September 2001

4D comes of age

A seminal paper presented by BP at the SEG shows how 4D has come out of the R&D closet. Within BP, you no longer have to justify time lapse seismic acquisition. The technology is mature, and the business benefits, a given.

A major step in the recognition of the contribution of 4D, time lapse seismics, was announced at the annual meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), held in San Antonio, Texas this month. Speaking during a technical session, David Whitcombe explained why BP is so keen on 4D.

4D Successes

BP’s initial 4D successes were won on oilfields west of Shetland. The Foinaven project significantly reduced the uncertainty of the 15 wells drilled (at a cost of £25 million each) and improved the production/injection strategy. Next, in 1995, the UK North Sea Forties field had run out of economic targets for infill drilling. 4D technology halted, and even reversed this decline.


BP investigated the overall robustness of the 4D method by comparing oil/brine reflection coefficients over all of its NW European oilfields. The magnitude of this reflection coefficient turned out to be of the same order as the seismic limit of resolution.


Until recently that is. What has gone almost unnoticed in the last decade is a spectacular across-the-board improvement in the seismic method, driving down the signal to noise threshold by a full order of magnitude. As Whitcombe observes - “the seismic method gets better the more it is pushed.” See this month’s editorial for more technical background.

Business issue

This timely technological breakthrough is set to address BP’s fundamental business challenge - that of maintaining around 5% production growth in the face of an underlying 15% decline of existing fields, assuming ‘status-quo’ development. In 2000 4D surveys were acquired on Forties, West of Shetlands, Harding, Montrose and Marnock. A significant success was a new well on the Arbroath field, where a ‘no-change’ area on the 4D survey located a good dry-oil producer down-dip from several watered out wells.

Why not?

Today, for BP, 4D has come out of the R&D closet. You no longer have to justify a 4D survey. But you will have to explain ‘why not’ if you opt not to acquire 4D.

Petris, GeoNet merge

Application Service Provision specialist GeoNet Services is to merge with Petris Technology. The deal will combine GeonNet’s ASP offering with Petris Winds enterprise integration and data management framework.

Petris is to merge with ASP specialist GeoNet. Jim Pritchett (Petris CEO) will be President and CEO of the as yet un-named new company and Pat Herbert (Geonet Chairman and CEO) will be COO. The merger will combine Petris’ application integration and data management with GeoNet’s ASP offering.


While the initial GeoNet business model of ASP access to a variety of third-party applications remains, the company is increasingly turning to the provision of ASP services from within the corporate firewall. Geo-Point of Presence (GeoPOP) offers companies rationalized thin-client access to licensed or proprietary software. The link-up will extend this to the major vendor suites, via the Petris Winds Enterprise integration layer. Jim Pritchett told PDM that the merger would be accompanied by a new cash injection from all existing shareholders.

200 users

GeoNet claims around 200 ‘steady users’ including TotalFinaElf (TFE) and Marathon. Geoscientists with TFE working in Pau, France are connected to servers in Houston, Texas by a 2 megabit per second fiber link.

4D, from Petabyte to Power Point

PDM Editor Neil McNaughton reports back from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists annual meeting at San Antonio where he saw incontrovertible evidence for the efficacy of the time-lapse method - the ‘Power Point proof’. For the formalists amongst you, he also reports on the science behind the technique. Its all to do with oil-brine reflection coefficients....

I hope that all this is not another case of me being somewhat slow on the uptake. Although people have been banging on about 4D seismics for years, as yet the technology has lacked a public airing of its’ proof. No longer. Our ‘take home’ from the SEG was what we judge to be the ‘coming of age’ of the 4D process. A seminal paper by BP’s David Whitcombe outlined the technical justification for a step-change in the seismic work flow.

4D time-lapse

4D (the extra dimension is time) seismics involves repeating seismic acquisition over an oilfield at intervals during its production. The premise is that the seismic method is now so sensitive, that the changes in reflection strength, as water encroaches on the oil, can actually be observed.


Well, as they say, seeing is believing, and I would just like first to digress a little on when this is not the case. Recently NASA has shown pictures generated by the Cobe satellite that purport to show what the universe was like a few billion years ago. You probably have seen the oval image of wormy colors - signifying, well, nothing! Because we haven’t a clue what the image should look like, we have no idea whether it has any validity. Such images could just be background noise for all we know.


The opposite is true of BP’s 4D imagery as shown in a talk by BP’s Ian Jack. We all have a more or less intuitive grasp of how water moves in on an oilfield, and the time-lapse imagery produced from the BP’s seismics is instantly believable. Jack wound-up his talk with a Power Point tour de force – animated 4D movies from half a dozen of BP’s 4D surveys all flashing their way through their production histories*.


The migrating waterfronts made a compelling argument indeed. So compelling in fact that BP is no longer content with this kind of long interval ‘snapshot’ approach to seismic reservoir monitoring. The next step is for permanent seismic arrays over producing fields, with more regular seismic acquisition performed on demand by a shooting boat.

Reflection coefficients

We summarize the BP analysis of oil/brine reflection coefficients below. Most N. European oilfields operated by BP show values in the range of 0.02 to 0.06. BP reckons that until recently, these values were barely above the seismic signal to noise threshold of around 0.02. But BP has found that ‘seismic technology gets better the more it is pushed’ and estimates a current value for the S/N threshold as 0.006.

Order of magnitude

This puts reflection coefficients for all the fields studied a comfortable order of magnitude above the seismic threshold, and gives numerical justification for Jack’s Power Point proof.

More next month

One insider told us that the impact of 4D would be even more apparent at next month’s SPE New Orleans meet. The belief is that petroleum engineers will be abandoning their cellular numerical models in favor of seismically-derived representations of what is really happening in the reservoir. PDM will be there!

*One wonders incidentally if this is not some sort of a record in data synthesis, has so much data ever been so tellingly condensed into a single Power Point slide?


Regarding the tragic events of September 11th, we received the following from Bjorn Wygrala of IES - we thought he summed up our feelings too, and Bjorn has kindly let us reproduce his message.

It is difficult to return to ‘business as usual’ without referring to the recent tragic events in the USA and the current risk of increasing national and cultural tensions. As members of the petroleum E&P industry, an industry that is possibly more international than most, we believe that we are in a unique and privileged position to prove that nationalities and cultures are not incompatible. For example, we were recently involved in a project in the Middle East in which 16 geoscientists from 14 nations worked together. There is not really anything special about this in our industry ... and that’s the way it should be.”

Geophysics in the affairs of mankind

This illustrated history spans exploration, academia and wartime geophysics. From plate tectonics, through vibrator technology, the interpretation workstation to business intrigue, the 400 page book is a must-have.

Although the subtitle modestly claims that the book is a ‘history of exploration geophysics’ it is much more; the 400 page, well-illustrated tome encompasses submarine warfare, crustal seismology (discovery of the earth’s metal core in 1910) and nuclear test detection (author Bates’ field).

Plate tectonics

There is also detailed coverage of plate tectonics, with a blow-by-blow account of the ‘isolated observations’ leading up to the concept. Coverage of exploration seismology is exhaustive, from Eckhardt’s three trace recorder in 1919, to PGS’ multi-cable Ramform. The battlefield is omnipresent. Ludger Mintrop, founder of Seismos (later to bekome Prakla-Seismos, and later still part of the Schlumberger group) started out by modifying military gear to develop ‘a method for the determination of rock structures.’ The essence of the book is almost an exact reversal of the title. It’s really about people in the affairs of geophysics. The narrative weaves its way around personal histories. and is full of rich anecdotes such as Harry Mayne’s account of the invention of CDP, Carl Savit’s premonition of the bright spot in 1965 and John Crawford’s invention of VibroSeis. The habit of giving newborn babes the unusual name of ‘Géophysique,’ following the passage of CGG’s African prospectors is explained in a footnote.


There is intrigue too - De Golyer went against his Amerada bosses to secretly finance startup GSI, the Schlumberger brothers received cash from their dad, in exchange for a non-compete agreement, and later, Halliburton unceremoniously dumped its geophysics unit in 1994, before buying back into the game with Landmark.


Given the book’s scope, there are inevitable lacunae. Coverage of processing is skimpy - no mention of Dirac or deconvolution, although the MIT GAG gets good narrative treatment. The fascinating pre-numerical LaserScan seismic processing technique and Geco’s Charisma seismic interpretation system are overlooked.


Last niggles are an incomplete index and what appears to be rather poor QC at the printers resulting in washed-out photos. There are some great pics though. Next time someone talks about environmental impact, show them the effects of a (1929) 225 kg dynamite shot in coastal Louisiana. ‘Build not buy’ nostalgics should check out Phillips’ magnificent 1957 processing center - those were the days!

Geophysics in the Affairs of Mankind. Lawyer, Bates and Rice. ISBN 1-56080-087-9.SEG 2001.

Lee Lawyer and Charles Bates discuss their new book with PDM

New Databanks for Cameroon, Gabon

Schlumberger Information Systems’ Finder data management system is at the heart of two new West African national data repositories to be located in Yaounde, Cameroon and Libreville, Gabon.

Schlumberger’s Finder is the core component of two national data repositories (NDR) in Cameroon and Gabon. The Societe Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH), the national oil company of Cameroon, has selected SIS to help create an E&P NDR at the the Centre d’Informations Petrolieres in Yaounde, while Geneva-based Petrolin is working with the Gabonese Department of Hydrocarbons (DGH) to deploy an NDR in Libreville.


SNH Exploration manager Jean Jacques Koum said, “We selected SIS to implement an integrated data management system to secure and manage all data types available after several decades of exploration and production in the country. This solution will allow SNH to preserve those patrimonial assets and further promote Cameroon’s exploration potential. The NDR is part of an SNH strategic plan to quickly move into the competitive global oil economy, leveraging the new technologies.”


Data types to be handled include seismic, logs, physical assets and production, as well as interpretation results obtained from various sources. A joint SNH-SIS team, under the direction of Koum, has been set up to carry out the various project phases, with a strong emphasis on training and knowledge transfer to SNH employees.

Whole Monty

The NDR will include the following components, Finder, AssetDB, LogDB, SeisDB and ProductionDB. Serge Brun, GeoQuest operations manager added “SNH will be the first West African oil company to deploy a complete data management solution ranging from seismic to production.” More from


Speaking about the Gabonese NDR, Petrolin project manager Mathew Holsgrove told PDM “The NDR involves the creation of a databank in Libreville for the DGH. Petrolin is helping the DGH recover data from oil companies. This is then indexed, scanned or transcribed before loading into Finder. To prepare the handover of the system to the DGH, we have created indexing procedures and Access database tools linked into the Finder oracle database in order to simplify the transfer of data into Finder. The final part of the Project will be the training of DGH personnel in the population and use of the databank when it is implemented in Gabon at the end of September.”

Seismic sounding

Phoenix Data Solutions’ SeisVu SEG-Y manipulation package has been upgraded. The new freeware version includes a sonification option.

Although seismic data is made up of sound waves, they are usually ‘seen but not heard.’ Phoenix Data Solutions aims to change this and have included in their SeisVu software the ability to play seismics through a PC’s sound card and speakers. Phoenix admits that a serious use of this capability has yet to be found, but believes that the novelty will increase the popularity of its SeisVu freeware.


SeisVu is a Windows based viewer for seismic data in SEG-Y format. The free version permits (as well as the sound feature) color density, or conventional variable area/wiggle representations. Headers can be checked on-screen, and sample distributions and clipping levels analyzed.

V 3. 1

The latest full version of SeisVu (3.1) is now a fully-featured toolkit for reading, writing, manipulating, plotting and editing SEG-Y files. Basic processing steps, such as convolution with a user-specified wavelet, frequency filtering and AGC are included. SeisVu was first released a year ago, since then over 1,200 copies have been downloaded from Phoenix’s web site .

SiteScape for Shell E&P

Web-based knowledge management from SiteScape Forum is helping Shell International build communities of practice in upstream.

Shell International Exploration and Production (SIEP) is using SiteScape Forum to create global communities of practice (COP). SIEP claims ‘breakthrough’ performance through sharing and applying talents, learning, and resources globally.

van Unnik

Shell’s Arjan van Unnik says, “We hook up people who are working in related disciplines in Shell companies around the world so they can problem solve and share learnings and ideas. The big trick is to go further than connecting people in the same disciplines. We get excellent cross-fertilization of disciplines – for example, pipeline engineers and corrosion engineers sharing information and ideas, thereby coming up with better and more complete solutions – that’s how we get great value.”


Shell has 13 COPs with over 10,000 users. The main COPs are in sub-surface, wells and surface disciplines, but smaller COPs exist in supporting cross disciplines, like Finance, Procurement, HR, and Health, Safety & Environment. A value review completed in 2000, estimated annual business benefits of over $200 million from this initiative.

Chevron, Schlumberger in Lost Hills

Chevron and Schlumberger scientists are to collaborate on enhancing recovery from the 90 year old Lost Hills field in California.

Chevron and Schlumberger are collaborating to squeeze the last drop of oil from a field discovered in 1910. The ‘Value Enhancement Alliance’ sets out to improve recovery from the Lost Hills oil field in Kern County, California.


The alliance, which integrates Schlumberger project management and technical personnel into Chevron’s Bakersfield office, will focus on all areas of the recovery and production process. This focused collaboration is expected to result in new innovations associated with improved drilling and fracture techniques, reservoir analysis methods, and downhole treatment fluids and tools.


Schlumberger Oilfield Services VP Gary Kolstad said, “This is a great opportunity for us to work with Chevron to leverage technologies and maximize the recovery from this challenging field.” Interest was sparked in 1998 when a gas blowout and fire spectacularly demonstrated the deep potential of Lost Hills.

Robertson’s Target

Asset Geoscience has sold its ‘Target’ database of North Sea E&P drilling results and potential to Robertson Research.

Fugro unit Robertson Research International (RRI) has acquired the Target UK, Target Norway and Undeveloped Discoveries businesses from Asset Geoscience. Target will be maintained as a stand-alone piece of software, but will benefit from further integration with other digital and non-digital products and services in the Robertson range, including Wisdom and Tellus. Target is a portfolio management tool that identifies target formations and drilling results. Success rates and reserves distribution for each exploration play can be analyzed.


RRI director Simon Kendall says, “We look forward to developing the full potential of Target through software enhancements and geographic extensions. We will also let companies analyze their own proprietary data in conjunction with the huge volume of data that Asset Geoscience has collected. We will be talking with existing and future clients to explore this and other possibilities.”


Asset Geoscience director Chris Dodd added “This is a positive step forward for Target and leverages Roberson’s scale, depth of knowledge and access to international markets.” Asset Geoscience will continue as an independent consulting company.

GeoQuest’s ASP live in Europe and US

Schlumberger has bolstered its remote application service provision with new LiveQuest centers in Aberdeen and Houston.

Schlumberger Oil & Gas Information Solutions (SIS) has opened application service provision (ASP) centers in Europe and in the US. The LiveQuest ASP offering is now available from the Aberdeen-based European Service Center, with the US portal co-located at the Houston data management center.


Both are part of a world-wide network of service centers, linked by broadband connectivity. The first center was located in Calgary, with others planned for Perth, Australia and Jakarta. GeoQuest European business manager Olivier Peyret said, “We now offer our clients high-speed access to information, record-breaking application uptime, data availability, performance, new technology access and security. The scalability and flexibility of this solution enable our customers to keep their businesses in step with current activity levels.”


GeoQuest applications offered through LiveQuest include the GeoFrame integrated reservoir characterization system, the Eclipse reservoir simulation suite, Merak economics and planning, Drilling Office and OilField Manager.


Digital certificates and access control ensure that the data and applications are limited to users with appropriate privileges. The Calgary center, launched in May 2000, now supports over 600 active users.


Jeff Spath, GeoQuest manager for the Americas said, “This is a key differentiator for us in the marketplace and our customers can expect performance gains due to the flexibility and reliability of our LiveQuest solution.” More from

SDLS Inc. up and running

SDLS is to market a comprehensive database of location data for Canadian seismic surveys. The new company will offer subscribers a range of associated products and services.

SDLS is a Calgary-based startup which claims a comprehensive database of survey line ‘ends and bends’ for seismic data available for purchase.


In addition SDLS is developing a suite of services and products to compliment its database. Designed to service the brokerage industry and oil & gas professionals, the SDLS product line will provide tools to streamline the data acquisition process for trade data.


SDLS’s long-term plan is to build a comprehensive database containing ‘every line shot in Canada which is available for viewing,’ and to update such information as new data is released.


Subscription packages are available for different requirements, from database dumps with 48 hour updates, to full service packages which include maps, plats, and data listings. As development proceeds SDLS services and software will be available via the web.

Landmark, Badleys pursue Open Journal

Landmark’s software development and marketing agreement with Badley Earth Sciences is to continue through 2005.

Landmark and Badley Earth Science have signed a 5 year agreement for the continued development and integration of OpenJournal with Landmark’s E&P software suite.

Knowledge capture

OpenJournal has become the solution of choice for many major oil and gas companies as well as independents seeking to improve knowledge capture and sharing among their E&P asset teams. The solution ‘documents crucial decision-making steps’ in an E&P project with a combination of graphical screen captures with associated text and annotation. Through publishing in a Web format, critical expertise can be rapidly distributed and mined across the enterprise as part of a corporate intranet or shared with partners and external experts via a secure extranet.


Landmark president and CEO John Gibson says, “OpenJournal enables business units to leverage expertise and enhance group productivity and team collaboration. Easy sharing via the Web builds increased understanding and confidence in E&P analysis and decision. When used with OpenWorks and our recently developed Web OpenWorks, clients have a streamlined workflow of capturing, preserving and sharing knowledge.”


OpenJournal2 was released earlier this year with enhancements and integration with Petroleum Place Connect. When used with OpenWorks and Web OpenWorks (wOW), OpenJournal2 is a powerful knowledge-sharing tool, capable of multi-user editing, free text search and project management. An upgrade is planned for early 2002, with improved formatting, exporting and integration with documenting tools in Web OpenWorks. More from

SEG 2001 San Antonio

PDM attended the Society of Exploration Geophysicists annual conference and exhibition, held in San Antonio this month. With a few hundred exhibitors and ten simultaneous technical sessions there is a lot going on at any time, more than we could take in anyhow! But we offer you an eclectic view of what caught our fancy - from the growth of Linux based clusters and pre-stack seismic depth migration, through a history of seismics on the biggest oilfield in the world to the application of crystallographic techniques to seismic interpretation - and much more...

This SEG started off with a very busy first day. Reports from exhibitors told of a significant increase of quality visitor traffic on the exhibition floor. This atmosphere changed after the tragic events of Tuesday 11th. The SEG wisely decided to continue with the conference, but it was a subdued affair from then on.


Observable trends include the growing importance of Linux-based clusters for seismic processing and the increasing size and number of network attached storage solutions. Many companies are now offering pre-stack processing with a significant role played by specialist ‘boutique’ seismic processing houses. Our main take home was the coming of age of seismics in reservoir management (see this month’s lead and editorial).


In a special session on ‘Optimizing integration of Geophysical, Geological and engineering technologies for E&P success’ Exxon’s Randy Ewasko described a ‘volume-based workflow’ with ‘seamless feedback loops at every step.’ This is leveraged and facilitated by the visualization center – qualified as a ‘key element of cross disciplinary learning and interaction.’ The spin-off from such ‘discipline leakage’ can be new solutions to problems such as geological modeling using seismic conditioning, 3D well path planning and steering and Exxon’s next generation reservoir simulator – ‘beyond vendor-supplied software’ – offering co-rendering of engineering and geological parameters. Chevron’s Robert Harding described interpretation as ‘lots of building blocks’ that were not yet put together. One component that does bring some of it together is Chevron’s Common Earth Model – a technology platform that ‘binds communities together.’ Chevron’s Common Earth Model has ‘contributed more than any Knowledge Management initiatives to Chevron’s E&P effort.’


Newcomer Idelix was showing off a curious piece of software - ‘pliable’ display technology (PDT), a ‘virtual lens’ that enhances panning and zooming of visual data. Wherever you look, you still get to see the whole data set in concentric areas of diminishing resolution. PDT works with ArcView 8.1 - and was described as the “hottest thing on the floor” at a recent Integraph Geospatial World conference.


Data mining specialist Spotfire is rumored to be making inroads into the upstream, with a 200 seat sale to Anadarko. Spotfire’s Decision Site works with Excel, Access, Oracle or any ODBC-compliant data source. Spotfire provides an intuitive way of accessing tabular data. Originally developed for the pharmaceutical industry, Spotfire now integrates ESRI’s ArcExplorer to allow for geo-located data analysis. Anadarko worked 15 months with Spotfire to extend the program for geochemical data analysis. Cross plots can be produced with consummate ease, a neat Spotfire trick is the way 2 dimensional cross plots are ordered by cross correlation magnitude - before you have even looked at the data! Spotfire provides simple, insightful and intuitive data mining. The company is now working with Landmark on an OpenWorks link.


Once upon a time, Amoco had a research department where geophysicists beavered away, developing proprietary seismic processing software. But although ‘build’ is no longer cool, all is not lost. BP has placed the fruits of the Amoco researchers’ labors into the public domain. The software is now available, along with a number of other interesting resources, on the FreeUSP website


Calgary-based OpenGeoSolutions is a startup commercial company which hopes to become the ‘Red Hat’ of Free USP. President James Alison told PDM that the company plans to offer a range of services and support around the open source code.


SMT (Kingdom Suite interpretation software) is ‘closing negotiations’ with Open Spirit Corp. SMT president Tom Smith considers that Open Spirit is now ready for use. SMT was the first company to connect to Open Spirit from Windows-based applications. The Kingdom suite is now out in version 7.0 with multi-user, multi-authoring of interpretations. The software suite runs on Access or SQL Server databases. SMT is also to offer Citrix-based Application Service Provision (ASP) for its clients in-house.


Saudi Aramco’s Kamal M. Al-Yaha spoke on the history of 3D seismics over the Ghawar field (the largest oilfield in the world). During the last decade or so, Saudi Aramco has acquired multiple 3D surveys over the field totalizing 12,000 sq. km. Technology has evolved significantly during this period, with fold increasing from 50 to 1000, the number of channels from 500 to 2800 and production up from 1 to 4 sq. KM. per day. Cost per VP has fallen by 80% while cost per trace is down 95%. Processing changes have been implemented by Aramco’s proprietary processing software. Other significant changes have been seen in computing hardware and visualization technology. The target has also moved deeper – from the Arab formation at 2 km depth to the Devonian at 5 km. Coherency software (developed in-house) has been successful in imaging the Khuff-C level and has provided a wealth of information on structure, reservoir and is underpinning drilling decisions.


OpenSpirit has sold 85 development licenses in the last year to 16 software vendors and 5 super majors including TotalFinaElf, Chevron, Agip, Exxon and Shell. Around 400 run time licenses have been purchased by some 20 end-user companies. Most popular OpenSpirit workflows are structural and stratigraphic modeling interactions between T-Surf’s GoCad and OpenWorks or GeoFrame. Open Spirit also offers Windows application developers a shortcut to data access in the main vendor databases. OpenSpirit newcomers include NuTech and Hampson Russel. Paradigm is currently carrying out a technical audit of Open Spirit.

Ikon Science

Ikon Science Ltd. (ISL) is a new company spun off from Ikon Geoscience. ISL’s flagship software is RokDoc, which combines rock physics theory with log and checkshot data to predict facies from seismic data. A new tool, FaultX is scheduled for release in the first quarter 2002. FaultX conditions seismic data and then automatically identifies and extracts fault planes. After extraction and analysis, detected fault planes are returned to the seismic interpretation package for further interpretation. More from

Seismic mesh

Landmark researcher Dave Hale has been applying techniques from crystallography to the task of automating the interpretation process. A recurrent problem in interpretation is that of an incomplete representation of a volume by surfaces.

Space filling

We start, in the case of 3D seismics, with a completely space-filling data set, and we want to finish up with a space filled with cells for reservoir flow modeling. But in between, traditional interpretation methods offer us a ‘space’, which is sparsely populated with horizons and faults. Worse, these surfaces may show topological inconsistencies such as overlap, or shortfall – as when a picked surface fails to meet up with a fault. All these create problems as the picked surfaces are used to define the envelope of the cellular fluid flow model. The math used in studying deformations in crystal lattices may help out here.


A crystal lattice starts out as a regular space-filling mesh. Hale demonstrated the technique by superimposing a regular 3D mesh onto the output of a Continuity Cube seismic coherency volume. A kind of convolutional process maps out the potential energy of lattice nodes according to their proximity to faults in the coherency volume. This information is captured as a deformation in the mesh – which can then be used to produce a completely automated interpretation – with the added advantage that the topology is space filling and consistent.


Michael Batzle, Colorado School of Mines has studied various analyses of cross plots relating rock properties to seismic measurement in an interesting and exhaustive analysis. Watch out for very good correlations, which are due to plotting functions dominated by a 1/x à 1/x component. Another caveat is the dependency of seismic response on fluid and lithology combined – so that a brine with 30% porosity can have the same response as oil with 20% porosity. Batzle outlined other ‘gotchas’ in the published quantitative relationships.

Fault detection

Schlumberger’s Stein Pedersen showed new techniques for the detection of surfaces, with impressive auto-location of faults from the 3D seismic volume. Various fault-enhancing attributes are extracted from the data and connected to indicate fault planes. Another impressive seismic display was presented by Magic Earth’s Tera Bulloch, who offered an impressive display of ‘geovolume visualization and interpretation’ (GVI) techniques demonstrated with PGS’ new Brazilian spec data.

Voxel Vision

VoxelVision has produced an innovative piece of visualization hardware. The VoxBox is a cluster of PC’s dedicated to large data volume visualization. VoxelVision has moved the rendering engine onto the cluster. A thick client running on a Solaris or Windows (NT/2000) workstation is fed visualization information over a 100 megabit switched Ethernet network. The Visualization Hub, the ‘VoxBox,’ offers multiple roaming probes and voxel objects, multi-attribute computation and query, volume tracking and data compression.

Tech tid bits

Axis Geophysics selected newcomer Hybinette’s Granite SAN server. Hybinette servers offer CPU modules for Windows NT and 2000, Solaris, PowerPC and AIX. The latest screen from Panoram, the PV230 triple screen workstation offers a 36” x 9” 2.4 megapixel screen with 7,200 pixels per sq. in. Meanwhile SGI was showing off its “dual dual” channel Octane 2 - allowing 4 monitors. Finally, Hays Information Management is to bring out a new Java version of its inventory management system RSO.

EDS hosts UpstreamInfo

EDS is providing technology to offer UpstreamInfo’s client a “seamless flow of mission critical information.”

UpstreamInfo, along with investment partner EDS are going live with a hosted service to deliver “comprehensive, timely, mission-critical information” to oil company decision makers. EDS will host the new production centers, established to support Upstream-Info’s Asset Management Solutions.


UpstreamInfo president and CEO Glenn Breed said, “Our solutions and team combined with EDS’ talent enable petroleum companies to manage assets more effectively.” EDS claims to have pioneered the information technology-hosting model nearly 40 years ago, and today serves the world’s leading companies and governments in 55 countries.


EDS US operations president Charles Ansley added, “It is our goal to offer upstream players a seamless flow of secure, meaningful, mission-critical information. Information sharing gives life and success to individual businesses and joint ventures.” Chevron Corp. is the first industry partner and ‘anchor tenant’ of UpstreamInfo.

Water Knowledge Management

Schlumberger is using KM technology from eGain to share water management best practices.

UK-based eGain Communications has supplied a ‘self-service,’ web-based knowledge management (KM) solution to Schlumberger Oilfield Services. The ‘WaterCASE’ knowledge base of water management issues and best practices provides Schlumberger engineers around the world with instant access over the web.


Schlumberger water solutions expert Jon Elphick said, “eGain Knowledge has enabled us to address this costly water management problem, by giving us a Web-based platform to share knowledge on a global scale. The expertise to tackle water management issues is multi-disciplinary and was scattered across the world, while the methodologies to solve these issues were not standardized.”


According to eGain VP Ryan Rosenberg, “Knowledge management solutions, whether used for self-service or call center support, are powerful tools with quantifiable return on investments."

e-Logic from Government

The UK government is funding a scheme that sets out to ‘help UK companies get to the future first’!

The UK DTI has granted funding to LOGIC to develop an “e-Collaboration Champion Program.” LOGIC (Leading Oil and Gas Industry Competitiveness) is an industry initiative whose motto is “Helping the UK Oil/Gas industry work together to get things done.” Initial funding for LOGIC was provided by the DTI, and a group of five industry bodies led by the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA).


Energy Minister, Brian Wilson announced the contract to deliver ‘an innovative new scheme’* to bring the benefits of e-commerce to companies in the oil and gas sector at last month’s Offshore Europe Exhibition. The scheme will ‘help companies work together more effectively through the use of the latest techniques of e-enabled collaboration.’ The pilot scheme will help up to twelve collaborative groupings in the oil and gas sector - with each group having at least one SME participant.

*Blackadder fans may hear echoes of one of Baldrick’s ‘cunning plans’ here.

Barrows on IndigoPool

Barrows’ international oil and gas tax and legislation database is now available through Schlumberger’s IndigoPool portal.

Schlumberger’s e-business unit IndigoPool has signed with the Barrows Company to make its comprehensive international library of oil and gas laws and contracts available on the IndigoPool web site. This documentary database will support the IndigoPool online acquisition and divestiture (A&D) process.


Barrows president Gordon Barrows said, “The IndigoPool global e-marketplace will allow us to reach more oil and gas professionals from both the private and public sectors. This worldwide exposure, coupled with IndigoPool’s technology and security, provide an innovative channel to access our growing library of laws and contracts.”


IndigoPool president Dan Magyar added, “We are pleased to add Barrows’ spectrum of services. Since establishing its library more than 30 years ago, Barrows has become the most trusted source of international oil and gas laws and contracts.”


Barrows’ information is available in full text and in summary or analysis format. All materials are written in English, with the original language text available off-line. This world library includes national energy laws (principally oil and gas), taxation, statutes of national oil companies, and environmental legislation. The information is revised and updated daily.

GeoQuest takes on DAEX

Schlumberger Information Systems has acquired Oilfield Systems DAEX technology from the liquidator. The well data exchange framework will link Schlumberger’s systems with other vendor environments.

Schlumberger Oil & Gas Information Solutions (SIS) has acquired DAEX Data Exchange from the now defunct Oilfield Systems.


SIS VP Ihab Toma said, “A solid data transfer framework helps operating companies reduce costs and increase efficiency. DAEX will help us exploit existing data links, and allow us to continue to offer the broadest data integration solutions in E&P.”


DAEX solves ‘real-world’ data transfer problems and provides a framework for the transfer of data between application databases. The modular software can be configured for a company’s specific workflow and data transfer needs, to link data stores such as GeoFrame, OpenWorks, GeoLog and Recall.


DAEX also provides data transfer between OpenSpirit-enabled application databases. “The combination of all these technologies offers comprehensive coverage within a consistent framework and affordable maintenance cost.” said Toma.

Comment - With DAEX, Geoshare and Open Spirit, Schlumberger has an impressive complement of data exchange technologies to play with. Too many? Perhaps, but the game here is catering to the installed base of each of these technologies. In fact by supporting all this low added-value infrastructure, Schlumberger demonstrates both its commitment to the industry, and a belief that inter-operability is good for everyone.

GTI’s StrataMap for Landmark suite

StrataMap, a StrataModel plug-in from Geophysical Techniques Inc. brings Landmark users topologically correct modeling.

Landmark has integrated technology from Geophysical Techniques, Inc (GTI) into its StrataModel 3-D geocellular modeling application. GTI’s StrataMap framework- building and editing software will be tightly integrated into StrataModel as StrataMap Framework Builder.


Landmark president John Gibson said “With StrataMap, our customers will have more rapid model-building and updating capabilities for characterizing their oil and gas reservoirs.”

Dynamic links

StrataMap will reduce faulted 3-D model-building time with dynamically linked 2-D views for quality control and fast editing of surfaces and faults. StrataMap will be marketed with a two-tier structure, StrataMap for general surface editing and StrataMap Framework Builder for building and editing complex faulted 3-D models.


StrataMap also provides automated fault relationship detection. Fault and grid interrelationships can also be consistently determined to generating topologically correct geo-frameworks. These automatic procedures will drastically reduce the learning time required as well as the time spent building most models.


Geophysical Techniques, Inc. has been working as a third-party software provider to Landmark for several years. Recently, GTI has focused on development of proprietary techniques for facilitating the building of geological frameworks appropriate for StrataModel.

Winds 3.0 from Petris-GeoNet

Petris has released a new version of its Winds Enterprise data integration technology. A patent application has been made in respect of the method.

Petris Technology has announced the release of Winds Enterprise 3.0. The latest version has improved performance, a new adapter to Geoplus’ Petra interpretation package, a Well Log Viewer function and a unique, three pane graphic user interface.


Winds Enterprise is a web-based data management application for the oil and gas industry. Multiple data types can be accessed, viewed and transferred securely between applications. The technology was co-developed with Anadarko and a joint patent application has been made in respect of the Winds Dynamic Common Model (DCM).


The Winds DCM facilitates the exchange of data between disparate data models without a requirement for any standard or fixed model. The new Petra adapter allows for the seamless transfer of data between multiple packages.


Petris VP Jeff Pferd said, “These recent enhancements make Winds Enterprise more robust and a very practical data management and integration framework.”


In a separate announcement, Petris and International Datashare Corporation (IDC) have announced plans to develop an adapter for multiple data sources in Canada including data from IDC, IHS Energy Canada and International Petrodata Ltd.

Math Cube manipulates seismic volumes

Schlumberger software unit GeoQuest has released MathCube, a seismic volume calculation utility that leverages the OpenSpirit platform for heterogeneous data access.

Seismic interpretation is going far beyond what can be represented even on a 3 dimensional view. AVO, attributes and 4D time lapse data mean that the interpreter is faced with the problem of analyzing a multi-dimensional info-space. Often such analysis is achieved by combining parameters through ad-hoc mathematical manipulations.


Schlumberger’s new tool MathCube addresses this problem by providing tools for manipulating multi-attribute 3D, 4D and 4C seismic data. MathCube provides tools to calculate and visualize the differences between AVO and 4D/4C seismic data volumes. Large seismic data volumes can be analyzed utilizing a range of mathematical and logical operators.

Open Spirit

MathCube offers access to 3D seismic data from multiple sources, including GeoQuest GeoFrame and Landmark OpenWorks project databases through the ‘vendor-neutral’ OpenSpirit platform.


Geoquest VP Colin Hulme said “MathCube is our second stand-alone application based on the OpenSpirit platform. Through our strong commitment to OpenSpirit, we are bringing productivity-enhancing applications, such as MathCube, to the market faster. E&P companies now have best-in-process software combined with database independence that fit seamlessly into their workflows.” MathCube lets users process AVO and 4D/4C data in-house allowing interpreters to perform unlimited ‘what-if’ scenarios.

New data acquisition and control software

A new software development company Raywave Inc. has developed a ‘universal’ front end for data acquisition and control (DAC) of real time field acquisition systems.

A new company, Raywave claims to have developed new technologies that “reduce development costs, time to market, and long-term operating costs of its oil and gas clients.” Raywave’s RIO is decribed as “the industry’s most advanced real-time data acquisition and process control system.”


RIO provides next generation solutions from the enterprise management level right down to the plant floor or production level. RIO has been successfully implemented in organizations ranging from $20 million oil field instrumentation companies to the world’s largest oil field service companies. Raywave claims to be the “world’s first universal real-time system usable with all data acquisition and control (DAC) systems.


Rio is built on DAC technology from Hades Inc. Hades is a real-time system that offers dynamic data acquisition, storage, interpolation, process control, data visualization and reporting from over 80% of the world’s industrial electronic devices, sensors, and instrumentation. Hades extends data acquisition and process control technologies improving reliability, precision and functionality.


Hades provides tools for analysis and real-time prediction, resulting in ‘cost-savings, more intelligent operations, reduced time-to-market, and increased human safety.’ Raywave personnel include IT professionals, Engineers, Technical Writers, and Physicists working with Java, SQL, C, C++, and XML. More from

Mexican Petroleum Institute selects GXT

The Mexican Institute of Petroleum has selected GX Technology as technology partner. GXT will provide seismic imaging and other services.

The Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo, (IMP) the Mexican government agency that provides R&D and services to state oil company Pemex, has entered into a strategic alliance with GX Technology (GXT). The alliance will jointly develop and apply leading-edge upstream technologies to ‘reduce the risk and associated cost of oil and gas exploration and production in Mexico.’


Dr. Gustavo A. Chapela Castañares, General Director of the IMP said “Following a review of seismic contractors, we selected GX Technology to form this strategic alliance because of the quality of their advanced imaging technology and services, their experience, and their hardware and software resources. We believe that the combination of GX Technology’s advanced imaging technologies and services with IMP’s broad-based E&P solutions and experience will significantly reduce E&P risk in Mexico.”


GXT president and COO Mick Lambert said, “By sharing technology, expertise and logistics, we will work together to meet the Mexican government’s goal of improving its technology and practices in E&P.” Services to be supplied under the agreement include seismic imaging, potential field methods, reservoir geology, engineering and simulation.

BP spectral decompositon for Landmark

Landmark and BP are to cooperate on the development of ‘next-generation’ seismic reservoir imaging software incorporating BP’s Spectral Decomposition technology.

BP has selected Landmark to deploy its spectral decomposition (SD) technology. SD is claimed to aid in the imaging and mapping of bed thickness and geologic discontinuities. Short-window spectra localize thin bed reflections and bed thickness variability, to reveal ‘subtle discontinuities.’ SD will be jointly developed by BP and Landmark.


BP Upstream VP Ian Vann said, “Spectral Decomposition is being used globally in BP to enhance our ability to image reservoirs. Our strategy is to focus on important developments internally and to enlist the help of key partners to enhance these products.”


Greg Partyka, BP geoscientist and co-inventor of the patented technology added “Spectral Decomposition represents much more than another seismic attribute, but rather it is a new way to interpret seismic data.” SeisWorks and EarthCube will now offer SD with direct access to OpenWorks data.

Cray T3E seismic processing

Alliant Geophysical is tuning its 3D Wave software for use on the Cray T3E supercomputer.

Alliant Geophysical and Cray Inc. are collaborating to tune Alliant’s 3D WAVE prestack depth migration (PSDM) software for the Cray T3E supercomputer. Alliant’s software uses the finite difference method, a more accurate, but also more computationally intensive technique than Kirchhoff migration.


Initial porting is complete and optimization work will be complete by year-end. As part of the collaboration agreement, Cray has delivered a Cray T3E system to Alliant for the company’s use in this commercial effort.


Alliant Geophysical president Craig Limbaugh said, “The Cray T3E system is the ideal platform for our leading edge prestack imaging solutions.”


Cray’s petroleum industry boss George Stephenson, added “Several parties have been trying to do 3D PSDM using a finite difference approach, with only nominal success. This is a demanding application, and the Cray T3E system offers the scalability and efficiency for such large workloads.”

People on the move

Folks on the move in IHS Energy, Kelman, Grand Basin, the SPE and IAGC.

Mark Rubin has been named Executive Director of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Rubin was previously Upstream General Manager with the American Petroleum Institute. Ross Davidson (formerly with Oilfield Systems) is now Operations Director at the SPE’s London office, handling EAME activity.


G. C. “Chip” Gill is the new president of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC). Gill succeeds Charles F. Darden, who is retiring after nearly 27 years in the position.


Doug Carroll has joined IHS Energy Log Services Group as Account Manager for the Southern region of the United States.


Kelman Technologies Inc. has appointed Greg Hess as Director, Technology & Business Development in KTI’s Data Management and Archiving Division. Hess was previously president of Strata Web Systems Ltd.


John Faraguna has been appointed president of Grand Basin, the Landmark Graphics unit that includes PetroBank. Faraguna was previously VP of the Baker Atlas division of Baker Hughes Inc.


John Redfern has left his post as president of IHS Energy Group. COO Mike McCrory, as senior executive, is now in charge. PDM understands that IHS Energy is not seeking a replacement for Redfern.

A correction from Andersen

PDM mixed up Andersen and Accenture in our piece last month. Michel Meyer puts us right.

In our piece last month on the Andersen Intranet we misreported the ramifications of the Arthur Andersen - Accenture separation. Andersen consultant Michel Meyer put us right. “Many thanks for the copy of your newsletter you sent me. However, I must remind you that Arthur Andersen has not disappeared and has not become Accenture. Andersen Consulting (a former service line of Arthur Andersen) had to change its name after the split with us. They decide to call themselves ‘Accenture’ and are going to the market place with this brand. But Arthur Andersen is still alive. Therefore, as you spontaneously did with the title of your article ‘Andersen’s Knowledge Space’, we are simplifying our name and are now just ‘Andersen.’ Best regards, Michel.” More from

GeoFrame 4 released

The latest release of Schlumberger’s application integration platform promises seamless workflow, interpretation management and OpenSpirit connectivity to Landmark’s OpenWorks.

Colin Hulme VP of Reservoir Software for GeoQuest presented the official rollout of the GeoFrame 4 (GF4) integration platform. GF 4 ‘lets users work the way they think.’ The integration suite has been repackaged into Geology Office, offering geological workflow tools and Modeling Office for model-centric earth modeling. Geology Office for instance, lets a user flip between working on a cross section to edit a well. Users can click and fire-up the editor and when through, return to the cross section workflow where they left off.

Rock Cell

A new application, Rock Cell, uses neural net technology to predict rock properties across the reservoir. Reverse faulting can now be handled throughout the interpretation. New in GF 4 is a data management tool allowing for the manipulation of Interpretation Models. Users can now recall ‘the right interpretation at the right time.’ New tool data types can also be managed. Web links allow for the hook-up of the logging truck to the interpretation environment. GF 4 is Open Spirit Enabled for geophysical workflows - GF 4 seismic applications can access data in Open Works. Working the other way round, GF 4 seismic applications are also OpenSpirit-enabled allowing data access from Landmark’s OpenWorks.


Hulme said “GF 4 offers a step change in productivity. Shared data access and instantaneous updates within applications give asset teams the real-time interpretive collaboration that is essential in today’s competitive environment.”

Project management

GF 4’s new project data management capabilities, allow updates to be seen in real-time in all applications. The new GF 4 interpretation Model Manager organizes user-created models which can be deployed over the Web. Hulme commented, “Time and time again we’ve seen geophysicists perform interpretations on assets that are then put on the back burner for development. Years go by and the company is ready to move on this asset again often causing the geophysicist to repeat the interpretation work. The interpretation models in GF 4 allow users to capture the essence of interpretations and archive for future use. This saves time when the project is revisited.”

100+ applications

Intriguingly, when many speak of software rationalization, GF 4 boasts over 100 applications, including discipline-specific software for project data management, geophysics, geology, borehole geology, mapping and modeling and petrophysics. GeoFrame, first introduced in 1992, is now used by “more than 90 % of the world’s top 20 oil and gas companies.” Our math makes that 19!

Sun serves Landmark CAFÉ

Sun has leveraged technology acquired from LSC to underpin Landmark’s new entry-level visualization environment. The Landmark CAFÉ is already in use by Unocal, and in Landmark’s Calgary offices.

Earlier this year, Sun Microsystems acquired Large Storage Configuration (LSC) for $74 million. LSC develops high-performance file systems and data storage software – notably the SAM FS hierarchical storage manager used by many large scale data management solutions such as GeoQuest’s PowerHouse. The heterogeneous storage array network (SAN) is now fully Sun-supported and offers scalable hierarchical management for high performance computing (HPC) environments. Network speeds of over 2GB/s are supported and the system consolidates fragmented architectures from vendors such as SGI, Sun, HP, Compaq and IBM. Sun Energy Industry manager Nick Weston told PDM “Sun is increasingly moving into a systems integrator role with a typical installation involving SGI, AIX machines. With Sun SAM FS, all these systems can see the same data without duplication.”


The technology has been put to use in a new ‘Decisionarium’ environment, originally developed for Unocal. Ultrasparc III-based Sun Blade 1000 workstation run EarthCube and OpenVision, optimized for Sun hardware. Unocal’s project leader Scharine Kirchoff said, “Immersive environments are essential to our work. The Landmark solution on the Sun platform gives us the performance of a high-end, million dollar solution, without breaking the bank.”

Calgary CAFÉ

The system – dubbed the Collaborative Application Fusion Environment ‘CAFÉ’ is also used by Landmark in Calgary with visualization technology from Panoram and Trimension. Landmark president and CEO John Gibson said, “The E&P industry in Canada is facing ever increasing complexity in its exploration and exploitation activities. Collaborative visualization will help lower their finding, lifting and development costs.”


Landmark Canada boss Darcy Cuthill said “The CAFÉ represents a major investment for the benefit of our customers who now have access to a collaborative visualization environment.” The Landmark CAFÉ is now available to all Landmark customers without any facility rental cost, and may be booked through Landmark’s Calgary office. Landmark’s team of consultants is available to assist clients in gaining maximum productivity from the CAFÉ .

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