Volume 21 Number 5


Oilfield open source?

PetroVisor from Myr:conn Solutions promises 'open source-based' knowledge automation for the oilfield. A 'hybrid' data, knowledge and machine learning toolkit leverages Microsoft HDInsight.

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Getech buys Exprodat

London-listed potential field data provider acquires GIS consultant, developer of TeamGIS and Unconventional Analyst.

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Enthusiasm, shouts, rapturous applause - and this software!

Neil McNaughton reports from Neo4J's 'Graph Connect' conference in London. The graph database trades the tables of the relational database for a graph of, err... relations and claims a mathematical pedigree going back to the 18th century. Whatever. Users (the Financial Times, Pivotal and Smurf manufacturer Schleich) are enthusiastic. In fact the audience went wild when Mar Cabra of the ICIJ presented the Panama papers as a big graph of data!

It has been a while since I saw real enthusiasm at a user conference. Most upstream software is pretty mature these days and what is not mature is usually massively oversold before anyone gets to grips with what (possibly imagined) problem it sets out to solve and how (if at all) it is going to solve it. But, at the 2016 EU Graph Connect conference in London that I attended earlier this year, there was real enthusiasm both for the novel technology and, especially, for what is being used for.

Graph Connect is a shop window for Neo4J’s graph database technology. If you want to know what a graph database is I invite you to consult Wikipedia and if you think it sounds like something you heard of a long time ago, you could also visit the Talk page. For the party line though, you could try the O’Reilly book. If you are familiar with the semantic web and the RDF triple store, well there is a lot of overlap with the graph database. However, if you spend too much time trying to figure out exactly what something really is in IT, by the time you have got it, the technology will have moved on, so let’s just get on with the conference.  

Neo4J founder and CEO Emil Eifrem puts the graph database on a mathematical pedestal that goes back to Euler’s 1736 paper on the Seven Bridges of Königsberg. This proved that walking across all the bridges without retracing one’s steps was impossible. OK that is not perhaps the greatest marketing pitch but Euler’s work did spark off the study of ‘graphs,’ i.e. the relationships between things. These boil down to three core abstractions, node, relationship and property. Eifrem positons the graph model as better suited to modeling many facets of the real world than the relational database. Neo4J’s graph database is used by companies including Cisco, Wal-Mart and LinkedIn*.

Andreas Weber presented on the use of Neo4J in product data management at German toy manufacturer data Schleich (famous for its blue-skinned ‘Smurfs’). The company operates worldwide and has to deal with many legal and regulatory environments covering its products and chemicals. Currently the information is scattered across different relational databases, SAP/ERP and many documents and spec sheets often with local context. Neo4J allows investigation across product, model, bill of materials, substance and DIN specs of components. Engineers’ queries now involve finding the right path through the graph. Weber observed that the bottom-up graph approach is better than doing this with a metadata layer.

The graph talk got a bit closer to the oil and gas vertical with a presentation from James Weaver of Pivotal, whose Cloud Foundry underpins GE’s Predix. Weaver presented his work on Pivotal’s Concept Map a free online tool for ‘navigating all the knowledge.’ I played with the tool, pinning ‘hydrocarbon’ and ‘methane’ into the GUI and clicked on ‘relationship’ to reveal that these items are linked through the ‘Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia’ which is pretty weird. I’m not sure if the Concept Map is revolutionary or anecdotal but it is powered by Spring, runs on GrapheneDB, a hosted edition of Neo4J, and blends structured relationships in Wikidata with article text in Wikipedia.

Dan Murphy showed how the Financial Times has used Neo4J, along with Google’s Go programming language to build a ‘semantic linked data platform.’ The project involved a shift away from a monolithic website, heavy on XML that was deemed unfit for the FT’s nimble future. Following unsuccessful trials with HAL and an RDF triple store Murphy decide to Neo4J and Go (with the Neoism Go library). The system now works as advertised and links allows FT journos to track companies and individuals through to subsidiaries and other articles. For performance, the code needs a lot of tweaking, ‘just like SQL.’

IBM was also in on the graph act. Ivan Portilla presented a curious combo of IBM Watson and Neo4J. The result, WayBlazer is a toolkit for developers of travel websites, notably the very naff ‘Connie,’ Hilton’s robot concierge. 

Axel Morgner from Structr observed that in many organizations, Excel is used as shadow IT solution. Various approaches have been tried to break the Excel stranglehold, MDM, ESB and middleware. But it is better to create a unified central system offering tight integration of all data sources and a unified data model. For systems you cannot replace, like SAP, their scope needs to be constrained, ‘SAP is not the best place for all enterprise data.’ SAP at Schleich is ‘very slim in scope.’ Structr’s graph application development platform consumes RDF, ER, XML and Sparql to create a unified central data model.

And then there was Mar Cabra, an ebullient journalist from the International consortium of investigative journalists, with the IT background to the unravelling of the Panama papers. Neo4J, along with Linkurious and Talend were used to analyze the 2.6 terabyes of data that a Fonseca mole had kindly supplied. Over 500 western banks were found to be acting as intermediaries to Fonseca. Cabra pointedly observed that ‘there are lots of banks here.’ The bankers seemed unfazed. In fact the audience was in raptures with this potent blend of politics and geekiness. The rapture turned to delirium when Cabra announced that all of the Fonseca data would be made available to the public. Go see if you are on the list!

* To (perhaps) state the obvious, ‘used by’ does not mean that the technology is in exclusive or even widespread use at any of these companies.

@neilmcn

Oil IT interview - Indy Chakrabarti, Paradigm

Paradigm Senior VP tells Oil IT Journal about working in the downturn and the revamped collaboration with Dassault Systèmes on linking geological and mechanical modeling. He also explains how data compression is helping the interpreter, with help from Hue CEO Diderich Buch.

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Web-GIS forces rethink of IT strategy

Exprodat MD blogs in praise of web GIS, sees writing on the wall for big internal IT departments.

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Blueback Seismic Data Management

'Open' data management system has hooks to Spotfire and PowerBI.

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Startups target oil country big data

CGG spins-out Agile Data Decisions. Ex-Schlumberger CEO-backs Kayrros' ML for energy markets.

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Fugro, Ikon team on drilling geohazard prediction

Site survey expertise combines with seismically-derived geopressure analysis.

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Total claims top spot for Pangea supercomputer

Upgrade hikes compute bandwidth to whopping 6.7 petaflops and No. 1 industry slot in Top500.

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Software, hardware short takes

CGG, Paradigm, BIW, AspenTech, Dynamic Graphics, Exprodat, LMKR, Landmark, Simpleinfoapps, Braeden, Barco, PVI, EnergyIQ, SkyBitz, Petrosys, Quorum, Atos, Aveva, NOV.

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Pole Avenia's Big data in geosciences conference

Total's HPC-based ParaView. IFPen/Teradata, MapReduce in seismic inversion. CGG's open source big geodata analytics. Ikats time series toolkit. Krakatoa deep learning for North Sea drillers.

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SAP in Oil and Gas 2016, The Hague

SAP on 'powering the digital transformation.' SAP's social network for energy. Accenture on OT/IT integration. SAP customer advisory council. SAP's digital energy network. Shell's next generation WRFM. Bluefin on Culzean. Exxon's Hana trials. BP's Hana data 'puddles.' Utopia MDM for Shell.

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Folks, facts, orgs ...

Arkadin, Barco, BDO Consulting, Bell Geospace, Baker Hughes, Cheniere Energy, Energy Industries Council, Chevron, Energistics, Energy Navigator, Expro, Honeywell, Katalyst, Ikon Science, Industry Technology Facilitator, Locus Technologies, NETL, Neuralog, NIST, OGSC, IOGP, Petrofac, Regatta Solutions, Ryder Scott, Siemens.

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Done deals

Civica, IPL, CMG, Intergraph, HostSure, Legacy Measurement, Wedge, Mitsui, OSIsoft, Neos, CGG, Oracle, Textura, Reliance, Edge, FMC, Vela, Tecplot, Wood Group, Enterprise Engineering.

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Safety first

IOGP safety reports. MiX' Journey Management. Energy Institute process safety. Rand on regulation. Seagull e-learning for explosive atmosphere workers. Halliburton's Dash subsea safety system.

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Cadenas Part Solutions for AW-Lake's valve catalog

Flow meter manufacturer's customers configure their own 3D PDF product sheets.

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MOL's machine learning in the cloud

PI System, SAP, lab data 'refined' with Cortana intelligence suite.

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Datum360 engineering data management for Maersk

Hosted tag and document management for Culzean development.

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Sales, deployments, partnerships ...

BMT, Aker Solutions, ABB, Omnix, Aveva, SNC-Lavalin, CGI, Cortex, OFS Portal, DNV GL, Envecon, WG Consulting, IFS, GE, Oracle, Halliburton, IBM, LandWorks, US Land Grid, LMKR, FracGeo, Nvidia, OpenLink, P2, Quorum, Excellium, Virtalis, IFS, Wood Group, Yokogawa.

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Standards stuff

Norway's regulations e-guide transfers to ECIM. OPC and W3C work on IoT interoperability. W3C's semantic sensor network ontology. SEG publishes SEG-D, Rev. 3.1 field-tape standard.

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WIB-NL Annual Seminar, The Hague

Netherlands process automation users meet. Royal DSM, 'put the basics before big data.' Shell on the meter parameter 'explosion,' on inconsistent naming and avoiding 'unexpected behavior.'

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P2 Forecast promises probabilistic production profiles

New solution embeds 'BZ' physics-based analytics machine from BetaZi.

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IO's 'integrated asset approach' methodology for BP

Two consulting engagements apply 'systems thinking' to capex reduction.

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Need subsea inspection? Wake-up the snake!

Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil back Eelume's subsea robot.

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EOS 3D printing - stainless steel parts for MWD supplier

APS explains how it now prints turbine parts direct from SolidWorks.

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Compressor Controls' PI system good for 400k events/sec

TrainView LNG turbomachinery control system tracks vibration and shaft orbit eccentricity.

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Smart data validation for Shell's Project Vantage

Co-developed engineering data solution key to vision of 'single source' of live design information.

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