April 2001

Landmark’s Magic

Texaco is the big beneficiary in the $100 million sale of its Magic Earth high-end visualization spin-off to Halliburton’s Landmark Graphics unit.

Landmark Graphics Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton Company is to acquire 3-D visualization specialists Magic Earth Inc. The deal, a paper transaction of an estimated $100 million value, will leverage Landmark’s world wide distribution channels to promote the software.


Magic Earth was founded in 1999 when Texaco spun-off its GeoProbe seismic interpretation and visualization environment (see PDM Vol. 4 N° 11). At the time PDM commented “GeoProbe’s uncompromising technical specification and novel approach will make an interesting new arrival in the marketplace.” Subsequently, the product’s success has been demonstrated with high-profile sales to BP, Western and Marathon.


Landmark and Magic Earth will collaborate on integrating their technologies to “accelerate the rate of innovation and delivery of value-added solutions across the entire E&P spectrum.”


Halliburton president and CEO, Dave Lesar said “In order to capture value early in the reservoir life cycle, our customers need to speed-up their workflows. The acquisition and integration of Magic Earth’s software with Landmark’s data infrastructure and software tools will provide a best-in-class solution to the industry. This strategic acquisition is not expected to be dilutive to earnings in 2001, and is expected to be accretive next year.”


Landmark president and CEO John Gibson added “We are preparing for another quantum leap in the volume of data from the emerging digital oil fields or ‘E-fields.’ Magic Earth, in conjunction with other Landmark offerings, will enable our customers to meet the challenge of managing, browsing, interpreting and making real-time decisions based upon these vast volumes of data.”


Magic Earth CEO Mike Zeitlin concluded, “With a powerful partner in Halliburton and Landmark, Magic Earth will further accelerate its rate of innovation and deploy better, more fully integrated solutions to the global E&P market.” Under the agreement, the Landmark and Magic Earth brands will remain separate, but Magic Earth will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton.

MMS E-Government

Booz-Allen and Petris Technology have been selected by the US Minerals Management Service to investigate electronic government.

The US Mineral Management Service has engaged consultants Booz-Allen and Hamilton (BAH) and Petris Technology to transform its Offshore Minerals Management Program into a web-enabled environment for offshore leasing and regulatory reporting.


Tom Readinger of the Office of Minerals Management (OMM) explained, “The e-Government strategy will streamline the OMM’s efforts by linking stakeholder communities, and exchanging data and transacting business via the web.” BAH VP Lloyd Howell added, “Modernizing the agency into an e-Government operation will facilitate reporting and improve response times.”


OMM IT head Gig Kocher said “BAH will help the OMM develop a robust, secure IT architecture that will assure the protection of proprietary data. Petris president Jim Pritchett concluded “The industry stands to gain almost as much as the government through easier reporting and secure access to public domain data. This may not be real-time government for the offshore oil and gas industry, but it is about as close as anyone can reasonably get.”


A move is afoot to force commercial publishers of scientific publications to open up their archives to the public domain. PDM editor Neil McNaughton compares the online availability of material from upstream societies like AAPG, SPE and SEG. He concludes that putting archive material into the public domain would conform better to their statutes than their current commercial behavior.

A thump in our letterbox this morning heralded the arrival of yet another learned journal. As an editor I try and make a point of at least skimming through these weighty tomes before they get chucked into the recycling bin. In my youth I used to keep them, but when I had accumulated some twenty years of Geophysics, Geophysical Prospecting and the attendant publications, the wife said ‘it’s either them or me.’ I chucked the journals.

A better way?

Part of the chucking rationale was a sentiment that with the advent of electronic publication, there would be a better way to publish, store and retrieve such information. Let me elaborate. This morning’s thumping arrival was the AAPG Bulletin for March 2001. Opening it up I see an article on basin evolution in western Newfoundland. Having no pressing need to learn about the province’s geology, nor about the Neogene of the Apennines, nor of any other of the undoubtedly interesting (for some) articles, the illustrious journal is now on its way back to the paper mill.

Just in case

What we have here is an example of ‘just in case’ information management. The AAPG is providing all this material on the assumption that some of it may be of interest. To translate this data delivery into the much more useful ‘just in time’ paradigm, you either need a library (the traditional way) or some electronic means of delivery and storage.


But the impact of online delivery is more profound than just storage and could enhance the whole publication process. Submission and review for example, think of all those mathematical papers in Geophysics. Is every equation checked? Are the checkers qualified? I assume so, but to make sure, societies could broadcast the arrival of a new paper - perhaps even publish a draft - and ask for volunteer reviewers. The whole review process would be more open, and best of all, quicker! The Newfoundland paper was originally submitted to the AAPG in January 1999 - over two years before publication! Other merits of online publication? An audit trail of the review process, searchable text, hot-linked references. But best of all, the online paradigm brings us ‘just in time access.’ When I need to know about western Newfoundland, I will be directed to the appropriate paper by the search engine.

On Line Bulletin

Actually though, the AAPG is in the forefront of electronic delivery of such material. As of 2001, you can ask for the Bulletin to be accessible online instead of receiving it in the post. This is progress if you like, but there is a catch. You can access the current year of the journal on-line, but if you want access to the whole archive you have to pay for a license. Now I personally do not mind paying a bit extra for a single user license for the online edition, but the extra payment has a pernicious effect on what is actually a stated objective of the AAPG and all the other societies - that is, education.

Jo Public

If you have to pay to view the back issues, the societal websites will never be accessible by Jo Public. They will never get indexed by the search engines. So that someone living in Saint Johns, who may have a legitimate personal interest in the Newfoundland article, will likely never ever know that it has been written.

Goose Tickle

Those serendipitous full text searches will never reveal that Newfoundland boasts a westward thrusting Goose Tickle detachment (I kid you not!). All this, I’m afraid, is because our beloved societies, despite their not for profit status, in reality tend to excessive retentiveness when it comes to making public the material which contributing members have seen fit to supply freely. They are not alone in this unfriendly practice.

Public Library of Science

A debate rages in the field of scientific publishing between authors of scientific papers and commercial publishers. The Public Library of Science is a movement that advocates not for profit publishing of scientific papers into the public domain.

Los Alamos

The movement originated in the physics community at Los Alamos, which has maintained a public domain archive for a decade or so. The impact on commercial publishers like Nature and Science is interesting. The argument from the scientific community is that taxpayers usually pay for the research, and this should therefore be put in the public domain. The commercial publishers retort that they need the sales to fund the paper editions of the journals.


A likely compromise is in the offing. Nature and Science will probably retain copyright for a fixed term - six months or a year. But all older material will likely be in the public domain. Which is interesting for us because all material over one year old from Petroleum Data Manager is freely available from the www.oilit.com website. In fact I find it puzzling that we, as a ‘proud to be commercial’ organization, have nearly one thousand articles in the public domain, but the ‘not for profit’ .orgs offer the public diddly-squat!

PDM Interview, John Wilson Landmark Graphics Corp.

John Wilson, Landmark group VP for marketing tells PDM how the Technical to Business (T2B) initiative is progressing, and how application and data service provision are to integrate Landmark’s information management offering.

John Wilson began his career with Schlumberger – as a wireline engineer in SE Asia. Subsequent work with reservoir engineering consultants SSI and Sierra Geophysical preceded his joining Landmark in 1994. He was appointed group VP marketing last year.

PDM Landmark’s software has grown by acquisition of Geographix, Teras and many others, yet the integration of all these is still very partial. Will you ever get there?

Wilson – Integration is a journey not a destination. I remember the enthusiasm that greeted our first demonstration of G&G integration in 1994 – we showed a geological cross section on a seismic backdrop. It was mind-blowing! Of course, today, end users complain because ‘complete’ integration is still not there. But we feel our Technical to Business (T2B) initiative goes a long way to offering a new level of integration.

PDM – But isn’t T2B another example of an unrealizable goal?

Wilson – not at all. Take our work with Burlington for example. We have customized our software to take data from 23,000 wells into a production allocation system built from TOW components, and from there into SAP. This system allows for monthly reporting, cuts checks, bills partners. Currently this is achieved by a file transfer from TOW into SAP, but it will evolve into a real time system, with integrated databases. This workflow encompasses Aries, Teras, Tow and DSS. Marathon’s Renaissance project is also a move away from ASCII file transfer, to an integration of Tow and SAP through master file synchronization. This ensures single, one-time data entry. Marathon has bought into this ‘bigger vision’ - to the tune of $1 million – incorporating TOW, DIMS etc. Our Development Scenario Analysis, currently in beta test with Statoil and BP is also relevant in this context. DSA evaluates options for oilfield development, performs project economics with Aries, Tow and our G&G software. We look at customers’ projects and identify ‘go - no go’ decision points. Teras contributes stochastic economics, notably from the Teras ‘cockpit’ - supported by the ‘uncertainty collator’ which collects statistical data from applications. This is web-based so that applications can reside in different locations. Landmark has also just acquired the software assets of Exprodat for $ 1.66 million and here again there will be more activity around data management and other facets of T2B.

PDM – Although the top brass pitch is full of T2B, on the shop floor, we still hear complains of poor ergonomics and buggy software. Bob Peebler referred to fixing these as ‘gardening’ in a previous interview. How is the gardening going today?

Wilson – We have very significant expenditure on supporting existing products, but it is surprising how little functionality of some applications is really used. We are in touch with the market, we continually strive to innovate – it can be a trap to put too much effort into maintenance. We have spent a lot of time looking into customer needs and have built our business on being visionaries. Landmark leads where others follow! The end users are our constituency, we have to keep them happy! In fact we spend what I think is a disproportionate amount of our effort tracing Operating System versions, Oracle releases and other embedded software changes.

PDM What of ASP?

Wilson – ASP and DSP* is a complex problem which necessitates clients reengineering their business. Our current software release is ASP-ready (except for EarthCube) and this should reduce infrastructure costs. We plan to leverage such technology to move our software from ‘just in case’ functionality to ‘just in time.’ We are re-inventing Landmark’s IM systems and ASP and DSP will be components of the new offering.

PDM But if ASP is to lower the cost of software to end users, this will make for less money for innovation and development.

Wilson – We see two ASP value propositions – it offers timely delivery of applications and data, and supports virtual teamwork. This could all be deployed internally. Take BP for example – where virtual teams link operations in Brazil to experts in Sunbury.

PDM So this is a different ASP from the GeoNet model?

Wilson – We could go through an external provider but at the present time we do not, because our customers have not asked for it. Our ASP provision exists within our clients companies.

PDM How do you sell your software – as supporting cost savings or as leveraging business processes?

Wilson – There are indeed two marketing paradigms – cost avoidance and value creation. We are successful in selling value creation to the top brass in an oil company, but at the operational level – the people with the checkbooks, we still have to demonstrate savings.

PDM What of the new kids on the block who claim that the incumbents’ code is hopelessly outdated?

Wilson – We are reacting to this and moving our code to platform independent Java and web-based middleware. Our Decision Space product will benefit from a more modern infrastructure. We are also working on a re-write of our legacy code. Our Release 2003 (which will be released to manufacturing Q2/Q3 2001) is planned with a long shelf life – to give our customers time to adapt. The migration process has been likened to open heart surgery – we are working on tools to make it simpler.

*ASP - Application Service Provision, DSP - Data Service Provision

SeiScan, TAR from paper seismics

New technology from SeiScan GeoData captures colored amplitude information from paper seismic sections.

The process of reconstructing digital seismic data from black and white paper displays has been used for a couple of decades. Usually, the data is scanned and the trace reconstructed from the scanned image.

True amplitude

But what if the original was a color representation of preserved amplitude data? A new process offered by SeiScan GeoData is capable of extracting the original true amplitude information from a color plot, and converting this into standard SEG-Y data. Dynamic range and seismic character are maintained and these data are then available for reprocessing or integration into existing workstation projects.

Hue chart

Following vectorizing, an automated process checks the pixel coloration at and around a particular trace and compares this within a user-defined color-hue chart. This allows for conversion of the vectorized data into amplitude equivalents.


Finally, a QC process compares the vector digital file with the analogue image, usually as a series of “patch” trials, where a number of conversion parameters are tested for the best reconstruction in several areas of the section. Once the vector file has been output, data may be plotted in the desired format. More from www.seiscan.com.

Schlumberger acquires Baker Jardine

Schlumberger Information Solutions is to acquire production engineering consultants and software developer Baker Jardine.

Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) unit GeoQuest is to acquire Baker Jardine and Associates (BJA), a London-based petroleum engineering firm. BJA is a provider of IT consulting and integrated solutions focused on increasing oil and gas production. BJA also develops and markets the PipeSim and ProdMan software tools.


PipeSim offers integrated production system modeling from reservoir to processing facilities, including simulation of multiphase flow through well and pipeline systems. PipeSim has links to reservoir and process simulators. Typical uses include conceptual studies, pipeline and surface production equipment design, well design, nodal analysis, gas and ESP lift design. ProdMan (Production Manager) enhances oilfield profitability by surveillance, optimization and automation.


BJA MD Alan Baker said “With the ability to diagnose individual wells, analyze production constraints and optimize production flow, our clients have been able to extract three to 15 per cent more oil from their existing wells. Now our clients will gain access to Schlumberger’s global service infrastructure, to benefit from an ongoing commitment to world-class R&D and to see further integration with leading products such as Finder, Eclipse, OFM and Peep.”

500 clients

BJA claims 500 clients worldwide including Shell, BP, Exxon, PDVSA, Pemex, Texaco and Saudi Aramco.

Nine VR centers for Shell

Shell International E&P has ordered nine large-scale immersive visualization centers from Trimension Systems.

Shell International Exploration and Production (SIEP) has ordered no less than nine large-scale visualization centers from UK-based Trimension Systems. The centers will be located Holland, Oman, New Orleans, Houston, Aberdeen and Sarawak, with delivery scheduled for the end of the third quarter 2001.


SIEP’s Visualization Centers are based on Trimension’s R2 Designer “Reality Rooms.” The R2 is a 12 ft radius curved screen, with 3 CRT projectors offering an environment for 35 viewers, or 8, with full immersion. The Visualization Centers have been commissioned to aid SIEP’s subsurface interpretation effort. The Houston center boasts an eight meter wide screen and deploys SIEP’s proprietary seismic interpretation software ‘123DI’.


SIEP interpretation applications manager Rob Leslie said “Trimension’s edge blending is world-class, enabling the very high resolution displays which are vital for this work. Trimension has also worked very closely with us to develop cost-effective solutions that will enable us to fulfill Shell’s vision of collaborative workflows across sites in different parts of the world.”


“The positive impact of VR technology has been demonstrated repeatedly in the acceleration of business decisions. Subsurface is just the beginning, we are currently investigating numerous additional areas where we feel visualization technology will have a positive impact on our business.” Other Trimension oil and gas clients include Texaco, Exxon and Magic Earth. More from www.trimension-inc.com.

Paradigm acquires GeoScene from Oilfield

Oilfield Systems has sold its GeoScene geological cross section software to Paradigm Geophysical.

Paradigm Geophysical has acquired the GeoScene product suite and related customer services from Oilfield Systems. GeoScene provides geological tools for surface, fault and zonal correlation, cross section definition, structural model building and surface mapping.


Paradigm Chairman and CEO Eldad Weiss, said, “ The integration of the GeoScene product suite, with its development and support team, into Paradigm’s global operations will strengthen Paradigm’s comprehensive offering in geological interpretation.”


GeoScene allows users to define hierarchical zones based on lithology, stratigraphy or any other facies scheme. Zones can be correlated and assigned properties for calculation or for export to reservoir mapping and modeling systems. Faults and unconformities can be picked and exported to mapping packages. GeoScene’s ability to handle horizontal wells led to significant cost savings during Shell’s development of the North Sea Kingfisher field (see PDM Vol. 3 N° 12).

150 clients

The installed base of close to 150 licenses is mostly in the North Sea, Middle East and Canada, and includes major oil companies and leading independent oil and gas producers.

Shell Leadership Toolbox

PDM reviews a new management training CD-ROM, produced by Shell International Exploration and Production.

How much would you expect to pay for the collected works of the Professional Learning Unit of Shell International E&P? Probably a lot more than the $195 asking price for Shell’s new CD-ROM training tool. Aimed at “leaders and managers in all types of businesses and organizations” the CD claims to “enable key management skills to be learned at the workplace on a just-in-time basis.”


Shell have done a moderately good job of addressing the (tough) problem of migrating a large amount of textual information onto a CD. Nothing more than an internet browser is required to access the information, unless you want to be able to search the CD. In this case the low-tech, html-alone solution comes unstuck. There is a search form, but this is only for an ‘online’ version of the material. The material is organized into 9 “portfolios”, which can be investigated at a high level - via “sound bites” or in more depth through “Learning Modules,” including the “latest thinking (as of 1999) from international business schools, writers on management, and other quality source material.” Other resources on the CD include a review of distance learning and business school courses. The only real gotcha of the Toolbox is the fact that, as you drill down, you may get to a “short, 1 page, evaluation of the material we have used and are prepared to endorse.” Additional material from the distance learning packages “can be provided by TSL on a mail order basis.”

Benchmark blues

We checked out the sound bite of the “Focus Externally” section. This gave a meticulous account of Shell Expro’s 12-step benchmarking process and warned of “benchmarking blues” - common causes of failure such as seeing benchmarking as a competition, learning what needs to be improved, but not how to improve it, or alternatively, staying “too close to home.” Shell believes that if you want “really new” you must look outside your own industry.

We investigated the “growing your business" section expecting to find some practical tips. We found instead some interesting generalities and caveats, and advice to “look to the long-term” and a commendation of the Price-Waterhouse distance learning packages, which can be ordered separately.


If you are a management student or a technical manager planning a career change, this material may help select schools or give a complementary vision. If you are looking for fixes to everyday sorts of management problems you may be overwhelmed by the theory and anecdotes. If you are just curious, the CD may give you an insight into what makes Shell tick, and could be useful background for vendors and service providers. But any real-world use would mandate the material being searchable.

The Shell Leadership Toolbox, www.TechStandards.co.uk

Morgan Stanley’s Nrg360

Morgan Stanley is launching yet another upstream A&D portal with help from IHS Energy and Arthur Andersen.

Banker Morgan Stanley Dean Witter has teamed with IHS Energy and Arthur Andersen to provide a “survival kit for oil explorers!” Nrg360 is yet another upstream A&D portal, with restricted access for the bank’s clients.


The asset exchange (AssetX) offers sellers a variety of bidding scenarios, and claims to make the buying process “more immediate.” Industry focused news feeds are provided by AFX News (an Agence France-Presse and Financial Times joint venture).


Financial news comes from Reuters and credit related information on industry players comes from partner Standard & Poor’s. The site contains what is described as “an advanced data room” and a secure communications network (provided by partner Unisys) allows potential buyers to dialogue with vendors. During a keynote speech at the GeoQuest forum, Anne Marie Cannon slipped in an unashamed plug for nrg360.com, claiming that the new offering “differs from IndigoPool.” Really? Online bidding, energy news, financial info? You could have fooled us!

GeoQuest Forum 2001

PDM, along with 500 plus GeoQuest aficionados, learned a lot about Schlumberger’s recent upstream IT developments. Highlights include wide screen 3D (see last month’s PDM), a re-branding of Schlumberger’s IT offering (see page 8 of this issue) and GeoFrame 4, due out this summer. PDM was particularly interested in the client-presented papers, with noteworthy contributions from Shell on Portfolio Analysis and a bespoke ArcView front end for GeoFrame. BP also presented its Global Information Management strategy - a major, world-wide collaborative venture with GeoQuest.

Over 500 turned up for the 2001 European GeoQuest “Connect” Forum. Schlumberger is in the process of re-engineering both its software and organization. In the past we had to wonder whether GeoQuest was a subsidiary or a brand name and to cope with a matrix organization inter-fingering with ‘geo-markets’ and operating units.


We now have to get used to some more organizational concepts, such as the I-Reservoir unit, and the fact that Schlumberger is to become an I-Solutions provider, when, that is, Schlumberger is not an E-Solutions Provider! For the official explanation of the newly formed Schlumberger Information Systems (SIS) unit see page 8 of this issue.


SIS president Pai identified two problems facing the upstream, that the return on investment is too small to interest investors, and that the industry workforce is aging, with an average of around 45. Companies are faced with a bewildering choice of technology and service providers, how do you distinguish between what’s real and what’s not?


Schlumberger’s offering is rooted in its traditional technology business and is growing strongly. Others, notably the dot coms, have poor foundations and are now suffering the consequences. Pai invited the audience to become partners in Schlumberger’s e-transformation, “Oils, service companies and governments need to collaborate to get into the new economy.”


For BP’s Craig Smalley, “It’s hard to get excited about data management, but if you solve the problems, you can do exciting things - like creating space for innovation.” The objective is to improve geotechnical productivity and to be able to cope with new data types such as 4D seismics. More generally, BP wants to “move work to people, not move people to the work.” In addition, Smalley forecasts that in two to three years time, BP will be doing twice as much work with the same staff, hence the need for improved productivity and to “work smarter.”


An internal analysis showed that BP employees still spend 40% of their time on data management - which is too much. BP are addressing these issues with the Global Information Management (GIM) program outsourced to GeoQuest. GIM objectives are to let getoechnical staff focus on their core business of interpretation, to create tools, procedures and services to deliver quality analysis and information, to ‘be global’ and to fulfill the expectations of business owners while providing connectivity with vendors, consultants and other third parties. GIM aims beyond the delivery of data to geotechnical staff, to ‘help them work better.’

I know now!

GIM is to be implemented in two phases across 5 sites in Europe and N. America. GIM phase one includes the BP GIM Portal (a.k.a. iknownow!). Internal studies identified 47 functional requirements for the portal such as archival (along with context), standard report formats, reformatting capability, graphical data viewers, interactive maps of area of interest and tracking request progress. These have been wrapped up into the ‘iknownow’ straw man, incorporating Badley’s Open Journal. For Smalley, ‘business improvement’ is the objective, but this requires “deep and continuous business involvement” in product development. Smalley believes that post-implementation follow up is key to such a program’s success “We hope that this will not be seen as a ‘project’ but as the ‘currency of the day.’”

ArcView on GeoFrame

Louwaars, from Shell/Exxon’s NAM unit described how Landmark had previously developed an ArcView front-end on top of its OpenWorks database. Last year (2000), NAM adopted GeoFrame as the corporate wide subsurface integration platform. To reproduce the same ArcView functionality, NAM had GeoQuest build an ArcView to GeoFrame link which is used to visualize subsurface and surface features simultaneously. Louwaars claims the development is a powerful visualization aid.

Spider plot

A demo begins with a world map and zooms in to show well spider plots and 3D seismic extents. Spatial queries such as “show wells within 10,000 feet of this pipeline” can be launched and GeoFrame is accessible from new ArcView icons, using the GeoFrame ‘Open Door’ facility. ArcView on GeoFrame includes utilities to transfer GIS and oilfield data from GeoFrame to ArcView, to export a selection of ArcView objects back to GeoFrame and to create an ArcView theme from dynamically selected data in GeoFrame. Integration between the products is tight thanks to Avenue scripting plus code from the GeoFrame Development Kit. Louwaars’ underlying philosophy is that you should “do GIS in the GIS.” Schlumberger will likely roll this development into a future release of GeoFrame.

GeoFrame 4

The heightened atmosphere during the presentations of GeoFrame 4 was only partly due to the extremely small auditorium - creating large spill-over crowds straining to hear what was happening. GeoFrame 4 “lets you work the way you want to work,” rather than being forced through a series of unnatural actions. One process - building a cross section in StratLog - has been reduced from ten down to two operations. Interpretations are now stored in the GeoFrame database and base mapping is now a common functionality.

Upstream Office

GeoQuest wants us to think of GeoFrame as the upstream equivalent of Microsoft Office. The software is said to ‘breakdown the barriers between domains’ - for instance letting a geophysicist commence structural modeling and hand over to a co-worker. ‘Everyone can be involved in modeling.’ Another novelty is the integration of SeisClass, GeoQuest’s StratiMagic look-alike, into the GeoFrame workflow. SeisClass offers automated or guided, neural net-based seismic classification.


Another novelty is the ‘geo-object’ which lets the interpreter locate and map a geological unit on the seismics, generate a ‘geo-body’ and place it, as an integral element, into the geologic model. Geo-objects can include channels, levees, sheet sands etc. and may have meta data associated with them. Geo-objects can have pre-determined internal geometry (toplap, downlap etc.), and external truncations and pinch outs can be represented. Once a geo-object is categorized and validated, it can be stored in a ‘geo-analog’ database. This is a reference database where maps, images and interpretations can be grouped together and recorded for posterity. Subsequently, interpreters will trawl the database looking for examples of analogs for future work. A new ‘automated’ age-based structural framework pervades GeoFrame 4. This introduces a geological formation lexicon which can be configured to local taxonomy and stratigraphy.

Production accounting

Santos’ PARS project involves the replacement of legacy production accounting systems for its Queensland and S. Australia operations. Finder’s production extensions were customized to supply produced volumes, masses and energy into to Oracle Financials. The innovation was the back-allocation of produced volumes to individual wells, with estimation of produced volumes at the wellhead from sparse flow meter measurements. Two products that will likely be incorporated into future Finder releases have emerged from this work; back allocation and a production network visualization tool. GeoFrame 4 is scheduled for release in June 2001.


According to Shell’s Kramer, “Shell is not like Exxon or BP, no single person says ‘thou shalt do decision analysis.’” Such tactics are delegated to the operating companies. But when the oil price took a plunge a couple of years ago, Shell’s parent company realized the interrelation and lack of robustness of its world-wide portfolio. Portfolio analysis is now part of the E&P planning cycle and capital allocation includes global, top-down setting of ceilings “so that we can pay our shareholders.”

7,500 spreadsheets!

Economics, volumes and five year reserve data used to be stored in some 7,500 Excel spreadsheets - with an attendant 500 Power Points! Shell checked out commercial portfolio management software and found it lacking. So they have worked with Merak to extend Peep into Shell-specific products CapIT and ePlan. These deploy Shell’s standard software tool, Business Objects. Notwithstanding the new software, Shell is still struggling with the question “Is it tools or ideas that call the top-level shots?” Meanwhile, Shell is seeking to develop a standard (XML?) template to collect top level financial and other raw data from its subs throughout the world.

Open Spirit

Norske Shell has successfully deployed both GeoQuest and Landmark applications on top of its openWorks database via the Open Spirit middleware. Pre-release versions of VarianceCube and CubeMath (in Landmark environment) have been tested and the results show the system is very stable and performance is “good, sometimes even better than existing software.” Meanwhile, Shell’s EP Technology Application and Research unit is using Open Spirit to connect its developments to industry data stores. At present, these applications ‘deal with a rather limited data footprint.’ Shell is working on extending the Open Spirit footprint to support structural modeling and engineering applications. When operational, these will be offered to Open Spirit Corp. for inclusion in a future release of the commercial product.


GeoQuest’s view of Open Spirit is slightly less bullish. While SeisClass has been released as a ‘true’ Open Spirit compliant application, PDM understands that this is not the same as the GeoFrame version, in other words, Open Spirit is not the interoperability mechanism used generally in GeoFrame 4. An insider confided to PDM “Open Spirit is GeoQuest’s preferred mechanism for integrating and interoperating with our competitors’ products.”

Schlumberger Information Solutions

Schlumberger is undertaking a major reorganization following the acquisition of Sema Group. Within the Oilfield Services division, a new unit, Schlumberger Information Solutions is a reflection of the growing importance of information technology and decision support.

Now that Schlumberger has finalized its takeover of the Sema Group IT consultancy, it is embarking on a major reorganization. Top down, Schlumberger will be divided into two groups, Oilfield Services (OFS) and Schlumberger Sema. The Sema unit will regroup Schlumberger Test & Transactions and Resource Management Services, including the recently acquired CellNet, Convergent Group, and Bull CP8.


One aspect of the changes is a move away from non core manufacturing business such as Meters and Test, but the smart card technology will be kept and is intended to become an integral part of the group’s offering – including to the oil and gas sector. Within the OFS unit, there are now two new sub units - Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) and Schlumberger Reservoir Evaluation and Development Services (REDS). Within SIS, there has been another reshuffle into six divisions to better represent the new corporate emphasis on IT and services: - GeoQuest, Merak, IndigoPool, Data and Consulting Services, Data Management and NExT (the training joint venture with Heriot Watt and Texas A&M). These will be provided with additional support by the oil and gas portion of Schlumberger Network Solutions and Sema, for IT integration, outsourcing, consulting, and security.


A Schlumberger source told PDM “The old organization was an obstacle to the coherent development of Schlumberger’s e-business strategy. There was brand overlap and confusion between Decision Point, Mindshare and IndigoPool. The new arrangement will sort this out and prepare the way for more e-business ideas - new portals, application service provision and even e-consulting.”


This strategy is to apply to the bigger picture, with the 21,000 strong Sema group to continue with its existing lines of business, but also to transfer its technology, especially from its 1500 strong WebTec division. Schlumberger plans to extend Sema’s current European-focused offering across globe. The cross-fertilization will likely work in the opposite direction too, with OFS experts injecting the Sema consulting arm with oilfield savvy. Before the Sema acquisition, Sclumberger headcount was some 63,000, and Schlumberger recruiting remains strong at 1,400 in 2000 and 1,900 forecast for 2001. The acquisition of Sema Group is intended to allow Schlumberger to compete in the IT consulting market with companies like IBM and SAIC.

Paradigm and PCI team

Paradigm Geophysical has teamed with Petrophysical Consulting Inc. to offer seismically-derived rock physical analysis for reservoir evaluation.

Paradigm Geophysical has signed an agreement with Petrophysical Consulting, Inc. (PCI) to provide integrated reservoir imaging and characterization services. The agreement augments current offerings of both companies by integrating seismic data analysis with rock physics.


Seismic reservoir characterization relates seismically-derived rock properties to volumetric information, such as porosity and lithology, and to fluid saturation and pore pressure. The new service agreement brings together Paradigm’s current Reservoir Characterization services and PCI’s Rock Physics Solutions.


Loz Darmon, Paradigm’s VP of Reservoir Studies said, “The agreement with PCI is consistent with Paradigm’s stated objective of providing the broadest range of best-of-class reservoir characterization services in the industry. Through the integration of PCI’s solutions and expertise in Rock Physics transformations, we are able to significantly augment our current reservoir characterization offerings in AVO, Seismic Inversion, Seismic Facies Classification, Pore Pressure Prediction and Petrophysical Analysis.”


PCI’s chief petrophysicist, Jack Dvorkin added “We see tremendous opportunities for the union of Paradigm and PCI’s technology and expertise and, as a result, significant risk reduction in transforming seismic data to reservoir properties. The integration of Rock Physics and Paradigm’s seismic reservoir images will provide our customers with increased levels of assurance and comfort when working with seismic to rock physics transformations and a better description and understanding of the reservoir.”

90,000 Compaqs for Shell

As part of its Global Infrastructure Project, Shell has placed an order for 90,000 PCs with Compaq.

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies (Shell) has awarded Compaq a $150 million contract to supply and manage the delivery of up to 90,000 PCs, 1,500 servers and 135 terabytes of storage. The deal is part of Shell’s Global Infrastructure project (PDM Vol. 6 N° 2) to standardize the computing environment across the Group and is projected to achieve an approximate reduction of 30 per cent in the average desktop total cost of ownership. The global project will offer a standardized Windows 2000-based desktop environment in approximately 1,000 Shell locations in over 135 countries.


Compaq will be managing the integration and delivery of PCs and pre-built server and storage systems globally from one central location in Erskine, Scotland. Shell Group MD Harry Roels said: “This project will give us the tools to globalize our business and respond quickly to new opportunities.” Shell will be leasing approximately 50 per cent of the Compaq technology. The company expects the project to be completed during 2002.

Stratamodel Geostatistics

Landmark has completed integration of the RC2 geostatistics module into its Stratamodel product.

Landmark has integrated geostatistics technology from Reservoir Characterization Research and Consulting, Inc. RC2 (a subsidiary of Veritas DGC) into its Stratamodel software. Stratamodel users can now perform geostatistical data analysis, create variograms and simulate data into Stratamodel attributes.


RC2 CTO Bill Bashore said, “Stratamodel has a long standing reputation in the industry for providing leading-edge 3-D modeling capabilities on faulted models. Now, the combination of property modeling of the RC2 module in Stratamodel brings the best of both worlds together in 3-D reservoir characterization techniques.”


The software performs geostatistical simulations of geological and reservoir properties in Stratamodel’s three-dimensional geocellular model. Simulation results can then be analyzed in RC2 to compare the results to the original input data. The new module will be provided by RC2 and marketed by Landmark.

NeuraLog V4.0

The latest version of Neuralog’s digitizing software offers new tracing algorithms and customizable mnemonics dictionaries.

Neuralog has released a new version of its log vectorizing package. Neuralog Version 4.0 has been validated on Windows 2000 and Windows ME and incorporates a new tracing algorithm for a variety of trace symbologies. An auto-backup trace option simplifies tracing a curve with backup scales and provides color feedback as a visual check.

Curve Append

User-defined templates assist in appending LAS files and now the tool mnemonics dictionaries (available for Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Atlas tools) can be edited interactively to keep them current.

LAS enhanced

Other changes include an enhanced curve move option and new fields have been added to the well information panel to enable the user to export more information to their LAS files. More from www.neuralog.com.

Upcoming conferences

It’s ‘data management week’ in Houston next month with conferences from Geoshare, PNEC and PPDM.






13-14 May 2001


PPDM Member Meeting

PPDM Association


16-18 May 2001


Petroleum Data Integration



18 May 2001


Geoshare Annual



3-6 June 2001


AAPG Annual



11-15 June 2001


EAGE Annual



Smart Raster from A2D

A2D is licensing its exchange log data format for third party developers. The SmartRaster Interchange Format (SIF) is being deployed by Geographix, Neuralog, Digirule and GeoPlus.

A2D Technologies has released its SmartRaster Interchange Format (SIF) for licensing to third party developers. Originally developed for use with A2D’s SmartSection interpretation tool, the SIF will now be used by developers such as GeoPLUS, DigiRule, Neuralog and GeoGraphix as a standard data type for their image cross-section analysis software packages.


GeoPlus VP Bob Meyer said, “Users asked us to incorporate the SmartRaster technology into our application. We worked with A2D to develop the linkage using SIF, and can now batch import thousands of depth registered SmartRaster well log images directly into our software.”


A SmartRaster is an indexed, depth-calibrated black and white or color TIF file that includes posting capabilities for production-tests, tops, and other well-related data. The format is said to reduce costs and project time for companies using large volumes of well log data because it replaces the need to purchase and/or store hard-copy well logs.


William Ross, executive VP A2D and SmartSection’s creator added “By releasing our SIF to key industry application vendors, we are ensuring that many more geoscientists will reap the productivity gains of those currently using our technology.” More from www.a2d.com.

Merak Release 2001

Merak has announced new versions of its Value Management and Petroleum Desktop suites. A new database security model has been introduced into Volts.

Merak is releasing the 2001 flavor of its Value Management and Petroleum Desktop 2001 suites. The latest release of Value Management includes enhancements to Capital Planning, Peep and Volts. Portfolios can now be optimized in terms of timing and a ‘Base Business’ portfolio can be defined as those projects that are considered core. Portfolio performance can be compared against the base case.


Peep 2001 includes enhancements to its Real/Nominal function, simplifying the process of performing full-cycle economics. Historical data can be preserved as nominal (no inflation) and future data can be treated as real (inflation). The analytical capability of Peep is enhanced through new features such as the NPV Profile Chart – used to display NPV profiles for cases where more than one ROR is calculated.


Decline 2001 now links seamlessly to OFM wells allowing for transfer of historical and forecasted monthly production numbers. The economic case products tab can now be populated with data from a decline well or summary well.


Volts 2001 is the first of the Value products to have full application and database security models in place. Administrators can assign permissions to various objects within Volts and database security allows control over users logging onto database from Access and SQL Plus. More from www.merak.com.

Fugro acquires consultant

Fugro has bought Dutch geological and geophysical consultancy GeoLogic BV.

Fugro has acquired GeoLogic Consulting Services B.V. (GCS), headquartered in Leiden (Holland). GCS provides geological and geophysical consulting as well as information and data services to the upstream oil and gas industry. The acquisition will bolster Fugro’s services to the oil and gas market in the Netherlands and neighboring countries.


Synergy is anticipated with Fugro’s seismic data acquisition and processing business. GCS currently has a staff of 14 and has an annual turnover of about NLG 2 million.
Founded in 1980, CGS has conducted hydrocarbon studies in the North Sea and other parts of Western Europe including seismic interpretation, log evaluation, prospect analysis, structural reconstructions and management of well and license databases.

Geographix post-stack processing

Landmark’s Geopgraphix unit has added post-stack seismic processing and event detection to its Windows-based SeisVision package.

Geographix has added post-stack seismic processing to its SeisVision interpretation suite. pStaX, allows seismic interpreters to enhance their seismic data during the interpretation phase with filtering and deconvolution. PStaX lets interpreters test interpretation scenarios and evaluate seismic anomalies and attributes.


Scan (a pStaX component) provides semblance analysis using Landmark’s event similarity prediction algorithm. Landmark president and CEO, John Gibson said, “This is the same technology we originally developed for the workstation. Bringing it to the desktop so that it is accessible by any asset team member will have an immense impact on reducing the cycle time and improving the interpretation quality that organizations expect.” pStaX and Scan can also be supplied as stand-alone applications. More from www.geographix.com.

Kelman enters US data market

Kelman Technologies has won its first data management contract in the US - for Houston-based Cymraec Exploration Inc.

Houston-based Cymraec Exploration Inc. has awarded Kelman Technologies’ Data Management and Archiving Division a contract (valued at $ US 1.2 million) to manage several thousand miles of Cymraec’s 2D seismic data. The contract calls for KTI Data Management to clean, organize and store the data utilizing KTI’s storage and retrieval technology. The KTI-developed technology is a high capacity storage system that allows for online, real time access to seismic data using high-speed fiber optic data transfer. This project marks the entry of KTI Data Management into the US market.


Kelman’s data management technology is centered on the DMASS Archive, a hardware and software solution built around a high-end IBM robotics system. Browsing technology from StrataWeb is used for front-end GIS access to data. The DMASS system won an award for IT excellence in 1999. More from www.kelman.com.

J-GIS from INT

Int is moving into geographic information system (GIS) infrastructure support with its latest component J/GIS.

Software component developer Int’s customers want to integrate geographic information with other forms of business intelligence. However, according to Int, current GIS systems are ‘not engineered to accommodate the necessary sophisticated user interfaces, live data feeds, scaled hardcopy output, etc.’ Int is working on a solution in the form of J/GIS, a graphics environment for building interactive standalone or web-enabled spatial solutions.


J/GIS is written in Java and, like Int’s other high-level toolkits, can be used across multiple industries to develop components for scientific and business applications, decision support and process control. J/GIS lets developers integrate and overlay heterogeneous data types from different sources, such as files, databases, live data streams, or computed on the fly.

Spatial Query

Layers may be composed of vector and raster data. J/GIS can also display contoured data. J/GIS capabilities include on-the-fly projections, spatial queries, and full support for spatial primitive selection. Full control of layer attributes and visibility is provided along with hardcopy output with print preview. CGM output is available as an option. More from www.int.com.

ER Mapper teams with Zeh

Zeh is moving its printing solutions to the web, with technology from ER Mapper.

Zeh Software, Inc. and Earth Resource Mapping are collaborating on a web published solution for maps. Zeh is to incorporate ER Mapper’s Image Web Server into its new map serving technology. The Zeh map server will let organizations view high quality map data from a web browser or office applications. This new product lets Zeh clients migrate their map printing applications to the web.


ER Mapper president Stuart Nixon said, “This represents a technology marriage that benefits existing Zeh clients and brings the power of online maps to the wider GIS and CAD community.”

Web Open Works

Landmark has acquired Project Documentor and Project Browser from UK-based Exprodat. These offer web-access to Landmark’s Open Works databases and will be marketed as Web Open Works (WOW).

Landmark has been quick to snap up Exprodat’s web access software, initially revealed in Petroleum Data Manager last August (PDM Vol 5 N° 8). The Exprodat tools provide web browser access to users of Landmark’s OpenWorks data bases. Landmark paid Exprodat $1.6 million cash for the software and will now assumes ownership and responsibility for Exprodat’s Project Browser and Project Documentor. These will now be marketed as Web OpenWorks (WOW), part of Landmark’s E&P Information Management (IM) suite.


Landmark president and CEO John Gibson said “The Web paradigm has a great deal to offer our industry and is central to Landmark’s strategy for delivering productive decision support solutions. We are focused on changing the way our customers acquire, manage and access their data, information and knowledge. Our integrated, web-centric approach enables users to ‘find it fast and capture the value.’ WOW provides easy access to project information, and can serve as a core component of an E&P corporate portal.”


Web OpenWorks is described as an ‘intuitive’ way for users to dynamically browse the contents of Landmark’s OpenWorks, SeisWorks and Z-MAPPlus. WOW integrates with OpenExplorer, OpenJournal and ESRI’s ArcView and ArcIMS GIS products, and provides capabilities to add value and context to project metadata through a simple web browser interface, making documentation ‘an intuitive and integral part of the project data store.’ This product offers the asset team rapid access to information and enhances the capture and sharing of project knowledge.


Exprodat director Bruce Rodney added “This is a win-win situation for Exprodat and Landmark. WOW complements the Landmark solution suite and provides Landmark with leading-edge, Web-based IM and knowledge capture tools. The sale will allow Exprodat to focus on what it does best, providing independent IM consultancy services and technology innovation for our clients.”

Delphi’s ROI ProofPoint

Delphi Group’s ROI “ProofPoint” provides IT managers with tools and metrics for the evaluation of IT investment. The service evaluates a project’s ‘e-business’ benefits, demonstrating the impact on the corporate bottom line that is required for funding.

As an IT buyer and planner, you may occasionally be called to order, and have to justify spending funds on new software or services. You may be asked, like your E&P colleagues, to demonstrate a good return on investment (ROI) for your proposed investment. The Boston-based Delphi Group is now offering its proprietary ROI ProofPoint service to help evaluate the likely return on such investments.


Delphi Group VP Carl Frappaolo said “Economic uncertainty has pressured enterprises to perform more analytical review of current and proposed e-business programs. The easy projects, the low-hanging fruit, are all done. Now, companies insist on quantifying the process improvements they will achieve before funding new projects. They also want metrics, to follow the project over its useful life, to be sure the promised benefits hold up. Vendors providing these solutions find these tools equally beneficial in demonstrating to their clients the long-term benefit of financially difficult decisions.”


Client demand led Delphi to productize its in-house methodologies and tools into a ‘streamlined’ service. ROI ProofPoint is now available as a standardized offering from Delphi’s Strategic Consulting Group. The Service is intended for organizations considering extending existing applications or adding new systems or software.


Frappaolo added “Many companies are also evaluating the re-use of applications and infrastructure, and need benchmark metrics to assess current benefits, and to justify new services. The tools allow an organization to model alternative ROI scenarios and the information can be reworked interactively with a finance committee, the CFO, and users to dynamically model ROI targets.”


Delphi recently applied its ROI method-ologies to a study of Global 2000 enterprise applications and solution providers. A major finding was that while increased productivity is claimed as the ‘gold standard’ for technology investment, in reality, productivity improvement has proved too abstract to quantify. Finally, ROI is not a ‘one-time’ event, but a continuous evaluation process through post-implementation activities. ROI is required to sustain a project through the payback period and beyond. More from www.oneclickmethods.com.

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