June 2003

Chapter 11 for PGS

PGS is to avail itself of US Chapter 11 protection from creditors while the company restructures its debt. Operations will be ‘unaffected’, and existing shareholders will receive 4% of the new company.

PGS’s 2002 annual report reveals a true annus horribilis for the company. A year of ‘disappointments for PGS and its stakeholders’, ‘very substantial financial losses’ and a ‘failed merger effort’ resulted in lost confidence among investors and creditors and a share price collapse. PGS’s new board, headed by chairman and CEO Svein Rennemo, is battling to save the company with a restructuring agreement that sets out to ‘provide a solid basis for future operations and growth’.

Debt reduction

The agreement—which has already received backing from a majority of PGS creditors and its largest shareholders—involves a debt reduced from approximately $2.5 billion to approximately $1.2 billion. Existing shareholders are to receive a skimpy 4% of post-restructuring equity with an option to acquire an additional 30% stake in the restructured company for $85 million. A goodly chunk of this new cash will go into the pockets of PGS’s legal, financial advisors and auditors who are expected to clear a tidy $35 million for their pains. PGS plans to use a US Chapter 11 procedure at parent company level only, as ‘the most effective mechanism’ to carry out the restructuring. This will allow operating subsidiaries to continue with operations, leaving clients, vendors, employees and subsidiary creditors ‘unaffected’.


Post-restructuring, PGS’s banks and bondholders will own 61% of the company’s shares and holders of the $144.75 million of PGS ‘Trust Preferred’ securities will get 5%. At the PGS general assembly this month Svein Rennemo described the company’s problems as ‘largely of our own making’—major investments since mid-90s were financed with debt and failed to meet cash flow expectations. Since then, a declining seismic market and depressed US dollar have compounded PGS’s misery.


CGG acquired 7.5% of PGS last September with the intent of ‘working towards a consolidation in the seismic industry’. CGG has lent its support to the restructuring and is underwriting its share of the 30% shareholder equity. Depending on take-up, CGG will end up with a stake in PGS of somewhere between 2.7% and 8.1%. Completion of the restructuring is expected later this year.

eSearch for SIS

A new deal between Schlumberger and storage specialists Hays will offer holistic management of digital data and inventory.

Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) has signed an agreement with Hays IMS to embed Hays’ eSearch inventory management system within SIS’s InfoStream information lifecycle solution. The agreement will allow for searches across Schlumberger’s AssetDB and Hays OpenRSO. eSearch offers a web interface, advanced search and automated order capabilities, and integrates existing file and warehouse archives corporation-wide for both physical records and electronic documents. SIS VP Olivier Peyret said “The new solution combines strong integrated services from both companies to deliver the industry’s first desktop-to-warehouse information management solution.”


Hays IMS MD Francois Bejui added, “We have combined our physical data services with SIS’s digital information management to create a integrating records management integrated with the information management workflow.” Hays’ eSearch will be offered exclusively by SIS to the upstream oil and gas market. e-Search evolved from Hays widely-used OpenRSO inventory management system.

New sponsors for www.oilit.com

Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton announces sponsorship line-up for 2003-2004 and retraces a successful year for the oilit.com website—currently receiving over a million page views per year. A ‘new improved’ oilit.com now sports a reader’s Forum, a search engine and more imagery. But the print edition of the Journal is the one that really gets read!

This month we are pleased to report the new sponsor line-up for Oil IT Journal’s website – www.oilit.com. Ten out of our 12 sponsors for the previous year are to continue for the 2003-2004 period—a gratifying result. We are also pleased to welcome a newcomer in PGS Tigress and a returnee in SGI. This year’s line up is as follows:






LSI Logic

OFS Portal


PGS Tigress




We would like to take this opportunity of thanking these great companies for their support.


The oilit.com website goes from strength to strength—with total of 568,048 page views for the first six months of 2003. Over 400 visitors per day spent on average 4 minutes browsing material on the oilit.com website. 63% of the traffic came from direct logons, the rest coming in from search engines—mostly Google.


Material from Oil IT Journal gets further exposure from deployment on corporate intranets and through online access to the corporate section of the oilit.com website—where the full text is available online to subscribers.


I’d like to take this opportunity of saying a few words about why we do it this way—a kind of marketing manifesto. Folks sometimes ask us why we don’t just replace the paper edition of Oil IT Journal by an electronic version. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I personally believe that there is a big difference between having a real live printed edition of a newsletter in your hands—which you can read on the plane, in the loo or wherever you like. Secondly, what is online is frequently confused with what is ‘free’ and what can be copied and re-distributed. We try to cater for all with our marketing mix—of free email headlines, low-cost printed edition, and two levels of site license subscriptions. These offer a combination of print editions and online access aimed at the corporate market.


Visitors to oilit.com will have noticed that we recently added a Forum for feedback from readers—the link is at the top right hand corner of the home page. We put the Forum up with great trepidation. Web forums are often announced with great fanfare but then usually bite the dust—or just die a slow death as the posts dwindle. Well we spared you the fanfare—but not sure about how to avoid the dwindle. We hope that Oil IT Forum will break the mould—given the knowledge base of Oil IT Journal readers (just seeing if flattery is any better than fanfare!)—and we do moderate the posts.


We have also added a search engine, and livened up the website with an ‘image of the month’. This is just an oil IT-related image that takes our fancy. If your company feels it has something to submit feel free—there is no charge at the present (but we may revise this at a later date—we do have to eat!). Further enhancements are planned for the coming year with more material from our conference and trade show visits. We are as ever interested to hear from you as to what you would like to see on the site—to hear about what you find useful and how we can improve the service.


We have been enthusiastic supporters of Phil Crouse’s PNEC Data Integration conference—which is actually just about as old as Oil IT Journal. It is interesting to see how PNEC has influenced the upstream data management community and in particular, the standards movement. PNEC was previously associated with both the Geoshare User Group and the Canadian Public Petroleum Data Model (PPDM) Association. Now that Geoshare is ‘owned’ by POSC, both standards bodies now cohabit at PNEC—and appear to be working towards sharing some XML-based developments. This is quite an achievement for Phil Crouse’s entrepreneurship. He has succeeded in bringing the two warring standards bodies together where years of arm twisting by major oil companies has failed.

Forget XML!

To get back to business as it were, and the risk of driving you all to distraction, I just have to return briefly to what has become a new—old chestnut for Oil IT Journal readers, XML. How can XML-based protocols be leveraged to work as true standards—as opposed to just making programmer’s lives more enjoyable? In the field of well logs we are already some ways down the road to digital cacophony with multiplying ‘ML’s for this and that. A couple of suggestions—when thinking of ‘XML’. First forget the ‘X’—you definitely don’t want to be ‘extending’ anything! Next forget the ‘ML’—the new standards are not ‘modeling languages’ themselves—WITSML, LogThis&ThatML—all terrible misnomers. They are defined, live and die by their DTD/Schema. Finally, although standards are ‘like toothbrushes—everyone wants their own’—the real test of XML standardization is when you use someone else’s schema.

Oil ITJ Interview—John Sherman

John Sherman reveals what’s under the hood of Landmark Graphics’ Decision Space next generation of E&P software—and updates us on ASP, 64 bit computing and Linux.

Oil ITJ—How is Landmark positioning its new Decision Space applications?

Sherman—Decision Space (DS) is Landmark’s next generation software—beyond Seisworks, ZMap etc.—but still running on the OpenWorks database. Think of DS as a new set of horizontally integrated, workflow-centric suite of components.

Oil ITJ—All the old ‘point apps’ like SeisWorks will become DS?

Sherman—Yes, but for instance Power Model will replace StrataModel plus some features from StratWorks 3D—avoiding complex upscaling workflows. ‘Project Houston’ will replace SeisWorks, StrataWorks and ZMap early next year—although this is not a ‘throw the switch’ process. Landmark’s flagship products get the lion’s share of R&D funding and still have five years of life and support left in them. But certain features which users have been requesting for some time will be easier to achieve in DS.

Oil ITJ—What technology platform underlies DS?

Sherman—DS is written in Java and is portable across operating systems. The services layer is built on SQL NET, Java Services and lightweight middleware. The windowing technology is based on object-oriented software and business oriented graphics—rolling in a lot of geoscience knowledge along with the Java graphics API. This sophisticated solution is all accessible through the DS API devkit.

Oil ITJ—Who is using the devkit?

Sherman—Oils with niche software components and contractors developing for them. Software that plugs into OpenWorks can share data with DS, although true workflow integration will require the dev kit. There are some interesting demos at the Forum—like the Grid computing demo on the VIP booth—and DS data management demo of live update of data in other windows like decline curves on new simulator runs.

Oil ITJ—Changing subjects – where are you with application hosting today?

Sherman—El Paso, Anadarko and others are already on board. ASP works well for all applications except those making heavy use of 3D graphics. We are working with IBM on 3D ASP to provide ‘cube-spinning’ 3D graphics for tools such as GeoProbe, OpenVision and EarthCube.

Oil ITJ—Where are you on 64 bit computing?

Sherman—A great topic! First, the 64 bit Intel Itanium 2 does not run 32 bit apps well—maybe 6-8 times slower than a Pentium! To get Itanium speeds you need to re-code—a big effort for flagship apps. There are also issues with graphics cards which offer superb support for high end apps like Magic Earth on 32 bit Linux. We will be offering GeoProbe, Promax and VIP on the Itanium later this year—all running in 64 bits—but we are to an extent waiting on graphics cards.

Oil ITJ—How will you maintain the differential between high-end SGI solutions and the new 64 bit Linux workstations?

Sherman—You still cannot match large scale SGI systems on any other platform—this really is state of the art computing. Also SGI is moving on and out to Linux. Neither Sun nor SGI will stand still. Sun is offering low-end 64bit clusters. Another fact is that as Intel moves to 64 bits, it is leaving the commodity market behind. The 32 bit environment was riding the game graphics wave—this will not be the case for 64 bit. Today a very performant solution is Sun’s Enchilada Blade workstation running Red Hat Linux. This is very popular with the major oil companies who need 64 bit.

Folks, facts orgs, et cetera

People on the move at OpenSpirit, Peloton, PGS Tigress, GX Technology, IHRDC, NetApp and CTC.

Dan Piette has been appointed CEO of OpenSpirit Corp.


Exprodat and Exploration Geosciences are to produce a GIS-based version of the Millennium Atlas, documenting the Petroleum Geology of the North Sea.


Dawood Khan is to manage Peloton’s new Aberdeen office.


Core Laboratories revealed in its 2002 annual report that it paid $8 million cash to acquire Advanced Data Solutions last year.


Andrei Bezhentev is to manage PGS Tigress’ new Tyumen office.


Mosaic Information Solutions is building a database of technical sections of license applications from the UK’s onshore licensing rounds for the DTI.


Mike Goodwin has been named manager of GX Technology’s new geophysical service centre in Aberdeen.


Grant Prideco’s telemetry-enabled IntelliPipe drillstring achieved 2 Mbps data transmission rates in a field test.


Jeannie Perdue has been appointed e-learning champion with IHRDC.


Network Appliance has acquired the patent portfolio of Auspex Systems from the liquidator for approx $9 million.


ChevronTexaco has named John Bethancourt Executive VP Technology.


President David Archer points out that POSC stands for the Petrotechnical Open Standards Consortium.


Convergence Data Services has joined PIDX.


Santos has joined the Pipeline Open Data Standards (PODS) organization.


Baker Hughes unit Baker Atlas and Compagnie Générale de Géophysique (CGG) have launched VSFusion, a joint venture for borehole seismic processing.

Real-time well software from Tibco

Tibco rolls-out well development optimization software and business process web services protocol.

Tibco Software showcased its new Well Development Optimization solution (WDO) at its 5th annual energy conference in Houston this month. WDO is used by multinational oil and gas companies to integrate business processes associated with geoscience, drilling, land management and reservoir management systems. WDO speeds cycle times from prospect to first oil by facilitating communication between asset team members.


Tibco VP Jeff Summers said, “Leading upstream oil and gas companies are selecting Tibco solutions to control information assets across organizational boundaries and to maximize the value of proven reserves.


Tibco products interoperate with other vendors’ solutions and deployment environments, such as J2EE and .NET. Tibco participates in standards bodies such as OASIS and W3C and is currently working to define a new Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS).

Landmark and SCM team

SCM’s ‘helper apps’ will be integrated with Landmark’s Z-MAP Plus mapping software.

Landmark Graphics has signed a three year agreement with Subsurface Computer Modeling, Inc. (SCM) to integrate and deliver the SCM productivity tools exclusively within Landmark’s Z-MAP Plus software. SCM’s helper apps complement Z-Map Plus enhanced workflows for subsurface mapping.


Landmark president Andy Lane said, “The combination of Z-Map Plus and SCM will dramatically improve productivity and performance in subsurface modeling and mapping. Adding SCM enhancements to Z-MAP Plus will provide streamlined workflows for reservoir optimization.”


SCM president Mack Olson added “Our tools were developed for our own consulting projects to enhance productivity and deliverables. This agreement delivers dynamic new workflows to the world’s largest mapping community.”

Business Objects for Total

Total is to standardize on business intelligence applications from Business Objects.

Total has selected Business Objects (BO) Enterprise 6 as its corporate standard for business intelligence (BI). Total uses BI for management dashboards, scorecards, enterprise performance applications, customer intelligence, reporting and customer and partner extranets. Total deploys BO’s Data Integrator, WebIntelligence and BW Universe Builder to ‘track, understand, and manage’ operational data from systems including SAP.


Total CIO Philippe Chalon said, “Standardization is about generating profits, not about wielding power! Some standardization is essential—wherever data is generated. By standardizing on Business Objects across exploration, production, refining, marketing and chemicals, users gain from each other’s experience, creating synergies across the company.”


BO chairman Bernard Liautaud said, “Standardizing on one business intelligence platform gives Total a single interface to key data sources like SAP, allowing for significant greater enterprise performance gains”. A customer since 1991, Total has deployed more than 6,000 Business Objects licenses in NT and Unix environments.

EPAM e-market for Tyumen Oil Company

EPAM used Novell’s ‘exteNd’ EAI suite to develop TNK’s e-marketplace.

The Tyumen Oil Company (TNK) e-marketplace announced last year (see Oil IT Journal Vol. 7 N°6) went live this month. The TNK e-marketplace supports all stages of the sales business process: from signing a framework contract to reporting. The e-marketplace integrates with other TNK applications and offers ‘a high level of security’.


The e-marketplace has been developed by EPAM Systems, based in Princeton, NJ with technology development centers in Moscow, Russia and Minsk, Belarus. EPAM was selected following an open tender from more than 50 leading Russian and international companies.


EPAM CEO Arkadiy Dobkin said, “The development of the e-marketplace is important for several reasons. It is an effective business instrument for a modern company. It is an advanced technological solution. Finally, it confirms that the Russian business climate has closely approached the international level.”


TNK’s e-marketplace was developed with Novell’s exteNd enterprise application platform which includes a portal, an application server, an integration server and development tools. Novell exteNd leverages XML and Internet standards to provide ‘non-intrusive’ integration with existing systems. An intuitive visual-design environment accelerates application development and delivery cycles.

Edinburgh’s new ReO Forecast

New software from EPS allows for holistic evaluation of gas field development options.

Edinburgh Petroleum Systems (EPS) has just announced a new product ‘ReO Forecast’ to predict oilfield production from an integrated model of sub-surface, wells and surface facilities. ReO Forecast can be used throughout all phases of field development, from screening studies, where field lifecycle production profiles are generated, to short range forecasts for planning purposes. ReO Forecast profiles are optimized at each time step, making maximum use of all available resources. The product also extends the level of detail in surface facilities that can be included in forecasts and offers gas-contract management capabilities.


ReO Forecast was used successfully to develop gas fields in offshore Southeast Sumatra—enabling ‘a more detailed evaluation of investment and development options than was previously possible’. ReO Forecast allowed the entire production system to be optimized over the projected life of the gas contract. A variety of options for process infrastructure, well drilling and compression scheduling were investigated. A paper on the Sumatra project was presented at last year’s SPE. More from e-petroleumservices.com.

SIS’ Living model for Revus Energy

SIS has sold its Petrel-based Living Model concept to Norwegian startup Revus Energy.

Norwegian oil co Revus Energy AS has awarded Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) a contract to implement its Living Model workflow. The five-year deal is said to be a a European first.


Revus general manager, Tim Sullivan said, “We chose the solution that combines our technical skills with the software and support of SIS to deliver an optimal workflow. SIS will also provide remote data management and backup services.” SIS’ Living Model concept provides a seismic-to-simulation combining the Petrel suite of PC-based software, Eclipse FrontSim and interactive petrophysical software.


SIS president Ihab Toma added, “The Living Model offers the ability to quickly integrate new data, update the model and to perform risk and uncertainty evaluation. Revus will leverage the Living Model in its strategy of optimizing existing Norwegian Shelf production.” Revus was established in Stavanger last year.

IKON rolls-out FaultX plug-in

Ikon Science has released FaultX—the ‘world’s first’ automated fault interpretation system.

Ikon has officially launched its FaultX helper application for Landmark’s SeisWorks and Schlumberger’s IESX seismic interpretation environments. As revealed in Oil IT Journal earlier this year, FaultX extracts fault planes and segments from seismic volumes for integration into models and reservoir simulations. FaultX - the ‘world’s first’ automated fault interpretation system - takes 3D reflectivity or coherence cubes and boosts signal to noise with dip-steered filters – creating ‘discontinuity volumes’ which highlight fault surfaces.

Ribbon fit

A ‘ribbon fitting’ algorithm is applied to time-sliced data – with filtering by azimuth, length and depth. The FaultX fault detector generated fault planes from the detected ribbons. The interpreter can fine-tune azimuth, dip and offset sensitivities. Once detected, fault planes can be enlarged and simplified. Planes can be joined allowing curvilinear faults to be represented as a single plane. FaultX was trialed on BP’s Magnus field.

EDS expands on PetroCanada desktops

PetroCanada’s PC desktop management contract extended for two years.

EDS has signed a two-year renewal with Petro Canada for management of 4,100 desktops in 39 locations. EDS now manages over three million desktops worldwide. EDS Desktop Services VP Carol Wyatt said, “As employee productivity has become more dependent on computing devices—from PCs to laptops to PDAs, it is vital for our clients to stay connected. EDS is leading the desktop services marketplace in new directions.” EDS Desktop Services provides comprehensive management of clients’ environments in front of and behind the firewall. EDS services include round-the-clock remote and on-site support, asset management and management of servers and connecting networks. EDS help desks received over 27 million support calls last year.

PNEC Data Integration 2003

The 7th edition of Phil Crouse’s Data Integration Conference was well attended considering the prevailing world situation. Since last year there have been some significant changes in the data management scene. Elsewhere PNEC offered a good snapshot of where data management is at today with a fair crop of XML-based initiatives, more on searching and spidering of multiple data sources and contributions from the e-business crowd. Highlights include Will Morse’s guidelines for migrating desktop applications to Linux, John Bobbitt’s talk on XML Modules, a round table on nomenclature and papers from KerrMcGee, Marathon, Pemex, Statoil and ENI.

Kerr McGee

According to Paul Haines, Kerr McGee’s IM strategy can be summarized as ‘buy, apply and modify’. Application software is bought in from established vendors, but KMG finances software development and attempts to influence future directions. Haines described KMG’s information management (IM) function as responding to internal client requirements—in a relatively short time frame—there are no more ‘Project Mercurys*’, with a 3-4 year time horizon. Users of KMG’s in-house developed well log databases ‘don’t want LIS—they want LAS’. Haines recommends making sure that vendors document data properly. KMG uses OilWare’s Well Log Indexing System (WLIS) to ‘crawl’ corporate file systems for LAS, LIS and DLIS log files which are converted to XML. InnerLogix’ ILX Cataloguer is also being deployed to crawl and index raster logs recognizing TIF, PDF, CGM and other formats.


Jo Kostecka described Marathon’s well data cleanup effort. Kosteka has developed a Perl program for semi-automated well number matching. The program uses ‘fuzzy logic’ to locate partial matches based on combinations of API number, location, total depth etc. The program assigns weights to different variables and a two pass process brought the number of suspect matches down to manageable proportions.


Will Morse (Anadarko) gave a detailed cookbook for moving upstream desktop applications (as opposed to seismic processing) to Linux. Morse sees the move to Linux as an unstoppable trend—‘be there or be square!’ But he warns that ‘the costs of Linux migration may not be as low as you think’. One problematical aspect of Linux is its poor support for high end graphics cards. Morse recommends that buyers specifying Linux Standard Base (LSB) compliance when purchasing software. Particular attention should be made to testing NFS, NIS, networked license managers, remote Oracle etc. as vanilla Linux does not support these out of the box. Anadarko is running Landmark and Paradigm apps on Linux today.

XML Modules

POSC’s John Bobbitt presented work done by OASIS/UNCEFACT – X12 – XML. These different groups use the same concept. An XML ‘Module’ describes a business object such as a well header. Different XML modules can be assembled to create compound documents ‘on demand’. To cater for specific (and limited) instances where local requirements mandate refinement or restriction in use the ‘Profile’ concept is introduced. Thus the North Sea Profile contains rules and guidelines for N. Sea use (DTI Wellname etc.) whereas the Gulf of Mexico Profile uses the API number. Note that profile creation must follow certain rules for legitimacy; geographical variants are OK – but company-specific profiles are proscribed.


Azhar Sindhu, (RCG Information Technology) outlined a solution tailored to a US operator’s production reporting requirements. Integration can be achieved with a variety of technologies. This project involved integration of well data, land information, operations, applications such as TietoEnator’s Energy Components, Landmark’s DIMS and DSS, MRO Software’s Maximo and various portal projects. RCG’s analysis is based on its productized Business and Technology Roadmap. RCG IT clients include Apache Corp., BP, ExxonMobil, Texaco and Unocal.


Ray Flores walked through the development of Pemex’s E&P technical database for the Veracruz region. Pemex is a big Finder shop. Finder integrates data from Pemex in-house applications along with GeoFrame, OpenWorks, Eclipse and OilField Manager. A data integration ‘bus’ is planned to extend data integration across SAP and Merak.


INT’s tools allow centrally managed data to be viewed over wide area networks, according to Jim Velasco. The latest INT product line, exemplified by the Web LogViewer, offers thin client access to data in multiple data stores. By ‘thin client’, INT means a J2SE 1.4 runtime, a web browser or the Java WebStart plug-in. A ‘lightweight’ API allows for quick integration into enterprise solutions. The LogViewer provides area curve filling, lithology display, curve attribute editing, image integration and pan/zoom. INT’s target market is no longer the software development community, but now embraces corporate IT departments. INT’s tools are ‘as far as you can go in shrink-wrapping this kind of functionality’.

KM and the web

Jeff Pferd (Petris) quipped that KM ‘used to be called training!’ Petris uses web technologies to capture information on usage patterns—workflow monitoring, search engine logging, application launching etc., using ‘passive knowledge capture.’ This leverages ‘meta data mining’ and answers questions like ‘which departments are using what information?’


Ugur Algan’s paper described Landmark’s development of a Technical Workspace Portal for AGIP ENI. The portal offers multi-database query, project and asset disposal preparation. Landmark’s Team WorkSpace was customized to ENI’s requirements. The portal was hosted internally by ENI in Milan. Queries are executable across PGS Tigress, IHS Energy’s Iris21, C&C Reservoirs Analogues, in-house ENI data sources and Microsoft Office documents.


Pioneer’s deployment of best of breed applications was hampered by complex, manual data entry according to Tim Elser. A drive towards more frequent update and reporting meant that manual data entry was no longer an option. Pioneer’s data infrastructure is built around Hyperion’s SBASE OLAP. Aclaro’s PetroLook and PetroShare were selected for data mining functionality. PetroLook and PetroShare are both developed in Microsoft’s C#/.NET. The end result has ‘piqued the imagination of Pioneer’s data users – who no longer feel that disparate data stores are an obstacle to data access’.


Peter Flanagan revealed that Oildex was founded on the observation that ‘a $16 invoice could cost as much as $30 to process’. Oildex’s supply chain software and digital invoicing has brought this cost down to $5. The payment cycle time has also been reduced from 60/90 days to 14 days.


Carl Hucsall described an SAIC project which sets out to ‘transform the digital oilfield of the future’ by linking SCADA data feeds to the field office. SAIC recognizes four levels of operation value (and complexity!) from remote monitoring, through exception management and diagnostics to dynamic reservoir optimization. A tiered IT architecture is proposed. A resource layer provides base level IT services scheduling, transactions, triggers and exceptions. An intermediate services layer manages business logic and analytical services such as trends, curve fitting and historical analysis. Finally a user interaction layer provides modeling, simulation and ‘discovery’. These are delivered in a ‘web services situation—not as a behemoth of a database’. Real time information benefits production, sales trading and supply chain. Production is the first field where web services will contribute—‘the technology is here today’.


Bruce Sanderson (Geodynamic Solutions) explained that search technologies start with Google-type full text searches. These are fast, free and easy, but often suffer from a large number of search results. Deploying Google on an internal intranet can help constrain searching—but these are expensive to deploy. Other options include document management systems such as OpenText’s LiveLink—this is ‘a great tool’ but has proved hard to integrate with upstream workflows—indexing and document check in/out is an unwelcome overhead. Enterprise search systems can be very powerful. These crawl file systems—looking in documents, web pages and databases. Again these are expensive to deploy. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can dovetail with enterprise search technology. Deployment requires a search ‘hub’ coupling GIS to text search. Best of all worlds would be ‘something like Autonomy plus a GIS’.

IT Monitor

IT downtime was proving a major problem on Pemex’s Cayo Arcas platform. Richard Crounse (IT Monitor) described a number of commercial tools which monitor infrastructure performance in real time. HP OpenView provides basic monitoring, but ‘can be improved on’. Trouble shooting routers and switches can spot faults developing. Network services can be monitored with Open Source Software Process Dashboard, with Cisco NetFlow, Osi Software’s PI System and Real Time Performance Management. Activity can also be captured as a ‘net bot’ image—and stored in an Oracle blob—like a security video of network activity, ready for post-intrusion analysis. PI System has been in business for 20 years and claims 10,000 installations.


The Shell-chaired round table debated upstream nomenclature—in particular well naming systems. IHS Energy offers a service to US States to check that an API well number has not been issued before. IHS Energy unit Petroconsultants offers a well-number generation service to operators, although many are not aware of this. One user of the service reported problems with the fact that this generates a ‘private’ in-house well number. The true benefit will come when the Petroconsultants numbers are broadcast to other companies. POSC announced that as part of its Practical Well Log Standards (PWLS) work, it had been granted the right to use and migrate the Schlumberger classification including curve mnemonics. Work is in progress with the Minerals Management Service on standards for well classification of purpose (water, oil, injector etc.) and result (dry hole, P&A, suspended etc.).

* Project Mercury (circa 1990) was an early upstream data modeling project from IBM.

This report is abstracted from an 8 page report on PNEC produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch reporting service. For info, email tw@oilit.com.

Datamation Lifecycle Process 2003

Last time we reported on Plant Information Management (back in 1999) the Statoil/Oracle Synergy project, an ‘implementable’ version of the POSC/CAESAR data model, was in full swing. Today, Synergy is no more, but the at the Datamation Lifecycle Process conference there was renewed focus on the cost-effectiveness of the data warehouse as part of the handover process.

When an engineering prime contractor (EPC) builds a large facility, be it an offshore FPSO or a power station, huge data management issues arise. These are compounded when the construction company hands the project over to the Owner Operator (OO). Much thought has gone into technical data models which set out to standardize the way engineering data is recorded and served-up to the different stakeholders. These have had a limited impact, partly because the EPC industry is dominated by a few large companies who have their own internal processes and ‘standards’ and who may be reluctant to share these with competitors. Companies are spending large amounts on data collection and clean-up. Another trend is the increasing communications between the EPC and OO early in the project’s life. By integrating – or at least planning for integration – early in the project, the drama of a ‘big bang’ handover can be attenuated.


Michiel Molenaar described information handover on Shell’s $ 4 billion Nigerian Bonga deepwater project, implemented by no less than five EPCs located in 3 time zones. The Bonga Strategic Asset Management Solution covered standards setting and data management for handover from the EPCs to the Owner Operator. The project involved establishing standards, classifications, a ‘Hand-over Guide’ and quality program. Lessons learned included the need for contractual clarity and the need to communicate through frequent meetings.

Paperless project

Statoil’s Norwegian Kristin field development was designed to be a ‘paperless project’ according to Bjorn Henrik Magnus. Working with EPC Kvaerner, Statoil set out to get rid of paper-based working practices and to replace them with electronic systems. The project applied to suppliers – there is ‘no paper to or from suppliers to Kristin’! The Kristin plant data warehouse was built around Intergraph’s SmartPlant. The software allows for impressive 3D navigation through the data warehouse.


Pete Mayhew, Information Manager with EPC AMEC described the challenge of handing over 2000 major equipment items, 200k tags and 2.5 million attribute values. AMEC deploys the STEP data model inside its ORBISS data warehouse. Previous issues of performance, security and bandwidth have largely been solved. Software can call up data from the data warehouse and link into the 3D model. IM is no longer a ‘by-product of technology’. Mayhew concludes that ‘it is business requirements and quality that are the challenges’.


Ewan Botterill expressed a contrarian’s view of asset management which is “not a cycle”. Different tools and approaches are required at different times in life of a plant. Engineering used during construction is different from maintenance and needs its own tools. Also the EPC and OO have different views of data. “Getting a fully integrated, clean, fixed data set to populate a data warehouse may never happen – as a project evolves, so does the volume and completeness of the data.” Rather than a single source for all data, Bottrill advocates a ‘single point of access to data’ with as much data as possible moved from EPC to OO systems on handover. This is colorfully termed the ‘evergreen digital plant’. Aveva leverages ISO 15926 , XML Template and RDL via Microsoft .NET and Sharepoint – BizTalk. At least 50% of the cost of integrated asset management goes into content services.

Holy Grail

Ian Bishop (Foster Wheeler) notes that the expected benefits from data sharing have so far failed to materialize – although the original arguments still hold true. Standards and web technology have moved forward but while there are a number of web-based IT solutions, we have not yet achieved a true collaborative, sharing environment. Factors weighing against this are a focus on reducing costs and a ‘document centric’ approach. The Holy Grail of the single data base is lost! We still need both document and asset-centric views tolerant of low bandwidth global access. Engineers are risk averse and slow to change – being document-centric is a comfort to some. We need to build an engineering critical path based on key information, managing key information with documents and accepting that non-critical data will lag.

ELynx SCADA for Houston Exploration

eLynx’s wireless SCADA connects South Texas wells to internet.

The Houston Exploration Company (HEC) has outsourced monitoring of its South Texas wells to eLynx Technologies. eLynx will replace HEC’s chart recorders with its MeterLynx SCADA system at some 500 locations. HEC operations manager Joanne Hresko said, “eLynx provides the critical operational data we need to maximize production and minimize downtime”.


eLynx uses a wireless network to send real-time data to the Internet. Producers can view data from any location. The system monitors line pressures, tubing and casing pressures, temperature readings, electronic flow meters, tank levels and compressor status. An alarm callout system notifies personnel via pager, cell phone or e-mail when a well is underperforming or a compressor is down.

GX Tech—‘deep computing’ on demand!

IBM’s ‘deep computing’ on demand offers hosted supercomputer power for seismic processing.

Seismic processing specialists GX Technology are one of the first takers for IBM’s new ‘deep computing’ on demand offering. Deep computing offers supercomputer performance in a hosted environment, freeing users from fixed costs and management responsibility of owning a supercomputer.


IBM’s deep computing on demand offers scalable, secure systems accessible through a Virtual Private Netwprk (VPN) Internet connection. The service will let Houston-based GX Technology expand the scope and the number of projects it can effectively handle around the world.


GX Technology president Mick Lambert explained, “IBM’s deep computing on demand gives us the power to dramatically reduce project cycle times and increase our project capacity, while reducing infrastructure and operating costs.”


By using IBM’s hosted supercomputers, clients can avoid IT capital outlays and depreciation. Massive compute power can be conjured up to meet temporary demand spikes while the managed environment ensures that the latest, performant technologies are available without further investment.


IBM’s ‘deep computing’ facility is located in a secure section of IBM’s Poughkeepsie, New York plant. Initially, the system consists of a cluster of IBM eServer xSeries Intel-based Linux systems with related disk storage, and is planned to include pSeries UNIX servers. Designed for scalability to meet increased demand, the deep computing on demand facility is also planned to incorporate a variety of blade technologies and AMD technologies over time.

GTS-Geotech launches ExPert hosting

GTS Geotech’s ExPert portal provides hosted application and data support for upstream users.

GTS-Geotech has launched its ExPert hosting service for upstream and horizontal applications. ExPert, a web based service, offers a comprehensive set of business solutions, knowledge sharing and communication aimed specifically at the E&P community. ExPert is a bespoke solution designed by GTS-Geotech with help from infrastructure partners including UUNET, Sun Microsystems, OpenText, BMC, Tarantella, Orbital Software and Sunrise Help Desk Systems.

Core services

The core services of ExPert are remote support for E&P and other applications, information and knowledge sharing and tele-maintenance of Unix, Windows NT and 2000 systems. Managed entirely from GTS-Geotech’s ExPert offices, users will be able to obtain assistance 24/365 by e-mail, on-line web page, “call me” service or by phoning experienced E&P professionals. The service is available anytime, anywhere, making ExPert an ideal solution for clients with offices in remote locations or simply looking for a cost effective alternative to daily on-site support. Earlier this year (see Oil ITJ Vol 8 N° 3), GTS-Geotech signed an agreement with Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) to deliver information management solutions to the upstream in the U.K.

InnerLogix hosts first user group meet

The first DataLogix user meet was well attended by major oils and vendors.

Data integration specialists InnerLogix held the first ever user meeting last month for its flagship DataLogix integration product. DataLogix deploys a loose integration paradigm to minimize application coupling and avoid costly modifications to existing software.


As reported in Oil IT Journal last year (Vol. 7 N° 7), Innerlogix has developed an XML-based Extensible Data Connectivity Language (XDCL) to support loose integration. XDCL retrieves lists of primary data objects within a data store allowing for further drill-down. Data adaptors have been developed for GeoLog, GeoFrame, OpenWorks, Recall and MMS data. One paper showed how to program access to vendor data stores using Perl and the DataLogix adaptors.

Web services

InnerLogix is committed to Web Services as both a consumer and in assisting their development and deployment—particularly in its TerraServer and ILXServ products. Datalogix clients include ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, KerrMcGee (see the PNEC report in this issue of Oil IT Journal) and Burlington Resources. The user group was also attended by vendors including Schlumberger, Halliburton, IHS Energy and geoPlus.

DPTS signs-off PetroCanada remastering

DPTS has remastered 35,000 legacy tapes to high density media.

Ovation Data Services’ DPTS unit has just completed a 35,000 tape transcription project for PetroCanada. The project involved remastering PetroCanada’s European seismic and well log library to high-capacity media. Over 20 years of archive data on a variety of legacy media were processed with metadata stored in a new bespoke database.


Veronica Kher, Head of Information Management at Petro-Canada, commented, “We now have a pristine quality copy of our legacy data on modern high-capacity media which will preserve our valuable data assets and significantly reduce our ongoing storage costs”.


Input media included 7, 9 and 21-track tapes, 3480, 3490E, DLT, 4mm and 8mm cartridges and optical disks. Serious stiction problems were encountered but DPTS’ data recovery procedures were successfully employed, resulting in complete data recovery.

Dell cluster for Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco’s Dell-powered seismic cluster now sports 1,820 processors.

Saudi Aramco has released more information on its Dhahran-based seismic processing supercomputer. Dell was awarded the contract to build and implement the second cluster phase at Aramco’s Exped Computing Center. Phase two comprises 910 Dell PowerEdge servers, adding 1,820 Intel Pentium III processors to Saudi Aramco’s compute engine.


Dell implemented cluster management software from Scali AS to centralize system administration. Aramco Systems Analyst Mohammad Huwaidi said, “We installed a 32-node cluster last year and saw the cost benefits immediately. Now we have worked with Dell to add a further 910 nodes. Using standards-based systems from suppliers such as Dell enables us to build a fast yet economical Prestack Time Migration (PSTM) system. Our ability to rapidly and inexpensively add computing power to our cluster is one of the major benefits of the Intel platform.”


Dell EMEA VP Walid Moneimne added, “Saudi Aramco’s installation demonstrates that global customers are using standards-based technologies to fulfill their most challenging computing requirements. The performance and price benefits over expensive proprietary systems have made supercomputing increasingly accessible to the mainstream market. Dell systems can deliver the same results as a proprietary system for one-tenth of the cost.”

EDIN GIS roll-out

IHS Energy’s new map-based front end is set to eliminate CD-ROM delivery.

IHS Energy has just officially launched the EDIN-GIS online map interface to its international data and reporting service. EDIN-GIS provides a map-based window on IHS’ hosted data—removing the need to update local datasets or manage CD-based data distribution.


Users can access well, production and infrastructure data on a map and review editorial information for the area. Editorial content is provided from IHS Energy’s Global E&P Reporting Service (GEPS). GEPS is updated daily by a global team of geologists, geophysicists, contract analysts and cartographers.


Product manager Michael Wynne said, “Explorationists can study existing wells, fields and contracts, and retrieve news without having numerous applications open on the desktop. This is a significant advance in workflow—shortening the data-retrieval cycle.” EDID-GIS was developed with ESRI’s ArcGIS and the Internet Map Server ArcIMS.

Seitel fights for survival

Troubled seismic broker Seitel was fighting for survival when a potential ‘white knight’ appeared!

Discussions between Seitel Inc. and some of its creditors broke down last month. Holders of unsecured notes have filed for bankruptcy against Seitel and its subsidiaries. Since the filing, Ranch Capital LLC, a California based private equity firm has purchased all of the senior notes originally held by the filing parties. Seitel is in discussion with Ranch regarding a ‘consensual restructuring’ of its capital position, including the senior notes. Ranch was not involved in the recent bankruptcy filing. Seitel said that it has sufficient liquidity to operate its business. Early this month Seitel agreed to settle an SEC lawsuit alleging reporting violations, without admitting or denying the allegations.

Enertia’s new e-biz functionality

Enertia has enhanced currency handling and reporting and announced a PocketPC field data logger.

Enertia Software is to release several enhancements to its Upstream e-business specialists at its annual user conference to be held in Las Vegas next month. Enertia has added AFE calculation worksheets for detailed budgeting including equipment calculations, day rates and turnkey costs. Enertia also will be rolling out new system enhancements and functionality which address currency gain and loss, re-evaluation, translation and consolidated financial reporting. The new currency enhancements have been implemented throughout the transaction system and enable processing for multiple currencies in the same ledger, gain calculation and on-demand re-evaluation.

Reporting ‘for the masses’

New ‘reporting for the masses’ functionality will also be unveiled for end-user query building and reporting. These new tools leverage the active data-dictionary and provide logical and physical data structure information for every table in the fully integrated database. New Pocket PC-based software will also be announced for field data capture integrating volume measurement, calculation and field information directly to the Enertia database.

CGG boosts LSI Storage system

CGG’s extended data storage contract with LSI Logic heralds a 1.7 Petabyte capacity.

CGG has extended its contract with LSI Logic Storage Systems—originally revealed in 2001 (Oil ITJ Vol. 6 N° 12). CGG awarded a three year extension on to LSI for its data storage sub-system. This currently offers one Petabyte of storage and a 2 Gb/s host and drive interface. Fully configured, the technology chosen by CGG can deliver 772 MB/s and CGG plans to expand the system to 1.7 Petabytes storage later this year.


CGG VP data processing Guillaume Cambois said, “Storing and accessing data as quickly and reliably as possible is critical to our day-to-day business. After working with LSI Logic Storage Systems for three years, we knew we could trust the company and were not surprised when our tests showed their latest storage platform came out on top.”


LSI president Tom Georgens added, “We are delighted CGG has recognized what our technology can offer in terms of speed and reliability, and also to have the opportunity to continue, and build on our relationship with the CGG team. CGG is a key customer for LSI Logic Storage Systems and is always challenging the boundaries of what storage technologies can do.”

Concept 4D tools for BP’s Valhall field

Concept Systems is developing acquisition and QC software for permanent seismic monitoring.

BP Norge has contracted Concept Systems to develop positioning, QC and data management software for its pioneering 4D seismic reservoir management infrastructure on the Norwegian Valhall field. BP will be installing a network of permanent buried seismic recording cable around the Valhall field and will shoot a number of surveys in the years to come. The project sets out to acquire seismic on-demand and reduce the turnaround time significantly.


BP’s Arnfinn Baerheim explained, “This is an important project which will not only help to deliver improved recovery from Valhall but will be a step towards proving the value of this innovative technology for use in other BP assets. We chose Concept for its proven abilities to work closely with our team to deliver and deploy technology quickly into the field.” Alastair Hay, Concept Systems MD said, “We are delighted to be associated with technology innovation which can help prolong the life of the Valhall field. This is also a reward for our investment in R&D over the past four years in anticipation of the demands of 4D seismic.”


Concept is to work with BP to address the problem of repeatability – key to 4D seismic acquisition. The solution will be based on Concept’s ‘Gator’ data command and control suite used in ocean bottom cable seismic survey applications, along with QC and analysis tools such Reflex attribute analysis solution and Sprint data processing suite. Valhall is operated by BP Norge on behalf of partners Amerada Hess, Shell and Total. If successful, the emerging technology is expected to have worldwide applications as more oil companies implement permanent 4D seismic infrastructures over producing assets.

EnCana signs with OFS Portal

IHS Energy has acquired Rakhit’s GeoFluids database and software.

EnCana Corporation has signed an agreement with service sector e-business grouping OFS Portal that will govern many key aspects EnCana’s eCommerce. In a separate agreement, OFS Portal and Digital Oilfield are to facilitate the exchange of electronic content and transactional information between OFS Portal members and EnCana with the Digital Oilfield platform. By automating the transactions of electronic invoices and field tickets EnCana and OFS Portal members plan to reduce paper documents and costs of invoice settlement.


EnCana CIO Hayward Walls said, “This agreement strengthens our relationship with key upstream suppliers and realizes a key e-business strategy of integrating our back-office with suppliers through Digital Oilfield. We plan to begin transacting electronic invoices and field tickets with OFS Portal members through Digital Oilfield’s OpenInvoice immediately. Overall we see this as a win-win opportunity and anticipate that eBusiness will increase our speed and effectiveness while reducing transaction costs.”

Le Sage

OFS Portal CEO Bill Le Sage added, “We view this relationship as an important step in leveraging the global e-procurement initiatives of OFS Portal members and EnCana. This mutually beneficial agreement provides an opportunity for improved productivity and further cost savings in the sourcing, ordering and fulfillment of products and services between EnCana and our members.”

Rakhit sells Canadian fluids database

IHS Energy has acquired Rakhit’s GeoFluids database and software.

IHS Energy’s Canadian unit has acquired the GeoFluids database and analysis software from Rakhit Petroleum Consulting. GeoFluids is claimed to be the most comprehensive and oil, gas and water chemistry dataset in Canada. GeoFluids data can be used to identify bypassed pay, create leads, generate play ideas and understand hydrocarbon potential.


IHS will offer the GeoFluids database online to customers through its AccuMap E&P mapping software later this year. IHS’ Ganesh Murdeshwar said, “There is strong synergy between GeoFluids and AccuMap. The incorporation of fluid analysis into our customers’ workflows will enhance their decision-making.”


Rakhit president Kaush Rakhit added, “I have always been a strong believer in the value of using gas, oil and water chemistry data for strategic decision making by explorationists, petrophysicists and engineers. This deal will allow the thousands of AccuMap users to access GeoFluids data even more easily.”


Recent enhancements to GeoFluids means that proprietary data can be incorporated with a new GeoFluids PAS loader. This now enables comparative analysis of proprietary geofluids data with IHS’ public dataset. The GeoFluids atlases provide explorationists with a regional perspective on fluid-chemistry distributions, fluid migration and basin dynamics.

Landmark to resell Flare’s KID

Flare’s E&P ‘knowledge-information-data’ catalog will be embedded in TeamWorkspace.

Landmark is to resell Flare’s E&P Catalog and integrate it into its E&P data management and decision support solutions. The catalog was originally developed for Shell Expro—and is now the subject of an ongoing standardization effort through POSC. The E&P Catalog is a web-based application that provides a management overview of business information, decisions and processes, enhancing information visibility and audit-ability.


Landmark president Andy Lane said, “We expect Flare’s E&P Catalog to become a key component of our data and application management offering. The Catalog will provide one-stop access to all our clients’ E&P information assets, regardless of owner, media, location or technology.”


Flare consultant Paul Cleverley added, “This agreement provides Flare with access to a global market and support infrastructure. The business level focus avoids the complex low-level connectivity issues that characterize many software integration developments in the E&P industry. The catalog brings together views of databases, documents and archives with information on people, processes, services and applications.”


The E&P Catalog will interoperate with Landmark applications including Team WorkSpace and PowerExplorer. The Catalog will also provide a framework for Landmark’s other data management products, including WOW, the Corporate Data Archiver and PowerJournal.


The E&P Catalog is based on emerging standards from POSC. Coverage encompasses the full E&P lifecycle including exploration, development, production and operations, as well as HSE management and compliance.

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