June 1999

GeoQuest bags Panther (June 1999)

Schlumberger-GeoQuest has acquired Panther Software Corp. including the PetaStar data management solution and the SDMS line of data loaders.

GeoQuest, now ‘a product line of Schlumberger’, will integrate Panther's software products with its own seismic data management applications and services. This acquisition brings Panther's SDMS seismic data management system, SDL 2D/3D seismic data loading application, SAL seismic autoloader application and Panther's PetaSTAR solution into the GeoQuest fold.


Panther will continue its operations and all customer support at GeoQuest under the ongoing leadership of Brad Youmans, now VP of Seismic Data Management Solutions at GeoQuest. Youmans said "Panther's intellectual assets and GeoQuest's access to the global E&P market place produce a powerful business and technical combination that will yield measurable gains for our customers."

GeoQuest President Thierry Pilenko adds "The combining of our products and services will improve our customers' productivity and yield the industry's premier seismic data management solution and the integration of SDMS, SDL, SAL and PetaSTAR with GeoQuest's applications and services will give our customers an optimized workflow across the seismic data lifecycle. Furthermore, we look forward to the future innovations that will be created through the synergy of our combined personnel."


Youmans added "Panther's intellectual assets and GeoQuest's access to the global E&P market place produce a powerful business and technical combination that will yield measurable gains for our customers, together we can deliver the industry's leading technology and data management solutions to the digital explosion of seismic data volumes. Together we can deliver the industry's leading technology and data management solutions to address the digital explosion of seismic data volumes."

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Shell subsidiary chooses Finder (June 1999)

Shell’s Malasian subsidiary, Sarawak Shell Berhad (SSB) has awarded Schlumberger a three-year contract to establish a Seismic Data Management System.

GeoQuest will load and quality control seismic and associated navigation data with its Finder integrated data management system. "GeoQuest is pleased to be part of this solution, the first in Malaysia, which will position Shell Malaysia for the next millennium," said Tony Blunden, operations manager for GeoQuest East Asia. GeoQuest partner Guardian Data Seismic of Australia, will also offer technology and services for managing seismic tapes, seismic sections, reports and associated observer logs.


"We look forward to working with GeoQuest to integrate seismic data with processing and interpretation and to make data available to users on-line at the push of a button," said Lee King Sim, senior manager of geophysics and subsurface IT with SSB. The SSB contract is the third data management contract awarded to GeoQuest's East Asian region in the last three months.

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Are we really that bad? (June 1999)

The Financial Times June World Energy Review* concluded that 'inflexible corporate cultures and deep-seated resistance to change are undermining efforts to link technology more directly to business objectives'. PDM’s Editor, Neil McNaughton investigates.

When you have your nose close to the ground, you are always in danger of missing the big picture. So it was illuminating to read two long articles on IT in the oil industry by Robert Corzine in the Financial Times June World Energy Survey*. Of course, the fact that the contributed opinions came mainly from consultants and vendors such as IBM and Oracle tends to make you think "they would say that wouldn’t they". But I do not think that many in upstream IT would take great issue with the premise that things need improving. Furthermore, the FT is broadly read by executives (at least in Europe) and is therfore a precious vehicle for consultants and the like to bend the ear of the top brass. By the same token, these articles give those on the shop floor an unusual opportunity to hear what Oracle and IBM are telling our bosses on the golf course, executive board room or wherever they normally do this sort of thing.

Deep misgiving

The thesis of the review article is that Information technology has the potential to alter the way oil companies organize and view their upstream exploration and production activities and assets. But few companies appear willing to embrace that potential". This opinion was voiced by "IT experts from outside the industry" - notably from Oracle’s Andrew Lloyd. There were further "deep misgivings about the appropriateness of some of the technology, and "inflexible corporate cultures and deep-seated resistance to change are undermining efforts to link technology more directly to business objectives". On a more prosaic level, the criticisms leveled at E&P IT were of lost data and inadequate standards. True non doubt, but rather old hat, this was the state of the art around a decade ago.

IBM, Oracle?

It is tempting to observe that IBM’s attempts to ’solve’ upstream IT were not terribly successful – for IBM at least, and as for Oracle, how much of a market share of the upstream do these guys want! But the criticisms merit more than such a dismissal.


Apart from the general message which is ‘leave it all to the consultants’, the recommendations fall broadly into two camps. One involves more knowledge-based IT, the other electronic commerce. The argument is a common one, a purveyor of a new technology goes all out to suggest that the new snake oil has revolutionized everyone else’s business (especially your competitor’s) and is going to revolutionize yours too. An excellent presentation by IBM’s Kristine Moore at the spring POSC member meeting outlined the possible benefits of e-commerce to the upstream. Or rather, didn’t. This entertaining string of anecdotes failed to even sketch out a single killer application that e-commerce could enable, and it is tempting to take the stance that here at least, it is the new technology that might be "inappropriate".

Upstream IM

As for the knowledge-based IT, our experience of oil companies, based on a survey* of 11 international majors found them to be extremely interested in such technologies. For instance Lotus Notes databases were proliferating and no less than 8 different products were deployed for document management. So why is it possible to claim that we have not yet taken on board the technology that will solve all our IT woes? If the philosopher’s stone is there, why don’t we chip a bit off and have a peek at it through the hand lens?


Well in my humble opinion, and I am afraid that, yes you did see me coming, the premise is flawed. It is flawed because a) the upstream oil industry is far too complex for any boilerplate solution from outside the industry to have a major impact, and b) those who work in E&P IT have consistently sought salvation in just about every piece of technology that has ever seen the light of day! It is not so much that we fail to take account of new technology, but perhaps more that we take account of too much!

more next month!

As for standards, yes, they would be nice, but the prevailing paradigm is that of the marketplace, not of the standards organization. Fortunately, the marketplace is doing pretty well at the moment, with a big sale for a relative newcomer this month, and a major (and we mean big) sale that we will be talking about next month – make sure your subs are paid up!


*Financial Times - "IT: Bad energy pervades. Anarchic attitudes to IT are hampering the potential for common advance" www.ft.com/ftsurveys/q650a.htm

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PDM Interview – John Gibson, Landmark (June 1999)

John Gibson, Landmark’s Senior VP of technology tells PDM of the close relationship with Microsoft, what the Shared Earth Model means to Landmark and how component technology is helping Landmark minimize its development costs.

PDM – At last years WWTF, the talk of the show was the greeting from Bill Gates. How is the relationship with Microsoft shaping up, and what has come of the promise of COM for UNIX?

Gibson – We have been working with Microsoft for 2 1/2 years now to find common ground on issues such as file management and graphics requirements. The relationship between Landmark and NT is now similar to that with Solaris – Landmark influences NT evolution for instance by pushing for 64 bit computing. We are also making the case for inter-operability to Microsoft, although COM for UNIX is being downplayed. It turns out that there are less industry drivers for this (even in E&P) than was thought.

PDM and what of Linux, will it have an impact on, E&P IT?

Gibson – we are following developments, but we do not really believe that it will be successful. Linux lacks cohesion - just like UNIX, it would be good if it was a real standard.

PDM At the WWTF there were some quite different views expressed as to what is meant by the Shared Earth Model, what does it mean to you?

Gibson – Landmark is ‘obliged’ to talk about the SEM from a marketing standpoint, but if everyone means has a different definition, then the SEM doesn't mean anything! To Landmark, the SEM involves the following,

Common geometry and topology. .

Data storage of earth model

Integration through objects

Workflow at high level

Many different geometry engines exist, and Landmark could have gone it alone, but the feeling was that goCAD was the industry leader, with tens of companies, sponsors and hundreds of developers. Another view of the SEM is as a single tool set - with applications hitting the common geometry, with the ability to work ‘scale-less‘. We need the same storage, geometry and objects for all users.

PDM – John Sherman has stated that Landmark have tried Business Objects and found them wanting. What is your opinion?

Gibson – It is not an easy subject. First there is the problem of granularity - objects either too large or so small that they don't perform. Next both Objects and Analysis have to be performed together. We tried this with a generic fault object - it didn't work because it was necessary to tune the object for different applications. Performance is the critical issue - he or she who tweaks best wins.

PDM so Landmark does not believe in component-ware?

Gibson – on the contrary, we are great believers in components - providing they are horizontal and supplied by external providers. Following a request from Exxon for robust, extensive handling of coordinate systems Landmark has adopted Blue Marble Graphics software for OpenWorks. Likewise ESRI components are used for the GIS front end of OpenExplorer. Landmark could have done this but that would have been the dumbest thing I could do. We use horizontal technology just wherever we can, Oracle, goCad and the graphical widgets from INT. You could say that Landmark is an integrator of horizontal components.

PDM – Such as COM for Energy too? How did that initiative begin?

Gibson – Landmark sat down with the Halliburton ‘mothership’ to determine strategic directions for software development. We did this by analysing Halliburton’s business as well as their clients businesses requirements. Halliburton naturally had lots of data from logging operations and SCADA measurements, and were deploying SAP software to maintain inventory and contract databases. On the Landmark side there were DSS and TOW c/s. The following potential scenario emerged - an alarm goes off from filed operations. What do you do next? You should be able to go to the operations database to see if anything has been done to the well recently - say it’s gone off-line for maintenance or a pump change. Lets assume the operations database shows nothing, then you go to facilities in TOW C/S - (ex Brown and Root) and notice that the pump is down. Next you go to SAP’s global database, supplied with data from the pump manufacturer to check for similar failure on this type of pump. Such possibilities are extremely important to people buying a lot of pumps! A lot of money is invested in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, but it is Operations that really triggers the value proposition of ERP. To get back to the original question, why COM for Energy? All the above software typically runs on NT - data is passed around and maybe passed back to suppliers. Such software typically uses familiar drag and drop functions to request more information about a product all of which are mainstream COM type developments. COM for Energy is an attempt to standardize some of this behavior and to improve inter-operability in the context of PC-based applications.

PDM – Is OpenWorks Landmark’s Shared Earth Model?

Gibson – Yes! We want to be able to populate the up-scaled model using geostatistics or geological analysis. Or put a thin section from a reservoir core on a StratWorks map and to use the human brain to correlate.

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EarthCube now tops Landmark seismic interpretation product line. (June 1999)

Landmark's seismic interpretation software now comes in three flavors, entry level PC-based SeisVision (part of the GeoGraphix suite), mainstream UNIX-based SeisWorks and top-of-the range, SGI or high-end Sun graphics-driven EarthCube for 3D Volume Interpretation.

EarthCube is described a 'a new direction in seismic interpretation software. Landmark Launches New Release of EarthCube for Integrated 3D Volume Interpretation. The latest version of EarthCube allows for integrated, 3D volume interpretation of large data volumes in complex geological settings. Bob Peebler stated "With the complexity of today's exploration plays and production environments, many companies are realizing the value that volume interpretation brings to the table. The new volume interpretation capabilities in EarthCube allow users to decipher complex geological patterns and predict the presence of reservoirs with greater confidence than ever before."


The EarthCube package now provides voxbody tracking, stereo viewing, and depth sessions for high-performance, true volume interpretation. The new version also permits voxbody sculpting based on interpreted boundaries, horizons and faults, allowing the user to examine 3D seismic volume attributes within the context of geologic boundaries. The availability of the stereo viewing option, allows the interpreter to utilize depth perception to understand complex spatial relationships of various data types.


"Stereo viewing allows the user to discover hidden spatial relationships within multi-disciplinary data," said Murray Roth, Landmark's systems vice president for exploration and development. "In combination with volume interpretation, stereo viewing affords opportunities for uncovering geological complexities that would otherwise have been overlooked," The new EarthCube also offers a step-change improvement in the amount of data that can be viewed. "With the new EarthCube, you can read larger volumes of data today than you could previously," Roth continued. Depending on the amount of memory your system has, you can interpret volumes of data greater than two gigabytes."


EarthCube continues to be available in a bundled package made up of EarthCube VX (3D Volume Interpretation), SeisWorks and ZAP! EarthCube VX is a new "unbundled" version of EarthCube that also can be licensed separately to add volume interpretation functionality to existing SeisWorks/ZAP! environments. EarthCube is available on Silicon Graphics workstations, as well as on Sun workstations with Creator 3D or higher graphics.

PDM comment

We checked out EarthCube at one of Landmark’s excellent mini-training sessions. EarthCube seems to do pretty well everything that is claimed, but it does require a stupendous amount of horsepower. Our machine was a 300 MHz Sun Ultra 30 with 1GB memory, 2 Creator 3D cards and we were working on a skipmy dataset of less than 20MB. The performance was not overwhelming – one reason why Landmark are so interested in compression – see next story.

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New formats for SeisWorks (June 1999)

Landmark has developed in-house techniques for data compression and decompression but these have not been performant until the latest developments which now allow decompression on-the-fly.

Seismic compression is about to make a major entry into Landmark’s software. The goal is for performance enhancement across the seismic interpretation process, through less disk storage requirements and reduced network traffic. For the purists, the full 32-bit dataset is always available for attribute analysis or other high bandwidth applications.


The new compression technology has been developed by Landmark’s Dave Hale and Dean Witte and is similar to the MPEG compression used commercially. The new compression technology will be released this fall and is already being beta-tested by customers. The new format will be part of a new set of data formats for SeisWorks. In addition to data compression, these will offer tiling/bricking of data for efficient retrieval and will offer 8 16 or 32 bit levels of compression. All the new algorithms will be part of the core EarthCube API.

Oracle 8

Landmark are also working on the migration of SeisWorks to Oracle 8, but there are no plans to move the seismic data into the new Object database. The bulk seismic trace data will be stored outside of the database with some metadata registered in the database, allowing users to "know where everything is".

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PDM visits with PennPoint (June 1999)

Following the merger of PI and Dwights EnergyData in 1995, the US Federal Trade Commission awarded a copy of the Dwights dataset to Pennwell, publishers of the Oil and Gas Journal. PennPoint was established to develop and market the new data. PDM learned how things were shaping up from PennPoint’s General Manager, Joe Forrest.

In 1995 PI & Dwights EnergyData merged. Part of regulatory approval for the merge was that a copy of the Dwights data be licensed to a new competing company. Federal Trade Commission received applications from 6 qualifying companies, and in November 1998, awarded Pennwell the dataset which was transferred in December 1998.

Rockerfeller’s scout

Pennwell was founded in 1910 by P.C. Boyles, an oil scout for John D. Rockerfeller in Pennsylvania. Pennwell now has 90 years of publishing with a stable of 50 magazines and journals including the prestigious Oil and Gas Journal. Pennwell also maintains many industry maps databases. PennPoint is a new Houston-based service which will develop the Dwights dataset by capturing more data from original sources such as state and federal regulatory agencies through a network of data gatherers. Reporters (rather than "Scouts") will augment this information by gathering non-regulatory data from operators and service companies.

new database

PennPoint is working on what is claimed to be a state-of-the-art database. This was made possible because PennPoint had no legacy database or systems. The new PennPoint database has been built on the PPDM data model and will include well and production data from the Dwights database together with specialized project-oriented datasets such as basins, trends, completion types and regional studies integrating geology and engineering data.

custom retrieval

Custom data retrieval and other services will be part of the new offering as will statistical services and mapping.

Initially the 22 most active US areas will be covered, with these to be extended as market conditions dictate. All state source documents will be scanned and made available. PennPoint is currently discussing a 'revolutionary' new data delivery mechanism with operators.


PennPoint promises timely data and daily updates over the web and complete, integrated datasets that include production, land and well data

Cooperation is being sought with the major application vendors, Geographix, Landmark, and GeoQuest for enhanced interoperability.

A pricing policy will favorize low volume data purchases.


Other cooperative efforts are underway with Petroleum Exchange Denver (www.petroweb.com) and International Datashare (IDS) of Calgary. N Pennpoint is also working on an Autodesk map based CD-ROM product which will be a bundle of well history and scout tickets production data, land grid coordinates. Included in the bundle is GeoDesk, browsing software from IDS. Data from either the CD-ROM or obtained by credit card purchase from the PennPoint website will be downloadable directly into a GeoGraphix project or a text file. Check out PennPoint on www.pennpoint.com.

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IHS Energy Group downsizes Petroconsultants (June 1999)

IHS Energy Group is to locate key scouting teams in regional offices.

Following restructuring, Latin America and North East Asia operations will be based in Houston, while Singapore and Perth will handle the remainder of Asia and Australasia. The UK office will be responsible for the North Sea region, Middle East and the Indian Sub Continent, while Geneva will focus on Continental Europe, the CIS and Africa. As a result of the current state of the worldwide oil and gas energy market, there will be a downsizing of the Geneva operations.

low price

Dave Noel CEO, IHS Energy Group, Information Services. went on to add that "the combined impact of lower energy prices and mergers have certainly affected our business, but we intend to take this opportunity to increase our levels of customer support and continue to re-invest any savings we can achieve by improving both the quality of the IRIS21 database and further developing the strategically important products of GEPS, EDGE, EDIN and Probe."

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New websites listing from CATSites (June 1999)

Competitive Access Technologies’ Oil and Gas on the Internet claims to be 'a Yahoo for the Oil and Gas Industry' with 2,500 sites listed.

The latest quarterly update to CATSites, a listing of Oil and Gas related Internet sites has just been released. CATSites quarterly directory comes with a PC disk which contains all the 2,497 directory listings in Internet bookmark files. This bookmark file can be opened with any Internet browser and used to gain immediate access any of the 2,497 oil and gas websites.


"This is certainly the most complete and most impressive listing of energy Internet sites I have seen in my six years as an energy researcher" said Ellen Sartorius, Ernst & Young LLP

All the web sites are verified and updated every 90 days, new ones are added, and dead sites removed.

Site licenses are available for Intranet or LAN. CATSites covers the entire supply chain from the seismic consultant in the field to the ‘convenience store operator on the neighborhood corner’ with chapters for associations, governments, journals, pricing information, calendars and more.

even a landman!

"Just to let you know that this software is very easy to use and makes it easy to connect to the websites listed. If I could get in the second time, anyone could do it!" boasts George Laux, Landman. More from the Competitive Analysis Technologies website at:

http://catsites.com/ogbook.html or call 281-890-8255.

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Paradigm’s new PlaNET (June 1999)

Paradigm Geophysical has acquired Reservoir Modeling and Network Planning Technologies

Paradigm’s latest acquisition is PlaNET, an integrated suite of software for reservoir modeling and oil and gas field network planning. Planet was developed by Dr. Andrew Wadsley who is joining Paradigm to continue development of PlaNET and to integrate the new software with Paradigm's existing technologies.

network planning

PlaNET's network planning system enables planning and scheduling for integrated gas production and optimized allocations from distributed gas fields to multiple gas markets and products. The software is a complete reservoir-to-market integrated solution currently used in South America, Europe and South East Asia. It has been developed, tested and proven over a period of eight years with complex reservoir studies. Eldad Weiss, Paradigm's President and CEO, said, "The acquisition of PlaNET enables Paradigm to leverage its technology base and provide a bridge between the geoscience and petroleum engineering disciplines.

simulation workflow

Dr. Wadsley's reservoir management software represents a fundamental improvement in reservoir simulation technology and workflows using an innovative approach to seismic and geological integration. We are very pleased he is joining our team."

Wadsley has twenty five years experience in developing and applying solutions for oil and gas production and reservoir management, and is an expert in the application of numerical methods to fluid flow and optimization problems.

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New plotting software from Zeh (June 1999)

Zeh Graphic Systems, Inc., has released ZEHPlot-Personal Edition and ZEHPlot-Professional (ZEHPlot-Pro).

These single-user applications allow the user to view and print CGM, TIFF, and CALS files from geoscience software applications such as GeoQuest and Landmark, GIS applications such as ESRI, and high-end CAD systems such as CATIA, SDRC, and Unigraphics directly from a Windows workstation.

cut & paste

Pan and zoom are supported on a CGM, TIFF, or CALS file. Copy and pasting to Windows applications such as PowerPoint, CorelDRAW, and Canvas, format conversion and printing any Windows printer are also featured. ZEHPlot-Personal Edition costs $ 395 and ZEHPlot-Pro is $ 750 and can be purchased at ZEH's website, www.zehplot.com.

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Conference Report – Landmark Worldwide Technology Forum, Houston. (June 1999)

PDM attended (and even had a stand!) at the Landmark WWTF in Houston last month. We bring you the highlights.

Bob Peebler's address traced the history of Landmark from a $35 million turnover company in 1989 with 150 employees to a $300 million company today with 1500 people in 60 countries. A theme of Peebler's talk was ‘Open Standards’ - by which of course Lanmark means OpenWorks. Peebler claims that Landmark has never wavered from its ‘Open’ strategy - and today there are 300 plus OpenWorks developers. Latest component in the ‘Open’ stakes is COM for Energy, designed to integrate petrotechnical and business. More from Peebler in this month's PDM interview (page 10).

data management

Landmark’s new strategy downplays the role of the Master Data Store and the move is now for distributed data management. This is to be achieved by integrating the Engineer’s Desktop line of products - basically, Vantage Software’s DSS. This was originally acquired by GeoGraphix but is now firmly in the mainstream of Landmark‘s offering. The Engineer‘s Desktop, made up of DIMS, AIRES and TOW/cs, is integrated with OpenExplorer and OpenWorks through the new Data Store Navigator. This will also allow integration of external (Vendor and client) databases. OpenWorks and OpenExplorer are being ported to Windows NT, and are to be addressable by both UNIX and NT clients. Full Windows and UNIX interoperability is planned both for Servers and Clients. Licensing is to be more flexible – with pay by use determined by FlexLM.


OpenExplorer is now less a bottom-up corporate datastore (competing with Finder) and rather a top-down tool for managing OpenWorks projects. Corporate data management is henceforth to be performed off-site, by data vendors such as IHS Energy. Pete Stark of IHS told how they were planning to implement such a service. The idea is to provide "just in time" data pushed into Landmark applications from IHS databases. To support Landmark’s segmentation of the workstation market, two such data links are proposed; from PetroROM to GeoGraphix and from P2000 to OpenWorks. This work is being performed as part of IHS Energy's ArchiTech program offering vendor cooperation and development resources.

Shared Earth Model

Broadly there are two approaches to the SEM, feet-on-the-ground' and 'anything goes'. The first, represented by Olivier Dubrule of Elf believe that SEM fills the relatively simple requirement of housing 3D interpretations that are shareable between all disciplines. The second, represented by Adolfo Henriquez, Statoil believes that the SEM should expand to encompass Workflow and Knowledge Management. The essence of the first simple approach for Landmark is the integration of GoCad's geo modeling engine within OpenWorks. But Landmark are also aware of the attraction of the open ended-ness of the second approach, and are quite happy to present the Knowledge Reference System and OpenJournal as part of the knowledge-oriented SEM.


Statoil’s Core Business (SCORE) was planned as an integrated platform running on a Corporate Data Store (CDS) with accompanying processes and procedures. The decision was taken early in 1998 to go for Landmark and there are now 15 Landmark employees working in Statoil. Prior to this Statoil was not a Landmark shop, had no proficiency in Landmark products so training was a major element of the program - 500 users to be trained over 18 months, 2200 training days. Not an easy task - they have gone for a quick - "high pain" changeover. The current SCORE program involves a multi-terabyte data migration into OpenWorks as a staging post while waiting for the completion of Statoil’s Epicentre Master Data Store. A Visionarium has been installed and is considered a "meeting place" as yet there are "no addicted users". SCORE is scheduled for completion year end 2000 with the CDS architecture and procedures in place. Statoil will be talking about the CDS 'in two years time'.

Mobil SLA’s ‘em!

Landmark and Mobil are working together to 'optimize business alignment with service level agreements (SLA)' in the context of Mobil's global Technical Computing Strategy (TCS). The objective is to define what is to be provided, how and where. Mobil’s TCS is a ‘seamless integrated environment for scientific and engineering IT, based on common standards‘. Mobil have developed a very formalized procedure for determining service levels. The discussion revolves around skills levels of Landmark personnel, and can is used to optimize service and cost of maintaining the TCS. Issues such as time of response and prioritizing of service are rolled into the SLA, as is bug reporting with the LMBETS (Landmark Bug Enhancement Tracking System) which is steered by Amoco Conoco and Mobil, a 'lose grouping' of oil companies who prioritize and interface with Landmark. The SLA process includes an escalation and dispatch model. Success factors for Mobil’s relationship with Landmark? Landmark recognizes its weaknesses and Mobil recognizes and moderates excessive expectations.

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BGS and ILEX Technologies to team (June 1999)

The British Geological Survey (BGS) and startup ILEX Technologies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering joint marketing of IT and Data Management.

Mario Cataldo’s startup ILEX has signed with the British Geological Survey to support strategic PC-based E&P Applications and to provide IT and Data Management support. Cataldo (former Managing Director of PECC) intends to target Oil & Gas companies and organizations that no longer have the in-house expertise, time or resources to manage these important functions. BGS’ David Ovadia said "The partnership with ILEX creates a synergy between our public science activity and the business world that will ultimately benefit the UK economy. We are looking forward to working with ILEX."


The British Geological Survey (BGS) is the UK's foremost supplier of geoscience solutions and is active in areas such as land-use planning, waste disposal, hydrocarbons exploration, civil engineering, minerals extraction, contaminated land, seismic and geohazard evaluation and understanding climate change.

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New GeoGraphix to Landmark data link (June 1999)

SeisXchange offers bi-directional link between Landmark and GeoGraphix

SeisXchange is a cross platform integration tool designed to "make it easy to move seismic data and interpretations between packages such as SeiWorks, EarthCube and SeisVision". SeisXchange offers binary data transfer between SesWorks, OpenWorks and SeisVison including interpretation data, horiozons and faults. The software is described as "flexible and scaleable" and can also help in migrating data from UNIX to NT.

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Aussie database for Marathon (June 1999)

Marathon has signed a major licensing agreement with Petrosys for the company-wide deployment of dbMap.

In the mid '80's ,the world was going crazy over the workstation, and to a large extent, overlooking the humble basemap. Adelaide-based Petrosys however was busy developing world-class mapping software, an activity which has grown to encompass a PPDM-based database dbMap. The company now has over 330 users of their software at 105 client sites throughout the world. Marathon Oil is the latest addition to the client base, having already tested dbMap at six locations. The new agreement offers company-wide deployment on a per-use basis, with licensing controlled through the Flex License Manager.


Petrosys has built up its client base by integrating the major vendors application suites and now boasts interfaces to Landmark's SeisWorks and OpenWorks, IHS Energy's PROBE and GeoQuest's IES/X and GeoFrame.

User friendly

Another selling feature claimed by Petrosys' US manager Tom Robinson is the 'one-day' learning curve. Robinson said "Ease of use was a major factor in Marathon's choice of dbMap. DbMap's capabilities and competitive pricing mean that it is displacing less integrated packages within other major oil companies."


DbMap is implemented on Oracle and is an extension of the PPDM 3.4 data model. It is typically implemented on a Unix database server. The dbMap application accesses the database as a client that can be run on a Unix workstation, X-terminal, or PC with X-terminal emulation software.


Data types handled by dbMap include well, lease, seismic, culture and asset information. This allows tracking of physical assets like tapes, reports, and samples, and their linking to dbMap wells, seismic, leases and culture. Asset module also can be linked with other in-house, non-Petrosys products, with particular interest in the ability to select spatial objects and to view graphical images from other applications. This functionality is present in the Asset module. The comprehensive well data module is based on the PPDM data model, and includes tables for tops, cores, tests, production, logs run, deviation surveys and well location. The seismic module uses an extension of the PPDM model to record the acquisition and processing history of seismic lines along with the location data.

virtual private network

How does a relatively small (Petrosys has a staff of 18 at the head office) company support a major oil company's world-wide operations? Apart from the support staff in Houston, a new virtual private network is about to be put into service, which will allow members of the support team to follow up a support call without duplication of effort or loss of information by using a workflow based system on the Petrosys intranet. Current research in ongoing in the areas of geological modeling and 3D Visualization and also in the use of Corba links to external applications.

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Oilfield Gems – plug and play applets for OpenWorks (June 1999)

Oilfield Systems believes that Landmark dominates the upstream application marketplace and is developing ‘Gems’, plug and play applets for OpenWorks. First available Gems will be a ‘correlator’ and a mapper.

Oilfield Systems announced the forthcoming release of The Gem Collection, a suite of software products running directly off Landmark Graphics widely used OpenWorks database.

70% market share

Ross Davidson, Chief Operating Officer explained "our recent survey of the market confirmed that OpenWorks is definitely the most widely used project database. Our figures show that some 70% of companies use it to support their geoscience applications. With the continuing pressures on data management groups to reduce the number of databases they support, and with geoscientists desperately wanting easy-to-use software, we decided to adapt some of our highly regarded geological tools to run directly off OpenWorks."


The Gem Collection consists of a family of small, highly focussed products, each offering an uncluttered implementation of key functionality needed by geoscience interpreters. The emphasis is on clarity of purpose and integration. Initial "gems" in the collection include the Correlator and the Mapper. Future offerings will cover cross-sections, 3D visualization and structural modeling.

ease of use

Jeanette Halford, Marketing coordinator at Oilfield Systems, analyzed the results of the market survey. "The vast majority of companies put ease of use as their highest priority in selecting new software. Oilfield Systems has an excellent reputation for producing products that users find intuitive. The Gem Collection features a modern Windows-style user interface which users find very familiar." Another feature of the Gem Collection is the ease of licensing. "We wanted to make it easy for companies to get the benefit of using these tools without the kinds of outlay traditionally associated with quality E&P software" explained Halford.


"The Gem Collection tools are licensed individually, on an annual basis, at levels close to annual maintenance fees for major products. The onus is on Oilfield Systems to keep the Gem Collection improving so that companies elect to use it year after year." The Gem Collection will be available from Oilfield Systems by mid-July. More from sales@oilfield-systems.com or call 44 1703 769 449.

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IEDS' PeNplus to migrate to IRIS21 (June 1999)

Following the operational merger of Petroconsultants and IEDS, IHS Energy Group has selected the IRIS21 database as the integration platform of choice for production data.

Acquisitive IHS Energy has amassed quite a range of databases over the last year or so, and is attempting to rationalize. International scouting data is to be housed in the ex-Petroconsultants’ IRIS21 database. Data from ex-IEDS’ PeNplus including wells, fields, contracts and cartographic, will all be migrated to IRIS21.

300,000 records

Currently the IRIS21 wells module provides worldwide coverage outside of North America and contains over 300,000 well records. The PeNplus database contains 140,000 well records covering South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australia and East Europe. The objective is to merge the two well modules into one, thus enhancing the quality and the quantity of data in the improved IRIS21 wells module.


The procedure for merging the wells module is as follows:

1. Match all duplicate wells from IRIS21 and PeNplus.

2. Identify all records in PeNplus that are not in IRIS21.

3. Standardize all new well records and input into IRIS21.

4. Analyze and merge all basic data from the "matched" wells.

5. Input and merge all data not included in the basic data merge.


Data matching and migration of the anticipated 19,000 new records is expected to be completed by mid 1999. Complere integration of well attributes for the duplicate wells in IRIS21 and PeNplus is country dependent but should be completed by mid 2000.

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PDM Interview – Bob Peebler, President of Landmark Graphics Corporation. (June 1999)

Bob Peebler tells PDM how COM for Energy is seeking out the ‘high-impact intersections’ between technical and financial IT, and how reduced cycle times and collaborative interpretation are helping Landmark‘s clients streamline their business.

PDM – We have been trying to keep up with the relationship the Landmark has evolved with Microsoft, and with the recent developments on the COM for Energy front. Could you walk us through a concrete example of a COM for Energy-based application?

Peebler – At the frontier of business and petrotechnical computing there is a requirement to move data back and forth between the two environments. Landmark was convinced that standards were required in this area, but they needed to be a high level of abstraction. Somewhere around the interpretation level, linking for example the uncertainty in reservoir analysis with business planning tools. We are currently working in the field linking production allocation to accounting where there is a requirement for real-time accounting. Other immediate targets for such technology are the drilling AFE, tying in to cost accounting systems. This is a joint industry effort.

PDM – You have adopted a very high-level approach in talking to oil executives about the strategic importance of IT. Has the CERA/Gartner Group approach ever backfired, have you ever been thrown out of the CEO‘s office?

Peebler No never - oil company executives clearly understand the need to translate business requirements into IT solutions. Landmark is a more credible partner in this than consultants from the ‘big six’ - we are closer to the action! There are however parallels from outside of the oil industry, especially in the field of reducing cycle time, which can be applied to the whole interpretation process. This is where real productivity gains are to be made, you can't have a business model that relies on $18 oil these days, you need to establish leadership through improved productivity, which I'd define as a quality decision reached at quickly. Speed is of the essence.

PDM – How do you maintain quality while you up the speed?

Peebler – There is a balance between cycle time and quality of course, but slow does not equate with quality. We don't want to generate bad prospects.

PDM – The Asset Team is it myth or reality?

Peebler – We do have a problem of definition here. Some would have it that the Asset Team is an accountable unit that might appear on the balance sheet. For others, it is a multidisciplinary team which may be a reality, but is not universally implemented. We believe that over time the deployment of such teams will become routine.

PDM – Many recent trends such as interoperability and the Shared Earth Model can be seen as a move towards a more iterative workflow. Will this reduce or increase the cycle-time?

Peebler – We believe that collaborative processes can bring both speed and quality. Discussions in the context of the right work process enhance the quality of the final decision. This is why we are investing so much in our Decisionarium for collaborative interpretation. We have also been studying team behavior inside the Decisionarium. At first, people are kind of clumsy, but by the third day they really begin to work differently. People meet up and leave energized!

PDM – how are the Decisionariums selling?

Peebler – We have made sales, and we lease the facility so companies can try them out for a few days. Soon everyone will have one! When you think about it, the Decisionarium is just the modern day equivalent of the wall chart. - enhanced in 3D space.

PDM – What would you say differentiates Landmark from the competition today?

Peebler – Landmark's primary differentiator is that we have routinely envisaged the next step of integration. Back in 1986, few people were really thinking about integration, but Landmark was putting the first pieces together, integrating interpretation and mapping. What also sets us apart is the view we have of high potential intersections - with our deliverables last year of interpretive seismic processing, and now with the ongoing work at the frontier of drilling and G&G. Both our efforts at the intersections, and our focus on integration reflect our understanding of the business drivers of our industry and our desire to put this understanding into practice.

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Veritas Exploration Services – advanced interpretation and reservoir characterization (June 1999)

An new unit has been formed by Veritas to perform integrated seismic interpretation and reservoir analysis. Veritas Exploration Services will be headed by Dale Bowering

The new advanced seismic interpretation and reservoir characterization group will serve needs of various Veritas projects in areas such as depth migration, survey planning and data quality control. The new unit’s boss Dale Bowering is an eighteen year veteran of the oil & gas exploration business.


After graduation in Geophysics from Memorial University of Newfoundland, he joined Esso Resources Canada Ltd in 1981, moving to Exxon Exploration Company in 1989. Bowering joined Veritas in 1998, working on non-exclusive depth migration projects and the Veritas Data Visualization Center. Bowering was formerly President of the Marine Services Division.

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CGG claim largest North Sea 3D prestack depth migration project (June 1999)

CGG's London Processing Centre has completed one of the largest 3D Prestack Depth Migration

Mobil North Sea Ltd contracted CGG London to process the CGG acquired "Quad 9 South" non-exclusive 3D survey through to Prestack depth migration (PreSDM) for use in their on-going exploration and exploitation program for blocks 9/18a and 9/19 of the UKCS.

3 months CPU time!

This was one of the largest 3D PreSDM projects ever, comprising the output of prestack data over an area of 450 sq. km. on a 25m x 12.5m grid to a depth of 8km. The production migration phase of the project ran for 3 months, with on average 60 CPUs of SGI Origin 2000 dedicated to the job. The final PreSDM seismic volume, delivered in March of this year, has been put to immediate use by Mobil in the design and optimization of their Buckland Field development wells.

location moved

Early indications are that the PreSDM is having a positive impact on the project with one successful development well having been moved by 80m on the basis of the PreSDM volume. This PreSDM project was performed by the Integrated Geoscience Services department of CGG's London Processing Centre.

ISO 9001

In November of last year the quality management system of CGG's London Processing Centre was certified by BVQI to quality standard BS EN ISO 9001. The ISO certification covers "Seismic Data Processing and Integrated Geoscience Services".

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