January 2003

P2 Energy Solutions

Petroleum Place has announced the creation of a new ‘Energy Solutions’ company, amalgamating Novistar, Paradigm Technologies and Petroleum Financial Inc. The new unit consolidates the company’s financial and ERP offerings.

At this month’s NAPE Expo in Houston, Petroleum Place announced the creation of a new company—Petroleum Place Energy Solutions (P2ES). P2ES was formed by the amalgamation of Paradigm Technologies, Novistar, and Petroleum Financial Inc. (PFI). At the NAPE, P2ES featured its new merger and acquisition support offering—integrated due diligence and data conversion services.

210 clients

The merger is claimed to create the largest enterprise solution and service provider in the upstream. Paradigm and Novistar have implemented integrated financial and operational management systems for over 200 companies including majors and large independents.


By combining Paradigm and Novistar along with key strategic alliances, P2ES has established a team of technical and functional software experts. P2ES focuses on development and support of technology solutions for upstream business process and application integration.


Gary Vickers, chairman and CEO of Petroleum Place said, “P2ES will provide premier solutions and services to existing clients. The addition of Novistar’s 6i Upstream Suite to the Paradigm Technologies product line enables us to offer a powerful, scalable solution to meet the needs of companies from small independents to the super-majors.” 6i Upstream (formerly Oracle Energy) is used by some 30 companies, including ConocoPhillips, Dominion, Kerr-McGee, Newfield, Oxy, Shell and Unocal.


Other key P2ES products are Paradigm Technologies’ Excalibur (over 150 clients including Anadarko, Energen Resources, Questar Market Resources, Stone Energy, Tom Brown, Westport Resources and Williams Production) and the Enterprise Upstream accounting package—used notably by Encana.


P2ES president Steve Pruett added, “We have established the industry’s largest installed base which will enable us to develop and offer an expanded suite of solutions and services.” P2ES has 250 employees in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver and Calgary.

Worldwide Winds

Petris is teaming with French consultants Ipedex to offer its Internet Data Room and Winds software to the international market.

French consultancy Ipedex is to team with Petris to develop Internet Data Rooms for the EAMEA region. Petris’ data and IM technology will be leveraged by Ipedex’s world-wide presence to offer solutions including project data rooms and neutral data and IM platforms. Current Ipedex services include geoscience consultancy, engineering supervision, HSE and quality management.


Ipedex geoscience boss Henri Blondelle said “These innovative tools will improve support of clients’ asset management. The technology will underpin information flows between operated sites, our technical support divisions and our customers.”


Petris’ technology includes the Internet Data Room and PetrisWinds—for web-based data management, access and analysis of project databases.


Petris’ European CEO Eric Déliac added “Presentations to European oil companies and asset brokers have been extremely encouraging. We have already started our first data room with a major European company, only weeks after presenting the technology”.

Cavaliers, roundheads and XML

Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton gets behind XML Schema and hears echoes of earlier attempts to constrain programmers’ flights of fancy. But while attempting to make oilit.com validate, he discovers that it’s the web browser itself which refuses to take any notice of the standards. A big problem for corporate IT?

One of the oldest IT anecdotes concerns some NASA Fortran code from the dawn of time in which a mistyped comma turned into a decimal point. Thus instead of kicking off a ‘do loop’ as in

DO 10 I=1,10

The compiler initialized a new variable ‘DO10I’ as in

DO10I = 1.10

This error has been credited with causing the failure of NASA’s Mariner I Venus probe, although is seems that this is not exactly how things happened. What I find interesting in this IT apocrypha is the lesson it holds for programmers. This, and a host of other errors can be easily avoided simply by declaring your variables! Good programming shops do this and take it further by making variable names tell a story—so that an integer variable might be declared as nAnecdoteRepeats, reminding the editorialist/programmer that this variable holds the number of times a particular story has been told.

Queen of Hearts

Now it should be realized that computer programmers, like the population at large, divide into two camps—pleasure seeking cavaliers and roundheads. To the former, the very notion of declaring a variable is an attack on their personal freedom. The ‘cavalier’ programmer, like the Queen of Hearts, expects variables to mean just whatever they want them to mean at a point in the program. Some languages encourage these bad habits by not having variable types; by implicit typing, by allowing coercion or through the ‘gender-neuter’ variant type of Visual Basic. What is important here is that although these dangers are well understood, compiler writers have in the past aided and abetted cavalier programmers by encouraging such bad habits.

Minimize risk

I say in the past because modern programming languages and programming shops increasingly mandate variable declaration—and other quality-oriented best practices to minimize the risk of program failure. Such constraints on what is going to happen within a program are a contract between the programmer and the compiler—which is continuously testing for non-conformance.


What brought the old Fortran anecdote and the variable preaching on was my reading of a book on XML Schema*. A dry tome which set out to render digestible the massive, uncompromising official W3C documentation. I’m afraid that the XML book failed to turn the subject into a good bed-time read. XML is not for cavaliers, it’s not much fun. XML is serious stuff! The spec goes way beyond the ‘<CuteTag>Hello</CuteTag>’ of the presentation to executives. XML is about extending the contractual nature of programming into the data domain. It is about data typing, constraints and validation.


Which I admit, returns me to the subject of last month’s editorial. We have been trying to validate the HTML frames-based pages which have served www.OilIT.com reasonably well for the past three years or so. It turns out that it is impossible to produce frames that look right in the main browsers, and that at the same time validate. I will spare you the details—it’s all to do with where the “frameborder” attribute goes. The W3C DTD says ‘here’ and the browsers want ‘there’. Now I must be a roundhead programmer by nature—because I like frames. With a few lines of code, you can create quite complex interactivity—and although they have been around for a while—way before XML—they correctly separate content from presentation.


My enthusiasm for frames is not shared by the majority of web developers today. A few lines of compact code achieving a lot is anathema to the cavalier. Look at most any website (in Explorer use Tools—>View Source) and you will see pages of JavaScript (full of un-typed variables by the way!) catering for various combinations of operating system and browser. The commercial ‘browser wars’ have left a scorched earth in their wake. Instead of writing to a DTD, most web programmers’ time is spent coding around browser idiosyncrasies. This undoubtedly provides endless futzing-work for the programming community.

Fault oblivious

IT today is predicated on the browser being a neutral, consistent vehicle for HTML, XML web services and the rest. This, unfortunately is not the case. If you switch on debugging in your browser (Tools->Internet Options) you will get an error on around one page in every three you visit. Because browsers are designed to be fault oblivious rather than fault tolerant, these errors, and the complex code that generates them are normally hidden.

Open Source

The current state of affairs is really quite remarkable. The whole infrastructure of the internet is a monument to interoperability through standards compliance. Except for the last link in the chain—the software delivery vehicle itself—the browser. Corporations which intend to leverage web technology (that means all of you!) should reflect on this situation. It will be impossible to realize the stability and predictability benefits of XML ‘contract-based’ development until we have compliant browsers. A great project for the Open Source movement—but why doesn’t corporate IT get into the driving seat where it belongs?

* XML Schema JJ Thomasson—Eyrolles 2002. ISBN 2-212-11195-9 (in French).


Some great new content on www.oilit.com this month. Jerome Bellian of the University of Texas at Austin has contributed an illustrated exposé of the use of Lasers in digital geological outcrop mapping.

SIS announces Living Model

Schlumberger has completed the acquisition of Petrel Workflow Tools and is in the process of turning Petrel into the core technology of a new Windows-based reservoir modeling platform—the ‘Living Model’

Now that Schlumberger has completed the acquisition of Petrel Workflow Tools, the integration of this popular interpretation and modeling tool into the Schlumberger product line has begun. Speaking in Oslo this month, Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) president Ihab Toma announced the launch of the ‘Living Model’.


Toma said, “The Living Model combines Petrel software with our leadership in seismic and simulation, into the ultimate seismic-to-simulation workflow. The Living Model will support fast, dynamic and proactive reservoir management.”

Ultimate Workflow

SIS considers that while seismic interpretation and reservoir simulation software is mature, this is less true for reservoir modeling which requires better integration. As a prospect evolves through exploration, appraisal, development and exploitation, it is critical to have the ability to integrate new data, rapidly update understanding of the subsurface and reduce uncertainty.

Digital Oilfield

Such capabilities, key features of Petrel, are increasingly important as the industry moves toward the digital oilfield. The Living Model offers rapid modeling along with risk and uncertainty evaluation. Users can build dependable models and instantly update decisions with the latest information throughout the life of the asset.


Toma concluded, “Petrel is the core reservoir characterization technology for our next generation Windows software. Our vision is to deliver a fully integrated, scaleable software platform, based on a common shared earth model. This will support real-time data feeds and be used through the entire exploration and production workflow.”

Well planner for GoCad

Developed at the BP Center for Visualization, GoCad’s well design module was built for ‘No Drilling Surprises’ real-time operations.

Earth Decision Science has announced a new Well and Platform Design (WPD) module for GoCad. The new module was developed as part of the Immersive Drilling Planner project—a joint development between EDS and the University of Colorado’s BP Center for Visualization.

Collision risk

The software lets GoCad users select targets, design individual well trajectories or plan platform location and slot allocations. The module computes collision risks with existing and planned wells. Targets location can be picked

interactively in 3D on any type of data inside the reservoir property model or within the seismic volume. Well paths are automatically generated to one or more targets using minimum curvature and engineering criteria such as nudge and kickoff depths and rates, and dogleg severity. Wells inside a platform are automatically allocated to the optimal platform slot.

No drilling surprises!

The WPD is designed for ‘No Drilling Surprises’ (NDS), real-time operations. Here close coupling between the geological model and the well planner ensures optimal drill paths computation in real-time.

Rock Solid Images

In a separate announcement, Rock Solid Images announced an agreement with Earth Decision Sciences for the acquisition of licensed GoCad technology to be used in RSI’s advanced seismic reservoir characterization tools and reservoir models.

SAP announces web services

ERP software leader SAP has announced a new, web services-based integration and development platform. SAP’s NetWeaver will integrate both Java and .NET architectures.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) leader SAP has just announced ‘NetWeaver’, its new web services infrastructure. NetWeaver is described as “a complete integration and application platform designed to provide extensibility across heterogeneous IT landscapes”.

.NET and Java

NetWeaver is interoperable with Microsoft .NET and IBM WebSphere (J2EE). The new platform supports all SAP solutions and will deliver integration on multiple levels. ‘People integration’ will come through SAP products like the Enterprise Portal and Mobile Infrastructure.


Information integration derives from the Business Information Warehouse, SAP Knowledge Management and Master Data Management, while SAP Exchange Infrastructure will provide business process integration.

Unified IDE

These components all run on the SAP Web Application Server and were developed using a single unified IDE, the SAP Developer Studio. Likewise management of the NetWeaver application is through the unified console (SAP CCMS).


SAP gave NetWeaver a high profile rollout with video presentation from Hugo Plattner and Bill Gates. The latter seems to enjoy cooperating with SAP – particularly since over 50% of SAP’s world-wide deployments run on Windows. Gates announced that Visual Studio .NET will ‘wholly interact’ with SAP’s NetWeaver.

ArcIMS GIS-enables Petris Winds

Petris Technology has GIS-enabled its Internet Data Room and Winds Enterprise applications with ESRI’s ArcIMS distributed web-based GIS.

Houston-based Petris Technology Inc. has announced a new version of its PetrisWINDS Enterprise (PWE) data management solution and has introduced a new ‘limited edition’ version, PetrisWINDS WorkGroup. This new version is designed to provide federated data management capabilities to asset teams within companies of all sizes and budgets with a more focused approach to data management.

PWE V3.4

PWE overcomes the barriers between software systems and makes all data accessible to any application, speeding data access, improving data quality and protecting the intellectual capital of the organization. Version 3.4 introduces GIS functionality—implemented using ArcIMS. A new Public Data Adapter (PDA) provides access to selected public data sources. The system comes with basic geopolitical background layers but users can add other in-house or commercial GIS layers such as lease boundaries, pipelines, seismic coverage and project team responsibilities.

The Public Data Adapter

Petris uses ‘Smart XML Adapters’ to view and transfer data between applications using the patented, standards-independent, Dynamic Common Model. The PDA allows users to integrate external and internal data stores.

Internet Data Room

Petris is also rolling-out a new version of its Internet Data Room (IDR) application. Users can now build their own online Internet Data Room in as little as one day. IDR V 3.0 also leveraged ESRI’s ArcIMS to provide a web-based GIS capability.

Secure wellsite coms for Talisman

Canadian encryption specialists NE2 and Malibu Software have provided highly secure communications to Talisman’s ‘tight hole’ drilling locations.

The Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) has reported success from a project to develop a trusted communications link from wellsite operations. The project was a collaboration between Talisman Energy, Malibu Engineering and Software and encryption specialists NE2.


Talisman was looking for a highly secure knowledge management solution that enabled the capture and transmission of critical geology information from the wellsite to the office.


The NE2:GRID encryption engine was embedded into Malibu’s Wellcore Prospect Start-up module. This distributed database gathers and manages wellsite information including daily progress reports, strip and mud logs etc. NE2:GRID provided truly random encryption keys on Talisman’s communication devices.


NE2:GRID runs entirely automatically and provides seamless encryption and decryption ensuring field compliance and simple, department-wide adoption. Once in the office, Wellcore manages the distribution of reports and documents to Talisman employees and external partners.


The NE2:GRID - Wellcore integration was extensively tested over satellite, Internet and cell phones in November 2002. The system successfully negotiated keys and transferred large files even over low-speed dialup connections.

Paradigm processes for OBC

New seismic processing routines from Paradigm Geophysical cater for special acquisition geometries including ocean bottom cable and long offests.

Paradigm Geophysical has added new 3D pre-stack depth migration modules to the latest release of its GeoDepth seismic processing package. GeoDepth 7.2 introduces new Kirchhoff traveltime and wave equation algorithms.

Ocean bottom

The new traveltime solver for 3D Kirchhoff pre-stack depth migration was designed for structural imaging in areas with strong velocity contrasts. Other enhancements are tailored for large aperture and long offset data, areas that exhibit transverse isotropy and for imaging converted waves using ocean bottom cable (OBC) acquisition geometry.


These solutions have been efficiently parallelized for distributed memory platforms such as Linux clusters and can run without interruption in the presence of node failures.


A new release of Paradigm’s time to depth conversion package Explorer includes improved mapping and solid modeling functionalities. Version 6.3 of Explorer integrates Paradigm’s iMap mapping technology and now incorporates the 3D model-building functionality of SolidGeo.


The new Explorer functionality includes new map scaling options, the use of grids in depth conversion with solid models, and a new volume and map calculator. Explorer now also offers geostatistical mapping including collocated cokriging, Bayesian kriging and optimum polynomial trend estimation.

Exbridge information flows

Technical Information Architects Exbridge optimizes information flow throughout oil and gas operations.

Houston-based Technical Information Architect’s (TIA) Exbridge provides oil companies with a scalable solution to optimize information flow—without disrupting current business practices. Exbridge provides a means of defining oil and gas properties, the relationships between them and the periodic performance information to be collected.


Exbridge gathers information from multiple data sources into a unified, integrated view. The system contains methods and rules for cross referencing names and identifiers between properties, normalizing units of measure, aligning dates and periods of collected data and automatic aggregation and allocation Exbridge solutions include standard data capture interfaces, direct interfaces to other databases, XML forms and automated imports from SCADA systems. Exbridge methods can be interfaced to use standard document collaboration servers such as Microsoft Exchange or OpenText LiveLink.

4D ISIS from Ødegaard

Ødegaard’s latest ISIS release is tailored to the inversion and exploitation of 4D time-lapse production seismic data.

Ødegaard’s 4D-ISIS democratizes time-lapse seismic processing. The latest release of Danish geophysical software house Ødegaard’s ISIS package extends seismic inversion to 4D time lapse data. 4D-ISIS builds on Ødegaard’s experience of using seismic inversion to calibrate 4D surveys with data acquired earlier in the life of a producing oilfield.


Ødegaard MD Kim Gunn Maver said, “This technology can enhance the performance of any producing field by targeting untapped reserves. 4D-ISIS offers companies a cost-effective solution to the planning of production wells, fluid enhancement and pressure monitoring.”


4D-ISIS provides a dynamic model of the subsurface to predict seismic time-lapse saturation changes. Differences between the predicted and measured changes are interpreted to provide updates for the reservoir simulator. 4D ISIS allows any number of angle or offset stacks to be used for simultaneous AVO-based estimation of acoustic parameters which are then extended to time-lapse data.

INT’s .NET Geo-Toolkit

Component supplier INT is migrating its GeoToolkit and other widgets to Microsoft’s .NET platform.

Houston-base INT makes software components for data visualization which are used in many upstream industry-leading workstation applications. INT has just announced the port of its Carnac 2D graphics library to Microsoft’s .NET platform. The port has involved a complete re-write in Microsoft’s C# language.


Carnac.NET claims an intuitive graphics environment - users can model and organize their data in terms of shapes, attributes, and layers. Models can be attached to views for visualization or printing. Selection strategies and manipulators are provided for easy selection and editing of shapes inside a view. Standard graphic objects are supported in addition to complex shapes such as axis, grid, arrow, and symbol. These can be organized in layers, which are stacked, added, removed, and reordered dynamically.

GeoToolkit .NET

INT is offering the geoscience industry a specialized supplemental .NET library ‘GeoToolkit .NET’, which includes support for Seismic, WellLog, and Contouring along with general purpose scientific displays. GeoToolkit .NET bundles Carnac.NET, CGM.NET, and a combination of Seismic.NET, WellLog.NET, and Contour.NET components, allowing developers to rapidly deploy sophisticated data visualization and analysis.


GeoToolkit integrates Microsoft’s VisualStudio for .NET and is available for any Windows platform supporting .NET. In a separate announcement, Earth Decision Sciences has selected INT’s GeoToolkit as a component of its cross-platform GoCad development. EDS development now leverages C++ and Trolltech’s Qt to target Solaris, SGI, Windows and Linux.

Folks, orgs, offices’n stuff

This month’s movers & shakers hail from Kelman, IFP, Halliburton, IEA, Sabeus, IES. Meetings and courses announced chez EDS and Georex-AT.

Kelman has appointed Dave Richard as president and CEO of its KTI unit. Richard was previously COO.

The French Petroleum Institute has appointed Van Bui Tran as director of its Tezchnology, Infoemation and Applied Math division.

Edgar Ortiz, president and CEO of Halliburton’s Energy Services (HES) Group is retiring and will be replaced by John Gibson. HES has also appointed Lew Watts, formerly director of Shell’s International Gas & Power Business as senior executive of its Solutions Group.

Claude Mandil has been appointed Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. Mandil was previously Chairman and CEO of the French Petroleum Institute.

Sabeus Sensors Systems has appointed Dale Wooddy, to head up the company’s newly opened petroleum systems unit in Houston.

Dietrich Welte has retired from IES after 20 years of service but will continue as strategic advisor and shareholder. Thomas Hantschel has been named MD Technology and Bjorn Wygrala as MD Technology Transfer.

The 5th Gocad User Meeting and 1st European User Meeting will be held in London on March 6thwww.earthdecision.com.

Georex Assistance Technique and Sesimic Micro Technology are offering seminars to Kingdom Suite interpreters in Paris next month— www.georex-at.com.

PETEX 2002 “Extending the limits”

The 2002 edition of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain’s two-yearly PETEX conference and exhibition was held in London’s Olympia complex last month. Larger premises allowed for more exhibitors and flashier booths. But the ‘buzz’ of previous editions was gone. Perhaps the PESGB has gone a little too far in the direction of the big trade shows. There were however rich pickings for Oil IT Journal’s software aficionados. Of note was a new immersive VR environment for offshore platform commissioning from startup VR Context. New streaming log technology from Geologix also caught our attention as did PGS’ ‘Holoseis’ GeoProbe clone. Read on for more news on over 20 products.

BP Group Treasurer Tony Hayward’s keynote address outlined its role in creating a new future for the U.K. North Sea. The way forward for a super major is to ‘manage decline in the most economical way’. This is to be done by keeping costs down and leveraging economies of scale. BP’s 5bn bbls of remaining reserves will be chased through ‘commercially innovative solutions’ and by ‘continually reinventing’ BP’s business. Through this BP plans to increase profitability by 25% - the ‘5th quarter’—and by implementing its ‘great operator’ program focused on ‘HSE, integrity management, lifting costs, capital investment, operational efficiency, infill drilling and financial management’.


John Perry explained how BP is to ‘bridge the new technology implementation gap’. Finding the right technology is only half the battle. Successful roll-out is necessary to realize technology’s value. BP has initiated the ‘ISIS’ global technology project to address the problem of implementing new technologies in real-time integrated subsurface information management. The ISIS task force helps business units define the problems, find a solution and helps with adoption.

BP Hive

A couple of demos on the SGI stand caught our attention. Mike Saunders (BP’s Hive manager) was showing tiled satellite imagery of Abu Dhabi using Ikonos’ Space2Face software. Starting from a view of the earth from outer space, Saunders zoomed in to view tennis courts and other detail thanks to the 60 cm resolution. Saunders also showed how Magic Earth’s GeoProbe has been used to create a time lapse video of a CAT scan core analysis.


Also showing at the SGI theatre was new software from Belgian startup VR Context. WalkInside generates a 3D immersive virtual universe from CAD drawings and is used for plant and offshore safety training, planning and maintenance. WalkInside links into SAP plant maintenance and was used by Shell Nigeria to present a huge offshore project ‘in situ’ along with 400 square kilometers of digitized sea bed.


Most current log data is sent over the internet as a static PDF document or a bitmapped image. To offer more efficient and usable data transmission of logs over the internet, Geologix has developed a streaming feature in its ‘Geo’ software package which accesses log data through a web folder url. A plug-in ‘Geo e-View’ reads the streamed data in a browser.


Baker Hughes is rolling out a Windows version of its Recall log database to complement its existing ‘Logscape’ Windows client for Unix Recall databases. Recall is to be integrated with Baker Hughes well-site data management solution ‘Express’ early next year. ASP use is enabled by RecallML, an XML data file which leverages the POSC Practical Well Log Standards work. Most applications can be run using RecallML on a web browser.


Cambrian’s new Access-based software ‘In:toto’ supports wellsite capture and management of geological data and generates daily and post-well reports. Cambrian offers secure web hosting for data distribution to clients.

Centra 2000

Centra 2000 (aka Autotrol) is an Arc IMS-based E&P document management system. A custom web interface to data offers version control and launch of domain viewers. Vienna-based OMV is rolling-out Centra 2000. In Australia, Woodside uses Centra along with Petrosys and PPDM in its ‘GeoDatabase’ in-house development.

Conwy Valley

Conwy Valley Systems is dedicated to ‘reversing the decline petrographic analysis’ by bringing it into the digital data age. A new digital stepping stage electro-mechanical microscope is under development at Bangor University.

Digital ‘Brown Book’.

The UK DTI no longer produces its ‘Brown Book’ annual summary for the North Sea. Steve Allen (Data by Design) spotted the opportunity to re-package the dataset into the ‘UK Petroleum Data CD’. The CD offers and Access database, maps and statistical tables of UK activity.


UK-based transcription software specialists Troika have announced new tape management products. Minima reads post stack seismic header information to a spreadsheet and trace data to disk. Troika is working with FileTek on bundling Minima into an archival solution offering trace-level indexing and retrieval. Deva copies field data and manages demux and gain to produce test plots. Deva preserves the original bit stream and format and can be used for QC in field - or to offer QC plots to holders of field data without means of reading (e.g. Governments and small companies).


‘On-call’ is a new telephone service from Deloitte & Touche Petroleum Services (formerly Andersen Petroleum Services) for subscribers to help use D&T PS’s databases. On-call ‘lets end-users in a hurry speak directly to D&T PS’ petroleum engineers and economists’. A new version of D&T PS’ PetroView now supports ESRI’s ArcGIS. The old MapInfo-based product will continue to be supported ‘until further notice’. ‘Ignite,’ D&T PS’s new ‘gas strategy’ software and service offering was also announced.


Earth Decision Sciences (formerly T-Surf) has issued a new release of GoCad—including geostatistical property modeling with multiple constraints such as geological concepts and trends. EDS was also showing its Volume Explorer which includes a voxel-probe à la Magic Earth displaying multiple attributes.


Dutch consultancy Enres has rolled out Cyclo-Log. The software uses the new concept of cyclostratigraphy to apply seismic processing techniques to wireline logs. Milankovitch cycles and palaeo latitude can be rolled in to the equation. Cyclostratigraphy was developed by Texaco’s Nio Perlmutter and is used by Aramco, Shell, and Gaz de France.


GeoCenter’s SeisUP processing now incorporates a ‘geologic analysis via maximum likelihood’ module—GAML-Seis. The software derives rock types from seismic data. Attributes such as stacks, AVO intercept and gradient and selected traces from angle dependent gathers can be studied.


GeoFocus’ Pathways migration analysis software was developed as part of Andrew Hindle’s Open University PhD thesis (his father wrote the software). Pathways does drainage area and fill-and-spill analysis. Clients include BHP, ChevronTexaco, Encana and Robertsons.


Ikon’s new interpretation helper application—‘FaultX’ extracts fault planes and segments from seismic volumes for integration into models and reservoir simulations. FaultX was trialed on BP’s Magnus field. V 1.0 is out this month.


NeuraSection Plus V6 includes ‘ad hoc’ hand contouring along with auto-tracking of map contours (see the excellent Flash demos on neuralog.com). The new release goes ‘beyond correlation’ by letting users make show maps, logs, sections and complete presentation montages. New ‘gridless’ mapping allows for quick data posting and contouring.


PGS’ ‘Holoseis’ is a virtual reality-based seismic display system used for survey planning, interpretation and well planning. Holoseis has been in internal use for ‘a few years’ but is not sold commercially. Used to demo PGS’ Mega Surveys, Holoseis holds all data on a single system.

Oilfield Data Manager

Production Geoscience Ltd. (PGL) has released a new version (V2.0) of Oilfield Data Manager. ODM is used as front end to Landmark for integration, interpretation and presentation of well-based data (G&G and production). Users are said to prefer this PC-based front end over Unix-based StrataWorks. ODM also fronts for data in GeoFrame. An Open Spirit link will be available ‘real soon now’.


Startup Q-Venture Development’s ‘Q-Fault’ is described as an ‘integrated 3D fault and hydrocarbon migration modeling tool’. The Windows-based software computes basin dynamics and fluid pathways. Fault models include shale gouge ratios, smear factor and ‘cataclastic deformation’.

Unite IT

‘Unite IT’ is a multi-user multi platform document collaboration tool which integrates with E&P workflows. Unite IT is sold by Schlumberger as MindShare and Landmark will ‘probably have a version next year’. A new release early in 2003 will offer PDF document creation, subscription and notification for users to register an interest in a subject and to receive email or SMS upon update. A Linux version will also be available.


New V2.0 release of Fugro unit Robertson’s ‘Target’ play fairway analysis database. Target was acquired last year from Asset Geoscience and is offered as a subscription service. Target also loads proprietary data. One typical use is to see which wells penetrate which horizons and to determine why they were unsuccessful. Target draws probability-based fairways and creaming curves for failure analysis.


RRI Trax is a productization of Roberston’s data/asset storage and management solution. RRI Trax offers web-based information management and data hosting service for digital and physical assets. Trax leverages ESRI’s Arc IMS to provide web based GIS access to data. Trax monitors dispatches from any number of storage locations.

World’s smallest cluster!

Corelab’s Bee Bednar was showing the ‘world’s smallest Linux cluster’ (made up of 4 Fuji laptops) running Corelab unit ADS’ Dagger synthetic shot modeling and Radon transform software. Incidentally, Bednar told Oil IT Journal of his work on the American Mechanical Engineers Project Cyclops—a search for extraterrestrial life which begat the SETI screensaver.

Chronostratigraphic website

Paul Sikora presented the Energy and Geoscience Institute (EGI) at the University of Utah and its chrono-stratigraphic database. During the BP-Amoco merger this 3,000 locality dataset was donated to the university. The EGI web site went on line last year—powered by PetroWeb’s GIS browsing technology. Visit www.petroweb.com/Portfolio/default.asp?Vendor=EGI. But be prepared to wait for the plug-in to load.


Altinex’s NetTool simulator computes multiphase fluid flow for well completion and in the vicinity of the wellbore. NetTool is said to fill a gap between conventional reservoir simulators and current hydraulic simulators. NetTool handles open hole, slotted liner, perforated and cemented pipe.


Watch out Amazon—Bobbie Smith has moved her specialist G&G bookshop into cyberspace! Browse Smith’s list on www.geophysicalbooks.co.uk.

This article has been abstracted from a 17 page illustrated report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch service. For more information please email info@oilit.com .

A fiber primer

The French Petroleum Technicians’ Association (AFTP) held a meeting last month to discuss the use of fiber optic technology for reservoir monitoring. We bring a short report of oilfield uses of this technology; news from a manufacturer keen to enter the upstream; and joint US DOE/Gas Technology Institute test on the use of fiber to warn pipeline operators of encroachment.

TotalFinaElf’s Hubert Prouvost explained that fiber technology could be used both for data transmission and as a sensor. One technique allows for temperature monitoring along the whole length of a fiber. Another use of fiber is to monitor stress in platform anchor lines.


Some fiber applications rely on the diffusion of light by acoustic waves - discovered early in the last century by French physicist Léon Brillouin. Brillouin scattering can be used over distances as great as 30 km and gives metric resolution. While ordinary fiber can be used to measure temperature, strain measurements require sensors at intervals along the fiber.


Jacques Danquigny described TFE’s ‘Izaute’ passive seismic monitoring project. Here Weatherford’s ‘Optoplan’ technology is used to monitor the water/gas contact in a gas storage reservoir. The project was deemed very successful—and did not require any specific hardware or data processing software.


Nigel Legget from Schlumberger’s Sensa unit described how the DTS technique was used for inflow monitoring, well integrity, crossflow identification, etc. Sensa claims 230 oil and gas installations monitoring temperatures from 20°C up to 305°C. One BHP Billiton test was conducted in an ‘intelligent well’ to determin flowrate, water breakthrough, ESP monitoring; all of which was performed with one tool.


Some operators expressed the opinion that this technology was still immature and moreover very expensive—a position which was contested by the vendors. But the expense is deemed worthwhile in subsea completions and complex wells. One deployment revealed that an offshore well had drilled 2000 m too far!

GTI tests fiber warning system for pipelines

Fiber optic technology is being tested for use as an early warning system for gas transmission pipelines. The system should help prevent damage by construction work.

A new pipeline safety system is being tested by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI). The test will use experimental fiber optic cable to warn pipeline operators of encroaching construction activity. Construction and other third party activity is the major cause of damage to gas transmission pipelines.


In the test, construction equipment will create vibrations in the ground. As these reach the fiber, they cause minute deformation which change its light reflection properties. By measuring the timing of these perturbations, the location of the encroaching equipment can be determined.

Sabeus’ patent fiber process

Sabeus Sensor Systems has developed patented technology to write microscopic Bragg gratings along the length of a fiber. These turn the cable into a continuous multi-mode sensor.

Last year Sabeus Sensor Systems created a new division to focus on oil and gas production. The company is to leverage two new fiber-optic-based sensing systems for permanent borehole installation. Sabeus’ technology turns optical fiber into sensitive and precise sensors that can measure over 60 different parameters.


Sabeus writes microscopic patterns into the core of the fiber at precise, predetermined intervals. These patterns, called Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs,) cause light transmitted down the fiber to be reflected back to the source. If the fiber in the area of a grating is distorted by some external force, the reflected light experiences a change in wavelength or phase, which may be detected at the source.


Writing such microscopically-precise FBG’s at exact locations along a continuous, long fiber proved a manufacturing challenge. Sabeus has a patented technology for accomplishing this by writing FBG’s through the protective cladding of the fiber. This creates reliable fiber-optic sensors capable of withstanding the high pressure and temperature found in oil wells. Sabeus has announced a distributed temperature sensing system, with up to 400 channels, and a 4000 Hz pressure-temperature-vibration sensor system.

Venture capital

Investors Agere Systems, Inc., TL Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Digital Coast Ventures, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Lexington Ventures have put a total of $26 million into the company to date. Sabeus announced this month that won the 2002 Photonics Circle of Excellence Award for its cold writing optical fiber manufacturing process.

VR toolkit

TGS’ Amira 3.0 moves generic data visualization into the realm of virtual reality.

TGS Inc. has announce the release of a new version of Amira, its 3D visualization and geometric modeling toolkit. Amira 3.0 is used to visualize 3D image data sets in a variety of industries including oil and gas. First released in 2000, the latest release of Amira extends the products use to the visionarium with amiraVR for use in immersive installations, such as large-screen stereoscopic projections, CAVE or Holobench systems.


TGS VP of R&D Mike Heck said, “Amira lets users visualize their data without any programming knowledge—allowing scientists to concentrate on what they know best and not have to worry about coding.”


A developer edition—AmiraDev 3.0 provides an object-oriented application-programming interface (API) that allows the user to add new components by C++ programming. Amira supports a multitude of file formats and boasts some 160 modules and interactive editors. Amira leverages the OpenGL and Open Inventor graphics libraries. More from tgs.com.

XML data exchange

Public Petroleum Data Model Association releases XML data exchange schema.

The Calgary-based Public Petroleum Data Model Association (PPDM) has made available the results of its XML-based data exchange project - DAEX. The DAEX project is a joint-venture between industry, data vendors, software developers and the Association to develop ‘an inexpensive and simple solution to what was previously a complex and expensive process’.


Greg Hess, VP Technology with Kelman Technologies (KTI) and project member said, “KTI has successfully implemented XML with clients for the seamless exchange of data between disparate systems using the DAEX schemas. Future success will depend upon the level of support from industry leaders as more companies adopt XML technology.”


DAEX comprises a set of publicly available XML and XML-Schema standards. ‘Value-added’ samples using open source technologies such as Java, and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) are also available to members.


Oil trader Astra is to deploy WellPoint’s Oil Marketing System in Calgary and at its head-quarters in Huntingdon Beach, California.

Calgary-based oil and gas software house WellPoint Systems has been awarded a contract for its Oil Marketing System (OMS) by Astra Energy Canada. OMS, used by over 60% of all Canadian crude oil traders, manages the trading lifecycle from contract management, through trading, scheduling and invoicing.


Astra controller Kari Burke said “OMS will be an important part of the activities associated with Astra’s rapidly growing crude oil marketing business.” WellPoint CEO Frank Stanford concurred – “Astra’s implementation of OMS in both the Calgary and Huntington Beach, California offices demonstrates our ability to meet customer needs throughout North America.” WellPoint was the 4th fastest growing public company on Alberta Venture’s 2003 list.

IBM speaks at Oil & Money

At the International Herald Tribune’s Oil & Money conference, IBM reviewed its association with Landmark and revealed its new oil industry-focused Business Consulting Services unit.

Last month, IBM Business Consulting Services sponsored the 23rd Annual Oil & Money conference in London, organized by the International Herald Tribune and the Energy Intelligence Group. Jeremy Pakenham introduced the newly-formed IBM Business Consulting services unit which plans to “look at the way in which project development and asset management can be improved.”


IBM’s work with E&P companies shows renewed focus on the improved management of development projects as assets start-up. Losses in the range of 5% to 15% of an asset’s lifetime NPV are attributable to inefficient projects.


Mobile technology is helping to achieve cost reduction targets and to streamline critical processes throughout the value chain. One project developed for a national oil company involved the use of HP/Compaq iPAQs to transfer data from the back office to the field force. Improved communications impacted field service in installation, repair and maintenance, scheduling of maintenance activities and real-time integration with SAP.


IBM also spoke of its association with Landmark Graphics Corp. to deliver ‘comprehensive solutions’ to the global E&P industry. Landmark’s software has been tuned to IBM’s eServer systems including Linux clusters and high performance graphics IntelliStation workstations. Landmark’s EarthCube was demoed on an IBM M Pro IntelliStation with a T221 high-resolution monitor.


IBM Business Consulting Services has developed diagnostics to support a methodical approach to performance improvement. These have already been tested within the oil industry and in other sectors. A position paper—“Global Performance Management in the Upstream Oil & Gas Sector” is available from IBM which describes the process and outlines how the market is changing. Find out if your performance is being ‘optimally managed across the business’ from www-1.ibm.com/services/strategy/files2/GW510-9206-01F.pdf .

ARC jumps on digital bandwagon

ARC Energy trust is to deploy Digital Oilfield’s OpenInvoice solution throughout its Western Canadian operations.

Following a successful pilot, ARC Energy Trust, one of the largest conventional royalty trusts in North America, has executed a corporate license for DigitalOilfield’s OpenInvoice to deploy the software throughout Western Canada. OpenInvoice is a web-based collaborative environment for operating companies and suppliers. OpenInvoice is claimed to reduce invoice processing time and costs by as much as 80%. ARC is also deploying the OpenInvoice Partner Server, providing real-time electronic integration with RC’s financial and accounting system.


ARC Controller Van Dafoe said, “We have seen positive results from our pilot implementation of OpenInvoice. In addition to the staff time and financial savings, its scalability is very important to a growing company like ARC.”


Digital Oilfield President Rod Munro added, “We are already the leading supplier of this type of technology to large independents, and now ARC’S adoption of OpenInvoice demonstrates that the system is accessible and practical for mid-size companies.”

EASY does it for BP’s inventory

A BP pilot surplus inventory disposal program is now to be offered to industry by Network International and The Procurement Center.

Online equipment auction house Network International (NI) and The Procurement Centre (TPC) have announced a new inventory management program—Equipment, Audit, Sales and Yield (EASY). The program sets out to provide field identification, rationalization and monetization of surplus equipment.


EASY grew out of a pioneering project at BP’s lower 48-business unit, initiated mid 2002. NI CEO Stuart Page said, “BP launched the EASY program last year to reduce US inventory and to address the need for corporate reporting accountability.” TPC president Tracy Stephens added, “We were pleased that BP showed confidence in our supply chain solution for this idle asset situation.”


EASY provides real time audit of surplus assets by reconciling physical assets with yard and vendor inventories and financial records from SAP, People Soft, J.D. Edwards and Oracle. Network International was formed from the combination of NetworkOil, Premier Auctioneers, and Associated Auctioneers.

SmarTeam systems for Kvaerner

SmarTeam’s enterprise-wide data management solution is to be deployed at Kvaerner Oilfield Products to rationalize plant information management.

Dassault Systèmes unit SmarTeam is to provide $1 million worth of product lifecycle management solutions to Kvaerner Oilfield Products (KOP). As a leading manufacturer of undersea oil production and distribution systems, KOP generates vast quantities of product design data, supply chain information and enterprise resource details. Maintaining current versions of designs and matching them to other business information had become a challenge.

Data management

SmarTeam’s enterprise-wide data management solution will be used by KOP to access and manage its data, to design re-use and to replace its document control system.


KOP engineering VP Morten Braass said, “We constantly revisit and modify our designs and retrieval and updating of files is difficult to manage. We need to know that we are working with the correct designs and we need this data to work alongside our other business information. Our legacy systems were supposed to create knowledge, but they weren't talking to each other”.


SmarTeam EU president Chris Jones added “With 38 companies in the Aker Kvaerner Group, this is an important contract for us. This initial deployment creates a real opportunity to prove just how good SmarTeam is in one of the world’s largest engineering companies.” Following initial deployment in KOP, SmarTeam use is expected to extend to the rest of the Aker Kvaerner Group.

ECL expands

Exploration Consultants has acquired Scott Pickford’s equity determination group from Core Laboratories.

Exploration Consultants Ltd. (ECL) has acquired Scott Pickford’s valuations and equity determination and support business from Core Laboratories. ECL will retain the business and staff as a going concern (trading as Scott Pickford Limited), with support from the ECL Group. ECL plans to build on Scott Pickford’s track-record and expertise in equity determinations, valuations, technical audits and dispute resolutions. Scott Pickford has had a long-term role in equity determination for several major oil companies and counts most commercial banks among its clients. This acquisition continues ECL’s strategy of building a technically strong and broadly based independent oil and gas consultancy which offers state-of-the-art technology and advisory services to Government and private sector organizations.

SAIC teams with EPS

EPS and SAIC have allied to offer production optimization support to existing and future users of EPS’ i-DO system.

Edinburgh Petroleum Systems (EPS) is teaming with international IT consultants SAIC in a ‘production optimization implementation support alliance’. The alliance will provide E&P companies with cost-effective implementations of EPS’ i-DO system for well and surface network optimization. i-DO automates daily production engineering tasks to maximize profitability through a combination of increased production, lower downtime and reduced lifting costs. SAIC will provide i-DO users with system integration, implementation and support, consultancy and other IT-related services.


EPS MD Laurence Ormerod said, “i-DO and our ‘aim-gain-sustain’ process ensures early successes as it paves the way to sustained optimized production. A world class alliance partner like SAIC will help us implement, integrate and support our systems more effectively for a greater number of users in a shorter time.”


i-DO leverages corporate investment in SCADA systems through a comprehensive system of engineering and IT which has been developed over a three-year period. i-DO has undergone extensive testing in Venezuela, Kuwait and the North Sea.

XSaber’s first break

GMG’s latest product XSaber automates first break picking by leveraging image processing technology.

Green Mountain Geophysics (GMG) claims a breakthrough for its new XSaber first break package. Seismic first breaks are used to determine corrections to be applied as a preliminary to seismic processing. XSaber’s innovation lies in the use of a variety of image processing methods to enhance and isolate the first arrivals on a seismic record. This allows XSaber to be used as a ‘hands-free’ batch-operated process – without the need for manual picking of first breaks.


Users can test data conditioning processes such as filtering, datum statics, gain/balance and muting to arrive at an optimal shot record for conversion to a grayscale bitmap image. Image processing parameters such as brightness control, contrast enhancement, and edge detection techniques may be used to enhance the general trend of the first arrivals.


After the brief setup analysis, the dataset volume is picked entirely in batch mode, producing a useable set of picks that can be input directly to GMG’s Fathom for refraction analysis and solution generation.

Leak-off test database from ITC

Norway-based ITC advocates an international standard for leak-off tests. ITC is offering a free trial of its LOT Analyzer and has built up a database of quality-assured tests from the Norwegian North Sea.

Norway-based Integrated technology Consultants AS is working towards an international standard for leak-off tests. Leak-off tests are used during drilling to determine rock strength and borehole integrity. Halliburton and ITC have expressed the need for a standardization of leak-off tests.

5000 tests

ITC has studied 5000 Norwegian North Sea leak-off test and found that less than 10% met ITC’s QC guidelines. ITC is inviting interested parties to collaborate in establishing best practices leak-off test data collection, analysis and presentation.

Free software

ITC is offering a free evaluation version of its LOT Analyzer. For those working in Norway, ITC has a LOT database of 500 quality approved leak-off tests.

Spectrum’s VPN

Spectrum has deployed Tarantella software in a high-speed virtual private network between its processing centers.

UK-headquartered geophysical processing house Spectrum has successfully deployed a new high tech communications network between its 3D processing centers in London, Houston and Cairo. The secure virtual private network uses Tarantella servers in each processing center to provide Spectrum’s clients with location-independent access to processing resources. Clients can track processing progress, run tests and view reports from a web browser. Spectrum UK and its Egyptian associate, Spectrum-Geopex will use the high speed link to access computing resources in the primary, Houston center.


Spectrum CTO John Lyons said, “Our high speed links and Tarantella software will reduce project turn-around times and improve the availability of our seismic processing technology for our geo-physicists and clients.”

Schlumberger IT for KOC

Kuwait Oil Company has signed with Schlumberger for an enterprise-wide information system. SIS’ DecisionPoint portal will be the key component in a new knowledge sharing culture.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has awarded Schlumberger a five-year contract for the provision of an enterprise information system. The KOC system will provide single-point access through a secure portal, leveraging GeoQuest software and services, Schlumberger Information Solutions’ (SIS) domain expertise and SchlumbergerSema business and knowledge management consulting.


KOC deputy chairman Farouk Al-Zanki explained, “KOC is building a knowledge-based culture where information is integrated, shared and readily accessible. When all our engineers and geoscientists can leverage enterprise information, better business decisions will result. These solutions will also enable us to implement best practices based on lessons learned, which will improve operational competence.”


The solution will encompass seismic, well log, wellbore, production, sample and interpretation domains. Access to data and tools is provided through the SIS DecisionPoint portal.


SIS president Ihab Toma added, “KOC intends to leverage technology to take a leadership position in the oil and gas industry. KOC understands that technology is the enabler and that the real force behind moving to an integrated information management system lies in creating a knowledge sharing culture.”


Back in July 2002, KOC signed a separate five-year contract with Landmark for access to the full suite of Landmark’s geophysical, geological, reservoir, data management and economic software.

GITA surveys GIS usage

A new survey on GIS use in pipeline and utilities shows growing project size and successful deployment thanks to COTS data availibility.

The fifth GIS survey from the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has just been released. The report surveys 197 companies using geospatial technology in utilities, pipelines and telecommunications (upstream was not included in the study). 18 companies, managing a total of over 142,000 miles of pipeline, responded to this survey. A significant increase in total project costs was observed with half of all pipeline GIS projects now costing over $750,000. Vendor market share varies widely across different sectors. For pipeline GIS, Intergraph (26%) just leads ESRI (21%) with the rest shared between several vendors.


Pipeline companies have been slow to embark on GIS projects—but lower hardware, software, and COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) data costs are enabling implementations on a departmental budget level. The business case has been successfully made for pipeline GIS.


Top three pipeline GIS applications are data integration, risk management and integrity management – particularly with regard to regulatory compliance. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed said they were finished with landbase conversion—a remarkable achievement. Again, COTS data availability has significantly lowered the cost of GIS deployment.


The Geospatial Technology Report 2002 is available from the Geospatial Information & Technology Association, 14456 East Evans Avenue Aurora, Colorado 80014-1409 U.S.A. info@gita.org and www.gita.org.

Landmark for Statoil drillers

Statoil has selected Landmark’s drilling software suite for its domestic and international divisions. The deal also includes technical engineering software, consulting and training.

Landmark Graphics Corp. has signed a three-year agreement with Statoil for the provision of full Landmark suite of drilling software. As a result of this agreement, Statoil will have achieved full integration of subsurface software technology for all of its domestic and international drilling divisions.


Mads Grinroed, Statoil VP drilling and well technology said, “Statoil has entered into a global access agreement for drilling technology with Landmark. This includes virtually unlimited access to Landmark’s drilling and technical engineering software and applications. Landmark will also supply technical drilling support, training and consulting services to Statoil.”


Landmark VP Bill Sanstrom said, “Statoil’s commitment to Landmark’s drilling software will enable it to handle engineering complexity in all areas of well planning more effectively. The integration of Landmark’s drilling products with OpenWorks suite will also provide improved work processes for well planning and drilling operations, reducing cycle time and total drilling costs.”


Landmark president Andy Lane added, “Statoil’s decision to extend its use of Landmark products and technology into the well planning and drilling area demonstrates the value that it places on Landmark’s innovative technology.”

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