December 1999

Geolog to plug and play with BP Amoco (December 1999)

BP Amoco has selected Paradigm’s Geolog software to manage and analyze its corporate petrophysical data.

Following the adoption of an ‘all Landmark’ solution to BP Amoco’s (BPA) upstream IT (PDM Vol. 4 N° 7), plan B of the IT strategy is being put into place. This involves the use of plug-in software to the OpenWorks environment in specific areas where BP Amoco believes other companies are ‘best in breed.’ This month sees the deployment of two such products – from Midland Valley (see page 5 of this issue) and Paradigm Geophysical. The Paradigm software involved in a $1.4 million corporate deal is the Geolog petrophysical data management and interpretation software.


Mark Walker, Managing Director of Paradigm’s EAME Operations in London, commented: "Geolog’s open environment has enabled BP Amoco to incorporate its own proprietary algorithms into Geolog. At the same time we are working with BPAmoco’s rock properties toolkit and fluid substitution work-flows to help integrate petrophysics and geophysics."

Easy to learn

Walker told PDM "Ease-of-use, and ease of learning were important factors to BPA and we believe that Geolog is technically the best and most flexible tool for geological and petrophysical analysis (including new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) functionality), across both UNIX and NT operating systems. The ability to access Landmark's datastores was a key point in the deal as was Paradigm's collaborative approach in developing and opening the technology to the client. The Geolog suite, originally developed by Mincom, offers well data management, modeling, and petrophysical analysis. More from 

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Big DEAL for UK (December 1999)

The Digital Energy Atlas and Library call for pre-qualification is out. The aim is to provide a metadata index of data available on the UK continentalshelf.

Formerly known as Data Environment for LIFT (See PDM Vol. 4 N° 11), the new DEAL will initially be a high-level index of who owns what UKCS data. Interested parties will be able to surf through to data vendor websites to acquire real data.


The intent is to serve, not only incumbents who wish to trade data, but also newcomers, interested in evaluating UK exploration. DEAL will be the new vehicle for DTI data release. DEAL has DTI, UKOOA and Industry backing.


The vision is of access to all UKCS data via one portal, with e-commerce enabled data delivery. Interested parties can pre-qualify on 

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Oil IT and the butterfly effect (December 1999)

PDM’s attendance at the Plant Information Management ‘99 conference led Neil McNaughton to reflect on why IT is so different on the ‘other side of the fence.’ He concludes that rather than having a basis in a fundamental domain difference, the different IT styles may have grown up arbitrarily, amplifying early choices.

In the short story "The Sound of Thunder", Ray Bradbury anticipated both Westworld, Chaos theory and, I will argue, IT developments in the oil industry. Sound of Thunder has a group of time tourists visiting the Creataceous and walking along a system of raised walkways looking at the vegetation. Everywhere are the strictest instructions not to ‘walk on the fernidae’ with dire warnings of the possible consequences.

butterfly effect

Of course in the tale, Bradbury has a time-traveler break the rule. Running from an irate Tyrannosaurus Rex, he accidentally leaves the walkway and steps on a butterfly. Back in ‘today’ – actually around 2100 – the traveler observes major changes to the universe caused by his mistake. Bradbury’s ‘butterfly effect’ (20 years before meteorologist Conrad Lorenz showed the futility of weather ‘forecasting’) is thus a poetic forerunner of chaos theory where a small perturbation can have a large effect.

PIM ‘99

Now what I hear you ask has that to do with Oil IT? I hear you ask. Our attendance at the Plant Information Management (PIM) ’99 conference – where our engineer friends debate IT as applied to the construction of oil and gas production facilities - made me wonder if the parallel-universe of PIM IT was different by design or by accident. Putting it another way: that the starting points for both subsurface and facilities IT involve a degree of arbitrariness which has indelibly marked subsequent events.


Lets first look at the underlying ‘objects’ which are handled by the different disciplines. For E&P these are cores, well logs, seismic sections and so on. For facilities, they would be pumps, pipes and parts. Now while these objects are all different, there is, or rather was, a significant commonality between all objects in both camps. This commonality is that universal object used to describe a pump, a core, or a seismic interpretation is – the document.

Document management

So my thesis is that the butterfly that got trampled on at some critical time in the separate development of upstream and facilities IT is the document. Or rather, it got trampled on by upstream data modelers who were hell bent on deconstructing everything from a core to a business partner. And who have left a legacy of bottom-up design which has neglected such top level trivia as the results of an interpretation or their own contract of employment.


Meanwhile, facilities engineers have stuck doggedly with their top - down objects such as Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) documents, specification sheets and equipment tags.


However, while this top down style has a lot to be said for it, there is a dark underside to facilities IT. Their secret? Beneath the surface they are harder-core data modelers than their upstream colleagues. The POSC/CAESAR data model knocks even the esoteric Epicentre into a cocked hat when it comes to complexity, abstraction and general non implementability.


So facilities IT is more pragmatic than upstream from one viewpoint - and more complex from another. With the move to integrated systems that cross traditional frontiers there is increasing need for mutual comprehension. I believe that PDM has a lot to contribute here, and that our expansion of coverage to the facilities arena will become a permanent fixture of the newsletter.

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Merak’s Capital Planning promises global portfolio optimization (December 1999)

A new module adds economic forecasting, decision support and portfolio optimization to Merak’s Value Management suite.

Merak Projects, recently bought by Schlumberger, has added decision analysis and international portfolio optimization to its Value Management suite. The new Capital Planning module leverages data already captured by Merak products such as Peep - claimed to be the most widely used petroleum economics software in the world.

economic forecast

Merak’s Dave Mason stated "Peep is used by our multi-national client base to generate economic forecasts, model uncertainty, to consolidate their worldwide assets and report to corporate level. The addition of Capital Planning will allow our clients to use this same data to examine other key business indicators such as production profiling, capital expenditure forecasting, and competitive portfolio evaluation. This will help companies fine-tune decisions while making the best use of their data, time and capital."

decision support

Capital Planning is a decision support application used to select optimal oil and gas portfolios to develop and operate. By modeling existing and projected oil and gas properties using Merak Peep, Portfolio and Monte Carlo functionality, the economics and uncertainties for entire portfolios can be calculated. Decision makers choose a set of properties to consider, define business constraints such as capital spending limits, line of credit constraints, contractual obligations, or working interests, and then choose an economic marker to optimize on.


The optimizer searches for the best portfolio that satisfies all of the constraints. By using the Efficient Frontier theory of investment, it allows companies to identify reward versus risk for their portfolios. The application also has rich data-mining, end-user reporting and capital plan comparison capabilities. More from 

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Rapprochement between UK DTI and Common Data Access (December 1999)

The UK Department of Trade and Industry will now allow CDA stakeholders to fulfill reporting requirement by registering data with CDA. The quid pro quo is that the DTI now has full access to the CDA data store.

An agreement between the UK government and operators should simplify reporting requirements and enhance data access for all parties. The ’Deed,’ signed by CDA Limited and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, will enable CDA stakeholders who hold petroleum licenses on the UKCS to satisfy their license obligations by supplying data directly to CDA rather than through the DTI. In return, the DTI has been given direct on-line access to all participants’ license data.


CDA’s chairman Phil Challis described the Deed as a ‘win-win’ arrangement "The DTI now has direct and immediate access to an increasing volume of UKCS license data. Participating companies continue to share these benefits and have the additional bonus of knowing that the DTI will in future obtain such data from CDA and not from them directly".


Minister of Energy and Competitiveness in Europe, Helen Liddell said: "Our relationship with CDA is an important component of the Department’s overall strategy for the efficient handling of UKCS license data. The arrangement with CDA will enable us to give further support to these important OGITF initiatives."

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POSC update (December 1999)

POSC, like the rest of the industry, has had an ‘interesting’ year and is seeking partners for possible convergence.

The industry downturn has impacted POSC and other standards organizations. Activity has been curtailed as members merge, reducing the sponsor base and budget. POSC is looking at convergence as the way forward. Preliminary talks between five standards bodies (see below) are underway to determine whether to merge or cooperate more closely.

hard times

Despite these hard times, more positive notes are reported with POSC’s new relationship with Open Geographic Information Systems OGIS and the Internet Society (W3W) while successful ongoing projects include WellogML, the Shared Earth Model (SEM), the PPDM/POSC reference project, and Project Synergy. The latter was greatly aided by a makeover of the Epicentre data model whereby the model's complexity has been reduced. A real-world implementation is now possible especially with Oracle's new object technology in 8.

well log naming

Participants are sought in a new project – "practical well log standards", described as yet another attempt to develop a well log naming convention to replace the plethora of names now in use. Previous attempts to do this have failed because of lack of maintenance. The new approach is to create a POSC registry for names of log curves in years to come. The nomenclature is to include logging curve names, attributes and reference values. Participation is being sought and it is hoped that 20 companies will put in $10,000 apiece of funding beyond the initial project.

Convergence Partners and budgets


2.5 MM$

Open Spirit

2.0 MM$ (est.)


2.0 MM$


400 k$

BizTech for Energy

400 k$

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Epicentre V3.01 out (December 1999)

Latest POSC Epicentre data model promises simplification, rationalization and enhanced geodetics.

A new version of the POSC Epicentre logical data model Version 3.01 is available. Major changes include a restructuring to minimize multiple inheritance, and the elimination of all Activity subtypes. The EPSG recommendations for coordinate systems have been adopted and proposals from Statoil’s SLEGGE project have been taken on board. The result is a e is a net reduction of about 300 entities. The preliminary version of the model can be downloaded from 

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New coherency package from TEEC (December 1999)

CohTEEC uses coherency processing to automate detection of fractures and reservoir fluid contacts.

German software developers TEEC have rolled out CohTEEC – an ensemble of software and workflows which allows for the mapping of lithology, fluid contacts and fractures. Multi-trace filters detect and map faults and fracture zones while subtle changes in seismic attributes are used to detect oil-gas-water contacts. The package uses pattern recognition and feature extraction algorithms to generate seismic attributes and to process very large 3D seismic surveys.


CohTEEC analyzes multiple traces simultaneously to capture the similarity of trace segments in a neighborhood. The size of the segment and the number of traces can be varied depending on the problem to be studied. CohTEEC attributes have been used to identify features that hard to detect or time consuming to interpret. Attributes can be used to map changes in seismic character. In some cases these can be linked to the reservoir heterogeneity.

Image processing

Attributes are derived from 3D image processing algorithms widely used in medical image processing or material science. The algorithms developed by TEEC are said ‘not to infringe on existing patents’.

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BP Amoco Move’s to Midland Valley (December 1999)

BP Amoco continues its upstream software shopping spree with palinspastic reconstruction software from Midland Valley.

Midland Valley (MV) has signed a contract with BP Amoco (BPA) to provide structural modeling software for their teams on a global basis. The deal includes MV’s 2DMove, 3DMove and 3DStress suite of structural modeling, restoration and validation tools. These are to be deployed throughout BPA’s major business units following successful evaluation the UK Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and Trinidad. As part of the deal Midland Valley has added fluid flow analysis and subseismic fracture detection to 3DMove.


MV Director Alan Gibbs says "These new technologies provide leveraged capability for all of our user community and along with other developments sponsored by users are delivering new and better tools for understanding the evolution of petroleum systems and reducing risk on structure at all scales." MV will also be providing training support and consulting services to both the BPA structural specialists and to business unit projects. More from 

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UKCS geodetics - a correction (December 1999)

A couple of errors slipped into our piece on the new UK geodetic system. Richard Wylde put of the SIMA Consultancy puts us right.

Richard Wylde wishes us to point out that his role on the UKOOA Surveying and Positioning committee is as a representative of the Surveying profession through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The chairman of the committee is Peter Dyson of TotalFina. We also fubritized Richard’s email which is in reality


As we are on the topic, it is worth mentioning that Richard has just finished preparing, the Guidance Notes on the use of Co-ordinate Systems in Data Management on the UKCS. These are available as a free downloadable .PDF file on the publications pages of the UKOOA web site also on the DTI web site 

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Plant Information Management (PIM) ‘99 (December 1999)

Plant-Tech’s 4th edition of PIM99 – the 'First European Plant Information Management Conference' was held last month in the magnificent Kurhaus hotel in the Dutch seaside resort of Scheveningen. Coverage of the engineering and facilities end of oil and gas information technology is a new venture for PDM. One important move afoot is for increasing integration between subsurface, facilities and financial IT. But even without the utopia of IT integration, there a lessons to be learned all round from a look ‘over the fence’. We bring you an overview of the latest developments in engineering document management and data warehousing. All of which is conducted in the distributed, intercontinental IT environment which a major construction project entails

document management

Unlike the upstream, where real IT-’men’ model everything that moves into the database, engineers have adopted a more pragmatic approach combining data modeling with document management. (See this month’s editorial for an expansion of this notion.) The Document Management Systems (DMS) typically deployed in the facilities environment are quite sizable. Tektonisk’s DMS deployed on Statoil’s $8bn Aasgard development (the most extensive sub-sea project in the world) contains some 50,000 documents covering equipment from over 600 manufacturers. The concomitant 50 fold reduction of documentation is said to lead to major cost savings.


Kvaerner’s distributed Documentum-based DMS contains some 7GB of documentation including 500MB of CAD drawings. With owner operators, prime contractors and asset locations frequently spread across several continents, engineers are writing the book when it comes to distributed computing and information sharing. For example, the Kvaerner DMS is accessible from sites in Sweden, The Netherlands and India via KINET claimed as the largest engineering network in the world. Theo Goosens described the lessons learned during this project – don’t change scope during the project, or underestimate either the bandwidth required or the steepness of the learning curve for new offices using new tools. More from


Jean-Jacques Rey described Teluco’s use of Office tools and XML on the TotalFina SINCOR upgrade of the of Venezuelan heavy oil development. Here data and document management are combined by using XML to stage ‘link’ information from structured data and documents. Information is first collected into Excel which is then "Saved As" XML. The XML source can then be parsed to configure and populate the DMS.

Data Warehousing

The other face of facilities IT is the ‘data warehouse’. Without dwelling on a definition of what exactly is meant by a data warehouse we offer the following suggestion. A data warehouse is what most people thought that a database was when they paid good money for it. More seriously, a data warehouse is usually a collection of databases linked through metadata to provide data in a form fit for end-use. Statoil is building a data warehouse for the Asgard facilities as part of the Lifecycle Facility Information project destined to "improve decisions and work processes in engineering." The data warehouse includes components built around the evolving POSC/CAESAR Association (PCA) data model. Amec’s Peter Mayhew described a similar development for Shell UK. The ‘Open Re-useable Business Information Step-Structured’ (ORBISS) data warehouse was originally developed as the North Sea Shearwater project data store. Mayhew stated "We like to work ‘the Amec way’ i.e. we work the way we want to work and use the applications we want to use." In this context Mayhew observed that integration within vendor product ‘suites’ was at best patchy. Data cleanup has been a major part of the process and Amec, partnering with Quillion (see article on Q-Clean), have developed cycle of gather, clean, map, consolidate, import, structure and manage integrated data.


Daniel Ruiter from engineering contractor Stork described a similar development for Shell on the Dutch onshore gas super-giant Gronigen field. Here a Step-based data warehouse has been deployed in a long-term revamp. Ruiter noted that the data warehouse is only part of the solution – equally important are the other integrated components from Notia and Autocad, linked though web-based data sharing. The idea is that documents in one environment hot-link intelligently to relevant information in another through the data warehouse.

SAP deployment

Statoil’s ‘BRA’ - improved decisions a work process in administration - is built around SAP R/3. Engineers have an propensity for spending money and it is no surprise that the integration of facilities IT with Enterprise Resource Planning and Allocation software is more advanced than in the upstream. Shell’s Bert Heikoop described NAM’s SAP R/3 implementation codenamed Sharp. NAM is Shell/Esso joint venture running domestic oil and gas production in The Netherlands . Sharp (or òharp – with an integral symbol) - stands for the Integration and Harmonization project which kicked-off in September 1996 and has now been successfully completed. Preparatory work included visits to Shell subsidiaries and other American oil and gas companies with similar experience.

big bang

NAM looked at splitting the huge migration project into more manageable chunks, but found that the legacy systems which were to be replaced were so integrated themselves, that only a 'big bang' approach was possible. The scope of the SAP migration included Business Process, Financial, Goods and Services and Human Resources. Sharp includes replaces 65 legacy systems and includes interfaces to a further 31 systems. There are currently over 2000 users and the system offers controlled access to third parties. Now everyone in the company can raise and notify a work order, and follow its execution, billing and settlement. Heikoop insists that "Sharp is not an IT project, through NAM's '2010 Vision' program, the SAP migration is a lever extending asset management throughout the company, and overcoming the problems of people's 'silo' mentality."

data cleansing

Crucial to the project has been a huge data cleansing operation, conducted by domain experts - this cumulated about 40 man-years of effort. The devil in the detail emerged during project design - again people-related - such as the difficulty of business people to adapt and the high workload which fell on a relatively small number of people. Another issue involved arbitrating between the need for managers to have full access while hiding sensitive contract information from others.

new technologies

According to Buddy Cleveland of Bently/Microstation "there are no IT greenfields – just brown field sites. It is therefore important that new systems integrate the old – which is where the pragmatic solutions of XML development come in. Bentley’s ProjectBank offers persistent storage of engineering data, using multiple XML schemas. For Cleveland, "engineering is no longer ‘computer aided’ but IT has made many engineering processes truly ‘computer enabled’."


Statoil’s Secured Oil Information Link SOIL Architecture was described by Helge Hatlestad. SOIL is a ring-fenced extranet which allows Statoil’s partners and contractors to share and distribute information in a secure manner. CEA’s Erik van der Laan described distributed data sharing using the internet. This environment assures synchronicity of shared data sharing between the US-based client, European engineering, IT resources in India and the project in China. A data strategy has been developed to overcome the inherent slowness of Internet. All graphical data is stored in one database and only change information transmitted when needed. Tools of the trade for this project are Microsoft Active Server Pages and HTML/XML.

new venture

Coverage of the plant information management scene is a new venture for PDM and we have found it very instructive to see how things are done on the other side of the fence. But we have a lot to learn, and we would like to hear from you. Whether you are in upstream or facilities, let us know what you think of the coverage here, and if you have something to contribute to the debate, let PDM be your soapbox.

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PDM Interview - Steve Trythall, Prism Technologies (December 1999)

PrismTechnologies’ data modeling guru Steve Trythall enlightened PDM as to some similarities and differences in facilities and subsurface data modeling.

PDM - we are confused by all this talk of STEP, Epistle, POSC/CAESAR (PCA) and Synergy - enlighten us please.

Trythall - All the standards organizations you mention have developed separate plant information data models in the past but what is key today is the agreement to merged them into what is termed Epistle V3 - the new standard. However, the combinatorial power of the underlying Express data modeling language means that the new model could have as many as 10^^26 tables - in other words, it is not implementable. Synergy is an implementable version of the Epistle V3 data model.

PDM what are the differenced between PCA and say Epicentre.

Trythall - They fall on different parts of the ‘genericity’ spectrum. On the one hand, you have a completely specified data model such as PPDM. At the other end - completely generic - lies the highly abstract model of PCA. Epicentre is somewhere in the middle. The PCA approach is to model in a very abstract manner, and to keep all the information in class libraries (as reference data).

PDM - what benefits are you expecting from Oracle 8i?

Trythall - We are excited about the new performant indexing technology - which is required because the Epistle model explodes the required number of tables. Also more work can be done within the database engine itself such as the execution of complex queries requiring Java computations for units of measure conversion or spatial queries. Modeling of nested tables and pointer-based data structures of the object oriented data model will also be easier.

PDM - won't the Oracle 8i specific implementation compromise data perennity?

Trythall - yes we are predicated on Oracle 8i, the cartridge won't run on Sybase for example. There is a conflict between features and standardization. Performance is the key so we like to grab everything we can. Data preservation and future migration will be achieved with Oracle tools.

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VR safety training with SIMShell (December 1999)

SIMShell uses commodity PC graphics components to build VR simulators used to train offshore personnel.

Dutch company SIMShell uses low-end PC-based 3D Video technology for safety training. This is used to familiarize workers with their environment before flying offshore. 3D realism is achieved through photos and laser surveys of real plant.


Simulations of disasters or abandonment scenarios. The work is an extension of Shell’s GameChanger project which is set to develop ’rule breaking’ ideas. The technology allows quick testing of VR simulators and is cheaper than business graphics.

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Data cleanup software from Quillion (December 1999)

Q-Clean wraps the Regular Expression in a user friendly package which helps the data manager perform the many data clean-up tasks often overlooked in application packages.

You probably have already spent a considerable amount of time performing data clean-up. Perhaps you do this with tools such as text editors, or for the more sophisticated, UNIX shell scripting tools such as grep and awk may do the job.

double entries

Typical tasks may be searching for double entries in databases or flat files, changing well names to match the 'official' standard or editing company information after a merger. This humble task took nearly 40 man-years of effort in NAM's SAP migration project, so anything that helps out in this context is a potential money-saver.

regular expression

Quillion's Q-Clean is a user-friendly shell to a Regular Expression generator (a cross platform generalization of the UNIX grep shell command) which allows the user to split database fields, to fix the case of text fields or to homogenize units - such that a column containing successive values of say .75cm, 1", 2in. can be parsed and split into value and unit of measure pairs. Q-Clean works on any DAO or ODBC compliant data base (which means just about anything) and a three hour learning time is claimed. More from 

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Express old hat? (December 1999)

Jenny Meader (POSC Consultants Ltd.) speaking at PIM ‘99 reviewed the standard organization scene, concluding that progress was limited by a natural predilection for the complex. One way forward, according to Meader is to re-tool from the esoteric Express modeling language to the more widely understood and used Unified Modeling Language (UML).

Meader has spent six years working with standards organizations and 2 years with POSC and POSC/CAESAR Association (PCA) 'trying to make standards happen and to make them useful to industry.' Meader is therefore well placed to investigate what makes a successful standard, whether it is de facto or de jure. Unchallenged examples of successful standards are Microsoft Windows, HTML, and the emerging XML protocol. Meader notes the accelerating process of standardization - beginning with the formation of the International Telegraph Union (ITU) in the 1860's, then the IEEE in 1884, ANSI (1918) and ISO (1947). Considerable acceleration has taken place since then with IETF (1986) and closer to home Epistle Core model in 1999. Of particular note is the recent success of 'brain dead' HTML.


What makes standards successful? - For Meader they must be easy to understand, easy to use and freely available. They should not be encumbered by ’political’ issues such as who is in charge (vendors or users), who organizes things and who pays. Also important is the degree of verticality (market sector) that is right for a successful standard. Meader concludes that one standard per sector is desirable.


This should be vendor and user driven. It should be directly and unambiguously implementable and easy to use. Intellectual property rights need to be clear and the standard should be freely available. In the PIM context Meader further concludes that the merger of the PCA/AP221 and Epistle data models is a good sign. Vendor and user cooperation is also a plus. One the downside, PCA suffers from the 'Ivory Tower' syndrome - the underlying technology is neither widely used, nor directly implementable and is not easy to understand. Future directions for PIM related standards should embrace vendor technology and emerging standards such as UML and the XML Schema and graphics standard. A migration from EXPRESS to a language such as UML/XML, for which tools exist and which is directly implementatable is needed soon - 'or we will be bypassed by the rest of the world.'

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Enterprise awards Granite Rock data management (December 1999)

Following consolidation of its UK asset team in Aberdeen, Enterprise Oil has awarded Granite Rock an exclusive contract for seismic data management.

Enterprise Oil has awarded Aberdeen-based Granite Rock an exclusive 2-3 year seismic data management. Granite Rock’s Technical Director John Ashbridge said "Correct analysis and formatting of seismic data is the starting point for all seismic evaluation.

SEGY to Screen

Granite Rock, as a specialist geophysical company, has unique experience to provide this service". Established in 1996, Granite Rock seven full time staff and provides a "SEGY to Screen" service. Ashbridge told PDM "We will utilize in-house systems and expertise to analyze and reformat the data. When required, we will send personnel and tapes to the client to load data directly onto its system. Key in our software solutions is the Panther Seismic Data Loader (SDL) and we have a broad range of Geoscience software in-house."

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Oil prospects pushed to web (December 1999)

From a PowerPoint of your prospect Awakening Technology will create a full multimedia presentation with web hosting. Technology showcased with demo of the 'Orphan Prospect'

Awakening Technology Company has launched an online service for the preparing and hosting of multimedia presentations . Flash/Shockwave technology is used to create dynamic presentations for promoting oil and gas prospects, products and services, online tutorials, or corporate announcements. The company offers a complete web hosting solution, including multi-band streaming audio/video and a choice of publication media from direct online, download with FTP, or CDROM.

Orphan Prospect

The website hosts a demonstration of the technology using the fictitious ‘Orphan prospect’, a 5 minute multimedia presentation of an oil and gas prospects. We downloaded the plu-ins and tried the demo which unfortunately refused to stream. But we viewed the file off-line and agree that the technology has the potential to interest the oil and gas promoter.


Awakening will convert existing PowerPoint presentations to dynamic online broadcasts which can be integrated through a link to the PresentationXpress site. More from 

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GeoQuest rewarded (December 1999)

The Software Support Professionals Association has given GeoQuest a Software Technical Assistance Recognition (STAR) award in recognition for customer support throughout 1999

The STAR award, established in 1990 ‘recognizes customer service excellence among software support professionals’. Bill Rose, SSPA founder and executive director said "GeoQuest develops and supports a very complex package to petroleum companies and has achieved a short average response rate, a very high call answer rate and a 97% customer satisfaction rating.

complex support

The award was given by the SSPA Advisory Board in the ‘complex support’ category for ‘a consistently high level of support for mission-critical applications used in scientific, engineering, health care or other highly technical environments.’


"This award is a recognition of the outstanding work that our support staff provides to our customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, " said Jim Strickland, manager of GeoQuest Customer Support in North America. "High quality support is a cornerstone of management philosophy at GeoQuest. Founded in 1989, SSPA represents over 6,000 service executives in over 500 member companies worldwide. More from 

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Internet resource update (December 1999)

The fourth edition of the Oil and Gas on the Internet directory is out - now in both Upstream and Downstream versions.

The latest edition of the "Oil and Gas on the Internet" directory, which is updated every 90 days, offers information on 3,804 web sites. The directory provides a a brief abstract and Internet address for each site.


The Downstream version has 1,766 total sites for refining, marketing and transportation. The Upstream version has 2,400 total sites for exploration and production. Both have integrated oil and gas companies, pipeline service companies, engineering and construction companies, pricing sites, etc.


Both directories are available as site licenses in either database format or HTML format for use on your company LANs or Intranets.
A paper-based directory is also available. One enthusiastic user is Tim Woodall of British Gas who vouches "this is the premier collection of energy resources on the Web." More from

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PDM Interview- Thore Langeland, Statoil (December 1999)

Thore Langeland is manager of Statoil's ‘Cyberorg’ IT architecture and currently heads up the OLF - the Norwegian Oil Industry body. Langelend’s thesis is that the increased cooperation between subsurface (geology) and facilities (engineering) is the way forward and that information sharing represents the next quantum leap in IT and business process improvement.

PDM - we understand that you are an advocate of closer integration of subsurface and topside facilities - how are these attempts at cooperation going?

Langeland - Subsurface and facilities are still two different cultures, but if you look at what has been happening in the subsurface domain itself, you can see how things are improving. Previously, geologists and reservoir engineers operated in separate universes and communicated little. Nowadays cooperation in the reservoir description and modeling field is much more widespread. In Statoil, we have multi-disciplinary groups working on project evaluation and we have found that this process mandates cooperation between the various cultures.

PDM - does such collaboration require lightweight exchange of summary information or do you have a more comprehensive approach, with a shared data model?

Langeland - our business process improvement involves several well-identified steps beginning with acreage selection through prospectivity evaluation through estimates of NPV according to different geological and scenarios. It is this close coupling of geology and engineering that forces cooperation. In the past, we know that we have over-engineered facilities. Drilling costs can be as much as one third of the overall project costs and a holistic approach is needed to optimize well spacing for instance. When it comes to drilling a well Statoil has different decision points - an economic evaluation, if positive, will likely lead to further evaluation through to the final project. The 3D model is a great focus for the project team who all are involved. In this environment, it is just too wasteful to have two cultures.

PDM - in all this is IT a facilitator or a handicap?

Langeland - Back in 1988 a typical subsurface analysis involving only a few wells might take several weeks. This kind of activity has been greatly speeded up by modern software tools. But software is still lacking at the frontier of reservoir and process engineering.

PDM - From Helge Hatlestad’s presentation, the Statoil architecture reflects the traditional discipline breakdown to a large extent. Just how much is cross-discipline integration really working today.

Langeland - We currently have working integration between SAP R/3 and Landmark's product suite - this represents finance to subsurface integration. The same goes for the facilities and finance, with the Integraph to SAP links. Linkage also exisits between Health Safety and Environment (HSE) and the facilities POSC/CAESAR environment. Having said that, we still need more software that operates across the different boundaries. We ultimately need to be able to 'see' the whole value chain - from exploration through to refining.

PDM - Why is Statoil still working on an Epicentre-based Corporate Data Store (CDS) when you already have Petrobank?

Langeland - Petrobank is the master data store for raw data. The CDS, of which Project Synergy is a component will hold interpreted data.

PDM - we keep hearing of the Asgard project in the context of Statoil's IT. These technical presentations are frequently associated with significant projected cost savings. To the world at large though, Asgard is best known for its massive cost overruns*. Can you legitimately claim cost savings through major IT developments which are invariably highly front-end loaded?

Langeland - We in Statoil have not presented cost savings in this context. Our aim all along has been to change the organization and to improve working practices. We are convinced of the need to take advantage of sharing information and resources and of the long-term advantages to be gained from this strategy.

*Editor’s note - cost overruns (not necessarily related to IT) on the Asgard project caused a major political upheaval in Norway earlier this year leading to the resignation of a number of Statoil’s board members.

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PDM Interview Derek Middlemas, Intergraph (December 1999)

Intergraph is best known for its CAD/CAM software, but as DerekMiddlemas points out, the new trend is for standards-based product management throughout the life-cycle of a facility. Intergraph’s flagship Notia data warehouse is one of the first implementations of the POSC/CAESAR data model.

PDM - we have been looking at interoperability as viewed by different actors in the upstream and are interested as to what data needs to be exchanged for performant interoperability. In the Plant Information Management (PIM) environment, do you need a common data model for interoperability, or are lighter-weight solutions the way forward?

Middlemas - I'm not sure that we know the optimum amount of data to transfer for interoperability. What we do know is that the standards for data exchange are at the stage where they can be really used - I'm thinking particularly about the new POSC/CAESAR Association (PCA) Oracle Cartridge. Our flagship product for Plant Information Management - NOTIA uses the PCA snapshot data model and we will be migrating this to the EPISTLE V3.0 data model when this is available.

PDM - to what extent is the high-tech data modeling approach to PIM a European - or even a Norwegian - phenomenon. Are these universal standards?

Middlemas - There is a North Sea bias here. Our client base for the PCA based product includes Statoil, Saga and Norsk Hydro but we also have BP and Elf. I believe that the US market lags behind Europe in the field of standards-based data management. Notia implements standards-based data management by managing equipment tags and asset data and by building a 'once and for all' repository for project data. Data used to be spread all over the place in many different applications. For Elf, it was a big problem just getting hold of the right data item. For example the construction process, which tends to have a short term ‘design and build’ focus, could not supply a comprehensive and accurate tag register. This is an essential requirement and starting point for the future maintenance, change management and ultimately decommissioning of the asset.

PDM - why the difference between EU and US?

Middlemas - Most large engineering companies have their own information systems. These costly legacy systems have slowed development of standards-based open systems in the US. European companies appear to have less of a legacy-focus, and are convinced about standards.

PDM - but is there not a feeling elsewhere that this data modeling exercise is too ambitious to produce real benefit?

Middlemas - I don't think so. You do not need to map the whole business process to get the benefits. For Elf, Notia manages all equipment tag data in one system which alone brings considerable immediate benefits. The tag repository can be used to feed maintenance systems and the same tags can be associated with documents in a Document Management System. Sounds easy, but before this was a real problem area, and by enforcing the single-source tag repository, we have identified all sorts of data quality issues. In addition, the repository is hooked in to SAP bringing more real benefits.

PDM - what is Intergraph's role in Open Synergy

Middlemas - Open Synergy is a Prismtech brand name. Project Synergy itself is an Oracle managed project to produce a POSC/CAESAR data cartridge for Oracle 8i. Intergraph is a technical partner in Project Synergy.

PDM - And what exactly does Notia do?

Middlemas - Notia stores and manages drawings generated in 2D and 3D CAD applications and allows them to be distributed and visualized within the corporate workflow. Notia is built with XML data exchange standards 'through and through' and XML is used to trade data with applications. We are very enthusiastic about XML - it has proved tremendously efficient and is just the tool for the job.

PDM - talking of XML and openness - will you be publishing Document Type Definitions (DTD's)?

Middlemas - We have a lot of ideas along these lines, but there are of course commercial issues. We are also watching initiatives such as BizTalk.

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