April 2000


Bob Peebler is moving up from Landmark into the Halliburton parent group. His first action as e-business supremo is a strategic alliance with consultant SAIC.

Peebler’s T2B (Technical to Business) integration (see PDM Vol. 5 N° 2) seems to have gained some converts in the Halliburton ‘mother ship.’ Halliburton is to extend and formalize Landmark’s e-commerce offerings in a joint venture with SAIC - the IT consultancy. Headquartered in Houston, the new venture will use web-based portals to provide a collaborative environment for E&P decision making.
The portals, or Knowledge Service Providers (KSP).
will share applications and data among communities of practice (COP). The KSP will extend such communities beyond corporate boundaries to include partners.
Landmark’s president Bob Peebler has been ‘poached’ by Halliburton to head up the new venture and enthuses as to its potential - "This will pioneer the transformation of the E&P industry’s operational processes. No longer will professionals have to come together geographically in order to collaborate. The day of virtual ‘info-structures’ has arrived."
KSP-enabling technologies include reliable, secure, high-bandwidth communications, infrastructure, and scaleable, high performance software and computing facilities. Step in SAIC’s Advanced Network eXchange (ANX). John Glancy, head of SAIC’s e-commerce business said "Our strategy is to apply the skills we have gained in the automotive industry to the E&P value chain, where customers need the high performance, reliable and secure connectivity that the ANX network provides.
Lane Sloan, SAIC’s Energy Sector boss added "Providing real time data integration capabilities is the ultimate aim. Landmark’s expertise in E&P software applications and project data management and SAIC’s strength in applications, interpretation and data warehousing are being brought together to enable the high level integration of multiple data sources covering both technical and business data."
The concept of a workflow-centric portal is said to be the foundation for transforming the E&P operational processes. KSPs will provide a layered set of capabilities ranging from free Internet access of E&P information sources to technical application hosting, data integration services and collaboration facilities. An ‘open’ architecture will offer a range of applications and services from a ‘broad spectrum’ of providers.

Paradigm e-Geoscience

Paradigm too is leaping on the e-commerce bandwagon with one of the first geophysical Application Service Provision (ASP) offerings - "e-Geoscience."

Paradigm is to offer its E&P application suite over the web. The new offering, dubbed “e-Geoscience” will provide web-based front ends to Paradigm’s software tools for use on company intranets and externally, in an Application Service Provision (ASP) mode. Remote-access was first available to Paradigm’s processing clients for building velocity models for depth migration.
This technology, which enables collaborative work between clients and Paradigm’s geoscience experts, accesses data and applications located at Paradigm’s computing facilities.
The next target for remote deployment is the well data management and petrophysics package GeoLog, already running in web mode at major clients sites. The PlaNET suite for optimization of gas-infrastructures and reservoir simulation is also available from a third party ASP. Future targets for web-enabling and ASP include modules from the Echos, Ergos and Poros suites.
Paradigm CFO Brian Berman, commented: "Web-enabling is an exciting and inevitable development in the delivery of high-end geoscience solutions. e-Geoscience expands opportunities for remote collaborative analysis of E&P projects and simplifies both data management and IT."

Efficient frontier or wild west?

The leitmotif of the MBA/economist brigade is that the current low returns provided by the upstream must be improved if industry is to survive. PDM editor Neil McNaughton wonders if, with oil at $30, such self flagellation is still really necessary.

It is no coincidence that the major application vendors both are fronting their new strategy with hi-falutin’ MBA economics. Both major vendors are prefacing the rush to integrate financial and technical information with the claim that E&P return on investment (ROI) is pitifully small at 5-7%. Indeed both go as far as to suggest that with better portfolio analysis, by high-grading assets using the new and magical Efficient Frontier Analysis (EFA), then all will be well and ROI will rocket back to levels that will satisfy the investment community. While it is hard to imagine that innovative software will put quite so much onto the bottom line, the task of attempting to put an ‘objective’ value on an prospect, or on the aggregation of prospects that is a portfolio, is a fascinating exercise indeed, which brings together geology, psychology and OK, a little economics.
It would be nice to imagine that projects - like people - are all created equal and all have merit in the right portfolio. But the reality is as any old timer will tell you, that there are “eating sardines“ and “selling sardines”. That some prospects are good and some are dogs, unworthy of a position in any portfolio. Choosing which is which is the expert job of the geoscientist and engineers. If your corporate aim is to do better than the dreaded 5% ROI, you are going to have to get rid of some of the dogs. So you farm them out. Or rather you try to farm them out. If it was possible to farm out anything, as was the case in the early 1980’s, and if all prospects are subsequently drilled by other companies then the industry-at-large ROI will be unchanged. For a given world-wide pool of prospects, an improvement of industry-wide ROI must be achieved at the expense of a reduction in investment, by eliminating the dogs and only drilling the prime prospects. One wonders if the implications of a such a reduction of investment in exploration has been thought through by those who are touting the new economics. What reduction in the service sector spend would be necessary to bring oil and gas ROI into line with the dot coms?
Of course today, not only you cannot farm out so easily, you may even find it hard to finance the prospects that you do want to drill. Expenditure is totally focused on development or low risk opportunities, so far has the sentiment turned against the explorationist. And the sentiment of the investment community is what is key here. We have worked on the science, and on the economics, but seem to have overlooked something. Perhaps if we stopped flagellating ourselves with the poor ROI story, we might have time to reconsider the very real change that 3D seismics brought to the E&P business. I know that was the big story of the 90’s when the oil price collapse stopped us in our tracks. But technological breakthrough is an even bigger story today, as visualization technology catches up with acquisition.
Finally, to return to the ROI debate or should that be debacle? The MBA’s and holier-than though cost-cutters have indeed talked the industry into a big hole, and they are still digging. I Rationalizing structural change in the service sector is all very well, but it is perplexing to see it being done with such enthusiasm by the very companies who are at such risk from it. I would submit that more of the communications firepower should be devoted extolling risk reduction technology rather pretending that this can be achieved by analysis. Efficient Frontier Analysis is only snake oil after all, but it’s the wrong snake oil! We need to get those Chicago dentists back with their tax dollars! We need economics run at a $30 barrel – yee haw!

Gocad 2000

French software house T-Surf has upgraded its flagship GoCad geological modeling suite to offer full shared earth modeling to the end-user.

Like many software infrastructure suppliers GoCad has a hard time positioning its offering. Is GoCad/T-Surf a supplier of a geometry engine? Yes, it is the core of Landmark’s earth model technology. Is it a research tool for in-house use by oil and gas companies? Yes again, with enthusiastic clients such as Exxon, TotalFinaElf and Texaco. Increasingly though, T-Surf is is positioning GoCad as an end-user application in its own right, aimed squarely at the shared earth model niche for integrated reservoir analysis.
The new product GoCad 2000 is described as a ‘cost-effective’ suite of reservoir modeling tools which allow geoscientists and engineers to visualize, share and improve the same data. GoCad 2000 includes modules for immersive Virtual Reality, geostatistics and risk evaluation. An OpenSpirit connection to OpenWorks and GeoFrame is available.
New workflow functionality provides the ability to build dynamic structural models from a seismic or geologic interpretation, including the fault framework. From the geologically consistent structural model reservoir rock volumes can be computed.
GoCad comes in two packages, an end-user version and a developer kit for integration of GoCad with existing applications.
The Developer version includes the GoCad libraries and the GoCad Development Framework. GoCad 2000 is available on Windows NT and on UNIX workstations from Hewlett Packard, IBM, SGI and SUN. Linux versions are also available.

Sperry’s RESolution

Sperry-Sun’s new RESolution 3D brings real time decision support software to the drilling rig. The system offers simultaneous viewing of the drilling process at both the rigsite and in the office.

Halliburton unit Sperry-Sun Drilling Services, has teamed with sister company Landmark Graphics Corp. on the RESolution 3D (R3D) project, a real-time 3D drilling and reservoir decision support system offering visualization and updating of earth models at the rig site and in the office.
R3D uses Sperry-Sun’s INSITE rig information system to acquire and manage real-time drilling data which is passed on to OpenWorks. This makes real-time data available for Landmark’s interpretation applications such as SeisWorks, EarthCube and PetroWorks. At the rig, the same data can be used in well steering planning software, such as Compass. R3D has undergone six months field-testing at locations throughout the world and has already impacted well decisions such as casing seat location and horizontal well landing.
Halliburton President and CEO Edgar Ortiz said "An integral part of Halliburton’s vision is to be the leader in real time reservoir solutions. R3D removes a long-standing barrier between the rigsite and the office, enabling real-time improvement of subsurface understanding.” Landmark President Bob Peebler adds "By linking real-time drilling information directly into Landmark’s OpenWorks, critical decisions can be made where and when they are required, without the constraints of data availability, and communications.”

Amoco school goes to universities

Amoco’s in-house training is a casualty of the BP takeover. All is not lost though as the Amoco Heritage Petrophysics training center is to be transferred to academia as part of the NExT curriculum.

BP Amoco (BPA) has transferred the Amoco Heritage Petrophysics School to the NExT Subsurface Integration Program (NSIP). The Tulsa-based NSIP is one of 50 courses offered by NExT, a new alliance of UK Heriot-Watt University, Texas A&M, the University of Oklahoma, and Schlumberger.
BPA training manager John Dillon said "We recognize the business value of the Amoco Heritage Program and believe it will continue to deliver learning to the entire oil and gas industry through NexT. We are proud that this 29-year old program will still provide value to the industry." BPA will actively participate in NSIP, a one year program taught at the University of Oklahoma.
BPA will sit on the NExT Petrophysics Peer Review Board, responsible for the quality of the NSIP course content and delivery. BPA will also provide appropriate business and technical examples and non-proprietary technologies to be incorporated in the course work. NexT program manager Bill Cotten added “NExT is fortunate to be able to include this world-class program in its curriculum, filling the gap between our industry’s need for integrated, multidiscipline skills and other existing discipline-specific training courses." NSIP is in an interactive, non-traditional project learning environment for reservoir project studies open to E&P professionals worldwide.
The program focuses on integrating multiple disciplines to characterize rock, pore and fluid systems. Cotten claims “Integrating subsurface technologies and processes is the key to solving the business problems that the participants bring to the program.”

Depth Team Express

New software from Landmark is set to enhance model building in depth. Depth Team Express makes depth conversion an integral part of the E&P workflow.

Way back at the 1998 New Orleans SEG convention (see PDM Vol.3 N° 9), Bob Peebler speculated that 80% of future oil and gas reserves were hidden by depth conversion problems. Solving these would require a paradigm shift ‘the whole factory needs to be re-tooled.’
The retooling continues with the release of Landmark’s DepthTeam Express (DTE). DTE is designed to make velocity modeling and depth conversion a part of every interpretation workflow.
DTE allows geophysicists, geologists and engineers to collaborate on problem such as the relationships between disparate data types, and ‘enhances confidence’ in the earth model and in well plans. DTE is based on Landmark’s Interpret 2000 release.

Merak portfolios

Schlumberger unit Merak is cooperating with Portfolio Decisions Inc. on a risk and portfolio management solution for the oil and gas industry.

Merak has announced a strategic alliance with Portfolio Decisions, Inc. (PDI), the oil and gas risk and portfolio management consulting firm. The new group will offer clients a risk analysis, portfolio optimization and planning solution, including software and consulting services.
Merak’s Peep and Capital Planning packages are to be integrated with PDI’s Perspectives application. PDI president John Howell said "We aim at providing companies with a direct link between their investment decisions and their business strategies. With Merak, we are able to offer oil and gas companies the tools and knowledge they need to stay competitive in this volatile market."

NAM selects GeoQuest

Shell’s NAM domestic unit has selected GeoQuest as prime contractor for its E&P software.

Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) B.V., the Dutch Shell/Exxon E&P joint venture has selected GeoQuest’s GeoFrame as the integration platform for subsurface evaluation. Rien Herber, NAM IT manager said "With an integrated workflow based on Shell’s proprietary technology and GeoQuest tools, we aspire to make faster and better exploration and reservoir optimization decisions in anticipation of increased competition.”
Shell’s proprietary software and selected third-party applications will be integrated into the workflow, which will be further enhanced ‘real soon now’ through the interoperability offered by OpenSpirit-enabled applications. Over 250 active NAM projects will be converted from to GeoQuest’s data format and some 100 users will be trained in a 6 month migration project.

GeoQuest Forum 2000+

GeoQuest president Thierry Pilenko outlined plans for the future at the European edition of GeoForum 2000. Networking technology, outsourced applications and e-commerce form the basis of a rejuvenated, information - centric offering from the oil service behemoth. PDM, while awed by the goods on display, wonders if we really want to buy everything in the same shop.

The European edition of Schlumberger-GeoQuest’s GeoForum user group meeting was held in Paris this month. Slightly larger than its US counterpart, the Euro-Forum was attended by some 400 users from 37 countries. The keynote address from Thierry Pilenko went over what has become well-trodden ground for PDM readers. Pilenko is concerned over the low return on investment (ROI) in the oil and gas industry and like others, is advocating sophisticated economic modeling as a lever to improved efficiency.
But GeoQuest’s real strength is in the technology, and Pilenko spaded - out an extended offering, spanning networking (with technology from the recently merged Omnes unit), smartcards from Schlumberger and of course, the traditional E&P applications and data management solutions. The latter have all been given a shot in the arm by a variety of e-initiatives (see elsewhere in this issue.)
GeoQuest is to tie the whole thing together and repackage these and other services into e-commerce enabled offerings. Pilenko claims the modern oil co needs to “leverage, not necessarily own technology.”
GeoQuest has been doing some market research and in one survey, found that up to $50 billion of E&P assets will be traded over the net in the next three years. Pilenko wants the lion’s share of these transactions for GeoQuest.
Other surveys by the Dresner Bank and Forrester Research focused on smart card security. A massive move away from password protection (currently 95% of the market) to smart card technology is forecast over the next three 3 years and the new ‘Entrust’ plug & play smart cards for Windows are to make Schlumberger “a smart enabler of the digital revolution.”
Schlumberger is moving away from its product-centric focus of the past to becoming ‘information centric’. No more so than in the field of e-commerce, for which Pilenko estimates a 70% per annum growth rate for the next 5 years. Other key developments are in the fields of Application Service Provision (ASP) and data management – working with Open Spirit, POSC, BizTech for Energy and ‘other domain specific solutions’. Schlumberger’s aim is to be able to use the most appropriate delivery mechanism - ‘from motorbikes to megabits’ - as circumstances dictate.
An example is the PDVSA outsourcing project which supports 2850 users with 250 dedicated GeoQuest staff managing applications from GeoQuest and third parties. The secure private Schlumberger intranet (SINET), the second largest after the US military, ties it all together and conveys an estimated daily load of 500 GB of client data worldwide.
product news
The economic high ground has been staked out with Merak’s software as the hub for decision support, while Open Spirit is the platform for integration of third party applications and datastores. A new seismic characterization plug-in ‘SeisClass’ aimed at the StratiMagic niche is in the offing. Schlumberger’s Knowledge Management offering is up and running with ‘MindShare’, the offspring of an internal K-Management product used by Schlumberger engineers. MindShare uses XML/LDAP based technology and will be commercialized later this year.
In a drive to reduce desktop IT costs Pilenko wants to take the “T” out of “IT” and by year end 2000 will have integration of technical computing with the desktop and Microsoft Office. A ‘PC Version’ of GeoFrame will be available by the end of 2000 but it is not clear what applications will be available on the PC. Other new offerings will be announced soon - especially repackaging Schlumberger’s PowerHouse data center and web-enabled applications into an ASP solution.
Portfolio Decisions Inc.
John Howell, president of Portfolio Decisions Inc. (PDI) described Portfolio Management (PM) as ‘a disciplined way of looking at your business’ which can provide insights and information for structured decision making. PDI has teamed with Merak (see page 5) to provide consulting and software metrics on net income, production forecasts, efficient frontier analysis (EFA) and on the probability of corporate goals being achieved.
Efficient Frontier
Howell showed how EFA risk analysis can reveal volatility in Net Present Value computations. EFA is a great ‘descriptive space’ but is not so good for decision making where PDI’s Project Profiles are recommended. These shown that 90-95% of existing portfolios are in fact ‘infeasible solutions’ to achieving corporate goals.
Strategic Project
Such analysis leads to concept of the ‘strategic project’ i.e. one which if removed from portfolio means goals will not be met. Howell underlined the conflict between central Portfolio Management and the delegation of authority to the business unit. No easy answer to this but ‘it must be addressed.’ Finally, to counter the skeptics, Howell quotes quality guru Edwards Demming who realized that “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”
Downstairs in the data management cellar, Bill Baksi set out the GeoQuest vision to ‘revolutionize upstream IT and decision making’. Data Management (DM) is one of the fastest growing business units in Schlumberger with a claimed 75% market share. The ten DM centers across the world are transforming into hubs for B2B e-commerce. Schlumberger DM clients include BP Amoco, Conoco, Deminex, Elf, Hydro, PDVSA, Pemex, Petronas, and Shell.
million barrel man
Yet another study has shown that between 250k and 1,000k bbl of oil and gas reserves are added per geoscientist per year. The ‘million barrel’ crowd are – you guessed all GeoQuest clients. Baksi categorizes such success as a straight line ‘from data management to the balance sheet.’
Andrei Kalininchev wants to make DM ‘transparent’ including access to ‘foreign’ systems such as Landmark, CGG and PGS. DM is part of a decision support environment and needs to be technologically neutral.
Finder 9
Finder 9 will have an OpenSpirit compliant well server. For those of you who are still holding their breath, GeoQuest be back populating the data store real soon now! The DM future promises personalized home pages, exposing a cut-down map interface where the user can select a well, view a scout ticket, download LAS curve data and view it in a browser. Another promise is for “Advanced Integration” i.e. a simpler application strategy avoiding the SeisDB, LogDB, Finder route by simpler “data-type lifecycle” data access
seismic tsunami
Project archival is promised for Finder 9.x in 2001 and an ArcView option will be available with Finder 9.0 in Q1 2001. DM will integrate the Merak and ERP environment in a similar timeframe. Kalininchev is eagerly awaiting the seismic “tsunami”! In 2000 there will be around 2 petabytes of new seismic data worldwide. In 2004 this will rise to an estimate 15 petabytes.
Columbia Data Bank
Alan Smith outlined the Columbian National Data Repository project. Ecopetrol, Schlumberger and Paras are collaborating on this data bank for all E&P data types. The software deployed includes all of GeoQuest’s data management tools - xxDB, Finder, SmartMap, GeoWeb and GeoFrame. Check out the project on www.bip.com.co.
PDM Comment – Pilenko’s strategy is to offer the whole enchilada in service provision. From outsourced data storage, through managed software and private networks to secure smart card access. Whether a client really wants to buy all this from one supplier is a moot point. It is also a moot point as to whether a single supplier really needs to ‘own’ all these technologies. With OMNES, Schlumberger has a special relationship with a network provider and the same goes for the Schlumberger smart card technology developed in-house. But some or all of this is, in reality, commodity service provision. Do we really want everything actually made by the same organization?
On another note, if as Baksi states, a geoscientist finds upwards of 250k bbl per year then the worst are finding around 10 times their cost per year! So why did they all get fired?

New horizontal risk analysis from Palisade

A new release of Palisade’s popular @RISK Excel plug-in offers Excel 2000 compat-ibility, additional curve fitting and new visualization modules.

Palisade’s @RISK plug in is now available for Excel 2000. @RISK 4.0 brings more speed and functionality to the popular tool. The upgrade also sports new windowing on models and results. The @RISK parallel processing option can split large computations over different CPUs across the network.
The BestFit module available as a stand-alone program or integrated into @RISK. BestFit has been upgraded and redesigned with an Office-compatible interface, enhanced graphs, new fitting options and now accepts larger data sets. BestFit is used to calibrate simulations in @RISK or other software with probability distributions computed from the data used for the simulation.
RISKView allows for previewing probability distribution functions. RISKView 4 offers enhanced graphics, an Office-style interface, overlays and direct linkage to distribution functions used in @RISK spreadsheet models. @RISK is sold in three packages. The Standard version includes the RISKView module. Professional adds the BESTFit option while the Industrial release incorporates RISKOptilizer, a genetic algorithm that optimizes simulation. More from www.palisade.com.

Majors group on Procurement

Fourteen energy companies headed by BP Amoco (BPA) and Shell are to set up an internet procurement exchange to streamline the energy industry supply chain.

Fourteen energy and petrochemical companies have launched a massive e-procurement alliance which is set to ‘dwarf the competition’. Angela Edwards of BPA said "We are looking at the procurement of a wide spread of products from paper clips to oil rigs. Costs savings could range between five to 30 percent, depending on the type of product and the region of procurement."
$125 bn.
The 14 partners, who include Conoco, Oxxy, Phillips, Statoil, TotalFinaElf and Unocal, collectively spend over $125 billion on procurement each year. BPA CEO John Browne added “The leading players within the industry have come together to improve performance, productivity and capital efficiency.”
The alliance will use the use the CommerceOne e-commerce platform and the partners are planning an IPO at a future date.

People on the move

Moves at the top for Landmark and Halliburton and a new CEO for IDS’ GeoCommerce arm.

John Gibson has been named president and CEO of Landmark Graphics Corp. Gibson’s career in oil and gas began as an exploration geophysicist for Gulf Oil Company. Following the acquisition of Gulf by Chevron, Gibson was manager of geophysical and geological subsurface imaging for Chevron’s Oil Field Research Company. In 1994, Gibson joined Landmark and has held executive positions including vice president of Landmark’s Integrated Products groups, president of Landmark’s Zycor Division and most recently, COO. Gibson is a member of the POSC Board of Directors and was interviewed by PDM last June (PDM Vol. 4 N° 6.)
Landmark’s past-president Bob Peebler is moving up into the Halliburton ‘mother ship’ to assuming full-time responsibility for e-Business strategy (see front page.) Peebler has been Landmark’s president and CEO since 1992.
Scott Nelson has joined Intelligent Detection Systems Inc’s GeoCommerce business unit as CEO. Nelson was formerly with Amerada Hess Canada.

Expert3D graphics for Shell, Paradigm

Paradigm Geophysical’s volume interpretation system VoxelGeo has been tuned for use on Sun Microsystems' Expert3D graphics card. Shell International are also using the new board.

Shell International and Paradigm Geophysical are both early adopters of Sun Microsystems latest graphics technology. A specially tuned version of VoxelGeo was demonstrated at the launch of Sun’s Expert3D board, a high-performance graphics accelerator with texture mapping capabilities. Paradigm’s high-end 3D graphical applications have been optimized to deliver maximum performance on the Expert3D through collaboration with Sun. Two cards can be installed on one workstation to support dual high-powered graphics heads.
Shell’s interpretation applications manager Rob Leslie said "The Expert3D card brings high-performance graphics to the desktop without requiring us to do any modifications to our software.
The graphics needs of the seismic world differ a lot from those of other industries. We need to look at large data volumes in real time. Any latencies - hesitations with the displays, or with the rendering - are distracting to the interpreter. If they have a train of thought, and they're trying to understand a data set, they want to be able to manipulate it, and interact with it real time." Expert3D costs $3,495. More from www.sun.com.

Web data access for BP Amoco

BP Amoco is working with GeoQuest on the “E-solution” which offers database access and corporate information management from the web browser.

BP Amoco and GeoQuest are collaborating on a new solution for upstream information management. The “E-Solution.” is described as an e-business framework for petrotechnical information management. Users will have access to proprietary, public, digital or physical data, from a common, intuitive, customizable interface
right data
Steve Peacock, BP Amoco VP for ‘Upstream Digital Business,’ believes that "rapid access to quality technical data is a key lever for productivity in the upstream oil business. An approach utilizing Web-based technologies will allow BP Amoco to ensure that the right data is available to the right people at the right time." BP Amoco anticipates reduced business cost from web-based technologies accessing existing databases. Plans are to deploy this new solution initially in Aberdeen, Stavanger and Sunbury, with other sites to follow. Users will have rapid access to all entitled data.
"GeoQuest and BP Amoco have had a long-term business relationship that has resulted in the development of a number of innovative solutions to BP Amoco’s operational problems," said GeoQuest president Thierry Pilenko. "Our objectives are mutually aligned to ensure that this step change in information management will contribute to the goals of BP Amoco." GeoQuest has been providing information management services and expertise to BP Amoco since 1994.
new approach
While these services have been delivered to a number of worldwide BP Amoco sites, the E-Solution will pilot a new approach for access to data and information.

Paradigm’s Virtual Data Store

Paradigm is using CORBA technology to offer multi-vendor connectivity for its GeoLog well data management and petrophysics package. Paradigm’s Harvey Ford explains why Paradigm chose this tech-nology and how the well data server is being productized.

E & P data resides in multiple, dispersed databases often on different architectures, operating systems and hardware. Data access is further complicated in a multi-vendor environment. Two “solutions” have been advanced to get around these difficulties. You either chose a single corporate and project database and migrate all the relevant data to the selected database. Or you can select a single software vendor who can assure the interoperability of all of the important E & P applications.
In fact neither of these solutions has proven to be satisfactory. Legacy databases are rarely depopulated or decommissioned because the costs and time required for the task are hard to justify. The single-vendor solution has the side effect of eliminating vendor competition leading to unresponsiveness. Single-vendor solutions also tend to restrict the technological innovation that comes from the independent software house.
Paradigm has built common well data server based on CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) technology that provides a universal solution to these problems and offers access to databases regardless of vendor, physical location, or computer operating system. We recognized that no single database can ever be optimal for storing the diversity of data that are generated and used by the E & P industry. Application software must be able to access multi-vendor, distributed data stores that are supplied by multiple vendors without the need for replication.
Application software must be designed so that it does not have to be modified to access new data types. A database must be extensible to new technology data types.
When Paradigm purchased Geolog from Petroleum Technology Mincom (PTM) it gained access to a very flexible data structure which has led most of Geolog’s clients to adopt it as their permanent repository for well data. In 1996 PTM had assumed responsibility for maintaining and enhancing ConnecT, Chevron’s data bridge between Geolog, OpenWorks and GoCAD. Over 1200 licenses of ConnecT are currently in use. This technology enabled the development of well data servers for a variety of application software and project databases.
CORBA was extended by two powerful facilities. One is the “dynamic data mapping engine” that allows the organization to have complete control of the way that well data is represented. This facility allows for name and value substitution, data selection and units of measure issues. The second addition was the “project name server” which locates project well data regardless of physical location. The well data server lets users access data wherever it resides as long as he or she has the appropriate privileges. Multiple databases can be accessed simultaneously. For example, users can simultaneously acquire tops, horizons, and survey data from OpenWorks, log traces and core data from Geolog, and image log data from Recall. All of the data would appear to be coming from a single virtual data store.
IT benefits
CORBA provides benefits to the IT organization. Clients and servers can operate on any platform or operating system and those platforms can be different from each other. The clients and servers are also language independent. A client or server can be written in a combination of Fortran, C, C++, Java, or virtually any other language. Another intriguing characteristic of CORBA is the ease with which “thin clients” can be written in Java (e.g. a well-log browser for use on a corporate Intranet).
Real Soon Now
Paradigm will continue to offer the ConnecT Data Bridge in addition to a family of CORBA-based well data servers. The data server for OpenWorks 98+ and 2000 is now being commercially licensed. A GeoFrame Data Server is under development and will be released commercially in the third quarter of 2000 as part of the Geolog 6.4 commercial release. GoCAD and Recall data servers are high priority in our development schedule. Paradigm will also release (for testing) its first CORBA based well data server for its seismic applications in June 2000.

Landmen showcase IndigoPool

Schlumberger’s IndigoPool portal is to be used at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen (CAPL) annual Prospect Exchange event for online property dealing.

The annual get-together of Canadian landmen, Prospect Exchange, is to use Schlumberger’s IndigoPool technology for e-commerce acreage deals during the show. IndigoPool will allow attendees to make deals on-line and to speed up property preview and analysis. Prospect Exchange chair Nathan MacBey, said "This annual event is a forum for petroleum explorers and international governments to present their hydrocarbon opportunities to a wide audience of global and domestic players. With Schlumberger and IndigoPool we have simplified the process for our exhibitors and delegates."
IndigoPool will house prospect digital data, company and property descriptions. Exhibitors will be able to monitor who is looking at their assets and receive e-mail notification from interested parties. Users will also be able to execute swaps, farmins, farmouts, pooling and participation from their desktop through IndigoPool.com. This year’s Prospect Exchange anticipates 2000 attendees and 150 exhibitors at the Calgary Convention Centre, April 27-28.

Indigo & Gaffney Cline team

Schlumberger’s e-commerce portal IndigoPool is to collaborate with consulting house Gaffney Cline to assist companies and governments with intelligent, web-based services for E&P asset acquisition and disposal.

The memorandum of understanding signed between IndigoPoool and consulting house Gaffney Cline Associates (GCA) aims at adding ‘a thorough understanding of public and private market dynamics’ to IndigoPool’s web-based information repositories and secure data exchange channels. The combined offering will target government agencies, national oil companies and the private sector.
The new service to governments will improve competitiveness in the hydrocarbon sectors and enhance policy effectiveness. The private sector service focuses on the use of the Internet to improve portfolio management and property trading capacity.
GCA CEO Bill Cline said " Our specialized domain knowledge and commitment to confidentiality mean we will be able to present a set of skills and services that will change the way that many aspects of our industry’s business can be undertaken." GCA, a privately owned corporation, recently facilitated the Brazil Round 1 licensing round, believed to be first to use the Internet as an integral tool for both process management and communications. More from www.gaffney-cline.com.

Free LAS reader

Software developer Ian Vincent is offering a free reader for well logs in the Log ASCII Standard.

Rather than post a CV, software developer Ian Vincent has written LAS Reader (LAS-R) to showcase his programming talents. Better still, he has put LAS-R into the public domain. The software reads, views and edits industry standard Log ASCII (LAS) files from Windows environment. Other functionality includes selective log curve visualization, editing of headers and data, depth shifting and interpolation. Logs can be exported to LAS or TXT files and images to WMF and . LAS-R is available on www.angelfire.com/biz5/lasreader.

ASP, asap for Calgary!

One of the first into the Application Service Provision fray is software giant GeoQuest. Offering an end-to-end service of applications, networking and systems integration, the Schlumberger unit is well placed to ride the ASP wave. Calgary’s cable infrastructure makes it an ideal candidate for this first industry-scale ASP test.

Yes you have another acronym to get your head around, ASP or Application Service Provision is another step in IT outsourcing. The idea is to move more and more infrastructure out of the client site. Undesirable elements such as data, software licenses, IT support, server and storage hardware all go, and are managed by a third party. All that remains at the client site is the intranet and the only remaining ‘application’ the web browser.
For this to work of course you need a humongous ‘pipe’ connecting your intranet to the provider, so ASP is not available at all locations. Calgary is fortunate with its cable infrastructure and compact downtown and was a logical choice for the launch of GeoQuest’s first ASP service, “LiveQuest.”
Clients of GeoQuest’s data management center, the “PowerHouse” now have access to exploration, production, and economic and risk analysis software offered by GeoQuest and Merak served via the Web. GeoQuest president Thierry Pilenko said "This new service is the next step in GeoQuest’s e-business strategy, It follows the successful implementation of a worldwide network of GeoQuest data management centers and of IndigoPool, an e-business portal for the upstream oil and gas industry."
Actually, GeoQuest has been in the ASP business for a while; Finder has been available over the web since the launch of the PowerHouse in 1997. Network access to the Merak economics and production software, including Peep Online, PetroDesk Online and FieldView Online, has been available since February of this year. GeoQuest applications available through LiveQuest include GeoFrame reservoir characterization tools, ECLIPSE reservoir simulation applications and the Drilling Office suite.
"LiveQuest security comes from Schlumberger’s own smart card technologies Cyberflex and Cryptoflex.LiveQuest builds on our domain expertise, extensive infrastructure, network security and on the service culture for which Schlumberger is known," said Pilenko.

ASP does it work?

Feedback from ASP users outside of the oil industry suggests that there are pitfalls in browser access to hosted applications. The problem is not just one of bandwidth - as the editorial staff of Sm@rt Reseller found.

IT trade mag Sm@rt Reseller tried outsourcing its email with a New York-based ASP that hosts e-mail and other applications. Steven Vaughan-Nichols reports that despite the provider’s enthusiasm, ASP did not work as advertised. The problems seem to have come from the interface with Lotus Notes. Vaughn-Nichols reported that reading messages was “as slow as running a marathon on crutches.” Worse, the ASP client lacked essential features such as spell-checking, cutting and pasting and login and password use was awkward.
painfully slow
Sm@rt Reseller’s advice to Notes-based ASPs is to stick with the native Notes client, because Lotus’ Java-based browser client was “painfully slow on even our fastest 500MHz Pentium III with 128MB of RAM and T1 connections to the Internet.”

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