uses Willbro’s Integra Link. With the new system, field personnel are identifying errors in the records and alignment sheets. As Rizk concluded, ‘We now have hundreds of eyes in the field to validate our data.’ Read the PODS Operators  presentations here.


SAP in Oil and Gas, Berlin

SAP S4/Hana highlight of SAP/TA Cook event. Shell's Hana/Hadoop/OData data warehouse. SAP on the connected car and on an EU energy independence simulator. Lukoil 'no point drowning management in information.' Aramco's Fracas system. Subsea7, AT Kearney, Geo.E, Esri, OSIsoft.

To understand where SAP is heading you first need to understand SAP’s Hana ‘in-memory’ database. In an SAP news post, Christian Hopfner of German SAP consultants All for One observed that when SAP R/3 launched in 1992, all applications were integrated. Over the years, new requirements emerged and more complex processes and analyses were needed. The R/3 relational database could no longer handle the load and customers began running systems separately with new interfaces. The idea behind Hana is to combat this fragmentation with a simplification of the software along with more powerful hardware. The promise of Hana was summed up in a presentation at the 2014 SAP TechEd as offering a back-to-the-future promise of a single source of the truth, running on a unified platform (supporting on-site, cloud and hybrid deployments) and exposing a consistent user experience provided by SAP Fiori, a new Html5-derived GUI. Hana is still work in progress. The database was announced back in 2010 but it took SAP till 2014 to get its own apps running on the new system. The release of S/4Hana earlier this year was billed as the biggest announcement since R/3.

SAP’s oil and gas team Ken Evans and Brent Potts held a press event at the show and discussed the ‘dramatic’ effect that the low oil price is having on IT projects. While these are seen as opportunities to optimize operations and save costs, today’s environment means that projects require a 90-100 day return on investment to pass muster. ‘Longer term projects are not what’s happening.’ Other highlights of the presentation were the SAP/Accenture Upstream operations management solution, the connected oilfield and the cloud. SAP views the upstream as a poster child for the connected supply chain and envisages data from the connected oilfield streaming to a ‘hi fidelity’ virtual model in the cloud. Entitled joint venture partners and suppliers can access and contribute to the networked supply chain. SAP is also working with Shell and VW on the connected car and connected convenience store/fuelling station.

Shell at least does not appear to be constrained by the 90 day ROI rule and is in the middle of a multi-year migration to Hana. Paul van Vuren’s presentation on well surveillance with SAP Hana began with a recap of Shell’s current SAP footprint, one of the ‘largest and most global’ in the world. SAP is used by 90,000 users in 130 countries in Shell, handles $1 billion of incoming invoices per day and houses around 110 terabytes of data. All this, over the next few years, is to be consolidated to a new standard Hana-based platform. Other facets of Shell’s ERP portfolio renovation include ‘easy’ integration of non-SAP applications and Microsoft Office 365. An extension to the cloud (Amazon and/or Azure) is also part of the program.  The wells, reservoir and facilities management program (Wrfm) integrates multiple Shell and third party tools into a single portal. Connectors have been developed for Shell’s ‘Siesta’ reservoir pressure database, the eReservoir book and Significant well events database and other domain-specific tools to a consolidated enterprise data warehouse, leveraging Shell’s Enterprise data model. Data is not stored in Hana but accessed from connected data stores with Rest services based on OData. A Hadoop data store also ran. van Vuren concluded saying that although Hana offers an attractive platform to integrate well and ERP data, significant tooling upgrades are required, in some cases more than is currently available from SAP. Applications also need to be optimized for use across high latency wide area networks and distributed storage.

The acquisitions of Ariba (2012) and Concur (2014) extended SAP’s reach into retail. Heino Kantimm introduced the digital fueling station and the connected car. In 2011 drivers in the US spent $530bn on their cars and $570bn on fuel and convenience store purchases. Both markets are a) separate and b) totally dependent on each other! SAP wants to bring these two marketing opportunities closer perhaps with a ‘Buy now’ button on in-car entertainment systems enabled by a SAP connected vehicles business network. As of November 2014 Shell and VW have joined with SAP to ‘co-innovate’ on a connected vehicle ecosystem. A video showed a driver directed to the nearest gas station by an iPhone app. Lo and behold, there was even a guy manning the pump! The business model is as yet unclear. One issue is how to get the driver out of the connected car and into the shop!

A keynote from SAP’s Maher Chebbo addressed energy independence in the EU. Member countries have widely different energy mixes, France has its nuclear and the Netherlands its gas. Despite a lead in renewables, the wider energy market is ‘fragmented and uncompetitive.’ Chebbo proposes an IT ‘cockpit’ for energy supply control to help the Union react to crises and assure its supply. SAP proposes to help build the cockpit as an on-demand service for politicos and others. SAP is planning a consortium to develop the cockpit under the EU Horizon 2020 program. The system already has an acronym, the EEIS (EU energy independence simulator) and the EU’s putative energy union has both a website and a hashtag (#EnergyUnion).

With the industry and SAP on the cusp of a shift to Hana, pre-Hana presentations may seem rather prosaic. But these deployments are still where the action is. Alexander Pruzhinin presented Lukoil’s use of SAP, in particular SAP Business Explorer analytics. It is not enough to make everything accessible, there is no point in drowning management with information. Some systems have been popular for a few months and then seen use decline after a year or so. Managers like tables. Dashboards are OK but may not stand the test of time. Not many ‘daily reports’ are actually viewed every day! Systems need to be designed around what management really needs to do its job. This involved a top down analysis and a big discussion with the business. In Lukoil, ERP and DCS data is fed into a warehouse of trusted data. The management portal has relatively few report forms. These forms may be simple, but they are used every day.

Suresh Pathapate presented Saudi Aramco’s plant reliability management and ‘Fracas’ implementation.  Aramco’s Fracas (failure reporting analysis and corrective actions system) captures reliability data from some 29 reliability entities at Aramco. The total plant reliability management initiative targets rotating equipment. Previously expertise was scattered across the organization and knowledge sharing was poor. Fracas leverages SAP PM Master Data in fault tree and root cause analysis. Rollout began in 2013 and the program is now entering phase 2. A central database covers all maintenance entities.

Callum Davidson and Bjorn Harzer presented Subsea7’s SAP-based equipment and tools management (ETM) system, developed around the SAP ETM module. Subsea7 has tagged its kit with barcodes or Rfid tags and uses handheld scanners to track movements. Handhelds interface to SAP via web service calls using SAP PI(XI). The project encountered some issues as tagging and classifying equipment proved a ‘huge, time consuming task.’ Also scanning was not as well received by users as had been envisaged, especially offshore where it proved to be impractical. An alternative equipment receipt process using a web based interface has been implemented for vessels. Intriguingly, end user’s perception of how system and scanning would work was ‘not in line with reality.’ However the system was well received by office-based users with direct access to SAP. The control and discipline brought by the new system has reduced double booking of equipment and missing equipment items are moved from an ‘unknown’ location bucket to their correct locations as they are caught on a scan.

Brian Forbes from SAP partner AT Kearney presented on the connected oilfield and the internet of things (IoT). This promises ‘data-intensive’ integrated asset management systems leveraging a feedback loop based on multivariate algorithms and asset models, predictive analytics and cased-based reasoning in a collaborative online working environment. Here systems need to adapt over time as cause-effect relationships change with system health and/or field depletion.

The Berlin SAP event included a healthy exhibitor ecosystem where we managed to connect with Geo.E, provider of a linear network solution for pipeline/utilities blending SAP and Esri mapping. The system enables drill-down from map to asset information including color coding of pipe according to age for planned maintenance and work order creation.

Mobideo announced a  SAP-qualified rapid-deployment solution (RDS) for execution of turnarounds, shutdowns and outages. RDS, which is bundled with SAP Hana and SMP 3.0, uses real time situational awareness and mobile communications to ‘make sure that the work is done right.’

OSIsoft is upgrading its SAP integration to allow Hana to ingest PI system data for predictive maintenance and analytics. Users can configure what they want out of PI and see the data in Hana.

Safran, hitherto a ‘well-kept Norwegian secret’ has received VC backing to market its Risk for project management product to the international market. R4PM now runs on Hana and is a head-on competitor to Oracle Primavera. Users include ConocoPhillips, Aker, Wintershall and Statoil. R4PM was ported to Hana in 3 weeks with help from SAP and Rolta. The Hana edition provides the speed required for interactive ‘what if’ risk evaluation. More from TA Cook.


2015 Fiatech conference and technology showcase, Boca Raton

Fiatech news. Petrobras alternative to 'complex' ISO 15026. WorleyParsons' ambitious spec management. Balfour Beatty on 'generative design.' More from the usual 'semantic' suspects!

Fiatech director Ray Topping kicked-off proceedings with a reminder of some of Fiatech ground rules viz. that there should be no disparaging of any company’s goods and services and no recommendation of any particular service provider. These were somewhat flaunted in the same presentation where Fiatech member successes were attributed to ‘avoided the implementation of a middleware solution [..] thanks to information from another member.’ And again when an exchange between members ‘confirmed that our course of action was correct and the software under consideration did in fact work.’ Topping reported progress on various Fiatech projects including Rfid tags for access control, streamlining regulatory data, use of Proteus/XMPlant and the mobile IT community of interest. For the coming year new initiatives include the application of big data, analytics, cognitive computing and the internet of things.

One or other of the different flavors of the ISO 15926 engineering information standard crops up in many Fiatech presentations, often along with a ‘semantic web’ manifestation. A presentation from Cauê Clasen (Petrobras) introduced an alternative to the ‘high complexity’ of ISO 15926 with the promise of automated exchange of equipment data and asset information. Petrobras’ capital facilities industry XML (cfiXML) is a set of XML schemas for equipment data interoperability and handover. Two use cases have been developed, an Excel datasheet that uses the cfiXML format to ingest equipment datasheets and a Siemens Comos plug-in to read/write data in the cfiXML format.

Cormac Ryan provided an update on WorleyParsons’ work on engineering information specifications management, ‘data centric’ capex projects and the digital asset. This ambitious project includes revision and version control of all software and physical objects involved in a project. The system includes master tag and document registers and leverages ISO 15926 and other standards. At the core of the system is an engineering data warehouse, a central source for custody transfer and handover of validated, quality assured data to the customer. The toolset will be deployed on a real world Feed project to handover detailed engineering phase information and provide ‘greater clarity and alignment’ of internal and external stakeholders.

Jason Reece presented Balfour Beatty’s work on generative design, a new technology wave that is set to influence engineering over the next few years. Design changes are inevitable and most plans will fail and require rework. Instead of ‘validating’ design decisions as they are taken, we need to simulate outcomes in parallel with the decision making process. Enter ‘set-based design,’ whereby the design team considers multiple options simultaneously. Decisions are held off until the last possible moment, eliminating the waste inherent in the old linear process.

The semantic purists were out in force as Intergraph, Siemens, Autodesk, Aveva and Bentley showed how complete P&ID export/import might be achieved. The Data exchange in process industry (Dexpi) project is implemented in the Jena semantic web framework as sets of RDF triples along with rules for adding to the model and for error detection. Progress has been good and software should be available in 2016. Partners have agreed on a roadmap that sees intelligent verification of P&IDs and an extension to ‘further data integration innovation.’ Download the Fiatech presentations here.


Folks, facts, orgs ...

Energistics, 3esi, Allegro, Arma, Bell Geo., Cartasite, Encap Flatrock, Chesapeake, Ensco, Geological Society, Greenhill, IHS, Ikon Science, IRM Systems, Langan Engineering, Lloyd's Register, Maxwell Technologies, Navigant, NCS Multistage, NDB, NetApp, Occidental, Saipem, PinnacleART, Platts, Rock Solid Images, Savanna Energy Services, Statoil, Willbros, Wireless Seismic, Intergraph.

Ross Philo is the new CEO of Energistics. Jana Schey moves over to COO.

Joseph Tischner has joined 3esi team as VP US operations. He hails from Pointcross.

Frank Brienzi is now CEO with Allegro.

Robert Baird is now CEO at Arma International.

Srinivas Saraswatibhatla has joined Bell Geospace as geoscience manager to its Edinburgh office. He hails from Vale.

Bill Sinclaire is the new CTO of Cartasite.

Bendiks Jan Boersma heads-up the new Delft Process Technology Institute Lab.

Gregory King has joined Encap Flatrock as senior adviser.

Frank Patterson has replaced retiree John Kapchinske as Chesapeake’s executive VP exploration, land and subsurface technology. He hails from Anadarko.

Paul Rowsey is now chairman of the Ensco board following Dan Rabun’s retirement.

BG Group’s Malcom Brown is president of the London Geological Society.

Greenhill & Co. has named Jim Rogers as MD at its Houston office.

IHS chairman Jerre Stead has been appointed CEO following Scott Key’s resignation.

Matt Bell heads-up Ikon Science’s new Houston location.

Danny Ling is general manager of IRM Systems’ new Houston operation.

Kyle Bogardus heads-up Langan Engineering’s new Houston office.

Alaistair Marsh has named CEO of Lloyd’s Register following Richard Sadler’s decision to step down at the end of 2015.

David Lyle is now Maxwell Technologies’ CFO.

Navigant has hired five new senior experts: Rob Patrylak from Black & Veatch, Eric Smith from Wipro, Rob Wilhite from DNV GL, John Agoston from Accenture and Mark Livingstone from PA Consulting.

NCS Multistage’s new technology group sees several executive moves. Former COO, Marty Stromquist to CTO, Tim Willems to COO, Joe DeGeare as president US operations while former CTO Don Gerzlaf is now advisor to the board and member of the executive committee.

John Kerr has joined New Digital Business as partner. He was formerly with Seismic Revelations.

Bill Lipsin is now VP of NetApp’s worldwide channel sales. He comes over from Brocade.

Vicki Hollub succeeds Stephen Chazen as CEO of Occidental.

Stefano Cao has stepped down from the board of Petrofac pending his appointment as CEO of Saipem.

Richard Scruggs is the new CEO of PinnacleART succeeding Ryan Sitton who is currently serving his first term as Texas Railroad commissioner.

Martin Fraenkel has been named Platts’ chief content officer. He hails from CME Group.

Jim Tomlinson is now general manager Eame of Rock Solid Images’s new London office. Lulary de Moreno de Camacho is general manager Latin America. He comes across from CGG.

Savanna Energy Services has appointed Christopher Strong as president and CEO, Dwayne LaMontagne as executive VP and CFO and Rick Torriero as VP finance. .

Statoil has nominated Ĝystein Lĝseth as chair and Roy Franklin as deputy chair of Statoil’s board.

Tieto has promoted Kia Haring to VP global communications.

Grant Thornton retiree Phil Wedemeyer, has been elected to the Willbros Board.

Bob Bacon is now VP Sales & marketing of Wireless Seismic. He hails from MicroSeismic.

Correction

In Vol. 20 n° 3 our report from the 2015 SMi E&P data management conference wrongly referred to ‘Aveva’ SmartPlant. That should of course have been Intergraph SmartPlant. Thanks to Mikitaka Hayashi for putting us right.


Done deals

Quantico Energy Solutions, LR Senergy, EnergyOne, FMC, DeepOcean, Optime Subsea Services, Quorum Business Solutions, Fielding Systems, Scientific Drilling, Marksman Ranging Technologies, EMC, Virtustream, Capital Safety, Python Safety, Iron Mountain, Recall Holdings.

Machine learning boutique Quantico Energy Solutions has closed a financing round with investment from Shell and Statoil

LR Senergy has sold its Norwegian arm to a management team led by Ĝystein Roti who becomes CEO of the new company EnergyOne AS.

A group of ex-FMC employees has teamed with subsea installation specialist DeepOcean to found Optime Subsea Services with offices in Houston and Notodden in Norway’s ‘subsea valley’ industry cluster.

Quorum Business Solutions has acquired Fielding Systems.

Scientific Drilling has acquired magnetic ranging technology provider Marksman Ranging Technologies. Simmons & Co. advised SDI on the deal.

EMC Corp. is acquiring privately-held cloud software and services provider Virtustream. The deal is worth around $1.2 billion.

Capital Safety has acquired dropped object prevention solutions provider Python Safety.

Iron Mountain is to acquire Recall Holdings.


Back to school ...

New training contracts for GSE, IFP School, Maersk, Check-6 and Kongsberg Maritime.

Dakota Gasification Company (DGC) has contracted with GSE Systems for the provision of an e-learning solution to plug a workforce skills gap at its Great Plains Synfuels Plant in Beulah, ND. Employees will use GSE’s EnVision self-paced tutorials to master the fundamentals of unit operations and process controls. Partner Systran is helping with program development.

IFP School, with backing from Total, has launched a ‘massive open online course’ (Mooc) covering oil and gas, from exploration to distribution. The four week course is given in English with French subtitles. Subjects include the roles of industry players, challenges, upstream and downstream and economics.

BP has signed a five year, global agreement with Maersk to provide training to BP offshore rig teams. The courses will be given in a new ‘immersive simulation environment’ in Houston.

Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas, with a $150,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, has acquired a license Check-6’s Well Control VI training system. The ‘fighter pilot inspired’ simulator features dual workstations and a 60” high-definition touch screen monitor. Lackawanna’s program centers on the training needs of Marcellus Shale operators. The School was established with a $2.5 million gift from Cabot Oil.

Mexico’s Fidena marine training institute has selected Kongsberg Maritime’s offshore simulators for its marine education center in Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche. The contract includes the K-Sim DP (dynamic positioning) and K-Sim Offshore vessel simulators.


Shell, Yokogawa 'co-innovate'

Next generation process control platform dovetails with Yokogawa's Transformation 2017 program.

Shell has teamed with Yokogawa Electric on development of a ‘next-generation’ platform for process control applications. The software speeds up and simplifies the process of designing, deploying, and maintaining advanced process control applications. The toolset leverages Shell’s process expertise along with real-time control technology from Yokogawa.

The software includes multivariable model predictive control, soft sensing and various ad-hoc calculations and customizations. Parameters are monitored over a period of time to establish plant step responses and determine how various inputs impact process values. This software automatically figures model results and displays a robustness rating. Users can select the optimum model which can be rebuilt at any time. The system provides visibility across the entire plant, monitoring target process units, and checking controlled variables and KPIs. The solution is currently being marketed to third parties by Yokogawa. The ‘co-innovation’ concept is a feature of Yokogawa’s ‘Transformation 2017’ program for mid-term business growth. TF2017 kicks-off in fiscal year 2015 and targets a return of ‘11% or more.’ More from Yokogawa.


Peterson, Streamba team on supply chain logistics

Data-driven 'intelligent' supply chain to replace 'well-intentioned but contradictory' legacy systems.

Rotterdam, Netherlands-headquartered international energy logistics provider Peterson and its wholly-owned Streamba software unit have announced VOR, a ‘data-driven, intelligent and automated augmentation’ to the modern supply chain. VOR addresses issues of complexity, duplication and inefficiency that arise from the organic growth of ‘well-intentioned but contradictory’ systems and processes.

The VOR oil and gas procurement and logistics service lets customers, vendors and suppliers enter supply chain operational data. VOR then provides a real-time view of where goods or services are at any time, from warehouses and vessels, to pallets, helicopters, containers and trucks. VOR promises cost reductions from the use of this collective data along with risk mitigation thanks to supply chain visibility and transparency.


Adelos DAS for gas

US Navy Blue Rose licensee targets monitoring flowing wells.

Polson, Montana-based Adelos has rolled-out Adelos 2.0, a fiber optic sensor system designed and optimized for commercial acoustic applications, including upstream oil & gas operations. Adelos uses distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology to monitor producing wells using advanced classification algorithms and real-time data processing. The technology is offered as either a packaged solution for direct sale to clients or as an intellectual property portfolio for licensing in the commercial sector.

Adelos is a subsidiary of S&K Technologies, itself owned by the confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The company has a decade of experience deploying fiber optic solutions leveraging an exclusive license to the US Navy’s Blue Rose fiber optic patents.


Sales, deployments, partnerships ...

ABsoft, Acceleware, Applus RTD, Asset Guardian, Atek, Access Technologies, Aveva, Expro, FleetCor Technologies, GE, Enpro Subsea, Infor, Ephesoft, Kepware, Navtor, Nautic, Owl, Petrofac, Rock Flow Dynamics, Sibur, Technip, Welltec, Wood Group Kenny, Marlink, Tampnet.

ABsoft has secured a three year deal with Total E&P UK for SAP support services.

Repsol has bought a license to Acceleware’s reverse time migration package. The tool includes support for Tesla K10 and K80 GPUs as well as Intel Xeon multi-core CPU clusters.

Applus RTD has been awarded a contract by Heerema Marine Contractors for non-destructive testing services on Total’s Agolan Kaombo development.

Dana Petroleum is to deploy Asset Guardian’s AGSync software on its North Sea Triton FPSO to sync data across multiple onshore and offshore locations.

Atek Access Technologies and Basin Concrete have jointly developed a wireless remote tank monitoring solution TankScan TSM8000.

Aker Solutions is to deploy Aveva Everything3D as a core part of the company’s strategic design platform in a multiyear deal. Wuhaun Engineering is to deploy Aveva’s Integrated Engineering & Design software solution on a number of projects in the refining, petro-chemical and chemical industries.

Expro has secured an initial 4-year contract, valued at $45m with options for two 1-year extensions with Statoil for well testing, subsea safety systems and other services.

FleetCor Technologies has converted Shell’s fuel card customer base in Belgium, France and the Netherlands to its outsourcing program.

GE and Enpro Subsea are to jointly market, sell and operate technology and services related to fluid intervention.

Cepsa has adopted GE’s new Fuel Flex technology to meet new EU emissions standards.

Infor is teaming with Ephesoft to offer document management services in the cloud. The partnership extends document capture services for Infor’s ERP solutions.

ABB is to implement Kepware’s  KEPServerEX with its flagship product, 800xA integrated control and safety system.

Kongsberg Maritime has been selected to supply an electrical, instrument and telecom solution to Yinson for use in the conversion of the Yinson Genesis to an FPSO for ENI Ghana.

Navtor and Nautic have teamed on a joint navigational data package for the shipping industry.

An unnamed ‘global tier one’ oil and gas company has acquired a fully redundant DualDiode cybersecurity solution from Owl Computing Technologies.

Petrofac is to support Bumi Armada with a maintenance management system for the Armada Kraken FPSO in the North Sea. The company has also secured a $45 million, three year contract with Oranje-Nassau Energie for operator support services on the Southern North Sea Sean gas field.

Rock Flow Dynamics is now ‘officially authorized’ to sell Altair’s PBS Professional to users of its tNavigator.

Russian petro-chemist Sibur has kicked off an SAP ERP pilot and expects roll out the full system in 2016.

Technip has been selected by BP for the Thunder Horse South Expansion Project in the Gulf of Mexico.

Welltec and Shell have signed a framework agreement to develop new technologies for global application in the energy industry.

Wood Group Kenny has been awarded a four year contract by the UK government to provide technical advisory services for carbon capture and storage projects in the UK.

Marlink and Tampnet have partnered to deliver 4G connectivity in the North Sea.


Standards stuff

Energistics' 25th birthday celebration. Fiatech piping information flow (PIF). IOGP P1/P2 V1.1 positioning standards. GeoNetwork spatial data catalog V3.0. OPC announces 'open shared source' strategy for OPC-UA. SPE report on worst case discharge planning and reporting.

Energistics is to commemorate its 25th birthday with an all-day celebration on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2015 in Houston. Keynote speaker is Accidental Superpower author Peter Zeihan.

Fiatech has kicked off ‘PIF,’ a piping information flow standards project aiming at a ‘world without isometrics.’ PIF will explore the use of existing piping data exchange tools (PCF, ISO 15926) to achieve smooth piping data flow from design to construction, and ultimately to handover.

The IOGP has rolled-out version 1.1 of its P1 and P2 geophysical position data exchange formats. The format now enables the recording of land and OBC formats and additional peripheral sensor or QC data.  IOGP is also revising its user guide for publication in Q3 2015.

GeoNetwork open source v3.0.0, a catalog application for spatial data management, has just been announced. The new edition provides enhanced metadata editing and search functions as well as an interactive web map viewer.

OPC has announced an OPC UA open shared source strategy. The OPC Unified Architecture specifications and technology will be made available to companies, consortia and end users without requiring membership of the OPC Foundation.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers has issued a technical report based on work done at last year’s worst-case discharge summit. The report includes calculating and reporting WCD of oil or gas to the environment following a blowout and is designed to support oil spill response planning. The methodology follows current US regulations that require deterministic evaluation of a WCD.


Safety first

Safe perforations from Dynamic Materials. Driver training from FMC. Intertek safety training.

Dynamic Materials’ DynaEnergetics unit reports that its DynaSelect perforating system has fired over 250,000 perforating shots without a safety incident. DynaSelect allows wireline and perforating service companies to safely detonate multiple perforating guns during a single trip. An intrinsically safe integrated switch-detonator uses a sequence of digital codes for initiation and is unaffected by stray currents or RF signals. The company recently entered into an exclusive distribution agreement whereby DynaEnergetics becomes the exclusive global distributor of WT Bell’s product portfolio.

FMC Technologies is to deploy SmartDrive’s video-based safety program across its fleet of 1,300 vehicles. The move is part of FMC’s Destination Zero driver safety program.  SmartDrive uses video, vehicle, audio and driving data to evaluate driver performance. The platform identifies a fleet’s best performing drivers, as well as those who need coaching to improve specific skills.

A new service from Intertek is to offer functional safety, custom pre-shipment inspections and expanded hazardous areas training to oil and gas companies. The new service sets out to optimize operations, mitigate risks and meet regulatory requirements. Functional safety solutions include analysis of performance and safety integrity levels, failure modes and effects analysis. Pre-shipment inspections of equipment, installation, wiring and facilities helps ensure compliance with end-user specifications. Hazardous area training is offered in Houston and Edmonton, Alberta.


Tüpras goes live with Amber Road

Turkish refiner screens suppliers with cloud-based global trade management solution.

Turkish Petroleum Refineries Co. (Tüpras) has just gone live with Amber Road’s automated restricted party screening solution, following a six week implementation. Tüpras operates four large oil refineries in Turkey and does business with about 12,000 suppliers, customers and financial institutions. As part of a broad initiative to build a comprehensive corporate compliance strategy, tied to a more stringent regulatory environment and greater demands from its business partners, Tüpras fast-tracked the restricted party screening portion of its program.

Amber Road provides cloud-based global trade management solutions, automating import and export processes to enable goods to flow across international borders. The solution includes ‘enterprise-class’ software, trade content sourced from government agencies and transportation providers in 145 countries. The hosted solution screens trading partners against restricted party, sanctions and embargoes lists and provides notifications, escalation scenarios and audit. Tüpras cited ease of use and comprehensive functionality as the primary reasons it selected Amber Road.


Intelligent operations or an intelligent operator?

Versatec delivers ViewPort-based 'intelligent operating manual' to Wintershall.

Speaking at the Netherlands WIB meeting earlier this year, Klass-Otto Ykema (Versatec) provided an insight into the ‘Intelligent operating manual’ his company has provided for a North Sea asset operated by Wintershall. The Intelligent operating manual (IOM) addresses HSE and compliance issues with a focus on offshore oil and gas operations.

Operators are confronted with multiple information sources, real time data, data in SAP, SharePoint, Documentum and other specialist systems. There is ‘too much information.’ Versatec advocates cherry picking these and publishing only critical asset information. Cross references in documents (tag numbers) can be captured with a combination of pattern recognition in scanned documents and keywords. 

There remain problems of inconsistent terminology and document versions. Versatec uses Radial Software’s  rules-based ‘ViewPort’ solution to provide checks of tags and keywords against the asset register. ViewPort is claimed to drive governance, safety and discovery and supports a move from fragmented systems to ‘true automation.’ Wintershall’s IOM took 25 man days to implement and test against 2500 tags. The IOM is also used in the design phase, notably on the Dolwin offshore windfarm controller where it is used to standardize engineering drawings in Intergraph Smart Plant.


ConocoPhillips' renaissance engineers

Multi-skilled operators and wireless control system connectivity for San Juan business unit.

Back in the day, when ‘digital energy’ was new, there was an expectation that combining engineering and IT would breed a new kind of ‘renaissance engineer.’ Patrick Currey, writing in the Q1 2015 issue of ConocoPhillips Spirit Magazine reports that these do now exist in the form of ‘multi-skilled operators’ or MSOs.  

MSOs are at work across the San Juan business unit where ConocoPhillips operates some 10,000 natural gas wells. Recent upgrades to smart control systems make it possible to make changes to individual wells wirelessly from the central integrated operations center (IOC). MSOs can also operate controllers in the field from a laptop. Currey describes hardware and logic as the field’s ‘neurons,’ but the optimization technicians and MSOs are the ‘muscle and blood’ that give life to the high-tech platform of the IOC.


Panda's plea for enhanced oil tanker security

'Phantom menace' alert of cyber attack on crude carriers falls on deaf ears.

A new report, ‘Operation Oil Tanker: The Phantom Menace’ from Madrid, Spain-headquartered Panda Security reveals a hitherto ‘largely unknown’ cyber attack on oil tankers. The ongoing attack began in 2013 and was first discovered by Panda in January 2014. The attack tries to steal information and credentials for defrauding oil brokers.

The hack, undetected by antivirus software, is triggered when an attachment, of a file type that is ‘specific to the oil and gas maritime transportation sector,’ is opened. Panda CTO Luis Corrons said, ‘We first thought this was your average non-targeted attack. But as we dug deeper, it became clear that it targeted a specific sector of the oil industry.’ Panda’s detective work traced the hack via its FTP connection to reveal the likely source as an individual located in Nigeria’s Ikeja computer village.

Panda states that none of the dozens of affected companies have reported the breach for fear of drawing attention to their vulnerable networks. Panda Security is ready to identify the individual to authorities, but without any credible reports being volunteered by the alleged victims, the authorities are unable to launch their investigations or make any arrests. Panda Security hopes the release of its report will shed light on the potential damage of The Phantom Menace and encourage companies to take the necessary steps against the perpetrator. Drawing attention to the attack will force companies to take precautions against ‘increasingly sophisticated and insidious attacks.’


ExxonMobil, EON Reality simulate the 'smellies'

Training simulator includes dynamic process models, 3D VR, odor, vibration and weather.

ExxonMobil has retroceded a license to an immersive 3D operator training simulator to its co-developer, EON Reality. The simulator was originally developed by EON and ExxonMobil Upstream Research for use at a gas processing facility in Qatar and has been in operation since 2013. The system provides a realistic interface to over 300 control devices across six gas processing units. Upstream research president Sara Ortwein said, ‘The simulator provides a 3D environment that is a close replica of an operating plant. Simulators are highly effective in training workers on how to prevent incidents, while teaching them to respond quickly and appropriately should any occur.’

The system combines dynamic processes and functional models of rotating valves, push-buttons and active gauges. Functions include gestural and vocal commands and enhanced time-variant sensory conditions including tactile feedback, odors, vibration and wind simulation. Scenarios can be created for workforce development, competency assurance, project commissioning support, new hire orientation, and more efficient turnaround/shutdown planning.


UAVs deployed in N Sea, Santa Barbara and San Joaquin valley

With FAA approval, Chevron reports multiple oil country use cases for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Chevron reports on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as multipurpose tools for data collection in various contexts. Chevron Upstream Europe is using drones for visual inspection of flare tips on the Captain and Alba platforms in the North Sea, reducing the requirement for scaffolding and manual inspection and mitigating risk to employees and contractors. Chevron is trialing different UAV technologies to optimize image quality.

UAV’s have also been used in Australia to monitor turtle tracks and nests in the vicinity of the Wheatstone Project and in California’s Santa Barbara Channel to monitor natural oil seeps. In 2013, the FAA approved UAVs for use in an oil spill exercise. The San Joaquin Valley business unit is to monitor operations with UAVs equipped with high-definition imaging, elevation modeling and thermal or infrared equipment to optimize the i-Field’s steam flood.

Recent changes in US federal regulations mean that Chevron will soon be able to use UAVs for aerial mapping, surveying, threat detection and other safety issues. Chevron expects that UAVs will soon monitor shipping, pipeline, production and other operations. Chevron advises that ‘the media’ often misrepresents UAVs as ‘drones.’ The latter are ‘fully autonomous systems with no human intervention’ whereas Chevron’s UAVs ‘have a human element involved at all times*.’ More from Chevron.

* Wikipedia would beg to differ.


4Subsea's WellSpot operations register moves to Azure cloud

Statoil extends development contract for 'non business critical' well historian.

Statoil has awarded Asker, Norway headquartered 4Subsea a contract for further development of its WellSpot cloud solution for wellhead data capture. A recent article in Computerworld Norway, translated on the 4Subsea website, reveals that WellSpot is used to capture a well’s operational history, which rigs have interacted with it and under which weather conditions. The tool allows Statoil to assess the loads that the well has been subjected to.

As a ‘non business critical’ system, WellSpot was considered a good candidate for migration from Statoil’s data center to the public Microsoft Azure cloud. 4Subsea claims a strong focus on utilization of cloud technology like Azure, Office 365 and Power BI. WellSpot is said to be one of Statoil’s first cloud solutions and has been in development since 2011. 4Subsea, a Viking Venture portfolio company was established in 2007. More from 4Subsea.