March 2000

Halliburton explores

Halliburton has teamed with independent McMoRan to explore 160 offshore Gulf of Mexico blocks. The $50 million deal breaks new ground offering the service company an interest in future development opportunities.

If the majors won’t explore then the independents and service sector will just have to go it alone. Halliburton is teaming with McMoRan Exploration Company to hustle things along on some 750,000 acres of the offshore Gulf of Mexico.
service provider
Initially Halliburton will be both associate and service provider, supplying people and technology from its Energy Services unit, Brown and Root and Landmark Graphics. But the deal envisages that in the event of a discovery, Halliburton will have an option to participate in subsequent development on a ground floor basis.
The acreage position has been built up by McMoRan in two acquisitions from Shell Offshore and Texaco. Banker Chase Securities performed the financial engineering for the alliance and have arranged a $50 million facility to fund the exploration program.
flexible and innovative
Dave Lesar, President and Chief Operating Officer of Halliburton Company said "In responding to the needs of our upstream customers, we realize we have to be flexible and innovative.
value creation
This alliance is indicative of one of the ways we can create value through solutions and share in that value.” More information from the McMoRan website -

QC Data vs. IDC

QC Data has secured an injunction against International Datashare Corp. in respect of a contested 1997 joint venture agreement.

QC Data has obtained an injunction against International Datashare Corp. (IDC) in respect of breaches of a 1997 joint venture agreement. The injunction provides that all current and future digitizing contracts must be forwarded by IDC to QC Data. Future sales of Canadian digital log data by IDC must be made through the joint venture. IDC has been directed to refrain from claiming that the Joint Venture Agreement was terminated or that QC Data was in breach of IDC’s copyright. IDC is to compensate QC Data for improper digitizing and log sales to date, while other outstanding issues and damage claims go to arbitration. In another dispute, QC Data is suing IDC for $1.8 million. QC Data President John Redfern, said "We are relieved that this process is coming to a close allowing to focus on customer service. We hope that now we are getting the lawsuits behind us, IDC will agree to more competitive pricing.”

Patents, standards and E&P e-commerce

Patents are being granted for some rather dubious technological ‘innovations’ in the scramble for the dot com high ground. PDM’s editor Neil McNaughton muses on how this activity is encroaching on the new breed of E&P portals.

There has been much press comment recently on the way the new e-commerce players are abusing patent law in the US to protect their market share. The headline example is’s ‘one click’ purchase patent which has successfully been used against competitor Barnes and Noble. James Gleick, writing in the New York Times described such patents as ‘a ridiculous phenomenon that could kill e-commerce.’ We have noted that a couple of the new websites for E&P related e-commerce boast patent applications, one in particular claims ‘Web site design and business method - patent pending.’
So it might be worth thinking through just how these various staked claims will affect the way we do our e-business in the future. No better place to start than Amazon, the grand daddy of e-commerce. Why is one of the first and most successful businesses so panicky that it has to protect itself by these ‘air we breathe’ patents? I think it is because we have not yet seen anything like the real impact of the Internet. Amazon’s business model is quite shaky and open to competition. It relies on the high street store kind of phenomenon with ‘faithful’ customers. But the power of the internet should allow an author sell his or her book (or e-book) directly to the reader. All that is then required is a search engine which locates the author-publisher or bookseller, large or small. Now the search engine business has the unfortunate attribute of being a low cost operation. OK you can make some sort money with advertising. But the service element conflicts with banner ads which are a source of irritation to most surfers. If you push the logic a little further, you can see that what the reader really wants is a peek straight into the authors website.
url bank
To achieve this, the book buyer needs a ‘url bank’ of writers and bookshop websites. This would at the very least allow you to locate a hard to find book - currently not a strong point with Amazon. What has this to do with E&P? Well a similar argument can be made in the field of acreage trade. The growing number of asset sale websites would tend to suggest that a trader might spend a day or so trawling through the various portals, each with their own deals and (patent) interfaces, just to build up a picture of what is on offer. Not really a great advance on what the scouts of yesteryear did over lunch.
Now if there was a standard way of presenting a deal, and if someone maintained a url bank of the dealers, then the trader could switch on his or her GIS browser in the morning which would already be populated with the latest offers. The cost of maintaining such a url bank, I would suggest, would be very low. The standards probably exist already, but if we don’t know what they are, this may reflect a conflict of interest between standards and commerce. A lack of standards acts in the same way as the dodgy patents in keeping newcomers out of incumbents’ business.
low cost
In the related field of on-line trading of oil and gas liquids, BP Amoco has been active in a spate of alliances with e-traders (see page 8). Tony Fountain, president of BPA’s North American Gas and Power unit said “BPA has invested in several neutral energy exchanges which harness the power of the Internet to bring a more transparent, low cost, multi-party market to a broader range of energy product buyers and sellers."
The intent is clear and I believe that as long as the internet can provide ’transparency and low cost’ then it will be viable. The alternative, of staking claims to bits of the action with spurious patent claims, and idiosyncratic interfaces will not. In Gleick’s words, “The [patent] battles will determine whether the essential tools and building blocks [of e-commerce] will continue to spread rapidly through the community of software designers and Internet pioneers, or whether they will be cordoned off as the private property of particular companies.


Attendance at ESRI’s annual Petroleum User Group meeting in Houston this month reflected the dominant position of ArcView in E&P GIS. Of particular interest and concern to the PUG membership were ESRI’s plans for ArcInfo 8 migration, and the future of the UNIX platform.

Ten years ago at the first ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG) 14 stalwart pioneers showed up to compare notes on using GIS for oil and gas data representation. Today, ESRI’s ArcView has evolved into a ‘de-facto’ standard for the integration of all data types with a geographical component - which means nearly every E&P data type there is - a fact born out by the 450 turn out for this year’s PUG.
The year 2000 marks something of a turning point for the PUG with two major changes in strategy occurring in the ESRI camp. Firstly there is an inexorable move away from the E&P IT platform of choice - UNIX - to the world of Microsoft NT. Concomitant with this is the planned dropping of the E&P application of choice - ArcView which is to be subsumed into the ArcInfo 8 product.
new data model
This move is highly significant for E&P users of ESRI’s wares not least for the fact that, as revealed in PDM (Vol 5 N°1), the new ArcInfo 8 environment will include a fully fledged geospatial database. Rumor has it that ESRI are working on a brand new E&P specific data model (yet another!) that could be bundled with ArcInfo and in the medium term might shift the focus of E&P IT from the geotechnical application to the GIS. But enough speculation - what of the show?
The List
The PUG chairman, Chevron’s Bill Wally introduced newcomers to the key component of the PUG – the ‘List’ - a running tally of needs, complaints and requirements that is presented to ESRI each year at the conference. The PUG activities include a public "grilling" of ESRI developers about the status of items on the list. The PUG List has had a major impact on ESRI product offerings in the past, ESRI has listened and continues to look to PUG members for guidance.
ArcView’s Future
Of greatest concern to the PUG community is the fate of ArcView. ESRI forecasts a future lifespan of around 3 years with maintenance and enhancements during the transition period.
Avenue - dead end?
The ArcView programming language Avenue is likely to suffer a similar fate. A degree of backward compatibility is promised but in the medium term users will have to retool applications to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
Internet Mapping Server
Arc Internet Mapping Server combines internet mapping with GIS technology and allows developers to serve up centralized GIS serving users equipped with a web browser client. Three viewers are offered. One is based on Microsoft’s Active Server Pages and Cold Fusion. A second on DHTML and a third on Java. The first is good for low bandwidth situations, with a very thin client. The second is a small downloadable client. And the third is the Rolls Royce of the viewers which would appeal to intranet setups with more bandwidth available, supporting display, query, map navigation. You can check out this technology on the, website and IMS is the basis of the National Geographic Map Machine which is currently producing a million maps per day.
The ESRI UNIX community (and that probably means most of the PUG) is concerned about the future of Unix. Clint Brown, Director of Software Development, denied that UNIX development was dead. For example ArcSDE has been ported to Linux. But the corporate level technology of choice for the future is Microsoft’s COM. UNIX has ‘lacked the kind of application object technology ESRI required.’ In view of the UNIX client base ESRI is working on with MainSoft’s COM port to Solaris with some participation from SUN.
~ ~ ~
PDM comment – ESRI’s invocation of COM on UNIX reminds us of Landmark’s attempt to apply Microsoft spin doctoring to legacy UNIX based technology. Landmark are seemingly disenchanted with this solution. It appears unlikely to us that solutions based on software emulators have much long-term future. ESRI’s market is horizontal – they are in the enviable position of supplying generic software to the world-wide GIS marketplace. Alignment with the traditions of E&P legacy applications is quite secondary. ESRI’s future is writ large and it says “COM and VBA.”

BP Amoco awards $100 million outsourcing to SAIC

SAIC has cemented its ongoing outsourcing relationship with BP Amoco in two deals. One provides for IT support to BP Amoco’s North American locations, the other is a renewal of the data management contract with BP Exploration in Aberdeen.

In contracts with a combined value of over $100 million Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is reinforcing its position as BP Amoco’s prime IT contractor. In North America, SAIC, along with Getronics, will maintain BP Amoco’s IT infrastructure and provide desktop support, applications maintenance and development in a new agreement valued at over $30 million.
The SAIC group will now support 18,000 BP Amoco employees at 100 locations in 39 states. SAIC VP Mark Pierson said “BP originally outsourced its IT services to SAIC’s Energy Solutions and Services organization in 1995.” SAIC’s partner Getronics has 34,000 employees in 44 countries and is headquartered in Amsterdam.
Meanwhile in the granite city (Aberdeen) BP Amoco Exploration (BAPX) has extended its contract with SAIC for the outsourced provision of applications support, infrastructure care and maintenance, software development, systems integration and project management.
The four year deal is worth a massive $70 million. SAIC senior VP Joe Walkush said "This contract extension follows the trend of continuous progress and increasing competence exhibited in the performance of the work in the U.K. for the past few years. Our success in the UK energy sector mirrors and enhances our image of competence and responsiveness globally." SAIC currently provides support for BPAX applications worldwide from multiple locations within the U.K. Additionally, SAIC Ltd. will work with BPAX to deliver business critical projects utilizing the skills of 65 SAIC professionals. SAIC’s UK chief Peter Stocks said "Our relationship with BP in the U.K. dates back to 1993.
added value
Since then, we have looked to add value to our service through alignment with BPAX’s business objectives and by developing specialist teams in areas such as hydrocarbon accounting and production reporting, petrotechnical services, knowledge management, process control, engineering maintenance, and Web services."


Collaboration between Halliburton and Landmark has added functionality to the OpenWorks-based petrophysical suite PetroWorks.

A new release of Landmark’s petrophysical suite PetroWorks is said to bridge the gap between petrophysicists and the rest of the asset team. PetroWorks is integrated with the OpenWorks relational database and now comes in two versions Asset and Pro. Asset serves the occasional PetroWorks user while the Pro version offers advanced user-programming for processing log curve data.
The new PetroWorks is the fruit of a collaboration between Landmark and Halliburton Energy Services (HES). The Intracorporate Petrophysical Software Initiative (IPSI) project involved developers from HES, PetroWorks, OpenWorks and StratWorks. PetroWorks is based on the Y2K release of OpenWorks and is shipping now.

Landmark’s seismic data management

Landmark is building up its data management infrastructure with an agreement with seismic specialists Scientific Resolutions. The offering spans seismic data loading and HSM robotic storage.

Landmark has signed a multiyear third-party agreement with Scientific Resolutions, L.P. for seismic data loading and analysis technology and a comprehensive seismic data management solution. Landmark’s Bob Peebler said “We are enabling our customers to better manage critical assets such as seismic data and interpretations, reduce cycle times and improve their decision support capabilities.”
The third-party relationship integrates new products for graphical interactive seismic data loading into Landmark’s SeisWorks and GeoGraphix’ SeisVision offering a single seismic data loader for both Landmark and GeoGraphix products. Users will be able to scan an entire network and locate and catalog the large volumes of seismic data typically held online in SEG-Y or Landmark and GeoGraphix formats. SeisWorks projects can now be managed with the ArcView front end of OpenExplorer. Other capabilities include QC diagnostics, interactive optimization of load parameters, analysis and dynamic creation of SeisWorks projects.
Bulk loading and exporting of seismic data sets stored in their original SEG-Y formats is now possible. A seismic data viewer allows users to browse seismic data in SEG-Y or Landmark formats from within the OpenExplorer’s GIS.
The system will offer the option to link with large-scale Hierarchical Storage Manager (HSM) robotic tape near-line and archival systems.
Scientific Resolutions was formed recently by Don Robinson and John Williams who initially developed a PC-based product for seismic viewing and analysis, marketed by Resolve GeoSciences. Robinson and Williams are former owners and developers of the PC-based MIRA system purchased by Landmark in 1993
Robinson added “Seismic libraries continue to grow in size dramatically and the demand for managing these extensive libraries increases daily.”


A new way of presenting seismics is claimed by startup BirchTree software.

Not much has happened to the 2D seismic display since Nigel Anstey added color back in the 1970’s. Birdtree software are claiming a breakthrough with the SeisScape presentation - which offers a “3D” view of 2D data complete with “sunlit peaks and shaded valleys.” Check out the SeisScape on


New website offers earth science map and data shop window.

EarthMaps is a new website offering a showcase for a variety of earth science data offerings from many individuals, companies, and organizations. Interested parties can place earth science data sets on the site for a small monthly fee. Visit the website on

DIY data management - Part III

Garry Perrat from UK consultancy Geocon concludes our three part UNIX primer with an introduction to some of the powerful ‘little languages’ available to UNIX users.

Shell scripts can contain any Unix command. Two of the most useful for data management purposes are sed (stream editor) and awk (a text-processing language named after its inventors: Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan). You can run them from the command line but it is better to put longer commands in an editable script.

Sed reads a text file, applying edits as it goes. For example, suppose we have a 2D seismic navigation file containing lines GEO97-123 and GEO97-123A which have been merged into one line in our interpretation software. We might want to change GEO97-123A in our nav. file to GEO97-123, for which purpose we can use sed’s substitution command:

sed ’s/GEO97-123A/GEO97-123 /’ nav.dat >nav.dat2

The command has the general form s/search/replace/ which means "substitute search with replace". Note the trailing space in the replacement string to ensure that any subsequent columns remain aligned and the quotes to hide any special characters (like the space). Suppose now that we have not only an A-line but B and C as well. We can extend the command to replace all three reshoot names with the base name:

sed –e ’s/GEO97-123A/GEO97-123 /’ –e ’s/GEO97-123B/GEO97-123 /’ –e ’s/GEO97-123C/GEO97-123 /’ nav.dat >nav.dat2

Now that we have three separate edit commands each one must be preceded with –e. Otherwise it’s much the same as the first example. However, we can do better than this by using a "wildcard":

sed ’s/GEO97-123./GEO97-123 /’ nav.dat >nav.dat2

The period after the first "123" matches any single character so we don't need a separate command for each seismic line. However, if we also have another line GEO97-1234 which we don't want changing to GEO98-123 we need to be more specific:

sed ’s/GEO97-123[A-Z]/GEO97-123 /’ nav.dat >nav.dat2

The "[A-Z]" means "match any single character between A and Z" so it will not match a number. If you want to match lowercase letters as well you can include them as another range within the square brackets:

sed ’s/GEO97-123[A-Za-z]/GEO97-123 /’ nav.dat >nav.dat2

All of these examples are short enough to be run from the command line but sed can do far more than there is room to include here at which point putting it into a script can help.

Awk is particularly useful for data manipulation and reformatting. The simplest use is to print only certain fields from a file. Suppose we have a file, horizons.dat, containing inline-xline-x-y-t1-v1-t2-v2-t3-v3, all separated with whitespace, and only want inline, xline and d1 (=t1*v1/2000):

 1 5 435067 6235678 523 1480 1546 2504 2804 3256
1256 245 425698 6254302 498 1480 1630 2396 3045 3502

We can use awk’s print command to select the fields we require:

awk ‘{print $1,$2,$5*$6/2000}’ horizons.dat >horizons.dat2

In awk a dollar precedes a field number so this command prints fields 1, 2 and the product of the 5th and 6th divided by 2000, each separated by a single space. (Fields are, by default, any sequence of characters separated by whitespace.) Note that the body of the command is enclosed within curly braces and is also quoted to hide the special characters (e.g. preventing the shell from attempting variable substitution with the dollars). However, if our file has fields which vary in width (e.g. inline may range from "1" to "1256") our output file might look rather messy and be difficult to use:

1 5 387.02
1256 245 368.52

We need a formatted print command:

awk ‘{printf("%4d %4d %6.2f\n",$1,$2,$5*$6/2000)}’ horizons.dat >horizons.dat2

which results in this output file:

 1 5 387.02
1256 245 368.52

printf looks a bit hairy but is well-worth mastering as it increases awk’s power no end. The general syntax is:


Each individual format begins with a % and there must be as many formats as there are values to print (which can be anything - field numbers, other variables, constants, strings, etc.)
The basic formats are:

%s	String
%-s	Left-justified string
%d	Integer
%f	Floating point

Strings and integers may be preceded with a minimum field width although this will be increased if the value won't fit into the specified width. (e.g. %4d in the example above specifies a 4-digit integer, %-10s specifies a left-justified 10-character string). Floating point numbers can be preceded with a decimal number specifying field width and precision (e.g. %6.2f in the example above forces the number to be printed with two decimal places in a total field width of six characters (including the decimal point). Note the \n at the end of the format, the newline character – don't forget it or you'll end up with one very long line in the output file! Anything not beginning with either % or \ is printed verbatim (including spaces) so:

printf("inline=%4d, xline=%4d, depth=%6.2f\n",$1,$2,$5*$6/2000)


inline= 1, xline= 5, depth=387.02
inline=1256, xline= 245, depth=368.52

Our last example can be re-written in full with variables, comments and more space to improve clarity:

awk ‘{ # Define variables
i=$1 # Inline is the first field
j=$2 # Xline is the second field
t1=$5 # T1 is the fifth field
v1=$6 # V1 is the sixth field
# Compute depth
# Print the results
printf("inline=%4d, xline=%4d, depth=%6.2f\n",i,j,depth) }’ horizons.dat >horizons.dat2

Note that variables within awk are never preceded with a dollar but are just referenced by name. This is one of those confusing differences between awk and the shell (particularly so when there is awk code within a shell script, as in this case!). Note that quoted strings are never interpreted as variables so:

print "inline=" inline



more examples

Scripts can be very complex. Many Landmark commands started from the OpenWorks launcher are actually wrapper scripts which do various checks and perform other tasks before spawning the actual application and other CAEX systems may work in a similar way. Some other examples include:
Looking for files that haven't been used for some time, perhaps owned by a particular user and greater than a certain size (e.g. find /disk* -user gcp –atime +30 –size +50000000c finds files under directories /disk* owned by gcp, last accessed more than 30 days ago and larger than (roughly) 50MB).
Reformatting ASCII data (eg. horizons, well data, velocities, faults).
Computing interval velocities from stacking velocities and time picks.
Depth converting exported time horizons.
Note the common themes in these tasks - saving time on often-used commands (which you could write out in full each time but are easier to use in a script - phone fred is much easier than grep -i fred $HOME/docs/phonebook), reformatting data and performing computations difficult unless you have appropriate software. That is the power of scripts.
Scripts are not just for the command line. There are many scripting languages available of which some (e.g. Tcl and Perl) include GUI capabilities with which to build user-friendly front ends for all your scripts and really impress your users ... not to mention your managers!
Not Just For Unix
Scripting isn't just for Unix, either. Of course, you can install Linux, Solaris, etc. on PCs but there are also Windows versions of many Unix utilities, including Cygwin ( ), the MKS Toolkit ( ) and WinXs ( ).
Further Information
Online man pages should be available for most Unix commands on your system (e.g. man sed displays the page for sed) but they can sometimes be rather inpenetrable! The classic awk reference is The Awk Programming Language by Aho Kernigan and Weinberger published by Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-201-07981-X. The books published by O'Reilly and Associates are also good, including "Unix in a Nutshell", an excellent quick reference for most commands, and "awk and sed".
What Do You Want To Do Today?
The possibilities with scripts really are endless. So next time you think ‘I wish I could ...’ remember that with a script you probably can!

eNersection patents workflow

eNersection has applied for a patent on its newly announced Work Flow Navigator (WfN) - said to assist e-business in ten oil and gas activities.

WfN is a component of eNersection’s electronic marketplace (See PDM Vol. 5 N° 2) and is said to allow buyers and sellers of technical products and services to communicate over the Internet. eNeresection president Zeke Zeringue says "The Workflow Navigator is central to our goal of providing an electronic marketplace that adds value to the workflow process. This tool will allow our users to solve real problems more effectively to improve the workflow of energy exploration and production operations."
The WFN system supports complex drilling, completion and well servicing operations through task-specific templates that will initially address ten purchasing events: drilling services, pumping services, formation evaluation, reservoir technology, completion services, production equipment, compression services, subsurface equipment, tubulars and controlled well operations.
Buyers can compare service provider responses and talk to sellers through online conferencing. Zeringue concludes "A significant capability of the Work Flow Navigator will allow various levels of linkage of the transaction process into SAP, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, Oracle and other accounting systems to add financial value to the workflow process."

e-commerce stakes for BP Amoco

BP Amoco is to acquire a stake in e-commerce Energy Exchange and will partner with web-based customer information provider.

BP Amoco (BPA) is to take a three percent interest in Altra Energy Technologies, Inc, a wholesale energy exchange. Altra operates Altrade, a real-time, anonymous electronic marketplace where customers trade natural gas, crude oil, natural gas liquids and power on-line.
low cost
BPA will commit to transact a fixed volume of energy products, including physical and ‘financial’ natural gas and liquids via Altra’s e-commerce exchange. Tony Fountain, president of BPA’s North America gas and power unit said "Altra is the leading neutral energy exchange and we want to improve their success as we increase our web-based trading. BPA has invested in several neutral energy exchanges which harness the power of the Internet to bring a more transparent, low cost, multi-party market to a broader range of energy product buyers and sellers."
Recently, the company partnered with Excelergy Corporation, a provider of web-based customer information and transaction management to the deregulating retail energy market. "These agreements create a ‘wholesale-to-retail’ solution for our energy customers, providing web-based energy information and real-time pricing across the US," said Mary Shields, director of business development for BP Amoco gas and power.

New unit for Baker Hughes

Interpretation services from Western Geophysical and Baker Atlas are to be re-grouped into a new Exploration and Reservoir Services Unit, headquartered in Houston.

Baker Hughes is rationalizing its E&P service offering into the Exploration and Reservoir Services (ERS) division.
The new unit is to provide ‘high-end’ surface seismic and borehole geophysics interpretation and will be made up from personnel formerly with Western Geophysical and Baker Atlas. ERS will be headquartered in Houston under Western Geophysical, and will initially have offices in Houston, London and Bahrain.
Gary Fair is to relocate from Western Geophysical’s London office to Houston to serve as vice president reporting to Western Geophysical’s president Gary Jones. The new business unit will combine advanced surface seismic technologies from Western Geophysical with formation evaluation expertise from Baker Atlas to provide Baker Hughes clients with reservoir characterization services throughout the lifecycle of an oilfield.

IHS unit to support Conoco

IHS unit Data Logic Services has signed a consulting and services contract with Conoco. The three-year deal involves the management of Conoco’s upstream physical data assets.

Data Logic Services Corp. of Houston, a wholly owned subsidiary of IHS Energy Group, has signed a three-year, multi-million dollar contract with Conoco to manage its North American physical E&P data and to provide related data management consulting services.
Data Logic Services Corp. specializes in the storage and management of physical E&P data for large U.S. oil companies and independents. "Conoco is a very innovative company," said Karl Eberhart, vice president of Data Logic Services Corp. "Its management recognizes the significant value of cultivating all the company’s intellectual assets, including its hardcopy E&P data."
Mark Pexton, Conoco’s manager of upstream information management added "We need to respond to opportunities quickly. This means that our employees must have the right information available to them, when and where they need it. We're pleased to have Data Logic continue working on our data management team.”

South African agency selects GeoQuest

The South African government agency responsible for oil exploration and production - the Petroleum Agency SA has signed a three year deal with Schlumberger-GeoQuest for its data management.

The South African Petroleum Agency has signed a three-year contract with GeoQuest for data management services. GeoQuest local manager Serge Brun said "This agreement will enable South Africa to better organize and secure its valuable data assets and with workstation-ready data, the country will be in a more competitive position to attract foreign investment to its oil and gas industry."
GeoQuest personnel will help migrate the agency’s physical data into GeoQuest’s AssetDB. Finder and Log DB will allow for QC and cataloging all digital data. Foreign investors will be able to view complete asset lists at any stage, once the AssetDB migration is complete. GeoQuest on-site personnel will train the Agency’s E&P professionals on how to use the software technology over the next year and will continue to work closely with them during the three years of the contract.
The Petroleum Agency’s acting chief executive, Jack Holliday said "The GeoQuest data management system was chosen for it’s functionality, cost, versatility and availability of service and support." The Petroleum Agency SA is responsible for the marketing, promotion and monitoring of all oil and gas exploration activity within South Africa. It is also responsible for the management of $485 million worth of data that has been acquired over 25 years of exploration.
250,000 km.
Currently stored data includes approximately 250,000 line kilometers of seismic data, cuttings and samples from over 250 wells, over 10,000 technical reports, approximately 10 kilometers of core and some 200,000 slides.

PGS Data Management is to unveil a new e-commerce portal for GIS-based access to E&P data. The new website will deploy a webified and e-commerce enabled version of the IBM ‘surfer’ PetroBank front end.

PGS’ new E&P portal - is due to go live in April and will offer secure, on-line data and software e-commerce. The portal will offer data sales and web-hosted application service provision to “reduce the total cost of ownership of desktop systems through web based deployment and maintenance of software.”
Vince Kowalski of PGS Data Management and James Maupin of Modis (now Idea Integrators) speaking at last month’s ESRI PUG decribed how they planned to deploy GIS-based e-commerce over the Internet. PGS’ first moved into the GIS browser marketplace with the acquisition of IBM’s E&P software including PetroBank, the Norwegian log and seismic database deploying POSC’s Epicentre and Oracle’s SDO.
The front end to Petrobank evolved into the Surf and Connect product (also known as “Surfer”) offering GIS-based data browsing and selection. Surfer started out as a vanilla ArcView development with subsequent extensions for query building and area of interest. To interface these Java developments with ArcView, PGS built a JARVIS middleware layer between JAVA and ArcView. JARVIS transfers Java socket messages to ArcView via a remote procedure call (RPC). The query builder and area of interest modules communicate with Java through TCP/IP sockets which pass the data on to ArcView.
The PetroBank server now incorporates ESRI’s Spatial Data Engine (SDE) and uses a CORBA SDE Server connected to a second server hosting a JAVA Remote Method Invocation - based application using IIOP. The second server was needed because CORBA does not, at present, work with firewalls. However OMG is working to rectify this.

Big 3 finances compared

Kevin Hopson, Financial Analyst at SNL Securities offers PDM readers an overview of the financial situation of Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes.

At year end, Schlumberger had a war chest of $4.4 billion in cash and short-term investments. This alone could pay off all of the company’s $3.9 billion in debt. Schlumberger is also extremely liquid with cash and investments minus debt at $1.2 billion against $731 million for 1998. Debt to equity is lower than the peer group at around 50%. But the best thing about Schlumberger financially is that it generated $318 million in free cash flow in 1999. Free cash flow could be used to buyback stock, make acquisitions, fund future operations, pay down debt, etc.
Halliburton, though not as liquid as Schlumberger, still has $466 million cash on hand. Debt to equity is 54 percent. Halliburton is less leveraged than its peer group. Overall, Halliburton is solid financially but it could improve upon its cash flows. Until it does, the company will probably find it necessary to fund some of its future operations through new debt.
Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes (BH) has very little cash on hand - only $16.9 million although the company has sufficient funds to cover liabilities. Debt to equity is high at 92 percent. BH is weak financially, though the company generated $541 million in operating cash flow in 1999, interest on debt is eating into earnings. Unless BH can generate more significant cash flow in the future and pay down current debt, the company will have to continue to rely on external financing to fund future endeavors.

XML for log plots

POSC is proposing to develop an XML well log graphics description mechanism.

The first draft includes basic log graphics entities and can be extended in the future to cover a richer suite of objects. XML promises a system and software independent means of exchanging log descriptions.
Log drafting information is isolated from the log data itself so that the same presentation format could be applied to many different data sets. A preliminary XML standard has been developed by Kanai Pathak of Schlumberger where XML is used to underpin some of the new Knowledge Work E&P document sharing initiatives. More from Cary Purdy (

XML snippet for log graphics

 <Description>Track 1</Description>
 <Description>Track 2</Description>

Thanks to Kanai Pathak of Schlumberger for this code.

Texaco’s electronic environment

Landmark is to supply Texaco with a ‘cutting edge electronic environment’ set to enhance upstream competitiveness.

Landmark has won a multi-year contract with Texaco to create a ‘cutting-edge electronic environment’ that is intended to advance the company’s ability to find, produce and manage oil and gas reserves worldwide. The deal includes the provision of a broad range of integrated solutions for exploration, development, production, drilling and data management.
John J. O'Connor, Senior Vice President of Texaco Inc. and President of Worldwide Exploration and Production, said, "The new electronic upstream environment gives us the ability to operate with speed and agility, lowers risk and improves competitiveness." Landmark’s Bob Peebler added, "We've developed a deep understanding and appreciation for Texaco’s goals. Our Performance Consulting teams will implement state-of-the-art technology for Texaco and develop and deploy workflows designed to remove barriers to reaching those goals.
Texaco required a ’scalable solution’ from Landmark and its GeoGraphix division to meet its needs, depending upon the complexity of the E&P problem, the risk involved and the production potential of a particular asset."


Key appointments at Halliburton and Western Geophysical.

Mike McCormic is now VP marketing for Western Geophysical. McCormic, a graduate of Louisiana State University began his career with Western Geophysical in 1964. McCormic returns to Western after a spell with Western Atlas and as director of corporate accounts with Baker Hughes. Halliburton has appointed Robert Heinemann as Chief Technology Officer. Heinemann had a 20-year career with Mobil Oil Corporation, most recently as VP of Mobil Technology Company. Another Western Geophysical appointment is Lee Bell who has been named VP of technology. Bell was previously president of Western’s Geosignal division.

Gabon to promote ninth round acreage on

The Gabonese government has selected the Schlumberger e-Business portal, to promote its ninth licensing round. Gabon’s Petrolin Group is managing the acreage sale to be kicked-off at the AAPG.

Schlumberger’s IndigoPool subsidiary is to host the Gabonese governments promotional effort for its ninth round of licensing. IndigoPool will also be promoting Gabonese open acreage internationally. A total of 27 blocks - thirteen onshore, five shallow water and nine deepwater - will be offered for sale during the licensing round, slated to open on April 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) in New Orleans.
asset value will offer interested parties immediate access to detailed on-line information and data on the blocks that the Gabonese Ministry of Hydrocarbons is offering for sale. The sale is being managed by the Petrolin Group, which was created in 1992 to “promote Africa’s oil industry through the formation of active partnerships between African businessmen and international oil companies.
Petrolin president Samuel Dossou-Aworet says "We are confident that will give the Gabonese tender a broader reach to interested companies, as well as improved asset value through portfolio packaging." will be gathering and quality checking data, as well as organizing virtual and physical data rooms. Secure access offered by to the proprietary data sets will allow clients to browse data and conduct indepth asset analysis on-line.
data room
GeoQuest will help set up physical data rooms in cities selected by Petrolin and will provide data management services. Interested companies can register on-line at from April 17.

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