May 2001

ESRI’s Open Database

Four oil companies are working with ESRI to fast track development of an upstream spatial Geodatabase, leveraging the PPDM data model. Rollout of the public data model is slotted for mid-2002.

ESRI has fleshed-out its proposal to build an industrial strength, spatially enabled data model for the upstream, as revealed in PDM (Vol. 6 N° 3).


Speaking at this month’s PPDM spring member meet in Houston, ESRI’s Andrew Zolnai described how the project will assist the large number of commercial and in-house ArcView-based developments, by providing a standard framework integrating a lightweight, PPDM-derived data model with ESRI’s latest Geodatabase technology.


The Geodatabase, introduced with the ArcGIS 8, is the modern equivalent of the ESRI Shapefile used in previous manifestations of ESRI’s products. In ArcGIS 8, Microsoft’s Visual Basic replaces ESRI’s proprietary Avenue scripting language.


Bill Wally, Chevron Research Scientist and Chairman of the ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG) told PDM, “It’s encouraging to see ESRI take an interest in spatially enabling PPDM. This will benefit PPDM database users by making it easier to create maps and analyze data using powerful GIS software.”


“ArcGIS now also includes many features requested by the PUG, such as SDE image storage, projection-on-the-fly, comprehensive metadata support, linear referencing, and improved map symbology. These new ArcGIS features provide important new capability to the petroleum industry, helping us conduct our business in a safe, environmentally responsible, and efficient manner.”


PDM asked Alberta Energy Company’s Mike Loughlean, Team Leader of Earth Science & Engineering Systems, if the modeling initiative would have international scope. Loughlean opined “I do not see why this cannot be transformed to an international context. We already use the PPDM model in a number of other areas within our company other than merely domestically.”

North Sea

Andrew Zolnai is even more bullish - “The whole of the North Sea is interested.” Other vertical data models have been developed in utilities (see PDM Vol. 5 N° 11), telecoms and the defense sector. The current schedule provides for implementation early in 2002 with model publication later in the year.

Landmark bags ILEX

Landmark is building its Grand Basin electronic workplace with the acquisition of ASP specialist, ILEX Technologies.

Landmark has acquired UK-based Application Service Provider (ASP) ILEX Technologies for an undisclosed amount. ILEX will become the ASP component of Landmark’s Grand Basin electronic workplace. ILEX’s technology enables dynamic integration of legacy databases and automatic data catalog publishing.


Landmark president John Gibson said, “ILEX’s technology brings a fresh, practical approach that acknowledges there will always be different data formats, and provides a mechanism for capturing all the data required for a project. ILEX’s experience and technology mesh nicely with our ongoing plans to deliver ASP and DSP solutions, as well as IT outsourcing services to the marketplace.” ILEX has been piloting ASP-mode software distribution of Landmark and other vendor applications since it started up early last year.


Up till now ILEX has marketed its distributed offering in partnership with DMS over the oil partnering network (OPNet). With DMS now a Schlumberger company, and ILEX in the Landmark fold, PDM understands that this arrangement is up for review!

Gates, E-business and open software!

PDM Editor Neil McNaughton checks out Bill Gates’ approach to risk management and reports on Microsoft’s plans for portal developers and XML. He also looks at some significant upstream e-business developments this month and the arrival of open source software in both Linux, and in ESRI’s plans for an open data model for the upstream.

Speaking at the Microsoft CEO summit earlier this year Bill Gates, made the following pronouncement, “I want to talk about things that won't just happen in the next 12 months or 24 months. In fact, I think a lot of people overestimate the changes in the short run and then when they see that they've overestimated those changes, they underestimate what’s going to happen over a five to 10-year period.” For Gates, we have just embarked on what he believes will be the ‘Digital Decade.’

IT=50% of US CAPEX!

Introducing his boss, Gates’ long time sidekick, Steve Ballmer came out with a staggering claim - that Information Technology investment is over 50% of US capital spending! I guess that the oil and gas business is fairly atypical, with its massive construction projects and risky drilling projects. On the other hand, our capex here at The Data Room is probably nearer 100% IT - so maybe this is not so far fetched after all.

Microsoft’s Portfolio

Gates offered some insightful remarks on how Microsoft goes about its business. In some ways being a high-tech innovator is not very far removed from oil and gas investment. Despite Microsoft’s demonstrable overall success, inside “there are many projects where we’ve spent $100 million and it was a complete failure, and fortunately, .. other projects where we spent $100 million or less and did very well. Having that kind of portfolio is interesting”


How does Microsoft manage such an interesting portfolio? Marcowicz portfolio optimization? Efficient frontier analysis? Real Options? Or perhaps some of those cute financial goal-seeking functions embedded into Microsoft’s own Excel. Seemingly not! Gates practices seat-of-the pants economic analysis involving modeling supply and demand curves. If take-up for Microsoft’s interactive TV is above a certain level, then this will justify the $500 million up front investment. Gates ‘sells’ his projects on the fantastic returns which will be generated if take-up significantly exceeds expectations. In fact he reminds me of the ‘romance’ of the early 1980’s oil and gas promoters - ‘Never mind the risk - just look at the upside!’

Share Point

But Gate’s main thesis is that it is still early days for the web, and for convergence of IT, telephony, entertainment, appliances and just about anything that is not flesh and blood. In corporate IT, Gates believes that Microsoft’s new Share Point portal software will empower knowledge workers - “Share Point means that IT doesn’t get involved in individual web sites.” This is a nice idea, but one wonders where Gates has been over the last couple of years. I thought that Lotus Notes (and even Front Page) had already put web site creation in the hands of the workers.


But Gate’s big plug was for XML. The assembled CEO’s were treated to an XML-based e-business demo, and even got to see some ‘raw XML.’ I find Microsoft’s attachment to XML intriguing, particularly in the context of Gates’ 12 months - 10 year rule. Is XML currently in the 12 month period of disillusionment, and about to blossom over the next ten years? Or are we just experiencing, in XML, the coming of age of ASCII and self describing data formats?


In the context of multi-client web browsing on mobile devices from phones through palmtops etc., XML is a necessary simplification. But in Microsoft’s core business of Office Automation, XML is a cumbersome beast compared with the configuration possibilities offered by embedded Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Only problem is that VBA has never made it into the UNIX world. The

.NET no doubt represents jam tomorrow (in err, 5 to 10 years maybe?). But what of the here and now? How to we tie our UNIX workhorse apps into the knowledge workers tools of the desktop?


E-business really seems to be taking off in the upstream this month. We have six articles covering new ventures which leverage distributed IT in a way that would have been impossible only a couple of years ago. Another significant development is the arrival in force of Linux as an operating system for compute-intensive tasks such as seismic imaging and reservoir modeling. Personally, although I like the idea of open source, I have not so far considered it as of huge importance to upstream IT. We still live in a world of Solaris and Windows. If you are building an entirely new, batch-processing oriented system then Linux seems to be a natural choice, but the jury is still out on the advantages that Linux might bring the application developer.


The announcement from ESRI (see this month’s lead) is probably the most significant development in upstream IT since data modeling began. OK, this ‘public’ will be tied to ESRI’s proprietary software, but that will not upset the many oil and gas cos. which are already committed to this technology. Reflecting on that, I wonder if a data model that was tied in to Microsoft’s Office might not be a useful adjunct to the data manager’s armory. But wait a minute, ESRI’s Geodatabase embeds Microsoft’s VBA. That could open up an exciting new route from UNIX apps, through the GIS and into Office Automation.

PDM Interview - Jeff Pferd

Houston-based Petris Technology has developed the Winds Enterprise database spidering technology, the Internet Data Room, for online A&D and the Petris Mall, for data sales. PDM hears more from Petris CTO, Jeff Pferd.

Petris was formed in 1996 when Perceptive Scientific Imaging demerged its instrumentation subsidiary. Since then, Petris’ focus has been e-business, well log data, imaging and integration with financial systems. The last five years have seen associations with 1-Image, Neuralog, Paradigm Technologies, Harts and the AAPG. Major clients include Anadarko and the Minerals Management Service.

PDM – A while back (PDM Vol. 4 N° 5), we covered some interesting software that Petris developed to spider E&P and other databases – the Winds Enterprise system you originally developed for Anadarko. How is that work going?

Pferd Anadarko now has the Winds system installed and we have other clients - notably Mitchell Energy. Winds middleware connects different data stores and offers seamless data transfer at the click of a button. There are currently four adapters available, Open Works 97 & 98, Recall, the Petris Mall and another for OilWare’s WellLogML.

PDM – Winds was announced in May 99 so progress has been quite slow?

Pferd Technology issues meant that the software was not really deployable then, but it is now. A merger slowed things down, our client ended up with a combined 700 applications and the jury is still out on how these will be rationalized.

PDM – Do you have application vendor partners?

Pferd Petris is working with Petra on integrating its PC-based geological application. We will be making an announcement at the AAPG.

PDM – What of GeoQuest?

Pferd – Finder and GeoFrame make up a large market and they are high on our list. Linking to ODBC compliant data stores within the GeoQuest environment is fairly straightforward, but the proprietary data stores are harder.

PDM – Your activity is rather similar to that of Open Spirit. What is your relationship with them?

Pferd We are supportive, but the difference is that while Open Spirit is an interoperability solution, Winds is focused on data management. Winds does not use Open Spirit middleware, but does leverage some formats and representations. Winds’ focus is well data management, you can view data prior to transfer and soon you will be able to view well file documents and scanned images. We also let you exchange large format documents such as montages. In Winds, our spidering, CORBA/Java-based technology connects to native data stores through XML streams via a patented, dynamic common data model (CDM). The CDM distinguishes three E&P data types – raw, interpretation artifact and spatial model. If data can be represented in this manner, then Winds can search, retrieve and transfer data to and from applications. Some applications are being built that will plug and play directly with Winds.

PDM – So it is an Open Spirit unto itself?

Pferd Not really, Open Spirit has more of an interoperability, project focus. Winds is a non-invasive data management tool. Winds also offers data analysis tools, telling you who uses data, what data is dormant etc. Knowledge Management if you will! It is easier to tap into processes for these metrics, than to interview people.

PDM – This technology also underpins the Internet Data Room. How is your Acquisition & Disposal business going?

Pferd Our Internet Data Room (IDR) houses digital imagery including large format documents, using technology from ER Mapper. We have a significant new client in Phillips Petroleum which has posted 14 prospects. We have developed access filters to keep the ‘tire kickers’ away from the door.

PDM – Many oil companies we talk to are concerned about accessing data from the main data vendors. What is your relationship with the data vendors?

Pferd We are in discussions with IHS Energy and International PetroData in Canada. Anadarko is very concerned by this, they want to build an adapter to Winds Enterprise to allow import of IHS data into Open Works. We are currently enhancing our own data vending outlet - the Petris Mall with scanned images of the Shell onshore scout ticket database. This should ‘cross pollinate’ the IDR and provide further value for customers.

PDM – How is the IDR traffic developing?

Pferd Domestic North American prospects get lots of traffic and hits. After Bass Brothers picked up the Horizon play, we got very busy. We are also busy around the NAPE show.

PDM – You seem to have developed a special relationship with the Minerals Management Service (MMS)!

Pferd Our data cleanup project for the MMS is now in its second year. Petris also sponsors a semi-annual well data cleanup meeting for Texaco, Chevron, along with data vendors Energy Graphics and Lexco.

PDM – What is Petris’ main focus; service provision or productized software?

Pferd Our plan is to fulfill needs of customers with appropriate, extensible solutions and then productize the results.

SmartMoney in the Hive

Petris has been working with Burlington Resources on a new Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS) utilizing components from Connect and Winds. The web browser can now view accounting, well production and other key data. The IDSS was rolled-out at the NAPAC show in Dallas this month. Petris is adapting some interesting new technology from the financial sector for use in upstream decision support. offers punters a zillion ways of drilling down through financial information - through interactive charts, bars, and an intriguing new way of drilling down through data. Here, stocks, licenses or oil production can be visualized and manipulated in a dimensionless map view. The tool is described as a management ‘dashboard.’ BP has tested the Petris/SmartMoney tools, on production history and risk analysis. Rumor has it that BP CEO John Browne has been shown the technology in the BP visualization center - the ‘Hive.’

Wellogix releases new e-commerce tools

Wellogix has augmented its T2B software component offering and is to provide infrastructure to e-procurement specialist Trade Ranger.

Wellogix, developer of business to technical software components such as E-Field tickets, (see PDM Vol. 5 N° 10) has announced a new set of tools for drilling workflow enhancement. The new components are aimed at streamlining relationships between oil companies and providers of complex products and services.


COO Robert Bodnar said “We address three main issues in this release. The Collaboration Manager and Technical Response packages improve communication between suppliers and customers. The Universal Service Request and Work Order templates let oil company engineers and field representatives communicate quickly with service providers, when requesting simpler services demanding fast turnaround. The new Well Configuration templates give oil companies tools for one-time data entry, and the creation of electronic, virtual well files.”


Wellogix has signed an exclusive software licensing and joint-development agreement with e-commerce hub Trade Ranger to facilitate online collaboration and procurement of ‘tailor-made’ goods and services. These are said to represent over 60 percent of the buying and selling activity in the energy and petrochemical industries. CEO Claire Farley believes that Trade Ranger is the industry destination for online procurement.

GX Tech and Scott Pickford team

GX Technology and Scott Pickford are collaborating on integrating pre-stack depth migration with AVO, coherency and other attribute analysis.

GX Technology (GXT) is partnering with Core Lab unit Scott Pickford to combine seismic processing technologies aimed at producing geologically calibrated depth images. GXT will apply its prestack Kirchhoff, or wave equation depth migration technology, to produce ‘high fidelity,’ amplitude-preserved depth images.


These will be input into Scott Pickford’s processes such as AVO, Coherence Cube processing, attribute analysis and core-to-seismic calibration. The result, a geologically calibrated seismic depth volume and subsurface description, including lithology, fluid and fracture prediction.


GXT president Mick Lambert says, “The ability to produce high quality depth images, constrained by the geology, will give our clients a more thorough and accurate subsurface description.”


Chris Cottam, VP of Reservoir Management for Core, adds “Scott Pickford and GXT will help clients extract more value from their seismic, geologic and engineering data. This will enable them to reduce significantly E&P risk and ultimately increase hydrocarbon production from their reservoirs.”


GXT is also to leveraging its latest processing technologies, Optimus - wave equation prestack depth migration and PrimeTime - Kirchhoff prestack time migration. These services are now available through service centers in Houston, Calgary, London and Jakarta through GXT’s ASP offering ‘BLink E-Service.’

ASP Web reservoir modeling

Halliburton has teamed with Vertex Petroleum Systems to provide quick-look reservoir modeling by subscription in an Application Service Provision mode.

Halliburton Energy Services has formed a strategic alliance with Vertex Petroleum Systems (VPS) to offer Application Service Provision-based (ASP) remote, ongoing reservoir modeling and analytical services to the petroleum industry. The new service offering will be an integral part of the Reservoir Focus platform of Halliburton’s Real Time Reservoir Solutions (RTRS). The new service, RPF-Online, will be available to oil and gas operators on a per well subscription basis exclusively through Halliburton.


Subscribers enter well, production, and reservoir data via a secure extranet and Halliburton will build a reservoir model that will be used for history match, predictive analysis and production forecasts. These will be updated on a “rolling” basis every month. The RPF-Online service lets operators evaluate and optimize reservoir exploitation options, such as new well locations, spacing plans, completion methods, fracture parameters, production potential for new wells, and their economic impact.


HES president Jody Powers said, “Not all operators can afford to have fully loaded reservoir evaluation teams internally, with this new service, Halliburton offers a low cost subscription service that enables operators to continuously monitor, adapt, and optimize reservoir development, regardless of size or location.”


Englewood-based Vertex’s Simplified Well, Area and Reservoir Modeling (SWARM) technology enables the rapid building and processing of predictive reservoir models. More from

Open GIS Spec announced, Shell on board

The Open GIS Consortium has rolled out V2.0 of its GeographyML specification and now has Shell International on board.

The Open GIS Consortium has released a new version of its Geography Markup Language (GML). GML defines features and syntax needed to encode geographic information in XML. The encoding enables transport and storage of geographic information, including both properties and geometry of geographic features. GML members hail from the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. GML 2.0 has already ‘met with acceptance’ from commercial and government organizations. The UK Ordnance Survey has adopted the standard and the Netherlands Society for Earth Observation and Geo-informatics (KvAG) have organized a “GML Relay” in June to explore the movement of GML data through several vendor’s software implementations.


A significant new member of the OGC is Shell International E&P. Shell estimates that around 80% of all data transactions in the upstream oil and gas business involve the location component of that data, making geospatial data the most frequently used data category in this business sector. Shell further views software integration as a means to increase effectiveness and efficiency of business processes. Shell is cooperating with OGC and its members to achieve the OGC vision of “complete integration of geoprocessing into mainstream computing.” Shell has joined OGC as a principal member to influence and accelerate the development of the geoprocessing specifications it sees as necessary, and to encourage software companies to implement these specifications where possible.


OGC president David Schell said, “Shell will lead the oil and gas industry in introducing requirements for interoperability that will almost immediately begin to influence the software vendors serving that industry. There are special interoperability requirements in oil and gas exploration and production, but here, as in most other industries, the dominant trend is toward standards-enabled integration with more general purpose kinds of software.” Download the new standard from

INT’s widgets for the ’pool

Schlumberger’s IndigoPool A&D unit has extended and deployed log and seismic viewers from INT.

Schlumberger Information Solutions has selected technology from Interactive Network technologies (INT) to enhance the functionality of its Acquisitions and Divestment website IndigoPool.


INT will supply its Log Viewer and Seismic Viewer visualization technologies to allow registered users to find and dynamically view live data. These ‘bring modern interpretation tools to the user’s desktop’ without the need for application installation and maintenance. Log Viewer supports multiple wells display, cross plot and basic evaluation functions. Users can select from a variety of predefined templates covering simple and composite displays in single and multi-well modes. Seismic Viewer offers SEG-Y input, wiggle and interpolated color density display, user-defined color maps, histograms, and zooming capabilities.


The new offering is said to improve the quality of online evaluation of A&D properties for IndigoPool users. INT president Olivier Lhemann said “It’s a natural fit for us to collaborate with IndigoPool. They bring industry expertise, a proven e-commerce platform, and a strong position in the marketplace. Together, we made our tools even more powerful. The e-marketplace provides a new channel for us to get these tools to a global audience. We plan to continue our work with IndigoPool to develop more advanced features and functionalities.”

PGS moves into Acquisition & Divestment

PGS’ new Energy Transactions Business Unit has done its first deal Gulf of Mexico sale.

PGS has formed a new Acquisition and Divestment (A&D) focused Energy Transaction business unit. The new unit, part of PGS’ Reservoir Consultants subsidiary has already successful acted as consultant in the sale of a multi-national oil company’s interest in nine producing fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

ATP Oil and Gas

Six of the fields were sold to ATP Oil & Gas Corporation and three were sold to other industry parties. As of January 2001, the properties sold to ATP produced approximately 7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 340 barrels of oil per day, with a monthly net cash flow of approximately $1.4 million.


PGS chairman Reidar Michaelsen said “With the high volume of oil and gas property transactions continuing to accelerate, this new business unit is expected to generate multiple opportunities over the coming years. We are excited that PGS can add value to this growing market.”

Landmark London City Forum 2001

Moving away from the mega-show, Landmark’s smaller ‘city’ forums are an attempt to bring the user conferences closer to its clients. Does it work? Attendance was low – which made for a degree of intimacy, feedback was good, but the whiz-bang of the big event was lacking. Landmark’s T2B initiative has a more credible foundation in the real-time control of oilfield operations. Grand Basin, Landmark’s ASP offering, is now beta testing its remote application delivery in three pilot projects. Risk-based decision support is getting a big push. Landmark has abandoned its ambitious yearly software release program. The next synchronized release of Landmark’s suite will begin in June 2001, but will carry a ‘freshness date’ of 2003.

The show kicked off with a video of John Gibson, Landmark chairman and Chief ‘Excitement’ Officer, dressed as a hells angel, and riding on a Harley Davidson! His message is that technical to business (T2B) integration is to have a great impact on the industry, and that it will allow operators to make the ‘best decisions in real-time.’ Gibson puts his helmet on and signs off with “safety first and then go as fast as you can!”


John Wilson, Landmark VP Marketing, touted the power of real time decision making. According to ‘a study’, “If all decisions were optimized, this would lead to a 50% productivity gain in the oil industry, a $40 billion per year gain!” Wilson wants to eliminate the decision ‘fat’ in the way the industry does business. Wilson walked through the now familiar arguments of a) an ageing industry, with more and more being asked of fewer and fewer people, and b) the ‘unsatisfactory return on investment’* offered by the upstream. A newer slant was that of the relatively poor opportunities offered to IT professionals in the oil industry. Wilson argues that an IT professional might dream of becoming the chairman of SAP, SAIC or Landmark, but never of Exxon. This fact, argues Wilson, supports the outsourcing argument. The aging workforce brings a need for new blood. The new, younger hires will be inexperienced and will need intensive training to avoid their making costly mistakes. Landmark’s Knowledge offering is set to collapse training cycle times. Wilson’s second keynote addressed the state of IT/IM. Today, information management is predicated on a ‘just in case’ paradigm. Data remains a relatively intractable problem, giving pain points in finding, using and capturing the value. The new challenge is to cope with exponential growth in data volumes – from 4D, multi-component etc. Landmark’s solution, or part of it, is the e-field – real time decision support for the lifetime of a producing property. The e-field is to be enabled by bandwidth – and here Wilson sees great encouragement from the 24 million miles of fiber laid in 1999.


The presentation on Landmark’s E-Strategy was, intriguingly, given by Ben Trewin of ILEX Technologies. Trewin introduced a fictitious oil company “Great Decisions Oil & Gas” (GDOG) which featured in many of Landmark’s presentations. A farm-in offer from another made up oil co “New Economy Energy” was used to illustrate the Landmark-Petroleum Place Electronic data room. The merits of the virtual data room would be more better expressed by some real world examples, although the theory seems credible enough. Petroleum Place receives 90,000 visitors per month and was voted one of Forbes Magazine’s ‘best of B2B’ websites.

Grand Basin

Grand Basin (GB) is now 100% owned by Landmark following acquisition out of SAIC’s stake. GB is described as an electronic workspace and will offer Application, Data and Knowledge service provision to users over Metro Area Networks and LANs. Grand Basin facilitates a Virtual Office with teams formed from distributed users In Houston, Grand Basin out sources its hardware to benefit from pro-active management of storage, operating systems etc.


Grand Basin manages the data and the interface. March 2001 saw the first three pilots of broadband pilot applications at customer locations with Landmark’s Drilling Information Management System (DIMS), the first ASP-enabled app. Rigs can connect to the ASP provider for daily reporting and operators plug into the system without specialized hardware or applications. As yet the situation with regards to data vendors is unclear, although clients can access data from IHS, Tobin etc. through Grand Basin and PetroWeb. All this does suppose a Metro Area Network (MAN) with sufficient bandwidth. Trewin considers that Houston, Calgary, Central London and soon Lagos are already MAN-capable. Better, pricing has seen dramatic change in the last year so that 100 Mbit bandwidth is “no longer prohibitive.” Pricing of ASP-supplied software “will not differ from current pricing practice.” In the medium term, there may be a move to pay for use, but Trewin recognized that this may create a problem for Landmark’s revenue stream.


Landmark’s Bill Diggons advocates continuous performance evaluation with a feedback loop passing from surveillance, production DM back into performance micro-management and financials for the big picture. This approach mandates the abandonment of the Excel spreadsheet approach to planning, and should be built up with a proper data warehouse.


Similarly, the appropriate tools of the trade are E&P decision support tools such as Teras rather than the (popular) horizontal approach of Crystal Ball. The heavyweight tools benefit from built-in stochastic price forecasting and E&P fiscal modeling . Once the pain of building the data warehouse is over, the gain is evidenced by the availability of many performance metrics. All this is facilitated by data warehousing techniques such as On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) with ‘slice and dice’ data cubes to provide leveraged key performance indicators. Landmark has a team of T2B performance consultants ready to make this happen. Note that Landmark doesn’t sell a data warehouse as such. Although Teras has some OLAP capability, to go the whole hog you need a product like Hyperion.

Release 2003

Elisabetta Martina explained that Landmark has abandoned its bold attempt to provide annual ‘synchronized releases’ of its product line. The current release still bears the 98 tag, and in order to ensure a reasonable shelf life for the next official release, this has been given a 2003 ‘freshness date’ – even though its initial roll out is slotted for June 2001.


The main features of the new release are an upgrade to Oracle 8.1.6, ASP support (with Hummingbird’s Exceed 3D). The Flex License Manager is to be upgraded and an installation guide on CD-ROM will be provided. Other 2003 features include enhanced security and operating system support for Windows 2000, SGI IRIX, AIX (ProMax only). Individual products also benefit from many tweaks and enhancements. One notable area is in high-end visualization, where Open Viz now offers support for SGI Onyx 64bit multi-pipe graphics.


Colorado School of Mines professor Mike Walls gave a limpid explanation of the rationale behind risk analysis in decision-making. He believes that we traditionally think deterministically, and are happy with a single number for reserve estimates. E&P is a complex area and should take account of above and below ground risk. Decision analysis is ‘a formalization of common sense for problems that are too complex for intuitive analysis’.


Walls traced the evolution of analytical techniques from Sensitivity Analysis, through Influence Diagrams (early 1980’s) to Value of Information techniques and now Decision Analysis. From a study of US oil companies 10k reporting, Walls observed that higher risk takers were better performers. ‘Marcowitz’ Portfolio optimization is another technique, offering ‘efficient frontier’ analysis. Such tools can ‘break the disconnect’ between strategy and decisions. The very latest fad is Real Options Analysis.

Drilling Performance

Simon Glover underlined the need for efficient, well designed tools for well planning. Landmark’s Total Drilling Performance sets out to provide such an infrastructure to support comprehensive well design and daily reporting. The latter should be integrated into a knowledge management system and support learning by accurate analysis and the dissemination of best practices. Landmark’s broad drilling portfolio is ‘all integrated’ as Glover demonstrated with a walk through a deep West African project. Here metrics such as planned vs. actual depth, cost per foot, BHA runs vs. incremental depth were examined from the historical data to optimize future well design.

Resolution 3D

Simon Glover showed how real time 3D data can be used to calibrate the earth model. Resolution 3D (R3D) is a joint service from Landmark and Sperry (now part of Halliburton). R3D uses Sperry’s ‘Insite’ rig Data Acquisition system. Insite is linked into OpenWorks and replicated to NT-based databases. NT-based 3D visualization shows planned versus actual well trajectories, along with faults, surfaces and logs. Compass gives real-time collision scanning with positional ellipses - an impressive demonstration of the application of real time data acquisition and technology in the field.

Open Explorer

Andrea Gallagher, described Open Explorer (OE) as an ‘advanced data management tool that complements and extends the data management functionality of OpenWorks.’ From a world map in OE, you can quickly check out different projects for table space used, user permissions etc. A local master dataset can be built for the area of interest by using ArcView to select wells from Iris21. A new Datastore Navigator allows foreign database browsing and selection for loading to a project. Well names can be changed to corporate standards during loading and data transfers can be time stamped.


Project transfer files are straightforward text files that can be edited and all this can be set up for automation as a UNIX cron job. The same can be done for Arthur Andersen cultural data. Zmap files can be loaded, and reports including OpenJournal documents can be geo-referenced with the Knowledge Reference System. Some clients have scanned and indexed AAPG reports. OE uses 3rd party tools from ERDAS to incorporate aerial and satellite imagery. Exprodat’s browser technology is being incorporated into OE to allow well header and other info to be accessible from the browser. ArcView Layout is used to produce draft quality displays.

* The ‘low return on investment’ argument, trotted out by many vendors, banks and consultants may well turn out to be something of a canard. BP has just reported sustained internal ROI of over 20% for the 15 months to March 2001!

ProMax to transmute into Seis Space

Landmark is working on a web-enabled seismic processing suite SeisSpace which will likely replace ProMax in the medium term. A novel (and patented!) ‘e-collar’ url records processing history in the trace header.

Landmark wants to move seismic processing from the processing center to the desktop. It is to achieve this with a complete re-write of its ProMax seismic processing software. The new software will be web-enabled, and re-packaged as “SeisSpace.”


Geoff Troop, speaking at the Landmark London City Forum explained that web-enabling seismic processing will give the interpreter access to compute intensive processing. SeisSpace turns the desktop into a virtual processing center and will offer access to pre-stack attributes such as AVO and gathers. SeisSpace will leverage Linux/UNIX/Intel clusters – offering, according to Troop, “a much lower

$/Flop ratio.” SeisSpace will also benefit from centralized data management and compute resources. SeisSpace Release 1.0, running on Sun or Linux clusters is currently in alpha test and is being benchmarked by Chevron. A Microsoft Explorer look and feel offers a split panel view of projects, lines and ‘flows’ – i.e. processing workflows. Processes can be executed remotely, or on the local machine.


Troop claims that SeisSpace has been written from scratch for a parallel processing environment and will offer linear scalability (performance increases linearly with the number of available CPU nodes.)


An embedded “E-Collar” means that each seismic processing element gets a unique URL – so that in the future the exact processing sequence for any data element can be retrieved for view or re-activation. This technique allows the dataset’s history to be contained within the trace header. SeisSpace is said to manage low bandwidth environments via data compression and queuing strategies. An ‘open’ development platform allows for proprietary processing algorithms to be incorporated.


On the marketing front, Troop recognizes ProMax’s strength ‘in exploration,’ and says that SeisSpace will ‘complement ProMax in development and production.’ Pressed on this, Troop denied that there were any plans to drop ProMax – which has a ‘46% market share in desktop seismic processing.’ But while there maybe no plans to drop ProMax in the medium term, it seems unlikely that Landmark will maintain two seismic processing suites indefinitely. SeisSpace V1.0 is due for release towards the end of 2001. It will offer 3D pre-processing, stack, and pre-stack time migration of massive data volumes, AVO and ad-hoc attribute analysis.

Note that in the old days, a technique like the E-Collar might have been submitted to the SEG as a proposed standard – but in the cut and thrust world of e-business, Landmark has opted for a patent instead!

Williams, Aker join Trade Ranger

The online marketplace Trade Ranger has signed service companies Williams Energy and Aker Maritime. Trade Ranger claims to be ‘moving toward liquidity’ - which is definitely not the case for its recently defunct competitor PetroCosm.

Tulsa-based Williams Energy Services and Norwegian Aker Maritime have signed with the internet-based marketplace Trade Ranger. Williams is a $6.3 billion enterprise that provides ‘traditional and leading edge’ energy products and services.

North Sea

The addition of Aker Maritime is described as a strategic fit in one of Trade-Ranger’s key geographic focus areas. The North Sea is an advanced market for oil and gas exploitation with many global energy companies and suppliers engage in a significant number of transactions.


Trade-Ranger CEO Claire Farley said “Aker Maritime joining is a big win for Trade-Ranger. As we move toward liquidity, we are focused on strategic geographic locations that channel our efforts and produce results quickly. Aker Maritime’s reputation and operating expertise in Norway will prove extremely beneficial to all of Trade-Ranger’s members.”


Sverre Skogen, CEO of Aker Maritime added, “Our ability to interact more effectively with customers, partners and suppliers through web-based applications will help us supplement our product range and improve our work processes.”

Royal Dutch Shell, BP, TotalFinaElf, Conoco, Oxxy, Phillips, Repsol, Unocal and Statoil set up trade Ranger in 2000. They were joined by Italian ENI earlier this year. Trade-Ranger deploys Commerce One’s MarketSite e-commerce technology. Trade Ranger operates in what remains a difficult environment as witnessed by the demise of competitor PetroCosm, another online marketplace founded last year by Chevron and Texaco.

Tigress left on table in PGS sale

Landmark did not acquire PGS’ Tigress software suite. Tigress MD David Sullivan tells PDM of his plans for a major re-launch of the integrated interpretation suite.

Contrary to everyone’s expectations, and to our report (PDV Vol. 5 N° 12), Tigress was not included in the sale of PGS Data Management to Landmark. The integrated interpretation software suite was taken out of the sale during due diligence and now remains within PGS. Tigress MD David Sullivan about PGS’ plans. “For the last 4 years, Tigress was subsumed into the DPGS Data Management Group.


Now, Tigress is to stand in its own right as software vendor. PGS has spent a lot developing the seismic facet of Tigress. It is now used on all PGS acquisition crews for onboard QC so there is a significant internal market for Tigress - 40% of world seismics is QC'd on Tigress. Tigress is to be re-launched and promoted as a low cost, performant system. Significant performance gains have been reported since the software was ported to UNIX (an order of magnitude speedup over Solaris on a laptop). Tigress is sold in 40 countries, where it is considered as tight and mature software.


Price performance will be a selling point – and we are keen to attack the ASP marketplace (Tigress is currently on trial with GeoNet). ASP will let us target the consultants’ marketplace. Tigress maintains its niche as an oilfield-centric tool, now extended to allow Access and SQL query. Other plans are to extend the Petrobank ASCII (PBASCII) - developed for Shell and Agip - with XML. Tigress’ re-launch will emphasize ties to other vendors like Volumetrix, Petrel and Cube.


PGS has been reworking Tigress’ legacy code which is now all C++. Incidentally, Landmark did acquire a license to the source code of Tigress Import Export System (TIES) to allow data I/O with PetroBank from Open Works. TIES was originally developed with Shell and also interoperates with GeoFrame and Paradigm. We are now working with Open Spirit to leverage the work done on TIES.”

EDS acquired by WesternGeco

WesternGeco has acquired seismic processing specialists Exploration Design Software. EDS provides distributed pre-stack depth imaging on commodity hardware.

WesternGeco has signed a letter of intent to acquire Houston-based Exploration Design Software (EDS). EDS specializes in distributed imaging software for prestack time and depth migration, through its Verify, SLS, and APEX product lines. The APEX system allows CPU-intensive processing to be distributed out to hundreds of low cost, commodity compute servers. One customer, Spectrum Energy and Information Technology uses APEX to control its 1,200 server cluster (See PDM Vol. 5 N° 12).


The EDS software will complement Western-Geco’s Omega supplement seismic processing system, giving a ‘superior price/performance advantage’ in the growing prestack imaging market.


Craig Beasley, WesternGeco VP of data processing said, “The demand for prestack imaging technology for both land and deepwater marine seismic processing is expected to triple the already substantial PC cluster base in use at WesternGeco during the next year.”

Petrosilicon’s Indian marketplace

India now has its own business to business e-marketplace - The oil and gas e-commerce hub is set to facilitate petroleum transactions in the region.

The Petrosil Group has just announced a new business to business (B2B) digital marketplace for the Indian oil industry. Petrosilicon members are predominantly Asia-based, including some of the largest oil companies in the region. Petrosilicon plans to create a real-time information base and trading hub.


The site will facilitate all aspects of buying, selling and trading of crude oil, petroleum and specialty products on-line. The site features ‘Petrolog’ a catalog of products and services and a communications channel for requests for information and quotes. Added-value services include career services, industry reports, newsletters, tenders and online updates. Future plans include auctions and reverse auctions of key services.


Petrosilicon CEO Riaz Lawyer said “Our primary objective is to take physical petroleum trading to the web, making the process efficient, real-time, and collaborative. We recognized that the Internet’s ability to distribute information securely and globally, in real-time, could enhance what had previously been a labor-intensive, disjointed, and inefficient process. We are building a comprehensive communications gateway on the Web for petroleum trading.” More from

Secure extranet helps BP Alaska

Aventail’s proxy technology and secure managed extranet is helping move BP Alaska’s OilNet to the internet.

BP Exploration Alaska created OilNet as a means of working with external service providers of a range of goods and services from engineering through procurement to IT. As OilNet grew, BP sought to scale the original network architecture of leased lines and dial-up access to meet the increased demand. Managing the system had become costly and inefficient so BP looked to leverage the power of the Internet to provide flexibility and scale while ensuring that security was maintained.


With Aventail Net’s managed service, BP Exploration was able to harness the Internet as an effective, scalable foundation for OilNet. On top of the basic connectivity of the Internet, Aventail adds heightened levels of security, reliability, manageability, and support. Leased lines and dial-up access are no longer required, and support, maintenance, and infrastructure costs are reduced. OilNet users within North America now have a direct link to file browsing, intranet and Internet access, and to applications required for conducting business with BP, usable over any Internet connection.


Richard Ames, Director of Digital Business with BP Exploration said “Our IT department still has control and final accountability, but it is no longer mired in the minutiae of day-to-day network operations. The Aventail Net managed service lets our IT employees focus on adding value to the business.” Aventail’s solution leverages proxy server technology, digital certificates and is claimed to reduce the ‘finger pointing’ that comes from multi-vendor solutions.

IBM scores with Linux clusters

Both CGG and WesternGeco have turned to IBM for its ‘xSeries’ Linux-based clusters, to be used in compute-intensive seismic imaging.

CGG is to equip its Redhill (UK) and Massy (France) sites with 512 (1024 processors) and 128 (256 processors) IBM xSeries Servers running Linux. The new machines will boost CGG’s global computing power five-fold and leverage CGG’s proprietary TIKIM (Time Kirchhoff Migration) technology.


Christophe Barnini, VP Marketing with CGG said, “IBM’s Intel-based servers running Linux offer a highly attractive price/performance ratio for geophysical applications. This computing power enables CGG to deliver its strategic results far more quickly and at a highly competitive cost.” French IT consultants Adequat helped out with the Linux port.


In a separate announcement, WesternGeco will deploy a 256 node (512 processor) xSeries machine. Trevor Gatus, Houston land processing manager with WesternGeco said, “With substantially better price performance, we are able to complete jobs that once took eight weeks in three, increasing our turnaround time by a factor of two.”


xSeries-based Linux clusters are scalable from 4 to 1024 processors and have been adapted to meet the high performance needs of the petroleum market. Linked by a fast network, the clusters can be managed from a single point of control and act as either a single machine or a multiple node system. Other IBM-Linux customers include Chevron and Shell whose 1024 xSeries server, is claimed as the largest Linux supercomputer in the world.

TTI now bundles IADC manual

An electronic version of the International Association of Drilling Contractors drilling manual is included with the latest release of Technical Toolboxes’ Drilling Toolbox software suite.

Technical Toolboxes, Inc. (TTI) is shipping the latest release of its integrated Drilling Toolbox engineering software, which now includes an electronic version of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) drilling manual.

New features

The new Drilling Toolbox 2001 software suite introduces other new features and engineering modules such as well survey, torque and drag, casing design, AFE project planner and reporting, down-hole engineering designer, enhanced drilling pipe and mud databases, 3D directional well planner, drill string design, cementing and mud management.

Day to day

TTI claims the Drilling Toolbox meets the needs of drilling professionals by integrating the basic, day-to-day tools required by drilling engineers and technicians together in one package. Technical Toolboxes is a Houston-based software company that develops integrated software suites ("toolboxes") for engineering and technical professionals.


TTI also offers a Petroleum Toolbox, Pipeline Toolbox, and Reservoir Toolbox. TTI has strategic partnerships with many firms and professional associations including, Microsoft Corporation, NACE,Gas Research Institute/GTI, and others.

The toolboxes and the IADC manual can be ordered online from the TTI website -

TEEC to offer seismic facies analysis

TEEC extends its seismic software suite to encompass reservoir characterization with the release of RefTEEC 1.0.

German based reservoir consultants Trappe Erdoel Erdgas Consultants (TEEC) has enhanced its reservoir characterization software with a new module, ‘RefTEEC’. RefTEEC uses the seismic signature at key well locations to predict reservoir quality, facies or lithology distribution in undrilled acreage.

Gas saturation

Gas saturation has been successfully mapped using the technique. RefTEEC generates seismic reference patterns from 3D seismic sub-volumes. TEEC claims that these 3D attributes have advantages over single-trace classification approaches.


Several algorithms are used to determine the similarity of these 3D reference pattern and the volume under study. TEEC has been granted a patent on the technology. RefTEEC complements TEEC’s earlier software release, CohTEEC – coherency-analysis software used to detect subtle lineaments and fractures and to generate fault attributes (see PDM Vol. 4 N° 12). RefTEEC can now be used to study the characteristics within CohTEEC-defined fault compartments.


PGS restructures geophysics, Wellogix demotes chairman and president, HARC president resigns and an old friend returns to the Landmark fold!

Petroleum Geo-Services is restructuring its geophysical divisions into one unit led by Anthony ‘Diz’ Mackewn.


Knowledge Systems, Inc. has named Terrell W. Miller as VP Technology. Miller was previously Director of Exxon’s Rock Mechanics Laboratory.


Wellogix chairman John Chisholm and CEO Jeff Livesay are now to act as vice-chairmen. Current president Zeke Zeringue now takes on the CEO role, and director Fred Weber becomes the new chairman.


John Vasselli has resigned from his position as president of the Houston Advanced Research Corporation. Chairman Todd Mitchell is to take a more active role in the leadership of the organization during the transition period.


GX Technology has appointed Mike Hall as manager of its new Calgary Center. Hall was previously VP Business Development and Geophysical Services with Seismic Image Software.


Best rumor of the month is the imminent return to Landmark of John Sherman who’s sojourn chez Compaq is over. Meanwhile Bob Peebler has retired from Halliburton.

Hampson-Russell’s new software

The 2001 release of Hampson-Russell’s software includes a new product for time lapse seismic analysis. A port to Windows is now complete.

Hampson-Russell Software (HRS) has announced the 2001 release of its AVO, STRATA, EMERGE and eLOG products. HRS is also re-launching its ISMap mapping package and rolling-out a brand new product, PRO4D for time-lapse seismic analysis. New features include the addition of elastic and S-impedance (lambda-rho-mu) inversion in STRATA, 3D systematic pre-stack modeling in AVO, Geoframe links in the Geoview log database. HRS has also completed a two year port of its software to Windows 98,NT and 2000.


The new PRO4D tool provides an integrated framework for fluid substitution and rock physics, seismic modeling and calibration, along with matching and comparison of seismic volumes. PRO4D also has seismic interpretation and attribute extraction capabilities, volumetric analysis, for 2D and 3D data.


The tool can also be useful in matching and rebinning where one survey is joined to another for analysis. Forward modeling of acoustic changes can be achieved with Batzle-Wang for fluid properties, Biot-Gassmann for fluid substitution or with Kuster-Toksöz modeling. More from

Debugger de rigueur!

High performance computing specialists Etnus claims high demand in oil and gas for its Total View debugger.

Boston-based Etnus LLC reports increased demand for its high-performance debugger, TotalView, in the oil and gas industry, with usage doubling in the last year. Total View is used in reservoir simulation and seismic processing on highly parallel computers.

Message queue

TotalView’s facility for examining pending communications and the message queue display helps understand and optimize communication patterns in parallel processing. Etnus’ oil and gas clients include BP, Chevron, PGS, Saudi Aramco and Western-Geco. More from

Sysdrill boosts Paradigm

Paradigm is to integrate drilling software from newly acquired Sysdrill into its high-end visualization software. The combined offering should improve well bore placement and real-time geological modeling.

Paradigm Geophysical has acquired drilling engineering software developer and service provider Sysdrill Limited. Sysdrill, headquartered in Aberdeen, develops directional well planning and anti-collision software. Paradigm plans to combine its existing interpretation and well-log analysis solutions with Sysdrill’s directional drilling software into ‘sophisticated offerings’ in the key areas of well bore placement, visualization and geological modeling while drilling. The first of these new products is expected to be available by the end of this year.


Established in 1985, Sysdrill’s Microsoft Windows-based software is described as a complete solution for the management of standard and ‘designer’ well plans, surveys, plots and reports. Sysdrill further claims to have developed ‘the world’s foremost well planning and survey management database system.’ The software offers standardized reporting for day to day operational management, and for the analysis of historical data in well design optimization.


Paradigm chairman and CEO, Eldad Weiss said, “We believe that our combination of innovative drilling solutions, high-end visualization and real-time controls will yield significant savings in annual drilling costs. The combined product offerings open up a large new market for Paradigm.” Paradigm financial management expects to see a positive impact from the acquisition on both revenues and profits in 2002, and no negative impact on net income for the balance of 2001.

Autodesk’s LandXML

Autodesk’s new GIS software includes tools for collaboration, workflow, data integration, and delivery. The new software is based on the latest Oracle 8i database, and Autodesk’s LandML modeling language.

Autodesk Inc. has announced upgrades to software tools developed by its Geographical Systems (GIS) Division. The new products are said to include capabilities for automating business processes, collaboration, and data integration.


Autodesk director Kim Davis believes “The business climate and competitive requirements have clearly changed for our GIS. It’s no longer about the incremental gain of performing a single task faster or more efficiently. It’s about technology that meets customer needs throughout the workflow. From managing projects, to sharing information, to collaborating across company lines and in the field, software must be a facilitator.”


Autodesk’s GIS strategy for the electric utility and communications markets centers on turning GIS data to GIS information. The new software lets a broad base of users visualize and edit mapping and design data in their day-to-day business operations and processes. The key to this strategy is the Autodesk GIS Design Server, which delivers digital design and location data to the point of work on the engineering and business user’s desktop, or in the field. The server augments the design and mapping capabilities of other Autodesk products to include web and mobile access.

Oracle 8i

The Design Server leverages the Oracle8i database into a ‘mainstream business support system.’ Autodesk has also integrated its land development suite into its GIS products, giving companies a complete mapping and land development solution.

Map 5

New features in Autodesk Map 5 include a direct connection to an Oracle 8i Spatial database, wizards for thematic mapping, improved user interface, enhanced import/export engine and wavelet support for Mr. SID and ECW.


The new Land Desktop 3 introduces support for Autodesk’s LandXML data exchange format. LandXML facilitates the exchange of data created during the Land Planning, Civil Engineering and Land Survey process. Project data is independent of the authoring software and is said to overcome the interoperability problems. LandXML also facilitates project migration, software upgrades and long-term data archival.


LandXML leverages the Extensible Style sheet Language (XSL) through the application of web templates. XSL style sheets can for instance format raw point data into point tables, or format data to match an organization’s internal standards, such as legal descriptions for parcel reports. More from

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