January 2005

W3C moots Seismic XML

The W3C is working on a standard representation of binary data within XML. Seismic and well log data are being considered as test candidates for a new W3C XML standard for binary data.

The next format for seismic data exchange may not come from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). An ongoing World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) project for the exchange of binary data using XML has adopted seismic data as one of its ‘use cases’.


The W3C workgroup, with members from ChevronTexaco and Oracle Corp., states that XML-based techniques have had ‘little penetration’ into upstream oil and gas. The very large datasets typical of well logs or seismic data make for excessively bulky data files if regular, text-based XML encoding is used. This is in part why, according to the workgroup, POSC’s Well-LogML has had little take-up and also for the fact that ‘nobody has even considered defining a schema for seismic data.’

Binary XML

E&P datasets therefore make ideal use cases for the W3C’s binary XML initiative. Seismic and well log header data can easily be represented in XML. But the large arrays of floating point numbers lack an XML standard. One option therefore is to leave the header data in text-based in XML, but to en-capsulate floating point data in an ‘opaque’ binary data stream.


One mechanism for packaging binary data inside an XML control/header file is the W3C XML-binary optimized packaging mechanism, XOP. An XOP file contains the packaged binary much as a MIME encoded binary file is attached to an email.


Project member Ravi Murthy of Oracle Corp. told Oil IT Journal, ‘The W3C Binary XML Characterization group has made significant progress. The energy industry use case shows the potential overhead of an XML 1.0 text format. The workgroup is evaluating alternative encodings of XML and is expected to come out with a recommendation soon.’


Binary XML needs to be platform independent and to offer conversion tools to and from native formats. While compactness and speed are of the essence, data compression is unlikely to be considered. Prior experience compression has led many to ‘place a greater value on the message structures than the transmission mechanics’.


The W3C panel notes the potential for such a web-services approach to complement Corba-based integration (OpenSpirit) as currently deployed in upstream oil and gas.

DoE MEOWS at wells

A Department of Energy pilot promises a low cost, high tech solution for stripper wells—real-time well monitoring with Petrolect’s vibration sensors.

A US Department of Energy funded test performed on Vaquero Energy’s Edison heavy oilfield in Kern County, California, has shown how ‘ultra-low cost’ well monitoring can be used to optimize stripper well production.


Contractor Petrolects installed its ‘marginal expense oil well wireless surveillance (MEOWS) system on three rod-pumped wells. Small, self-contained, wireless sensors on flow-line check valves monitor and analyze vibration to determine flow conditions. National Energy Technology Laboratory project manager Jim Barnes said, ‘This COTS-based system, costing a couple of hundred dollars per well will provide very significant value to a lot of independents.’ More than 75 percent of all oil wells in the US produce less than15 barrels/day—but totalize nearly one million barrels/day.

Pump-off controller

Petrolects now plans to use MEOWS output to drive an automated pump-off controller (POC) to control the beam pump. This would enable the use of SCADA-like automation of stripper wells whose economics have not justified such an investment hitherto.

Shell’s hiring, service industry on a roll!

This month’s news overflows into Neil McNaughton’s editorial. Shell is hiring and both Schlumberger’s Oilfield Services and Halliburton’s rebranded ‘Digital Consulting and Services’ units report record revenues. Returning from the UK PESGB’s PETEX conference, McNaughton notes the success with which the UK DTI keeps the North Sea pot bubbling—but questions how much of this can be attributed to its plethoric e-government initiatives.

The big news of this month is of course Shell’s hiring of 1,000 engineers. According to the Financial Times, this army of new talent will include 170 reservoir engineers. The new hires are, inter alia, to help restore credibility to Shell’s reserves booking system. This of course begs the question, ‘does the quality of an estimate depend on the number of estimators?’ There must be a ‘light bulb’ joke in there somewhere if only I could find it...


A thousand ‘engineers’ might seem a bit unbalanced—especially if you are of the geological and geophysical persuasion. I wondered if there was taxonomy problem here. In Europe, ‘engineer’ includes ‘scientist.’ So geologists, geophysicists etc. are all ‘engineers’. To check out my theory I visited Shell.com which has an excellent online job application system. Masquerading as a ‘geologist/geophysicist’ I found zero openings. Changing hats several times, I found an unspecified number of openings for senior reservoir engineers, for senior production technologists but nothing for G&G or even for R&D! There are lots of jobs in IT (in Malaysia). But in general one has the impression that Shell.com is not quite aligned with the actualité of the Financial Times report.


Another good news story comes from Schlumberger’s fourth quarter 2004 results. Oilfield Services revenue was $2.73 billion, up 18% on Q1 2004. Even Western Geco’s revenue, at $333 million was up 8% year-on-year. Schlumberger Chairman and CEO Andrew Gould, commenting on record Oilfield Services revenue, noted, ‘Industry is focused on the need to build additional supply capacity. This is evidenced by increasing exploration budgets, new field development plans, and unprecedented efforts to increase production and recovery from existing reservoirs.’


It’s not every quarter that a software product makes it into the chairman’s discourse, but Gould gave special mention to Schlumberger’s flagship interpretation and modeling application Petrel which ‘delivered revenue growth near 300%’.


For the same 4th quarter 2004 period, Halliburton’s Energy Services Group (ESG) posted fourth quarter 2004 revenue of $2.2 billion, 21% up year on year. Halliburton’s ‘smart well’ joint venture with Shell, Well Dynamics, posted record revenue. The ESG record revenues were also fueled by Halliburton’s Production Optimization and Drilling and Formation Evaluation segments.


Echoing Gould’s bullishness, Halliburton chairman and CEO Dave Lesar said, ‘Our customers are expected to continue to increase their spending, which will allow for a strong market for our services to continue through 2005 and beyond.’ Halliburton has rebranded its ‘Landmark and Other Energy Services’ as ‘Digital and Consulting Solutions.’ Overall, income for this unit was flat, but Landmark Graphics achieved record revenue up 16%.


I found a similarly buoyant mood at the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain’s PETEX biennial conference and exhibition (see our report on pages 6 & 7 of this issue). The North Sea, now a mature province, is seeing pretty high levels of activity as newcomers rush in and pay what the oldcomers consider silly money for old fields and new licenses. With current trends in the oil price, it looks like the newcomers have it right.


The UK regulator, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has played a significant role in encouraging innovation by freeing up the rules on who can apply for an exploration permit. As a consequence, seismic contractor Veritas is now operating a few blocks in its own right—leveraging its multi-client data library. So both North Sea exploration and the ailing geophysical business get a shot in the arm.


During my time in the business, the attitude of the PESGB to government has changed significantly. In the 70s—when socialist firebrand Tony Benn was in charge, the PESGB and government were at daggers drawn. Today, the relationship verges on the sycophantic. Minister of State for energy and e-commerce Mike O’Brien spoke on the wonders of the UK’s e-business initiatives—Pilot, Logic etc. in a manner that recalled Tony Benn’s boss Harold Wilson’s enthusiasm for the ‘white heat’ of the 1960s technological revolution!


Sycophancy not being my strong point, I must say that, visiting various DTI-sponsored sites—ukevision, ukoilresearch, Sharp, Pilot, Logic, Deal and perhaps even CDA, one is struck by the phenomenal effort that industry has put into following government exhortations to go ‘E’. E-tinkering has certainly produced hours of committees, debates, new ‘standards,’ and ‘initiatives.’ Has it all been worth it? When will the effort involved in electronic transacting be less that the sum of the committees’ times involved? Will this happen before the oil runs out?

Oil ITJ issue 100

Next month will the 100th issue of Oil IT Journal—launched back in 1996. Not quite sure how we will be celebrating this, but if any of you out there feel moved to sycophancy on our behalf we would like to hear from you!

ARMA checklist for RIM outsourcing

A checklist from the American Records Management Association addresses physical records storage.

The American Records Management Association (ARMA) has just released a draft Assessment and RFP checklist for those engaged in physical records storage—a.k.a. Records and Information Management (RIM). In its final form, the document will be an authoritative guide for the evaluation of storage facilities for business records in physical form such as paper, microfilm, backup tapes and media.


The ARMA document does not make particular reference to the oil industry and avoids the IT side of data storage. But in these days of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, the checklist should be of use to those embarking on a physical asset management project. On the topic of compliance, the ARMA Assessment includes a list of the many regulatory bodies involved in records management—from various ANSI standards, the ‘Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,’ ISO 14001, the Uniform Commercial Code to good-old Sarbanes-Oxley.


The document is designed as a practical tool for the evaluation of business practices and will help organizations decide whether to outsource records management through the identification of key criteria such as records security and protection, service levels, contract terms and cost.

Check list

The checklist should help organizations answer questions like: Should you store everything on the same site? What retrieval mechanisms are most appropriate? What is the value of your assets? What is the disaster plan?


The guide includes a form-enabled Microsoft Word template that can be used to profile corporate requirements and to author custom RFI/RFQs. More from arma.org.

Software release round-up

New releases this month from GeoLogic, Meyer, GMG, Maurer Technology, Logtech, Invention Machine, Badleys, Heliosoft and new down hole acquisition from AnTech.

Version 6.6 of GeoLogic’s GeoScout information system now includes integration with Hydro-Fax (a third party DST data set) and a new SDLS Seismic Layer which lets customers view and order seismic data from within GeoScout. An ‘open source’ Industry Land File has been built as a joint industry project. More from geologic-systems.com.


The 2005 edition of Meyer’s hydraulic frac software (a.k.a. 5.20) includes a new numerical solver algorithm for faster convergence and a new wellbore hydraulics simulator MWell. More from mfrac.com.


Version 9.1 of Input-Output unit GMG Axis’ Mesa 3D survey design and acquisition software streamlines data access to the Mesa’s Grip subsurface geology modeler and ray tracer. Info from gmg.com.


New features in Maurer Technology’s Casing and Riser Wear Analysis and Prevention – Cwear 7 include enhanced wear algorithms, a historical wear data comparison and enhancements to the wear factor database. The drill pipe, drill collars, and casing data has also been updated. More maurertechnology.com.


LogTech’s LAS tools version 4.1 is described as a significant upgrade. New features include graphical file merge, log style header display, enhanced log printing and the ability to sort curves by alias. Details from logtechcan.com.


Invention Machine has just rolled out version 2.0 of its flagship knowledge management package, Goldfire Innovator. The release includes a new collaboration repository for inter-team communication via centralized Innovator project files, reports and workflows. Goldfire Innovator also supports ‘hierarchical device modeling’ - enabling users to analyze and represent complex systems and to delegate design problems across a team. Invention Machine technologies are used by Baker Hughes, ENI, Total, BP, CEPSA, HP and Shell. More from invention-machine.com.


Badley’s TrapTester 5.3 is due for release in the second quarter of 2005 and will include a new ‘EarthGrid’ infrastructure for import, display, analysis and export of grids, properties and structure. EarthGrid will allow TrapTester to interact with the spatial volume attributes from modeling packages. Version 5.3 will support user-defined attributes derived from native TrapTester values. Badleys is to roll-out an OpenSpirit client alo,g with the new release to simplify data transfer with third party applications. New direct links to Midland Valley’s 3DMove and DFN modeling tools are coming as is a workflow that supports the export of fracture mode, orientation and density information from FaultED to the Beicip-Franlab’s Fraca model. More from badleys.co.uk.


Heliosoft’s Seismaster Pro 5.0 is now out. Novelties include 2D seismic surveys data handling through two new modules Seis2D-3D and SeisVol-2D. The SEG-Y Editor has been re-written to allow main header, binary header, trace header and trace sample viewing and editing. Other innovations include a project manager and a variety of display types including a ‘magnifying glass’ with a variable software zoom. More from heliosoft.co.uk.


AnTech has released a downhole Vibration Analysis Board (VAB) to measures bit tool vibrations while drilling. The VAB offers drilling engineers the real-time, in-situ measurements of three vibration components and torsional vibration. The system helps drillers assess risk in real time and take remedial action—avoiding damage to the bit. Data is relayed to the surface via the CAN bus communication interface. More from antech.co.uk.

PPDM compliance for Petris Winds Enterprise

Petris achieves ‘100% compliance’ with the PPDM data model for its well data management tool.

The PPDM association has certified PetrisWinds Enterprise (PWE) V3.0 well log management system (WLMS) as 100% compliant with the 3.7 edition of the Public Petroleum Data Model. The certification program is managed by independent consultants Data Matters of Calgary.


PPDM compliance is measured by the degree of correspondence of a data model with the PPDM standard. PWE contains 123 tables of which 103 fall within the PPDM footprint. All of these were deemed 100% compliant.

Dynamic common model

PWE consolidates diverse data sources into a web-based system via a patented ‘dynamic common model.’ PWE alows in-house applications to consolidate well log data and to populate application-specific data models.


Other certified PPDM-compliant applications have been developed by OilWare, EcoPetrol and Rakhit Petroleum Consulting. More from ppdm.org.

Spatial Solutions to market NitroView in US

Exporodat has signed an exclusive agreement for marketing its cross-platform data browser.

Denver-based Spatial Solutions is to be the exclusive re-seller of Exprodat Consulting’s NitroView in the USA. NitroView extends the functionality of ESRI’s ArcIMS providing an interactive tool for map-based data management.


Exprodat director Gareth Smith said, ‘We believe that Spatial Solutions Group will help us establish NitroView as the premier web GIS solution in the Petroleum business in the USA.’


Spatial Solutions President Jim Standley added, ‘NitroView represents a major advance in supporting the oil and gas industry’s productivity goals. Companies gain competitive advantage through timely and accurate data management. NitroView provides simple, fast access to both spatial and non-spatial data.’


NitroView offers scaled hardcopy, user-defined labeling, layer creation and download of attribute results. The web-based product removes the requirement for desktop GIS for every map user in the organization. More from exprodat.com.

GeoCenter upgrades Apple-based cluster

Seismic processing house ups Xserve-based cluster to 100 nodes for compute-intensive migration.

Houston-based seismic processing house GeoCenter has deployed an Apple Xserve cluster consisting of 100 dual 2.0 GHz G5 nodes each with 1.5 GB RAM and 80 GB hard disks. The cluster uses a gigabit Ethernet interconnect and is managed with the open source tool radmind from the University of Michigan.


GeoCenter cluster meister Ryan Dionne told Oil IT Journal, ‘We chose the Xserve G5 because of Apple’s ability to deliver quickly. The Xserve also runs cooler and uses less power than comparable systems. We also like its floating point and the Altivec vector processing performance.’


GeoCenter uses the Xserves to run its proprietary Kirchhoff time migration application—a component of its SeisUP processing system. More from geocenter.com.

Veritas warns of impending tape deadline

Following a UK DTI requirement for quality data in the UK, Veritas expects transcription to boom.

Veritas is re-mastering a major UK operator’s seismic and navigation data archive. Veritas is also building a new meta data store combining existing digital information with header data read during transcription. The verified meta data will provide an audit trail of data migration and be made available to the client for use in future data management. The project will begin in January 2005 and is scheduled to be completed within two years.


Veritas Data Services Manager Jan Wood said, ‘This project will fulfill the recent DTI obligations for data storage. The days of open reel storage are gone. New high density media are the future and Veritas recognizes that energy companies will have a raft of new requirements for data storage over the years to come.’


Veritas’s ‘Seistore’ data management software will be used to generate a new archive database. Demultiplex and transcription are performed using Veritas’ G1 tape management software.


As a part of its data preservation initiative, the UK DTI recently announced a mandatory requirement for quality data to be available in the UK and stored in a robust and current format. The deadline for compliance is June 2005 for all offshore legacy data. Veritas believes that the transcription of legacy data to modern media is about to become an extremely busy business in the UK.

HiTech takes 35% of Knowledge Systems

HiTechVision’s $100 million Energivekst fund is to back the drilling geomechanical software house.

Norwegian equity investor HitecVision, via its Energivekst fund, has acquired a 35% stake in drilling geomechanical software house Knowledge Systems Inc. (KSI). The investment was made through the purchase of secondary common shares from founder James Bridges and the issuance of new paper by KSI. HitecVision focuses on ‘innovation and development’ within the worldwide energy industry.


Bridges, who is also KSI chairman and CEO said, ‘This investment will let us expand both domestic and international operations. We look forward to leveraging both HitecVision’s capital and its network of industry relationships.’


HitecVision partner Gunnar Halvorsen added, ‘E&P companies use KSI’s technology to reduce drilling costs and risks, and to increase drilling successes and safety. We are excited to partner with a company that is the leader in mitigating wellbore stability problems which cost the industry significant amounts every year.’ KSI Drillworks 2005 software and services offer real-time, integrated geopressure and geomechanics solutions for complex drilling environments, providing drillers with the ability to ‘look ahead of the bit,’ avoiding kicks, stuck pipe and blowouts.

$110 million

Energivekst’s NOK 690 million ($110 million) fund also has invested in simulation software house Scandpower Petroleum Technology and RigNet, a broadband solutions provider to drilling rigs.

Petrel delivers 300% revenue growth

Andrew Gould reports on Petrel sales as new functionality spans seismic to simulation.

Schlumberger Chairman and CEO Andrew Gould, commenting on 4th Quarter 2004 financials, singled out Petrel, Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) flagship interpretation package for special mention. Petrel ‘delivered revenue growth near 300%’ - a performance fueled by the industry acceptance of Petrel’s expanding seismic to simulation workflow.’


In the fourth quarter Unocal adopted Petrel as a component of its global standardization initiative, while Apache has formed a technology alliance with Schlumberger for Petrel development. SIS continues to turn Petrel from a stand alone PC-based interpretation package into a kind of ‘control center’ for the totality of the GeoQuest software suite. The latest release crosses the silo boundaries that separate subsurface interpretation, reservoir modeling and simulation.

Le Peuch

SIS president Olivier Le Peuch said, ‘Petrel now offers an integrated solution spanning the E&P workflow. Early adopters of this release have already reported significant productivity gains.’

UK DTI goes for paperless contracts

An electronic transaction between Shell and the DTI leverages ‘T-Scheme’ digital signature.

The UK oil industry regulator – the Department of Trade and Industry reports a ‘major step forward’ for the government’s e-agenda with an electronic transaction between Shell, the DTI and third parties via the UK Oil Portal. The transaction is a digitally signed chemical consent for Shell’s Shearwater platform and is now held digitally in a legally admissible form within DTI.


Energy Minister Mike O’Brien (who also holds responsibility for e-government) said, ‘Paperless working will be of increasing benefit to everyone. The DTI is at the forefront of the e-agenda and this initiative shows how we can use new technologies to the full.’


The DTI’s digital signature policy uses the Oil and Gas Trust Scheme or ‘T-scheme’ process. Shell, BP and ExxonMobil have agreed on a series of standards based around T-scheme and are now considering including these standards in their own operating procedures, according to the DTI.

Beicip-Franlab rolls-out Fraca 4.0

French Petroleum Institute unit’s fracture modeling package now integrates with Badleys FaultED.

Beicip-Franlab has announced the ‘imminent’ release of Fraca, its rock fracture modeling package. Version 4.0 of Fraca includes a new geostatistical package ‘GeoStatFrac’ developed in conjunction with TOTAL. GeoStatFrac allows the user to explore well-derived fracture density relationships to obtain a fracture density ‘driver parameter’ for use in modeling sets.


The software is designed for non-linear, ‘heteroskedastic*’ relationships, uses a Bayesian-Markov approach, runs in batch mode, and provides uncertainty data.


Beicip has worked with Badley Geoscience to incorporate the output of its FaultED elastic dislocation modeling into FRACA, with a single-click option to export to FRACA in TrapTester.

* variance changes with magnitude.

2004 PETEX Conference and Exhibition

The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) was founded in 1964 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. PETEX, the PESGB’s biennial conference and exhibition, has become a showcase for new European oil and gas information technology. At this year’s show we spotted two new seismic interpretation packages, Inpres from Valioso and Continuum’s Geocap. This is not a big show for the major vendors but we did manage to get a peek at the new AVO packages – Landmark’s Well Seismic Fusion and Schlumberger’s Well Driven Seismics. Other items of interest include new tools for portfolio management and a new tool for HSE reporting, Xait Porter which, despite a very small booth, receives our ‘star of show’ award. Also of note is Working Smart’s Oilfield Licensing System, developed with guidance from John Brooks, ex-head of licensing at the DTI.

David Allard (Apache) described North Sea competition as fierce. This has forced Forties lifting cost down by 30% to $5.5/bbl. Forties (acquired by Apache from BP) produced 42 kbbl/d in 2003. Today it produces 70kbbl/d. At the same time STOIIP estimates have risen from 4200 to 4800 mm bbl. Apache hopes to reach 70% recovery. Apache drilled and completed 16 wells in 2004 at a cost of £ 4.5 million per well. Platforms are being linked with electricity and fuel lines which will save $1mm/month in fuel and will reduce or even eliminate flaring. Apache’s geophysical group in Houston designs modem acquisition and processing techniques which have produced ‘dramatic improvements’ especially from pre-stack inversion to derive P&S cubes from which rock properties are derived.


Arthur Millholland (Oilexco) described the UK DTI as ‘one of best government regulators—comparable to Alberta twenty years ago.’ Oilexco raised £50 mm on the London Stock Exchange and today is the ‘most active E&A well operator in North Sea’. Millholland believes the UKOOA model agreement is outdated. Non operators ‘have no rights’ and sole risk clauses don’t carry a tough enough penalty. Overhead payments ‘have got to stop.’ These discourage activity and ‘reward mediocrity’. Millholland attributed exploration success in part to work done by Ikon and GX Technology as well as Oilexco’s own experience in Western Canada, ‘Where we come from stratigraphic traps are the norm!’

Economic modeling

Palantir has just released a new economic evaluation package, the PalantirEłngine offering spreadsheet management, fiscal modeling, visual portfolio management and advanced reporting. The PalantirEłngine is integrated with Excel, is customizable to environments such as upstream, midstream or downstream and also handles the ‘complex features’ of economic evaluation tools such as visual fiscal modeling and security. Biznet Solutions’Capit@l portfolio management has been in association with Paras Consultants. The software evolved from work done for BP. Capit@l ranks properties by a configurable scoring system. Corporate activity and options can be tracked with a project management option à la Microsoft Project. Project snapshots can be printed up for discussion in the boardroom. Information is sharable with discussions and workflow is tracked at approved stages using scorecards. User configurable data capture allows mapping of external database fields. One client, Noble Energy, has migrated its portfolio analysis from multiple spreadsheets to Capit@l and is said to benefit from being able to find and share its data.

Interpretation packages

Valioso’s Inpres is an integrated geology and geophysics interpretation package developed by the Russian Central Geophysical Expedition. Inpres has a ‘state-of-the-art’ project manager and offers petrophysical and seismic interpretation. Inpres runs on Linux. Earthworks Environment Resources is to release a new prospect evaluation tool - Hiip early in 2005. Hiip combines Monte Carlo methods with geostatistical depth conversion with Earthworks Vpp grid analysis and volumetrics. Another Earthworks seismic package offers colored, deterministic and ‘ultra fast’ stochastic inversion. Intrepid Geophysics Euler Worms provides Fourier analysis, an Euler depth solver for potential field data and automated structural worming – similar to the edge detection of seismic ‘coherency’ packages. A new product Intrepid/JetStream is described as a ‘backoffice engine room’ for internet geophysical data delivery. Continuum Resources is now marketing Geocap’s interpretation package. The PC/Unix-based tool is set to compete with Schlumberger’s flagship Petrel on the basis of price—and by virtue of its mathematical operations and Tcl-based scripts. Geocap’s scripting language is described as a ‘continuation’ of Roxar’s Irap RMS programming language. Geocap was built partly to the specifications of sponsors Aker Geo, Norsk Hydro and Norske Conoco. Geocap was founded by Olav Egeland, the original developer of Geomatic’s Irap.

AVO software compared

TGS Imaging’s Prima offers a straightforward approach to AVO analysis. Users access gathers by clicking anywhere on a displayed seismic section, time slice or a 3D cube. Crossplotting capabilities allow the user to create AVO rock class surfaces and 3D viewable rock class attribute volumes. Open Spirit provides links to Landmark and Schlumberger environments and supports cursor tracking on a seismic base map and in SeisWorks. Users can page between near, far and full stack to see which angle produces an anomaly. Prima also allows for ad hoc math in the angle stack or offset stack domains. Schlumberger/WesternGeco’s ‘Well Driven Seismics’ AVO is nothing if not rigorous. The WDS workflow starts with well data conditioning and pre-stack inversion of P and S waves – allowing for spatially variant VP:VS ratio and attenuation – ‘Q’. Source and receiver directional response are accounted for in the de-signature process. WDS is more service than product – ‘You can’t just take the data and plough it through the machine.’ WDS links WesternGeco’s life of field seismic offering to Petrel. Landmark Graphics’ Well Seismic Fusion (WSF) technology is now stable and integrated with SeisWorks. WSF is used to display well data, seismic gathers and stacks. An intelligent cursor link tracks picks across WSF, OpenWorks and PowerView. A click on the seismic base map brings up the associated gathers. A variety of cross plots are used to indicate fluid content. There is also a ‘fluid substitution wizard’ for what-if modeling. In comparison with SIS’s approach, WSF offers a neat, productized AVO suite linked with OpenWorks. WSF is presented as a screening tool for further petrophysical investigation.

Production optimization

Work done on Statoil’s Norne field with multiple high resolution Q surveys has pushed WesternGeco to revamp its workflow for quantitative, 4D seismic based reservoir analysis. A new multi-measure reservoir description (MMRD) offering is to replace the ‘multiplicity’ of software tools used to date. MMRD is a major re-engineering project performed by Schlumberger Information Solutions for WesternGeco linking the Omega seismic processing suite to Petrel. There are no plans for productizing MMRD at the present time. Zencus oilfield instrumentation and communications bring data ‘from wellhead to desktop’. Sensor options include pressure, flow, temperature, pulse count and on/off indicators. Zencus software offers trend analysis, alarms from complex, combined sensors with email and sms alerts. The software is also said to be oil and gas friendly in that its nomenclature is domain specific – ‘well head pressure’ rather than an equipment tag. Visualization also offers a realistic display of well head equipment – along with sensor data. Hydrocarbon Data SystemsGas Field Manager (GMAN) is used to analyze and optimize a gas production facility. Version 7 offers decision support for new wells, compressors etc. GMAN combines information about producing formations with production tubing, surface flowlines, compression and separation facilities to compute the performance of the entire system. The software was developed for consultancy use by Maraco Inc. and has been used by storage specialists GasTop, the Dutch Government organization EBN and Kuwait Oil Co.

Other exhibitors

Working Smart’s Oil Licensing System (OLS) targets government organizations responsible for oil exploration licensing. OLS provides a web-based system for managing license rounds. OLS uses ArcView GIS for shape files and provides a configurable scoring system for applications. Applicants can access the system and express interest or query for more information on what kind of applications are being made. Company reports, partner information and other collateral can be uploaded to the system. The system was developed in collaboration with former DTI Director of Exploration and Licensing John Brooks. The system is designed to enhance transparency in permitting and reflects concepts put forward at the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative – Multi-stakeholder Conference 2003. OLS provides licensing authorities with a global portal for dialogue with E&P companies, and a structured process that demonstrates transparency.

Xait Porter

Porter is a configurable, collaborative project documentation and workflow system. The current implementation is tailored to Norwegian regulatory and HSE reporting – but the system could be reconfigured for other regions or workflows. Documents are generated online to company approved standards of content and presentation. Porter avoids the awkward formatting glitches experienced by sharing Microsoft Word documents. The system is deployed as an ASP offering – with data resident on Xait’s servers. Porter was written using Microsoft Explorer with Active-X components on the client. Current Porter users are BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Statoil, Hydro, Total, Vetco Gray.


Kestrel is back in the UK oil and gas storage and tape transcription business and has just been awarded a data management contract by WesternGeco. This involves the management of WesternGeco’s legacy seismic. Kestrel is to manage Western-Geco’s tape storage and transcription facility at Gatwick and will be transcribing all WesternGeco’s data to IBM 3592 cartridges. The transcription operation will use Troika’s Magma seismic transcription suite. Kestrel is also to deploy its own E&P Inventory Manager, DataLink, and Mitek’s document management software.

Presentations of note

Garry Perrat (Geocon Group) showed how a relatively low tech procedure can be used to merge different 3D seismic surveys. The procedure, developed with Seismic Unix, reads seismic data from the source projects and massages the inline/crossline information in the SEG header. The merged data is loaded to a new project. Perrat warns that this is a ‘fit for purpose’ approach and does not replace pre-stack or pre-migration techniques. John Brooks (Brookwood Consultants) reported on the state of play regarding international efforts to combat corruption through transparency in oil and gas licensing, referring to the work of the Center for Democracy and Technology and Working Smart’s Oilfield Licensing System above. Paul Maton (POSC) describes an upgrade to the UKCS Environmental Emissions Monitoring System (EEMS) to improve data quality and implement UK government directives on the use of Internet technologies. XML is used for reporting to the new EEMS along with digital signatures, leveraging off-the-shelf Microsoft XML and SOAP tools. The schemas have been provided to POSC for consideration as standards for environmental data sharing. Pal Ingsoy (Statoil) asks ‘how should an E&P application software portfolio be managed?’ Since it is hard to evaluate the ROI of IT, companies should share experiences and best practices. To this end, Statoil evaluated application portfolios from several vendors used in 10 different scenarios. Statoil found that ‘even the most ambitious providers of integrated software have difficulty bridging the gap between engineering and G&G data,’ a lack of coherence that ‘continues to impede our efforts to expedite the subsurface work.’ Statoil is inviting other companies to take part in the ongoing study.

This article has been taken from a 16 page illustrated report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Reporting Service. More from tw@oilit.com .

Folks, facts, orgs etc…

News from Antech, AspenTech, Blue Marble, GeoTrace, Tranzap, SIM, Energy Solutions, Working Smart etc.

UK-based AnTech has hired Valentin Balaschenko as senior software engineer. Balaschenko was previously with InsoftGroup in Belarus.


Aspen Technology founder and chairman Larry Evans is to retire. Stephen Jennings succeeds him as interim chairman while Mark Fusco has been named president and CEO. Fusco was previously president of Ajilon Consulting. Late last year the Aspen Tech audit committee announced it was to restate revenue and earnings for fiscal years from 2000 to 2004. At the board of directors’ request, CEO David McQuillin resigned.


The latest 5.1 release of Blue Marble’s GeoTransform dev kit now supports GIS-based raster image reprojection and tiling. A free evaluation version is available.


French consultants and service provider Georex Assistance Technique has appointed Thomas Gueant as manager of studies. Gueant previously worked GIS systems and petroleum system modeling.


Brian Williams has been promoted to general manager of Geotrace’s Dallas seismic and reservoir services operations.


Transzap has appointed Lon McCain to its board of directors. McCain was previously VP and CFO of Westport Resources before it was acquired by Kerr-McGee.


SIM, the Norwegian visualization specialists has taken on Kristian Eide as software developer and Maj Karin Askeland as VP sales.


Shell’s John Boardman is now chair of PIDX Europe, replacing Richard Wheeler.


Pipeline software house Energy Solutions has appointed John Sherman as CTO. Sherman was previously with Landmark Graphics.


Working Smart has hired Deborah Humphreville as Recruitment Account Manager. Humphreville was previously with Landmark Graphics.


IDC’s new Energy Insights unit has identified the ‘leading trends that will impact energy industry IT decisions.’ These include volatile energy prices, improving finances and ‘geographic variation of market restructuring.’ IDC predicts that capital will flow to renewable technologies, upstream will invest in the digital oilfield and ‘energy/telecom convergence will re-emerge.’ US energy IT spending will exceed $22 billion in 2005.


Vaughn Miller’s company is Network Appliance not Network Applications as we wrongly stated in last month’s Oil IT Journal. Our apologies to all concerned.

SAP xApps Energy Ideas Exchange

SAP has launched its NetWeaver-based solutions for energy with a new user group.

SAP has fleshed-out its latest venture in technical to business integration (T2B) with an Energy Ideas Exchange for oil and gas users of its xApps Netweaver-based platform (see OITJ Vol. 9 N°11). The upstream-tuned xApps, baptized the SAP Integrated E&P (xIEP) platform, are now being deployed by early adopters in oil and gas companies.

Customer council

An xIEP customer council has been established to review the xIEP solution and make sure it aligns with their businesses. The council will also watch over quality assurance, testing, user friendliness and will discuss future devolution of the T2B platform. The council has representatives from ConocoPhillips, BG Group, Shell, Total, BHP Billiton, Marathon, Accenture and SAP.


At the first Energy Ideas Exchange meeting late last year, program director Holger Kisker (SAP) presented xApps as an interface between SAP’s traditional R3 workhorse and its first generation T2B solution, SAP for Oil and Gas. A second view of xApps was also on offer—as the hub of a new Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA). Here, xApps will interface between SAP’s solutions and third party software such as GIS, geo-technical, non SAP business solutions and clients’ proprietary tools.


According to Kisker, SAP’s vision for xIEP is to create an ‘enterprise-wide, operating environment that federates people, process and technology to manage the upstream business.’ xIEP will be deployed via a series of ‘scenarios.’ First out of the traps is Asset Maintenance (Nov 2004) followed by Well Project planning and delivery (Q2 2005) and later, Production Management.

van Kuijk

Erik van Kuijk has shoehorned earlier Shell Expro work on the Knowledge-Information-Data (KID) spectrum into what is the first real-world xApp, Shell’s global well data portal. This is a component of Shell’s drive to join BP as a ‘Digital E&P Company.’ The portal allows Shell to connect systems in different domains—surface, subsurface and business administration. Metadata from the KID Repository feeds applications, project, corporate and archive databases. Van Kuijk considers that Shell’s IT is entering a new era of ‘business process management’ which is achieved by ‘buy not build’ and ‘configure rather than adapt.’ Shell’s xApp-enabled global well portal was developed with help from SAP and Accenture. The tool was partly delivered by the xIEP customer council with Shell specific extensions.


The significance of xApps is hard to evaluate—not least because of the plethora of marketing terminology that obscures the technology. Does an integration platform need quite so many layers? To unravel the whole, it would appear that an ESA for the upstream is built atop xIEP—itself constructed from xApps—which in turn reposes on NetWeaver—beneath which is .NET or Websphere according to your CTO’s persuasion. Quite a stack! 

PetroChina awards software deal to Roxar

Roxar continues its Eastern Hemisphere success with Irap RMS and multiphase meter sales.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) unit PetroChina has awarded Roxar a ‘multi million dollar’ contract for multiple licenses of Roxar’s 3D reservoir modeling software, Irap RMS. The software will be deployed throughout PetroChina’s operations in China, including the Xinjang, Daqing and Liaohe regions where production optimization is driving Irap RMS take-up. The agreement includes an extensive training program for several hundred PetroChina staff.


Roxar CEO, Sandy Esslemont said, ‘This agreement consolidates Roxar’s presence in Asia. RMS will give PetroChina the business critical information it needs to manage its oil and gas reservoirs and optimize production.’ Roxar has had an office providing local support in the People’s Republic of China since 1999 and anticipates a high level of investment in the Chinese oil and gas sector over the next few years.

Multi-phase meters

In a separate deal Roxar is to deploy its subsea multiphase flow meters to Total’s Rosa Project in Angola. The contract was awarded by FMC Kongsberg, a subsidiary of FMC Technologies. Roxar’s meters provide continuous multiphase monitoring of the oil well stream. The Rosa field is located 135 kilometers off the Angola coast in water depths ranging from 4,200 to 4,900 feet (1,300 to 1,500 meters).

Visual Basic interface for Calsep PVTSim

PVT software now available as a COM-based component for integration with third party applications.

Copenhagen, Denmark-based Calsep has incorporated a Visual Basic for Applications interface in the latest release of its PVTsim package. PVTsim Version 13 is used in flow assurance, reservoir and process engineering. Users can now access PVTsim data through a Microsoft COM-based data access layer to interact with other Microsoft COM-based applications.

Visual Basic

This exposes PVTSim as a Visual Basic component available for deployment alongside other applications. Calsep offers example code on its website showing how an Excel spreadsheet can be populated with simulation results using a few lines of code.


Calsep developed the interface to couple Statoil’s in-house reservoir fluid database and PVTsim. Calsep will be extending the interoperability paradigm in version 15 – due out mid-year 2005. This will add PVTsim Flash simulation options – with Hydrates and Hydrate Kinetics to follow.

SPE, AAPG and WPC reserves glossary

Organizations cooperate on glossary of terms to underpin reserves reporting standardization.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has just released a glossary of terms relating to reserves and resources. The glossary was drafted to provide an authoritative and simplified terminology for use by companies, regulatory bodies and financial institutions engaged in oil and gas reserves classification. An improved nomenclature should help ‘achieve consistency among professionals working with petroleum reserves terminology,’ according to the SPE.


Early work by the SPE and the World Petroleum Council (WPC) led to a first draft in 1997. In 2000, with help from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), these definitions were extended to cover an broader resource base, including sub-commercial and undiscovered oil and gas.


These documents included references to terminology which had yet to be defined by the three organizations. The current glossary sets out to clarify the meaning of industry jargon such as 2P (proved plus probable reserves) and should be of assistance to engineers, portfolio management professionals and reserve auditors. More from spe.org.

PIDX pipeline B2B schema

New Pipeline schemas submitted for industry review.

Four new XML schemas for scheduling and nominations have been submitted as drafts by the API PIDX PipeNet special interest group. Interested parties are invited to review and comment on the drafts by emailing pidx-pipenet@listserve.api.org. The scheduling standard helps carriers communicate with the shippers delivery dates and lifting events. The nomination schemas cover the interaction between carriers and parties initiating a pipeline nomination transaction to ‘create, change or indicate the outcome of a transaction.’

Gassco deploys ROMeo and Wonderware

SimSci-Esscor’s software is to support real-time simulation and optimization at Norwegian gas plant. .

As the upstream pontificates over production optimization, the midstream acts! As witnessed by the deployment of production planning and optimization systems from Invensys unit SimSci-Esscor by Norwegian state-owned Gassco. Gassco, which operates the Karsto natural gas liquids facility will be implementing SimSci’s ROMeo platform alongside Wonderware’s Industrial SQL Server package to improve production, planning and optimization throughout the facility. The deployment is part of a ‘multi-million’ dollar contract with Invensys.


The Karsto plant, located north of Stavanger, is owned by the Gassled joint venture which includes ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, Statoil and Total. Gassco is to apply ROMeo’s modeling technology to create a plant production performance model (3PM). This is used to maximize plant capacity and to assess opportunities for processing gas from new field developments. Statoil, which acts as the technical service provider for Karsto, will also use the 3PM model for real time optimization of the facilities.


Gassco CTO Svein Birger Thaule said, ‘Optimizing operations in real time calls for advanced modeling solutions. Invensys’ 3PM solution is a rigorous system for production, planning and optimization at the Karsto processing facility.’

Horizon project to study fluid transport

Scandpower Petroleum Technology has kicked-off a JIP to study long distance well fluid transport.

Scandpower Petroleum Technology is kicking off a $7 million joint industry project to investigate the long distance transport of well stream fluids. Dubbed the Horizon project, the JIP addresses issues such as today’s requirements for greater depths, longer flow lines, and more challenging environments.


The Horizon project will ‘refine the foundation of multiphase modeling and increase the understanding and accuracy in prediction of flow assurance throughout the system, from reservoir to processing’. Ultimately the results of Horizon will add new capabilities to Scandpower’s OLGA simulator.

Reduce conservatism

The program sets out to enable new field developments far from existing infrastructure, to reduce conservatism in design, improve flow assurance predictions, and the operability of multiphase flow-lines.


JIP members include ENI, ExxonMobil, Statoil and Shell. Horizon has a three year budget of NOK 45 million ($7 million) and is scheduled for completion in 2007.

Aspen Technology settles with FTC

Divestment concludes monopoly investigation initiated by Hyprotech acquisition.

Last month saw the end of Aspen Technology’s protracted tussle with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its acquisition of Hyprotech (Oil ITJ passim).


AspenTech interim CEO Charles Kane said, ‘This is a win-win solution for all parties. The FTC resolves its complaint; AspenTech is able to continue marketing, selling and developing all of its existing and planned engineering software products, with the exception of those used exclusively in the operator training business. Customers will receive the high level of products, services, support and innovation they have come to expect from AspenTech.

350 developers

By putting the FTC complaint behind us and with more than 350 software developers worldwide committed to driving new innovation, customers can invest confidently in AspenTech’s solutions for the enterprise operations management market.

See also the Folks, Facts and Orgs section of this issue of Oil IT Journal for more on AspenTech.

Short order turn around for IHS database

IHS Energy has sold on the PipesWest Canadian pipeline database it acquired last month.

Following its acquisition of Ensight Information Services last month (Oil ITJ Vol 9 N° 12), IHS Energy has divested the PipesWest database to Geomatics Data Management Inc. (GDM) of Calgary. Last month, PipesWest was going to ‘complement IHS’ software suite,’ this month it is going to GDM to create ‘the best Canadian pipeline database available.’


Chris Jones, president of IHS Energy (Canada) says ‘This deal will make a single, comprehensive source of Western Canadian pipeline data available through AccuMap. GDM has been a partner of IHS Energy for many years.’


GDM president Dave McLintock added, ‘We will combine PipesWest with our GDM file. The pipeline database will be exclusively available through IHS Energy’s industry leading applications, including AccuMap and the IHS Hub.’

Talisman awards SAP contract to Absoft

Aberdeen-based software house signs £500,000 deal for new SAP system support.

Talisman’s UK unit has awarded a two-phase SAP software support contract to Aberdeen-based SAP consultancy, Absoft. The five year contract, which is valued at £500,000, covers a range of services to support Talisman’s SAP system. The newly-implemented SAP system, which supports the company’s finance and joint venture accounting, is to go live in the first quarter of 2005.


Absoft MD Ian Mechie said, ‘This deal demonstrates our ability to meet corporate SAP requirements and strengthens our position in oil and gas. Key elements for Talisman Energy were flexibility, knowledge transfer, local support, SAP experience and a relationship offering both partnership and independence.’


Absoft’s consultants will provide on-site support and training during the initial transitional phase of the contract. Phase two will see the Absoft’s service provision move off site. Absoft’s customer base ranges from Scotland to mainland Europe, South America and the Middle East.

Stone Bond Enterprise Enabler for Vetco

Vetco Gray and Emerson Process adopt PIDX-based e-commerce solution for invoicing.

Vetco Gray and Emerson Process Management unit Fisher Controls have acquired Stone Bond Technologies’ e-commerce solution, Enterprise Enabler for PIDX (EE-PIDX). EE-PIDX includes a library of trading partner-specific, pre-built process templates that ‘significantly reduce deployment time and cost’. The templates comply with the Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX) standard.


Vetco Gray CIO Paul Krueger said, ‘Stone Bond helped us to avoid the high costs and slow implementation of other solutions, while it quickly adapted EE-PIDX to our specific requirements, and to those of our business partner. The system was so easy to set up that we will begin using it to automate the invoicing from our own suppliers.’


Stone Bond CEO and founder Antonio Szabo added, ‘Enterprise Enabler is changing integration options for companies of all sizes. Our adaptable architecture makes it easy to configure with any existing technology.’

WellPoint fleshes-out ERP offering

Microsoft Axapta-based ERP offering baptized ‘WellPoint Integrated Financial System.’

First revealed in Oil IT Journal (Vol. 9 N° 10) WellPoint’s Microsoft Axapta-based ERP system has now been productized as the WellPoint Integrated Financial System (WIFS). WIFS has been tailored to the oil and gas industry and offers a ‘world-class’ accounting system, a comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform and an integration platform for ‘mission critical’ applications.


WIFS builds on Microsoft’s Axapta finance and ERP product - capitalizing its modular, configurable and scalable capabilities. WellPoint has leveraged its experience of oil and gas financials to add oil industry specific functionality such as division of interest and joint interest billing to the Axapta base package.


WellPoint has preconfigured the solution to include modules for project, trade, etc. WIFS can also be a foundation for extended functionality such as customer relationship, human resources and supply chain management.


WIFS has been designed with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance in mind and supports process controls demanded by Sections 404 and 409 of the Act.

Wellcore Pipeline Module for Talisman

New pipeline management system from Malibu Engineering promises world-wide data scope.

Calgary-based Malibu Engineering and Software is launching a new pipeline data management system, the Wellcore Pipeline Module (WPM). The new system enables third party reporting tools to connect to the Pipeline Module and retrieve information. Talisman uses WPM to manage its extensive network of pipelines and a growing midstream network.


Talisman’s Bruce Hamilton said, ‘WPM has allowed the centralization of key pipeline data, providing a valuable tool for the company. The module works with other systems, allows the user to complete mass edits, and attach wells and equipment to pipelines for inventory and mapping purposes.’


Malibu CEO Cecil Shewchuk added, ‘WPM can manage an array of pipelines anywhere in the world and is designed to handle multiple survey systems. Our objectives are to avoid data duplication, to improve pipeline data quality and to reduced associated costs.’

Unocal takes Digital Oilfield world-wide

E-commerce solution automates invoicing processing with 80% cost saving potential.

Unocal is expanding its implementation of OpenInvoice and OpenContract solutions from the oil country e-business software house Digital Oilfield. Under a multi-year corporate license agreement Unocal will be using Digital’s tools to automate and streamline its invoicing processes.


Unocal VP of drilling and procurement, Kevin O’Donnell said, ‘We’ve used Digital’s financial solutions for three years and have benefited from the automated verification of prices against commercial contracts as well as the reduced invoice processing times. Digital’s tools have allowed Unocal to free up resources in operations and accounts payable that were previously used to process paper invoices.’


Digital president Rod Munro added, ‘This is a great validation of our solution. Unocal was one of the first companies to implement OpenInvoice, and has been an important source of feedback and advice for us during the development process.’

80% cost elimination

OpenInvoice allows suppliers and operating companies to create and process invoices and field tickets, eliminating up to 80% of invoice processing costs. OpenInvoice also provides spend capture and analysis, allowing operating companies to work with their strategic suppliers to improve operations and drive down direct spend.

Open Text Livelink for Vintage Petroleum

Livelink deployed as business process improvement platform. Open Text holds energy user meet.

Vintage Petroleum is using Open Text’s Livelink as a platform for business process improvements to increase productivity, control information, and achieve Sarbanes-Oxley. Vintage uses Open Text’s Livelink as a platform for business process improvements to increase productivity, control information, and meet compliance requirements associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.


Vintage, which operates in the US, South America and Yemen, centralizes invoice processing at its US headquarters – where 10,000 invoices are processed monthly. Livelink is used to manage the invoicing process, to maintain corporate content in a central repository and to facilitate auditing and compliance.


Vintage CIO Steve Phelps said, ‘With the correct tool set in place, Livelink plugs-in and provides repository information immediately. Maintaining one set of data is more practical than our previous practice of leaving information within the individual groups. In fact, because of our quick successes with our initial implementation, we are planning to implement Livelink across other accounting disciplines.’


Reporting on the Open Text Energy User Group held late last year, Open Text industry manager Mark Sekulich told Oil IT Journal, ‘Open Text has created an industry-specific business unit to develop targeted solutions and content-rich products that meet the needs of the energy industry. Oil and gas deployments to date include an HSE management of change (MOC) eTool, an email driven application built upon Livelink Workflow and Forms.’


‘Another deployment of Livelink addresses issues of employee orientation and legal compliance. This solution utilizes the Livelink Eloquent Media Server, Livelink Enterprise Server, as well as workflow technologies to deploy a customized portal.’

Neuralog teams with DrillingInfo

New delivery mechanism vendor data to end user desktop correlation and assessment package.

Neuralog and DrillingInfo (DI) unveiled a project at the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) this month to integrate DI’s US well data into Neuralog’s new well log correlation and assessment package ‘NeuraWellTool’ (NWT). DI provides oil and gas data over the web to some 2,500 US oil and gas companies. Members of DI’s Well Log Initiative will receive a copy of NWT free. Users will be able to store interpretation data locally or using their DI account.


DI chairman Allen Gilmer said, ‘This will be a ‘killer App’ for well logs. With NWT, our members can download and display a wide variety of DI’s depth-registered rasters including electric, driller, and mudlogs in multi-well displays. Rasters can be automatically annotated with rich data, such as perforated intervals, IP rates, cumulative production, DST, shows, cores and formation tops. Users can also perform interpretive tasks such as log annotation, net pay count and top and fault picking.’


Neuralog VP Javan Meinwald added, ‘DI provides a large segment of the industry with a cost-effective solution to data delivery. DI’s web delivery and database infrastructure supercharges partnerships by letting widely distributed business partners share critical information easily.’


Interpretation from NWT can also be automatically picked up in NeuraSection for map making, reserves calculation and structural and stratigraphic cross sections. NeuraSection can be added to a DI membership for a nominal fee. A beta release of NWT is scheduled for May, 2005 with final production release in June.

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