May 1999

SAP and Landmark Graphics to team on ERA (May 1999)

Accounting software giant SAP and Landmark are teaming in a bold move to link Enterprise Resource Allocation (financial) and geotechnical IT.

No, it’s not another inter-operability initiative! Landmark is to plug its Oilfield Workstation TOW/cs production allocation system intto SAP’s Enterprise Accounting System R/3. The link will be hardwired through the proprietary BAPI programming interface. This linkage of Landmark software to SAP's Oil & Gas Industry Solution will be available in early 2000.


Dieter Rafalsky, Head of SAP Oil and Gas Industry Unit said, "TOW/cs will offer our customers a robust field data capture and daily allocation engine that will be seamlessly integrated with our monthly production allocation and revenue accounting functionality." Landmark's Bob Peebler added "This agreement is the first in a series of strategic alliances between Landmark and SAP that will leverage the powerful functionality of the SAP R/3 System with Landmark’s suite of geoscience, drilling and engineering solutions."


The extension of SAP into the upstream will be begin with Operations. The SAP R/3 Maintenance module will be used to manage downhole and surface equipment. The next objective, Accounting will include monthly allocation and valuation of volumes according to owners and contracts and the preparation of regulatory and tax reports. Produced volumes will be integrated with joint venture accounting and production sharing contract modules.


TOW/cs, from Landmark Graphics, provides enterprise-wide collection, storage and analysis of daily operational data from sources such as handheld devices, SCADA systems, meter readings and tank strappings. The field production data captured in TOW/cs will be integrated with both Landmark's DSS32 production surveillance system and the SAP R/3 accounting package.

PDM comment - The interplay between this hardwiring of Landmark's products to SAP's R/3 contrasts with the recent announcement of ‘Open’ cooperation through COM for Energy (see PDM Vol 4 N° 2). Landmark, has previously complained at the slowness of collaborative work and expressed a desire to go things alone. Landmark is clearly playing hardball here and may well have stolen a march on the competition!

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IHS Energy Group to merge PI and Dwights well files (May 1999)

Two US well and production files from Petroleum Information and Dwight's Energydata, are being merged into new databases; PIDplus (Production) and PIDplus (Wells).

Well and production data will be linked through new, standardized names and codes to provide what IHS describe as "a single source for the most complete, accurate, and easily accessed U.S. well and production information available anywhere".

50 man-years

Since the 1997 merger, PI and Dwights have spent fifty man-years integrating the two production and well files. The integration is an ongoing process and does not appear to offer a totally unified product. In fact the deliverables initially will be a production data base and a separate well database.

data first

The focus initially is on data clean up rather than data modeling. The integration process included detailed regional comparisons, audits and matching procedures.


Producing properties will be matched to the original well completions via the API number in an ongoing audit and data correlation project. New export formats will also be available.

The new production database will include proprietary files from old state records which are no longer available at state agencies. IHS Energy claim that such data will be an advantage to those who depend upon "accurate, complete production volumes in their business".


Importantly, mechanisms will be in place to allow direct feedback from the industry. The new well database merges 2.8 million wells from PI and 1.3 million from Dwights in a procedure described as "lengthy and complex, utilizing intensive data processing and manual intervention".

code tables

Linking the production and well datasets will be achieved through the Standard Codes Project which will synchronize the codes and nomenclature used in the different data sources. These codes will be implemented in our new integrated PIDplus databases. These new codes will follow the design of PI’s PIDM relational data model, itself based on the Public Petroleum Data Model.

PDM comment. What interests us about this project is the ratio between the effort in data cleanup and data modeling. While more intellectual satisfaction may be had from discussing entities and relations, the real world task of matching million-well datasets involves hand-crafted matching of individual data items.


In short, lots of real grunt work. The new code tables appear almost simultaneous with PPDM and POSC’s collaboration in this field. Some quick work may be required here to align these different initiatives.

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How Interoperable are the Standards Organizations? (May 1999)

PDM's editor Neil McNaughton recently attended the spring meetings of the main E&P standards organizations. The downturn has meant that funding is in short supply, but it looks as though the hard times are sparking-off renewed cooperative initiatives which may benefit industry in the long run.

PDM has been tracking developments in standards and interoperability over the last couple of months. We have noted the recent additions of Synergy and Com for Energy (PDM Vol. 4 N° 2) and have attempted to map out who is doing what and where. I was therefore very interested in a new analysis, presented at the spring POSC member meeting, which John Hanten, POSC’s Chairman, was kind enough to let us reproduce here.


The horizontal axis shows the spectrum of E&P IT from geotechnical to financial, while the vertical axis shows the different components. The overlap between POSC and PPDM in the data modeling area is clearly evident. Which leads us to the first good news of the month. Despite the first two attempts at ending in tears, these organizations are going to have another bash at sharing resources.

reference libraries

The erstwhile sparring partners are to bury the hatchet and work together to produce a common set of codes (reference tables). This will mean that items such as log mnemonics, well completion nomenclature and the like will be the same across the two databases. Lets hope they manage to align this effort with IHS Energy who have just been there and are doing that (see this month’s front page).

Interop space

Going back to POSC’s analysis below, the scope of the three vendor-driven interoperability initiatives can be seen as follows. Open Spirit is ambitiously positioned middleware which will ultimately cover the whole spectrum of IT. Synergy’s positioning is similarly broad in scope. COM for Energy is significantly more focused, aiming at the interface between the technical and commercial worlds.


A dimension that is not clear from the present analysis is the targeted platform for the initiatives. I think that, despite vendors valiant efforts to present an ‘integrated’ front with interoperability extending across both Windows and UNIX, the reality of the Interop space is more entrenched. The COM for Energy focus, rather than embracing UNIX, is currently more interested in ‘cherry picking’ high value PC applications.

CORBA for Geoshare

Another field of cooperating standards was evidenced by Jim Theriot’s paper at the PNEC Data Integration conference. Here a cooperative effort between POSC and Geoshare is web-enabling Geoshare by ‘wrapping’ the data model with CORBA IDL. This effort is part of the elegantly named Geoshare Webification SIG!


Should the standards organizations merge? I believe that there is a lot of damaging confusion caused by having a multiplicity of E&P IT standards, but on the other hand I am inclined to say ‘vive la différence’. The advantage of the status quo is that the champions of say, a logical data model, RP66, or Oracle DDL can all optimize their wares without a central body arbitrating the research effort up-front.

help required!

A more pressing issue is the fact that membership of these organizations is declining, and the demographics have shifted in favor of software vendors as opposed to oil companies. Without painting the vendors as machiavellian, their agenda is different. So if you believe that common industry-wide reference tables would be a good thing; join up! What the standards organizations need most right now is more input from genuine end-users.

sign up here

Hopefully some of these initiatives will inspire some of you to lend a hand. Take your pick from the following

and make sure that your voice is heard!

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PDM checks out the PowerHouse (May 1999)

GeoQuest’s solution for outsourced data management is the PowerHouse. PDM visited the Houston installation where oil companies store their seismic, log and inventory data. PowerHouse is built around GeoQuest’s Finder together with LogDB, SeisDB and AssetDB.

Mark Cyran, manager of GeoQuest’s PowerHouse data management center in Houston took PDM on a guided tour of the installation. The first thing that strikes the visitor is the security. The installation is housed in a high-rise, and because of the possibility of inclement weather blowing the building’s windows out, the facility is surrounded by a plate glass screen, and "hurricane alley" an empty buffer zone on the outside of the building. User security is pro-active with Smart Card Secure ID, and the autonomous backup power will keep the facility running for a week. Access to the facility goes through the OMNES Firewall, never through the public Internet.

data BANK-ing

The idea behind the Powerhouse is very simple. You don’t keep your cash under your bed do you? So why keep your data in-house? GeoQuest plan to look after a corporation’s data just as Bank America across the road looks after their financial assets. Customer logs are QC’d before storage according to ISO 9000 approved procedures. This allows for editing of UWI and header data for consistency. Only raw data is stored on the system, which forms part of an extended chain of data management services including management of legacy inventory to long-term storage or destruction if required.


Using this complex system necessitates intensive training. The basic course for a Powerhouse operator lasts 16 weeks. Guardian Data is the partner for the seismic transcription service. Seismics are QC’d and transcribed to High Density Media and encapsulated using the SEG’s RODE technique.

Field data is stored on shelves, while ‘project ready‘ SEG-Y stacked data is stored on GECO’s D2 Robotics. This allows a one day turnaround for de-encapsulating the RODE tapes to workstation formats (GeoQuest or Landmark) for an ‘average’ 3-10 GB 3D project.


Just to make sure the system is as secure as they think it is, GeoQuest have commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to perform regular penetration surveys. The PwC hackers have not yet managed to get close!

proprietary data

In line with the outsourced philosophy, the PowerHouse allows clients to integrate data from proprietary sources such as PI/Dwights (IHS Energy), Tobin and QC Data, at the same time incorporating existing corporate library data.


The load on the system is light as yet. Indeed, Cyran looked embarrassed as we surveyed a largely empty room. This, he explained was mainly due to the shrinking size of the hardware. Currently the system boasts around 1½ TB of on-line data, with another 3½ TB near-line.

More clients

The current customer base includes Pennzoil, Coastal and Burlington. The year-end downturn in the industry did force some customers to reflect on the potential of outsourced data management, and Cyran is expecting to sign up another three PowerHousers shortly. Cyran claims that the main competitor for the Powerhouse is ‘the status quo‘.

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Libya data package from Scott Pickford (May 1999)

Updated package of Libyan data available to companies seeking to benefit from removal of UN sanctions.

Following the removal of UN sanctions, interest has be renewed in Libya as an exploration play. UK-based Scott Pickford has updated its Libya Hydrocarbon Evaluation Report to include information current to 1999. The 300 page report gives a broad overview of stratigraphy, tectonics and hydrocarbon potential of the whole of Libya, drawing on public domain information from Libya and adjacent countries.


The report, available on paper and as a web-browser enabled CD includes 95 oversize enclosures including 1:1,000,000 location maps and summary charts.

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Geoshare Annual Users Group (May 1999)

It was stocktaking time at the Annual Meeting of the Geoshare User Group. The organization is strapped for cash and a survey of users underscored the difficulty of deploying a not-for-profit standard. PDM reviews the user meeting and also offers contributions from the Geoshare Board, and an independent Geoshare user.

Geoshare, the first attempt at providing universal software interoperability through data 'half-links' (see the side-box and PDM Vol. 2 N° 7 for a backgrounder) is at a turning point. A survey of Geoshare users showed many users lukewarm towards the standard. The Geoshare funding model is based on voluntary contribution of time, and allows for limited development and promotion. A new three-year plan for the organization will ensure that the standard is maintained, but the current thinking is that within this time frame, something else will 'turn up' to replace the now mature Geoshare.

serious use

Despite signs of serious use of Geoshare in the community at large - particularly with the Conoco-Mobil-Vastar initiative, the Geoshare user meeting held last month in Houston was a very downbeat affair. Stuart McAdoo (the father of Geoshare), Paul Haines and Bill Quinlivan are leaving the board and moving on to other pastures in the Schlumberger group.


Much soul searching has been going on within the organization following the results of the survey of Geoshare take-up, and perception throughout the industry. Results indicated a preference amongst non-Geoshare users for direct links, and even a penchant for the simplicity of ASCII data transfer. Within the Geoshare user community, other problems revolve around the limited support offered from the main vendors for the standard, the difficulty of developing and testing links, and the lack of real end-users (as opposed to data specialists) within the Geoshare community.


From the study results, the Board concluded that Geoshare could be viewed as a mature technology which may be doing the job that the industry needs, and that significant growth of the organization may not be necessary. This conclusion was also predicated on the fact that, given the modest resources of the organization, significant growth would be very hard to achieve.


Notwithstanding the limited resources, Geoshare has given itself quite an ambitious program. The current strategy is to maintain the standard as a tool to be used by data specialists and to keep the standard stable over the next three years while continuing to respond to user-driven enhancements. Other aims include

More help for developers in the form of documentation and examples

Promotion of the Geoshare network throughout the industry through the website and communication with the membership

Continued development of the data model - with a new Version 12 to be presented at the July 16th data model meeting.

Current thinking is that within the three year time frame a new standard will come along to replace Geoshare in the interoperability stakes. In this context the OpenSpirit initiative, POSC and RESCUE have been evoked.

PDM comment : The strategy put forward by the Geoshare board reflects the organization's traditional low-key approach. The same package could have been presented as a 'new revitalized marketing initiative'. See the contributions from Ken Bastow (the new Geoshare chairman) and Carol Sumner for some more thoughts on the future of the standard.

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A view from the (Geoshare) shop floor. (May 1999)

Carol Sumner (Independent Consulting Services) is skeptical of new technology replacing Geoshare within the three year allotted time-span.

Given the all-volunteer makeup of Geoshare and its minimal budget, the influence of the Board is limited. Really, the driving forces behind the acceptance of the standard are the vendors and end-users themselves.


Many Geoshare members are skeptical that any new technology would actually progress to the point that Geoshare or its function is replaced within the 3 year time frame. This skepticism is based on the following :

The failure of the Geoshare to Epicentre Migration project (GEMSIG) where it was realized that the problem of migration was growing faster than the solution.

Many of the problems which Geoshare has faced are independent of the Geoshare data model or transport mechanism. Any emerging technology will have to tackle the same roadblocks in the data exchange arena.

Software vendors prefer direct links between their products and the major software suites rather than true interoperability.

I do not believe that the Board intended to say that Geoshare is to be allowed to die a slow and orderly death! The message was, I believe, that the board took a proactive stance to assess the state of Geoshare and based on that assessment, the strategy of maintain the status quo while monitoring other initiatives is realistic.


Geoshare is a mature technology. It can be maintained with the available manpower and funding. If the board actually accomplishes the specific items in its strategy, it could create more interest in Geoshare. The Board will focus its attention on communication rather than technology. Personally, I believe that there is untapped potential in Geoshare. However, the driving force for realizing that potential must come from the users.

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Geoshare Board Position Statement (May 1999)

PDM was privileged to receive the following statement from Ken Bastow, chairman of the Geoshare board. Ken outlines how the organization intends to make optimum use of its limited resources.

A cornerstone of the process we adopted in developing the new strategy was being honest about the amount of time the membership has to dedicate to Geoshare activities. That time directly relates to the number and kinds of things that can be accomplished. As a volunteer organization the Geoshare Users Group runs on the goodwill and energy of the member companies.


Over time, as the size of the workforce has shrunk, the workload hasn't and Geoshare has improved, there has been a decrease in the time companies are willing to dedicate.

tight integration

Another consideration was the ongoing industry efforts targeted around tighter integration and different transport mechanisms. I think it is important to recognize that these efforts exist and monitor them but not waste resources competing with them. On the other hand it is not currently clear whether or not one these efforts will ever functionally replace Geoshare.


Until that becomes clear and proven by significant and sustained industry take-up and demonstrated commercial success Geoshare will be there to provide loose integration. During the time all of this is sorting itself out Geoshare will not remain stagnant.

Version 12

On June 16 the Users Group will hold the annual standards administration meeting and out of this will come Version 12 of the Geoshare data model and ancillary standards. We plan to continue the process of reviewing our standards on an annual basis and making member driven changes for the foreseeable future. Over the next three years our strategy also calls for a reduction of roadblocks identified in our survey, by improving access to user and development experts, new and more complete benchmark data sets, more domain specific code examples and improved communication with members through email and an improved web site.

data specialist

To accomplish these things we will be focusing the efforts of the User Group on the E&P data specialist leaving efforts targeted at improving interfaces and tools for the G&G professional in the hands of vendor developers where they belong. However we will stop trying to figure out how to aggressively market Geoshare.


For a small organization like ours, marketing is best carried out through participation, support and sponsorship of events like the PNEC Data Integration and Management Conference. In these open forums we have the best opportunity to communicate our success stories with minimum cost and maximum impact. The Geoshare Users Group is an organization that is positive about its future, cognizant of its resources, aware of emerging technology, maintaining its standard and committed to implementing strategies it can achieve.

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POSC Spring Member Meeting (May 1999)

Revised priorities now include Business Objects, Interoperability the Epicentre Logical Model. Due to financial constraints, POSC has been forced to close its London office.

Mergers and the general state of the oil industry have affected the member base and discretionary POSC funding, while low-end members have left as a result of fee changes. The London office is to close, and Paul Maton will now represent POSC in Europe.


The ‘standards confusion’ issue is to be addressed through a new initiative. John Hanten (the new Chairman) and David Archer are to meet with the other initiatives to discuss mutual benefits and "make sense of the landscape". See this month’s Editorial (page 2) for more on the ‘Interop Space’.

Open Spirit

Open Spirit is planning to move out of the initial domain of subsurface interpretation into Shared Earth Modeling, Drilling and Production. The alliance is also working (with CGG) on a generic 3D View interface specification for building 3D applications. The Alliance is also developing its business model and attempting to clarify ‘names and roles’ of the Alliance. Chevron are to inject $400k over 3 years plus 2.5 million in people into the Open Spirit project.


(See PDM Vol 4 N°. 2) Chevron and Statoil are the main partners in this project which is intended to produce a "high performance persistency layer below business objects". Some members were critical of Synergy. Because it uses ‘all Oracle’ technology, it is arguably not really an interoperability initiative at all.

Shared Earth Model

The POSC SEM now has 9 sponsors and a $ 500 K budget. The SEM is to deploy Epicentre and POSC business objects and will accommodate multi-vendor environments. The scope of the SEM is still being discussed. Some think that it should focus on providing consistent 3D modeling for interpreted data, others believes it should expand to encompass Knowledge Management and Work Flow.

COM for Energy

Landmark’s John Lewis presented the Microsoft COM based collaboration (see PDM Vol. 4 N° 2 and this month‘s editorial). No new information was revealed, and in its turn COM for Energy was criticized as tending to cloud the standards issues, and to re-open the UNIX vs. PC wars.

Board make-up

The POSC board is currently as follows: -

John Hanten (Chevron)

Kamal Al-Yahya (Saudi Aramco)

Bernard Potier (Elf)

Trond Unneland (Statoil )

John Gibson (Landmark )

Keith Steele (Prism Tech. )

Stuart Robinson (UK DTI )

David Archer (POSC)

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Petris and Paradigm Technologies team to market new web software (May 1999)

Petris and Paradigm Technologies team to market new web software

Petris Technology and Paradigm Technologies Inc. (PTI - not to be confused with Paradigm Geophysical!) are to co-develop and market a web-based application, the Excalibur Well Query System.


The new product is to allow non-technical users to access financial information held in PTI's Excalibur EDGE Accounting System. Targeted end-users are executives, engineering and geo-scientists.

The Excalibur Well Query System allows users to search for specific wells by a variety of criteria and view all pertinent data using virtually any web browser. The systems uses a restricted version of Petris’ new web-application server, PetrisConnect while the interface will be co-developed by Petris and PTI.


Customers may expand the system by upgrading to a full version of PetrisConnect, allowing them to interface with other databases, or add other applications such as Land Query, Records Management and Daily Production. PTI, founded in 1979, develops and markets integrated financial and operational software solutions for over 300 oil and gas companies, and employs 100 people in its Dallas, Denver, and Houston offices.

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PPDM rolls out new versions of data model (May 1999)

The Public Petroleum Data Model Association rolls-out 3.4.1 revision and offers members access to the 3.5 alpha. The latest revised version of the PPDM data model includes over 200 minor enhancements and corrections. The Version 3.5 alpha introduces modules for contract management, detailed obligation tracking, flexible DOI and partnerships, project tracking, stratigraphic descriptions, field station descriptions and enhanced business associates.

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New Website for OpenWorks developers (May 1999)

OpenWorks developers now have their own Website. A free devkit is also available.

The new OpenWorks Developer Network (ODN - web site is now open to the public. This site provides answers to OpenWorks developers' technical and business questions as well new software updates and information sharing between OpenWorks developers world wide. The OpenWorks Development Kit has been available for nine years and now includes a "freeware" version. The DevKit is used by 300 commercial software developers to connect to the estimated 7,000 OpenWorks licenses in use throughout the world.

PDM comment - we checked out the new web pages and there appears to be a lot of useful stuff. One thing struck us however. Despite Landmark's love affair with Microsoft, the ODN is firmly entrenched in Oracle and Unix country. Don't look here for anything about Windows or COM!

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Free Software Corner (May 1999)

Free tape identifying software from Oilware and Drate, Rate of Penetration software for the enthusiast!

A new tape management tool is available from Oilware. TapeID can recognize LIS, DLIS, BIT, Geoshare, LAS, LBS, and others, identifying the encapsulation method used for data on disk. Download TapeID from


Free PC rate-of-penetration (ROP) software DRATE is available from Features include a graphical user interface with point and click control of depth setting, anti-trip and anti-bounce.


ROP is displayed graphically in real-time, and the scale of the rate of penetration display is fully adjustable. Data can be exported to a spreadsheet or database. DRATE interfaces the PC to the rig's depth switch by an interface that is "easily constructed from readily available components". Batteries are not included in this offer!

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PetroView Enterprise to incorporate Oracle 8i database new mapping technology (May 1999)

Arthur Andersen’s PetroView Enterprise is to integrate the Oracle 8i database with new mapping technology from MapInfo.

The PetroView service run by Arthur Andersen's Petroleum Services Group (PSG) is used by the world's top twenty oil companies operating in the North Sea. The service provides color-coded maps of acreage positions in the North Sea with mapping functionality provided by MapInfo. PetroView is used for commercial, planning and general business decision support activity within the oil industry. PetroView is will soon make use of new technology from MapInfo and Oracle who are collaborating on what is described as "the world's first Internet-based spatial data analysis solution on Oracle8i". Oracle and MapInfo will integrate MapInfo's suite of Web-based spatial and mapping products with Oracle8i, the industry's only Internet database, and the Oracle Spatial Cartridge, which provides the capability to manage and analyze geographic data in Oracle8i. Shell is understood to be an early adopter of Oracle 8 technology. PetroView Enterprise will allow web-based access using through the MapInfo interface data in a POSC-based Oracle8i database (see Project Synergy - PDM Vol 4 N° 2). Arthur Andersen want to improve end-user accessibility to their information within a company through this thin client technology. They will also look to partner with other vendors such as Scott Pickford, Robertsons and Intelliscan to deliver information using their platform.

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New boss and more downsizing at CGG (May 1999)

Tough times at CGG mean 400 new job-losses and a change of CEO.

Robert Brunck (previously second in command) has been promoted to President and CEO, Yves Lesage is now to move on to the post of "honorary chairman". In an effort to stem operating losses, a restructuring involving a reducing the French staff by around 400 is also underway. Brunc, together with a "reduced General Management team" will be moving away from the operational headquarters in suburban Massy to a downtown Paris base. The business will be reorganized into three new units, Land, Offshore and Data Processing and Reservoir. The first two will be located in Massy, France while the third, which will include data management will be in London. Plans are also being studied to "reinforce equity" and to restructure debt. Brunck stated "The very serious crisis to which CGG is presently confronted leaves us with no option but to urgently initiate this evolution, undeniably vital for the Company in a deeply changing international and competitive environment."

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New Siberian Data Bank for Schlumberger (May 1999)

Schlumberger has won a contract for the Yamal Data Bank in Siberia.

Schlumberger is to provide software and services to a new data bank in Siberia. The Central Territorial Data Bank in Salekhard will be built over the next three years with technology from Schlumberger, Storage Tek and Sun Microsystems. The project is operated by the Siberian Scientific Analytical Center and is supported by local operators RAO GazProm, SibNeft, and RosNeft. The center is built around GeoQuest's Finder data management system together with SeisDB and LogDB. Hardware includes a Sun Enterprise 5500 server and a StorageTek TimberWolf automated tape robot.

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PPDM Spring meeting report (May 1999)

PPDM is still popular in the US thanks to its use in the P2000 database. Data modeling extends to Land and Spatial, while cooperation with POSC is mooted.

Scott Beaugrand PPDM's new CEO presided over the spring member meeting in Houston last month. PPDM is on a pretty steady course. The business model – Build a data model, offer it up to the members, get feedback, and start over – is now tried and tested, and it works. This is largely thanks to the volunteer effort put into the association by the members themselves.


Is PPDM Canadian? Is the Pope Catholic! Yes, originally, although we have been taken to task for pointing this out before. Indeed the spring member meeting's location in Houston shows that there is significant activity outside of Canada. There is also great enthusiasm for the PPDM data model in South America, although European interest has dwindled over the last couple of years. What pushes a Houston based oil co. to bother with PPDM? Well a lot of oil companies still build, or at least buy and tweak their databases. PPDM is a practical choice for companies that want to go straight to a physical database.


But the main driver behind PPDM's following in the US is the fact that PPDM is the data model behind IHS Energy's P2000 database product. So for buyers and tweakers of PI/Dwights data, PPDM is of some relevance. PPDM are looking to expand their visibility, but are hampered by limited resources. Current PPDM activity is centered on extending the data model into new business areas. Work is in progress on extending the Land area of the model, and the Spatial committee is currently looking into simple ways in which the model can be spatially enabled.


ESRI's SDE and Oracle's SDC/SDO are to be usable with the next version (3.5) of the PPDM data model. A joint effort with POSC is underway to provide a single standard for reference tables. This is part of a renewed attempt at collaboration with a view to presenting a more "unified front" to the industry.

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Records fall as big boats float on cheap oil. (May 1999)

PGS has just announced the industry’s largest ever 3D marine seismic survey and Geco-Prakla have riposted with a claim for the most 2D production in a single day, with over 254 km and an 8,000-meter streamer.

The downturn in the industry at year-end 1998 could not have come at a worse time for the seismic acquisition business. Just as all the major contractors were preparing to launch new super-ships, the oil price cratered, and the bottom fell out of the seismic market. Well, not quite. Fortunately some clients saw the opportunity for some great deals.

$30 million

Such reasoning drove Petrobras to award PGS a $30 million contract for the largest ever 3D survey. This will keep PGS' Ramform Explorer's ten streamers busy for around 10 months and is intended as a "time zero" baseline study for future time-lapse studies.

Brazil ‘99

Schlumberger and TGS-NOPEC also operating in Brazil established their record with the Geco Marlin while shooting the Brazil'99 85,000 km. Spec survey. Claimed as the "largest contiguous 2D survey in history", Brazil'99 covers the Santos, Campos and Espirito Santo Basins. Follow the survey's progress on

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Mega-Magstar released, 70 petabytes new capacity (May 1999)

The Magstar 3590E increases data capacity from 10 to 20 GBytes and data transfer rates to 14MB/sec.

Magstar 3590E drives are backwards-read compatible with cartridges written on existing 3590 drives and can be upgraded onsite. When used with the new drive, the more than seven million Magstar cartridges already owned by customers can potentially be doubled in capacity and doubled in value.

7 million 3590s

The drives will begin shipping in May. IBM claims 7 million 3590 tapes are in use world-wide on around 45,000 units. Doubling their capacity has just increased world-wide data storage capacity by around 70 Petabyes!

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3rd PNEC International Data Integration Conference brings in the crowds! (May 1999)

Philip Crouse's PNEC Data Integration and Management conference bucked the trend of cancellations and low attendance to host some 180 attendees in Houston last month.

Despite the downturn, or maybe because of it, there is still strong interest in both data management and software integration as was witnessed by the good turnout for the 3rd PNEC International Data Integration and Management Conference.


Geoshare was prominent (well the conference is a spin-off of the Geoshare User Group's annual event!) and is clearly playing an important role in the interoperability field. A significant focus of Geoshare development is the Mobil/Conoco/Vastar association which is using Geoshare to plumb GeoQuest's Finder into Landmark's OpenWorks. Additionally Geoshare is the transport mechanism for bulk data within Schlumberger's GeoWeb environment.


An interesting case history involved the use of Geoshare at Conoco's Lodgepole asset. This Williston Basin field is being shut in and the question of what to do with the data arose. Conoco's Bill Neville described the problems with workstation data, whose proprietary formats tend to obsolescence. In comes Geoshare which allows for the preservation of data by "cocooning" in a vendor and operating system independent format. Another use of Geoshare was in the port of data from Unix to NT systems.


POSC's Eric Hatleberg, in a presentation that underscored the new standards perestroika, described how Geoshare could be wrapped with CORBA and used as an effective data transfer mechanism across different platforms.


John Sherman, Landmark Graphics chief data guru warned of the 'other data flow'. In a perfect world, data should progress from the field, through quality control into the master data store and from there out to the projects. In the real world things often do not happen like this. Sherman's 'other' data flow happens when the asset team grabs the data hot off the well, or boat and puts it straight into the project. The whole process Sherman believes reflects the natural tendency towards chaos that any large complex system displays. Sherman's solution? Maintain an in-house data browsing and project building capacity, but outsource the management of the corporate data store.

IHS Energy

Now who would you outsource your data management to? IHS Energy's Pete Stark stepped up to the rostrum to offer that organization's help. IHS Energy are attacking the problem of managing their massive US well and production datasets head on. IHS are moving towards 'big iron' massive central data repositories and are teaming with Vendor "A" and Vendor "B" to provide delivery of their data to the new-look oil co.

Petris WINDS

Rene Calderon presented a novel product, Petris WINDS - an E&P data that can be configured to browse a corporation's data - in situ across a variety of data stores. WINDS builds its own meta-data view of the corporation's data by 'spidering' the corporate data overnight.


Gayle Holzinger (Shell Offshore Inc.) described the successful deployment of PetroBank for offshore 2D data delivery to the workstation. This has cut the data loading cycle time from what could be up to 6 months down to a couple of days.


Both Mobil E&P and PDVSA’s presentations suggest that there are still some companies who believe in the master data store. Mobil’s Madelyn Bell described a methodology for "continuous improvement in data management". This process places a data specialist within the asset team to facilitate project building and also to educate users, and mediate requests for data when appropriate. Bell insists that it is not enough to manage just the data, but the whole data delivery chain.


A presentation, by Chris Troyer gave an update on Mobil’s Technical Computing Strategy. Mobil are using audits of its internal customers to fine tune the program and improve service.


Orlando Rivas presented an ambitious program involving the migration of PDVSA’s corporate data to GeoQuest’s Finder master data store. From there, Geoshare will be used to build projects in OpenWorks, GeoFrame and Tigress.


Three companies, Conoco, Vastar and Mobil are developing industrial strength Geoshare links between Finder and OpenWorks. This effort includes round-trip testing of data to verify the robustness of the data exchange.

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Three Petris data packages announced (May 1999)

Three new US data packages are available from Petris Technology.

Petris Technology has announced availability of three new regional data packages on the Matagorda-Brazoria, Upper Texas Gulf Coast and Starr-Hidalgo trends. These trends have attracted renewed interest recently thanks to new group and proprietary 3D activity.


The data packages comprise scout tickets and scanned and digitized data from key wells in each area. Each package contains around 300 wells and 10,000 million feet of digitized curve data.

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Mobil to license PowerPlan (May 1999)

Schlumberger has signed with Mobil Technology Corp. for the world-wide deployment of GeoQuest's PowerPlan well design and optimization software.

Mobil Technology Corp. is responsible for providing research and development and consulting services for the global upstream business of Mobil Oil Corporation, and is representing Mobil's worldwide operating units in the PowerPlan deal. The PowerPlan ‘Workflow Solution’ is to replace Mobil's proprietary technology. Mobil's L. K.Vopni, manager of technology applications and data management said "A key factor in our decision is PowerPlan's use of industry standards that will allow our engineers to share data with our geoscientists."

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