January 2004

P2ES acquires Tobin

Petroleum Place software arm P2ES has acquired Tobin International. The acquisition extends P2ES’ corporate ERP offering through Tobin’s Land Suite which is widely used alongside SAP.

Petroleum Place has acquired Tobin International, the 75-year old grand-daddy of the US oil and gas information and mapping business. Tobin will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleum Place’s software unit, P2 Energy Solutions. The deal creates what is described as “the largest owner and provider of enterprise software and services, mapping data and storage systems to the oil and gas business.”


Petroleum Place chairman Gary Vickers said, “The oil and gas industry spends 25 cents per barrel on information technology of which 16 cents is spent on ‘back office’ products and services. With the acquisition of Tobin, P2ES now offers a broader range of scalable, integrated software applications to our oil and gas clients including the Tobin LandSuite, the most powerful land management application available.”

San Antonio

Edgar G. Tobin founded Tobin in 1928 in San Antonio – where the original red brick Tobin building remains a landmark. Tobin’s Texas Grid system replaced the Spanish system of porcions and land grants and quickly became an industry standard.


Tobin created the first computerized database of well locations in 1963, working with the major oil companies and the company was responsible for assigning API numbers for historical Texas wells.

Tobin Land

Tobin’s Land Suite (TLS) is a land/lease management system that integrates textual and spatial land and ownership data with other related data. TLS is built on Oracle database technology, and integrates with the mySAP Oil & Gas.


P2ES was formed last year (Oil ITJ Vol. 8 N° 1) by the amalgamation Novistar, Paradigm Technologies and Petroleum Financial Inc. Parent group Petroleum Place provides divestment services through its subsidiaries, The Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse (live floor/Internet auctions), Petroleum Place Energy Advisors (transactions and consulting) and Petro TradeLinks (trades).

500 employees

P2ES now has approximately 500 employees located in offices in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver and Calgary. P2ES boasts some 500 software and data clients from private independents to major oil companies. Read our exclusive interview with P2ES’ Tarig Anani on page 3 of this issue.

Tigress Geosciences

Now that PGS is out of liquidation, Tigress’ management has been able to complete its buyout of the upstream software house.

Petroleum Geo-Services’ interpretation software unit Tigress has been bought by its management. Based in Marlow, UK, Tigress has some 150 software installations in 42 countries. The company develops and markets a suite of reservoir interpretation software tightly integrated around an Oracle database.


Diz Mackewn, President of PGS Marine Geophysical comments, “This deal is part of PGS’ policy to concentrate on core business activities. The deal allows a successful relationship for both companies by way of an ongoing corporate license agreement for the complete TIGRESS software portfolio”.


Tigress Geosciences chairman David Sullivan added “This transaction, which has been planned for some time, creates the industry’s only independent software producer with a totally integrated product covering the interpretation tools from Geophysics to Reservoir Simulation.” The company reports a number of recent sales successes in the Russian Federation, Africa and South East Asia. See next month’s Oil IT Journal for an exclusive interview with Sullivan.

The semantic web is here now!

Last month, Oil IT Journal launched its RSS-enabled news feed. Without realizing it, we found that, like many other publishers of news sites and blogs, we were joining the periphery of a new improved ‘semantic web’. Editor Neil McNaughton has been boning up on other semweb developments to find tons of interesting stuff. If standard nomenclature, catalogues and metadata are your bag the semweb has a lot to offer—once you have deciphered the W3C’s terminology. .

When you search Google, clever, but very simple technology returns what is usually an exceedingly large amount of information. A search for ‘POSC’ will return a boatload of information from the Center for Poultry Science, the Department of Polymer Science and Structural Chemistry of the Free University of Brussels, information about ‘pop-on screw covers’ (hey—I need some of those for the bathroom!), various political science faculties and a few references to the Petrotechnical Open Standards Consortium.

Semantic Web

The problem is the power of full text search à la Google—which effortlessly seeks every occurrence of a word in some 3.3 billion web pages in under a second—an embarrassment of richesse if there ever was one. A while back, Tim Berners-Lee (Sir Tim) decreed that all this needed fixing and called for the creation of the Semantic Web—where somehow or other, documents would identify themselves—by exposing information about who wrote them, when, what was inside—and whether ‘POSC’ meant poultry, politics or petrol.


This sparked off a plethora of World Wide Web Consortia (W3C) bent on realizing the Semantic Web. How’s it going? If you visit the semweb home page on w3c.org you’ll see a couple of definitions and an impressive list of workgroups that are developing ontologies, vocabularies, ways of describing resources and data. In fact, just as we in the upstream consider a knowledge-information-data (KID) continuum, Berners-Lee takes a very broad church approach to the semweb—defining it as ‘the representation of data on the web’. Berners-Lee’s target for the semantic web is not so much the document, but the relational database.

Why not XML?

This begs the question – if the semweb is about data, like data in databases, then what is wrong with using XML? Berners-Lee has an answer to that: XML files from two different applications can’t understand each other’s data and will never interoperate. WITSML is a parallel universe to, for instance, WellLogML. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way of writing XML to embed at least some data that was universally sharable and understandable outside of a ‘closed’ XML environment.


There is, thanks to the semantic web. The W3C’s Resource Description Format is just that, a relatively straightforward way of representing a data element that lets folks who don’t want to have to read and understand (to parse in the jargon) the whole XML file and extract meaningful information. RDF statements are simple, coming in three parts—a resource, a property, and a value. An rdf statement could be ‘example.org/index.html has a creator whose value is John Smith*.


This RDF triple is made up of a resource—the example.org document, which has a property ‘creator’ whose value is ‘John Smith’. So simple it is almost dumb. But the neat bit is the way an RDF statement points up and out of an XML document to a reference source—or ‘namespace’—which defines terms and acts as a union between different XML documents. It is not too hard to see how a few RDF statements added to WITSML and WellLogML will both point to the same namespace and fix once and for all the horrible problems of agreeing on a name for a well. A DTI RDF namespace for the North Sea? Remember, you read it here first!


While BL wants to use RDF to expose all data—including relational databases, the quick wins for RDF are in sharing metadata. The more ‘top level’ your data is, the easier it is to reach agreement on what to share and how. Which leads me on to the real reason I started out on this topic—RSS which, is probably the first prime-time application of the semweb anywhere.

Content management

As you know, Oil IT Journal is available in print, online and in the form of a monthly headlines distribution. When we are through writing the paper version (in Microsoft Publisher) a sophisticated cut and paste exercise ensues, involving Dreamweaver, FrontPage and a good deal of cussing—to produce a standardized html version. This is then processed by a load of Visual Basic apps to update the website, print out the headlines edition and generate the Corporate online editions.


Little did I realize that the format for headlines distribution is topologically identical to a Blog (a web log) and that there was a whole universe of news feeds out there written in the same style—but using what is variously described as ‘really simple syndication’ or ‘RDF Site summary’. A couple of extra lines of VB code and we had our own newsfeed up and running. A metadata tag in the oilIT.com home page tells robots where to look for the rss feed and whaddya know—we had 2,000 hits to that little chunk of xml this month! Is that semantic or what!

* Example from the W3C’s excellent RDF Primer.

Oil ITJ Interview—Tarig Anani, P2ES

Tarig Anani is President of International Operations with Petroleum Place and its software unit, P2 Energy Solutions. Anani spoke to Oil IT Journal about the rationale behind P2ES’s acquisition of Tobin International, and the company’s plans for the future.

Oil ITJ—How important is the acquisition of Tobin to Petroleum Place (PP)?

Anani—The acquisition doubles the size of the company and takes us into new areas. This is an important deal for us which we have been working on for the past six months.

Oil ITJ—This deal represents quite a change for PP—from a financial focus to technology and data.

Anani—Yes, the data piece is new, as is the addition of Tobin’s premier land package. All of this will strengthen P2ES’ back office/ERP offering. In particular, Tobin Land Suite will help us move into the SAP world. Tobin Land software is frequently bundled with SAP in the United States.

Oil ITJ—Isn’t SAP more of a competitor for your existing back office products like Excalibur from Paradigm Technologies?

Anani—Not really. We see it more as an opportunity for cooperation although the products compete in some markets. SAP is established with majors and super majors. But such companies may restrict SAP use to silos. P2ES’ enterprise software is strong in the upstream where SAP dominates the downstream.

Oil ITJ—What’s the background to Petroleum Place and P2ES?

Anani—Petroleum Place (P2ES is a wholly owned subsidiary) was set up with the intent of rolling up software and services to upstream companies [Halliburton took a 15% stake in the company in 2000]. There are two main component companies—the Oil and Gas Clearinghouse and P2ES [the unit that has acquired Tobin]. P2ES acquired Paradigm Technologies—along with its IBM/Unix-based software and mostly smaller independent clients. Last year P2ES acquired Novistar’s 6I Upstream Oracle-based financial suite [now rebranded as P2ES Enterprise Upstream] giving it a foothold in larger independent and a degree of penetration into majors and supermajors. But most IT spend is on SAP so it was inevitable that we develop services around SAP—along with JD Edwards OneWorld) Our ERP line-up now supports Oracle-based Enterprise Upstream, JD Edwards, IBM/Unix-based Excalibur and SAP.

Oil ITJ—Last time we covered Tobin, InSight was being rolled-out. InSight does not appear to have set the world alight—was it germane to the acquisition?

Anani—Yes, InSight is an important facet of Tobin’s software line-up. We are now in the process of evaluating its usefulness to customers and exactly where it is at in development terms.

Oil ITJ—Would it be fair to say that Tobin has declined as IHS Energy has risen?

Anani—No, Tobin is a household name and remains dominant in the data space. Tobin has a very strong brand with broad recognition. The situation with InSight is slightly different. InSight is still a new product which may have a great future alongside the core data products.

Oil ITJ—What became of Tobin’s Global Planner which was digitizing Russian military maps?

Anani—Sure, Global Planner is still part of the equation. Tobin has a Moscow-based subsidiary working with companies such as Yukos. We have a great team over there - all very well qualified engineers working for considerably less than their western counterparts. This operation has great potential as a springboard to other international opportunities.

Oil ITJ—And what of your other international ventures?

Anani—P2ES has expanded following partnerships with UK-based SAP implementation specialists AbSoft and German integrators Amadee. Other more technology-focused relationships have been established with Hannover-based Impress and Edinburgh Petroleum Services. Again the focus is on integration and connectivity with SAP. Our international presence is also evident from our two major middle east clients—Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Kuwait Oil Co.

Oil ITJ—How much did you pay for Tobin?

Anani—I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. What I can say is that Petroleum Place has a very strong balance sheet and the acquisition will put Tobin in a much better position to do things that they would not have been able to do otherwise. Integration will produce considerable cost savings and synergies. The Tobin product lines will continue. In fact customers will see little change except for new products.

Schlumberger picks up in fourth quarter

Andrew Gould welcomes activity gains but warns that WesternGeco’s turnaround depends on ’Q’.

Speaking to the investment community on presentation of Schlumberger’s fourth quarter and full year 2003 results, chairman and CEO Andrew Gould noted ‘very encouraging’ activity gains in the fourth quarter with record activity levels in most segments. Improvement should continue as the world’s ageing production base is renovated in response to rising consumption. Oilfield Services revenue of $8.82 billion increased 8% in 2003 with strong demand for Schlumberger Information Solutions services. Schlumberger is to retain the oil and gas related IT services from Sema Group and this activity will be rolled into Oilfield Services. In 2003 these services generated $311 million revenue.


WesternGeco had a tough year—with the workforce downsized 33% and a pretax profit of $71 million in 2002 transformed into an operating loss in $20 million. Gould was asked if WesternGeco is really core business to Schlumberger—and replied that it all depends on ‘Q’—WesternGeco’s super high density recording system. This is producing ‘spectacular’ results and Gould believes that clients will rally to the technology. Encouragingly, Q year on year revenues doubled and a sharp improvement reported from the seismic business unit in the fourth quarter. A ‘sustained increase’ in enquiries for land seismics was a positive sign—but Gould warned—‘We are not off to the races! It looks more hopeful than six months ago.’

A2D suite for Devon’s geoscientists

Devon Energy has awarded a full service contract to A2D for hosting and use of geological data.

Devon Energy Corp. has awarded A2D Technologies a multi-year agreement for the provision of integrated well log data products, software tools and services. Devon will have full access to A2D’s commercial well log data store in the United States. A2D will also host Devon’s proprietary log data.

Log-Line Plus

A2D’s Log-Line Plus application will be integrated into Devon’s computing environment for secure online access to both data sets. A2D will provide on-site management of Devon’s new-drill and legacy well log data, as well as a corporate-wide license to A2D’s desktop well log correlation software, Smart-Section.


Pratt Barndollar, chief geophysicist with Devon said, “This agreement encapsulates our data management services model for the future and demonstrates our intent to streamline data access for interpreters.”


A2D VP marketing Rod Starr added, “Companies like Devon are looking to A2D for an integrated well log solution. This agreement is a strong affirmation of our online data store and data management services model. A2D has provided Devon with service and data management for several years and this relationship is further strengthened through the use of LOG-LINE Plus! as a primary well log data storage environment at Devon.”

600 wells connected to espWatcher in 2003

Schlumberger’s hosted submersible pump monitoring service tracks performance via satellite.

Over 600 wells were connected to Schlumberger’s real-time, remote surveillance system for electric submersible pumps, espWatcher (ESPW) in 2003—the largest number of wells monitored with a centralized system of this type. Continuous remote monitoring maximizes well performance, reduces workovers and optimizes lift systems.


ESPW is designed for mature fields with a large number of wells, remote environments or fields where SCADA is limited or unavailable. Pump data interfaces with the ESPW site communication box and real-time data is transmitted via satellite to the Schlumberger-hosted database.


In the event of a problem, alarms and call outs are sent via pager, telephone or email. Thresholds trends and raw data summaries provide information that extends pump life. ESPW leverages Schlumberger’s InterACT real-time monitoring and data delivery technologies and is supported by the Data and Consulting Services unit.

Shell presents to OpenText investors

Shell reports on massive take-up for its LiveLink-based knowledge management initiative.

Speaking at the recent LiveLinkUp Analyst Day, Chris Heard of Shell Information Technology International explained why Shell chose Livelink as its worldwide knowledge management (KM) standard.

Not planned

LiveLink’s deployment was not initially planned corporately but rather grew from individuals and groups of users around the world who had specific requirements. Among these were the need for a cost-effective, web-based tool with ‘industrial strength’ document management capabilities such as versioning and attributes. Other KM-related features such as collaboration, discussion groups and workflow were also key.


Shell has around 50,000 users on fifteen LiveLink instances, running on individual servers or clusters. Three large LiveLink infrastructure clusters operate in Europe and two in the Americas.


Shell uses LiveLink throughout its global organization for projects shared between Shell businesses and with outside contractors. LiveLink supports Shell’s operational documents management, and is used to share corporate best practices. The tool acts as a knowledge repository, document and map store for Shell’s world-wide operations and is now tuned to support Shell’s business processes.

Composite logs InToto from Cambrian

Cambrian and Applied Logic have teamed on well composite log and final reporting software.

Cambrian has released a new version of its ‘InToto’ wellsite geological data management tool. InToto uses a Microsoft Access database to capture data at the wellsite and generate daily and post-well reports. InToto V2.0 incorporates Applied Logic Technology’s WellCad well log drafting system to provide high quality composite logs and presentations.


ALT director Annick Henriette said, “Using WellCAD’s high-quality well data presentations will complement InToto’s database engine and produce a really user friendly solution.” Cambrian claims that InToto V2 will eliminate weeks of complex work on end of well tasks and Composite Log generation thanks to its totally integrated database and graphical functionality.

Trango Manager leverages VB .NET

Seismic data management is migrating to Microsoft .NET with a new release of Trango Manager.

Calgary-based Trango Technologies has rewritten its ‘Manager’ seismic data management system using Microsoft’s VB .Net environment. Trango’s enterprise management system for internal and external seismic data is used by exploration companies, multinationals, data brokers, consultants and service providers.


Trango collaborated with business partners ESRI, Crystal and Microsoft. The new version offers more control over deployment, improved stability, speed and efficiency. Dynamic search allows users to define grid layout and to group and sort on the fly and use ‘robust’ search criteria.


Integrated mapping now includes tools for length and area measurement, ArcSDE support, labels and line plotting, simplified ShapeFile management and flexible map printing. Collaboration with storage companies has led to enhanced access to off-site data.

Secret group leverages Petrodata hosting

Landmark’s Team Workspace data and application hosting is used by 18th round AMI group.

An undisclosed Area of Mutual Interest (AMI) group of three oil companies will be using Petrodata’s Stavanger hosting center for net-based collaboration on the Norwegian 18th licensing round. The group will load project data into a suite of Landmark interpretation applications to create a virtual project room using the Team Workspace web-portal.


Petrodata MD Trond Hanesand said, “This break-through for asset-centric collaboration will enable license groups to realize the benefits of on-line collaboration. The solution offers significant cost savings over multiple copies of data and applications at each project member’s facility—or physically co-locating personnel.”


All team members access data and interpret in one centralized project hub, removing the need for data duplication and the associated risk of synchronization errors. The solution includes a conferencing facility which enables net-based meetings to take place, displaying real-time data and interpretations.

Tecplot Reservoir Simulation V 4.0

Reservoir simulator output visualization software has been developed for ChevronTexaco.

Tecplot (formerly Amtec Engineering) has just released a new version of its Tecplot RS data visualization software for reservoir engineering. Tecplot RS was originally developed for ChevronTexaco as a customization of Amtec’s horizontal visualization engine. Tecplot RS allows data from multiple sources to be loaded and displayed as XY graphs or as complex 3-D renderings.

Multiple input

Tecplot RS manages data from multiple reservoir simulators, along with real time production data and formation tests. Version V4.0 improves speed of data loading, adds new import formats and extends plotting of gridded data. The Eclipse loader has been improved and Tecplot now supports Landmark VIP ‘plt’ files. Data from multiple simulators can visualized simultaneously along with observed data. A single-user Tecplot RS 4.0 license costs $3,500.

Maurer’s drilling apps through Petris Winds

Maurer’s Advanced Drilling Applications are now available through Petris ASP service.

Noble Corp. unit Maurer Technology Inc. (MTI) is the latest company to offer its software through the Petris Winds hosting service. Maurer’s Advanced Drilling Applications Package (ADAP) is now available for monthly trial and subscription in ‘application services provider’ mode (ASP).


Petris ASP manager Don Humphries said, “Maurer’s suite of applications enhances our solution set and will benefit those individuals either in an office location or onsite handling drilling or workover operations, helping them perform with greater efficiency and significantly lower costs.’

Well construction

MTI’s engineering software supports drilling, completion, workovers, production and economic analysis. These programs are designed to help complete all steps in the well-construction process more efficiently and accurately. MTI provides contract engineering services, design and analysis services, software development, product development, training, and joint-industry research-program management for various clients in the petroleum, mining, construction, and utility industries.

PESGB Data Management 2003

Around 140 attended the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain’s Data Management 2003 conference with quite good oil company representation. Data management obviously remains a concern! Unfortunately, no oil company folks presented papers—leaving the field open to vendor ‘infomercials’. Many of these centered on the use of geographical information systems (GIS) to manage and use upstream data. Records management was highlighted—with presentations on the need for systematic records management policies. The standards movement ploughs on with more work on catalogues and a new petrography initiative. Technology-wise, we report on an insightful presentation from Landmark on seismic transcription, and on well deviation data acquisition and processing QC from Hydro Projects. On the governmental front it was ‘Groundhog Day’ all over again—with yet more initiatives to preserve the Nation’s data and keep the oil flowing.

Jackie Banner presented the UK DTI’s PILOT Data Initiative. The objectives are to provide easy access to UK data and to relieve licensees of their ‘perpetual obligation’ to keep data on behalf of the government. Legacy systems can be a stumbling block for digital data sets. The ‘Digital Doomsday Book’ project only lasted 15 years before the BBC Micro-based data was unreadable. After 1,000 years or so, its paper based predecessor is still in use today! Numerous workgroups in PILOT and the UKOOA have looked at these issues and there is now one solution, a single data catalogue, the National Hydrocarbon Data Archive.


A benchmark study of archiving costs is underway on Kerr McGee’s Hutton field. The operator is responsible for data and the catalogue. Paras is acting as a ‘confidential cost advocate’. Problems arise from inconsistent catalogue naming; it is proving very hard to aggregate the information. ‘There are as many E&P catalogue standards as there are operators’. The DTI is spearheading the search for an agreed set of catalogue attributes. Feedback and input from operators and service companies is now required.

Deal Data Registry

Robert Gatliffe (British Geological Survey) presented the new Deal Data Registry (DDR). DDR is a web-based GIS with definitions, accurate metadata and links to vendor data stores. The Sea Fish Authority database is linked to DDR so that when a trawler operates too close to a pipeline, a warning bell rings on the bridge. Data cleanup is the major challenge to this project.

Geological data management

Jenny Walsby (BGS) described the Survey’s goal of creating a ‘secure digital dataset’ of borehole and geological information. BGS’ million borehole paper records, a million maps, photographs and reports have been scanned. The result : 2 million monochrome paper records and 180,000 color maps—a 17 TB dataset. Data is compressed to JPEG 2000 and archived to LTO 2 tapes. Managing user expectations—of instant access and current metadata—was the hardest part. Users have to be educated as to what was ‘acceptable’ use—‘Digital data still needs managing’.

GIS galore

Several speakers came to praise Geographical Information Systems (GIS). For most, GIS is synonymous with ESRI which has, according to Nick Blake (Lynx) a ‘90% share of the upstream market’. So the following presentations were presumably aimed at the remaining benighted 10%. Blake showed Lynx’s (very pretty) GIS-based geological map of Iran. Gavin Critchley (IHS Energy) introduced the concept of spatial layers—cartographic representations of database features. Critchley pulled another GIS statistic out of the hat—‘90% (again) of oil and gas data has a spatial component’. Oils are ‘not as digital as they think,’ but the availability of map layer information is increasing and end user skills are growing. GIS, in the form of the ESRI desktop is the silent revolution. Karen Blohm (Robertson Research) was also pushing at the open door of ‘GIS is good for you’—with a plug for the Explorationist’s Workstation. The key to spatial integration is metadata on author, source, project, coordinate system etc. Robertson has developed ‘rule-based’ utilities for metadata population. Geoprocessing is used to convolve maps of source rock development, reservoir extent etc. for fairway analysis – illustrated with another pretty map of the Murzuq Basin, Libya. Steve Ashley (Venture) also believes that GIS has a lot to offer—but more focus is needed on implementation. Venture uses an ‘Information Maturity Matrix’ after D’Angelo and Troy. The ‘Matrix’ (starring Venture) provides metrics to help companies move from the ‘heroic effort’ state to ‘predictable risk’. Nathan Balls showed how PetrosysDirectConnect (DC) makes more pretty maps from diverse data sources. Many interoperability ‘solutions’ for the upstream have not caught on (Balls cited POSC, PPDM, Geoshare, OpenSpirit—and Petrosys’ own dbMap) because they fail to address the issue of finding and using data across multiple Oracle instances. DC fixes this by retrieving GIS across multiple databases—including SDE, dbMap, Finder and OpenWorks. Balls bravely claimed that the GIS war was not over—‘Petrosys has more experience of E&P data objects than ESRI’.

Seismic processing

Adam Mitchell presented the results of Paras recently completed survey of the geophysical marketplace. Seismic data management, processing and interpretation are increasingly integrated. Bandwidth and media are ‘struggling to keep up’ with field data volumes. Existing software was not built to handle multiple attributes or depth domain data. As much as 50% of seismic processing is production related. All companies surveyed forecast that in-house processing would grow. Companies believe that in-house processing provides ‘a major differentiator’. Eleanor Jack, Landmark gave the inside track on seismic data management—which can be a risky business: tapes can get lost and be omitted from a job, files may be only partially transcribed or corrupted in transcription or demutiplexing. A multitude of technical pitfalls await the transcriptor—from incorrect header data to disappearing inter-record gaps. Jack showed one survey where a format code snafu scrambled the whole survey in transcription. Transcription programs are ‘very robust’—they keep going even with the wrong input parameters!

Records Management

Trudy Curtis, PPDM Association CEO believes that records management is growing in importance. Information needs to be properly managed or else ‘you may go to jail!’ In Canada, PIPEDA can audit information management systems. In the UK, the data protection act places similar constraints on what can be done with corporate data. A major problem is that today’s users are all untrained records managers. Taxonomies and metadata are the way to go. PPDM is working on Dublin Core, and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). Jamie Burton (Instant Library) believes that companies need to develop retention strategies and shouldn’t keep records for longer than necessary. Regulatory compliance is a legal necessity – with the data protection act, HSE legislation and with legal ‘holds’ for pending court cases. Corporate policy has to be developed and enforced.


Barry Wells (Conwy Valley Systems) reported that the IUGS commission for systematics in petrography is working on sediments. The IUGS nomenclature is embedded into Conwy Valley’s Petrog product. Glen Mansfield (Flare Consultants) reviewed the POSC E&P Catalogue Standard—EpiCat V 0.5 which consists of a set of attributes and valid values for E&P objects. Catalogues are used in document management for control, retention, bibliographic studies etc. The key to successful integration is to present the catalogue in a meaningful way to the end user. Flare is working on an XML cataloguing standard—CAML. Another initiative—the POSC Business Process model (ex Shell) will provide a ‘contextually valid value list’ for EpiCat. POSC’s Paul Maton called for more work to homogenize the ‘huge number’ of curve types and complex curve and tool naming schemas. Work on WellHeaderML has been customized to the UK DEAL environment. Maton described the ongoing E&P data catalogue as ‘wide ranging—possibly too wide ranging’. A project to ‘align’ the catalogue with W3C recommendations on RDF and Dublin Core metadata standards is to kick-off soon.

2D not dead!

Christine McKay (Landmark) believes that ‘2D data is not dead’. Shell still needs to display 2D navigation data for all of the UKCS, to see its own data along with other companies’ data and speculative surveys. A lack of 3D data in the 21st round made old 2D lines from the 1980’s vital—one 1973 survey was used and even some paper sections. Issues arose with multiple versions of the same line, ‘unexpected’ line groupings and inconsistent names. Landmark was asked to ‘streamline’ the Shell dataset of 5,000 surveys and over 120k lines. The process was automated ‘as far as possible’. QC plotting –was reduced to a ‘minimal but acceptable risk level’.


Jill Lewis introduced Troika’s new Open Architecture Scalable Information Store (OASIS), a binary object store built on Open Systems—Linux, mySQL/PostgreSQL—offering seismic metadata management, positioning data and random access to trace data.


Two Johns, Harries and Kelly, (Hydro Projects) demonstrated how failure to take account of the earth’s curvature, other errors and misapplied corrections could make for a 100m difference in bottom hole location for a 11km horizontal well.

Services, not products

Wendy Kitson (Kadme) reckons that services, not products, are the powerhouse of Information Management in the oil industry. Decentralization has created havoc for the data manager—with data everywhere and no checks and balances on use. Business consultancy and services are where the money will be made in the next few years.


Ben Trewin reported that IronMountain has signed with Schlumberger for the merger of AssetDB and IM’s eSearch. The product merge will complete in 2004. AssetDB and OpenRSO clients will be migrated ‘real soon now’.


Paul Duller (Instant Library) asks how quickly will your company be up and running after a disaster? A survey showed that a major IT disaster was invariably bad for a company’s health – and often proved fatal. Companies must plan for disasters – singling out ‘vital records’ as priority targets for the protection effort. Practical suggestions include moving stuff away from pipes, keeping things dry with roofs that deflect water from shelving, installing smoke alarms and so on.

This article has been abstracted from an 11 page illustrated report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch report service. If you would like to evaluate this service, please contact tw@oilit.com.


Folks, facts orgs, et cetera

News from ConocoPhillips, Petrosys, Geotrace, CGG, Apache, RSI, NewtonEvans, AAPG and SEG.

Six learned societies including the SEG and AAPG are to launch GeoScienceWorld.org – an online journal aggregating content from their publications along with the GeoRef bibliographic database.


ConocoPhillips has just extended its contract with Petrosys to include the provision of its flagship mapping software to all global locations.


Bill Schrom has been appointed CEO of Houston-based seismic boutique processor Geotrace. Schrom was previously a senior VP of Western Geophysical. Geotrace has also raised an undisclosed amount of financing from Oak Investment Partners and Allied Capita.


Retired Chevron VP E&P Larry Funkhouser has received the 2004 Sidney Powers Medal from the AAPG.


Trade-Ranger has registered for Safe Harbor, a joint US/EU data protection certification.


CGG has named Christophe Pettenati-Auziere senior Vice President for Geophysical Services. Pettenati-Auziere was previously in charge of strategic planning, control and technology.


Apache Corp. has appointed Kregg Olson to VP corporate reservoir engineering.


Eugene Nosal has been named manager of Rock Solid Images’ new Middle East Office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


The IAGC has just published its statements of principles covering ethics, contracts and liabilities in the geophysical business. The document also sets out disclosure and amortization policies for multi-client surveys.


Newton-Evans Research Company has just published a report on the world market for SCADA systems in gas and oil pipeline operations, 2003-2005.


CGG has revealed that its Sercel unit paid € 25 million to acquire Thales Underwater Systems (Oil IT Journal Vol. 8 N° 12).

Three years of ‘success’ for Wellcore

Malibu Engineering Software reports growing revenues from its life-cycle well management suite.

Calgary-based well life cycle solution developer Malibu has reported a ‘fifth consecutive record-breaking quarter’. The company reports 110% revenue growth for 2003 (no financial details were disclosed).


2003 also saw the internationalization of Malibu’s flagship Wellcore product. CEO Garry Perry said, ““We have successfully created and implemented our international solution in Halifax and Aberdeen, UK, and are extremely excited about our expansion into Africa this December. Malibu is also scheduled to be breaking new ground in Brazil in early 2004.”


Malibu’s flagship product Wellcore is a well life cycle database management solution which helps operators manage operations, control costs and shorten the time to production. Wellcore spans G&G, drilling, completion and production operations. The latest release includes modules for international operations, First Nations, regulatory and assessments.


Perry continued, “Operators need accurate, near real-time knowledge of their remote capital spends, streamlined operations, reduced overhead, and most importantly, the ability to adapt to their corporate business processes. Companies do not want to have to change the way they do business to accommodate a software application.”

Virtual company

Wellcore users include Husky, Petro-Canada, Shell, Devon, ExxonMobil, EnCana, Talisman, heavy oil specialists Petrovera Resources and ‘virtual’ E&P shop—Stylus Exploration.

EarthModels PC-based 4D sesimics

New entry-level 4D time lapse seismic analysis from EarthModels and an upgrade to Chronos.

UK-based EarthModels Ltd. has just released ChronoSeis, a PC-based 4D time-lapse seismic reservoir modeling package. ChronoSeis brings 4D seismic into a 3D geological model and provides links to the main reservoir simulators. The software supports interactive 4D seismic modeling and includes ‘advanced inference’ tools to derive changes in saturation and pressure from seismic differences.


EarthModels has also announced a new release of its Chronos package. Chronos2 is a 3D geological modeling program with ‘grid-less’ design providing on-the-fly model realization.


EarthModels’ MD David Gawith told Oil IT Journal, “Chronos2 provides unequalled speed in ‘what-if’ modeling and easy model synchronization over the Internet, for remote team working. EarthModels is currently seeking a commercial partner company to help realize the potential of ChronoSeis and Chronos2”. Chronos entry-level geostatistical modeling is available as a hosted ASP service through Petris Winds Now!

Windows-based 64-bit virtual reality

VRCO has used an Itanium cluster running Windows 2003 Server in a VR showcase application.

VRCO, Inc., has just released a software toolkit—interactive 3D (i3D) for developing visualization and virtual reality applications. i3D leverages Microsoft’s latest 64-bit Server 2003 Enterprise Edition. The software was demonstrated at the Supercomputing 2003 show late last year on a cluster of HP zx6000 workstations and a tiled display wall from Visbox.


VRCO CTO Matt Szymanski believes this is the first commercially available, turnkey, 64-bit Windows-based cluster display system. The demo ran on nine dual Itanium processor workstations each with 6GB of RAM, and an ATI FireGL graphics card. The display system comprised 9 projectors arranged in a 3x3 array, creating an overall resolution of 7 million pixels.


Microsoft High Performance Computing Solution Manager Greg Rankich added, “64-bit data visualization capabilities provides organizations with another compelling reason to standardize on the Windows platform.”


VRCO also showed a new version of vGeo its interactive data fusion and visual analysis tool built on another VRCO product, CAVELib, a toolkit for developing interactive 3D visualization applications. CAVELib is deployed by Schlumberger in its Inside Reality application.

Schlumberger to acquire PetroAlliance

The acquisition will strengthen Schlumberger’s Russian presence and provide a technology outlet.

Schlumberger is to acquire Russian service company PetroAlliance over the next two years. Schlumberger will acquire 26% of the company now with a further 25% in 2005, and the remainder in 2006. PetroAlliance was established in 1995 and covers seismic, logging and perforating, directional drilling, pumping, integrated project management, and IT-related services. PetroAlliance serves both Russian and international oil and gas operators.


Schlumberger chairman and CEO Andrew Gould said, “Advances in oilfield service practices and technologies have already played significant roles in Russia. Making new technology available through broader service options responds to a growing need and expresses our confidence in the continuing development of the Russian oil and gas industry.”


PetroAlliance chairman and CEO Alexander Djaparidze added, “We believe this agreement with Schlumberger offers a significant opportunity for the continued growth of our activity and gives us access to the best oilfield services technology on the market. PetroAlliance is positioned to become the leading player in provision of cutting-edge oilfield technology in Russia.”

$112 million

PetroAlliance, Russia’s largest independent oilfield service company, was founded in 1995 and employs 2,500. Operating revenues for 2002 were $112 million. Completion of each stage of the deal is subject to performance standards and other customary conditions. The total acquisition price will be determined by a performance-based formula, and paid one-third in cash and two-thirds in Schlumberger stock.

Systems Management Server for Marathon

Marathon Oil reports ease of application deployment and patch distribution with SMS 2003.

Marathon Oil Co. reports successful deployment of Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 to manage its corporate software patches and update distribution. Prior to SMS, Marathon users downloaded software on a self-service basis through the corporate portal. This created havoc with the network bandwidth.

200 sites

Marathon deployed SMS 2003 at 38 ‘primary’ sites—out of a total of 200. Marathon’s SMS servers receive up to 1,000 user requests daily. Marathon desktops currently run Windows 2000 Professional—the company plans an upgrade to Windows XP in 2004.


The upgrade immediately revealed some surprising facets of the network as Mike Niehaus, IT consultant with Marathon said, “Once we upgraded to SMS 2003, we suddenly had more users showing up than we did before! SMS 2003 found 300 ‘broken’ clients that weren’t upgrading software or running patches, so we didn’t know about them.”

10,000 PCs

“Three years ago, we replaced 11,000 PCs. It took four months and required a large support team. With SMS 2003, we plan to replace more than 10,000 PCs overnight.”


Marathon wanted to build its own systems on top of SMS so the application programming interface (API) was a key requirement. Other SMS functionalities leveraged by Marathon include Active Directory to define subnet boundaries and the Site Recovery Wizard which has ‘greatly simplified’ hardware replacement and disaster recovery.

Production optimization from AspenTech

AspenTech’s upstream simulation-optimization suite offers holistic modeling of production assets.

AspenTech has just announced a new component of its integrated solution for oil and gas production modeling. The new production asset management solution leverages Aspen’s AssetBuilder modeling software. Upstream companies can now plan and optimize production assets using an integrated simulation model of their facilities. This new solution is currently undergoing beta testing by a number of customers.


AspenTech President and CEO David McQuillin said, “It used to be difficult to manage and optimize production systems using conventional modeling solutions. Individual components could be simulated, but modeling entire systems in an integrated manner was extremely difficult. Now the entire network of production assets can be analyzed in a common modeling environment.”


AspenTech’s production asset management solution models complex combinations of wells, pipeline networks and production facilities that require intricate optimization strategies to deliver optimum returns. By accurately simulating the behavior of these assets using an integrated model, companies can make better investment and operational decisions on production rates, development plans and asset capacity. The new modeling software leverages Microsoft’s .NET technology.

Well Seismic Fusion from Landmark

A new component of Decision Space predicts rock properties from prestack seismic data.

Landmark Graphics Corp. has just released new software for predicting reservoir rock properties from prestack seismic data, synthetic data and well data. Well Seismic Fusion (WSF) leverages the ‘rich information’ contained in prestack seismic data to build earth models and predict reservoir lithology and fluids.


Landmark worked with Statoil to develop an integrated approach to prestack interpretation that will enable asset teams to achieve cross discipline synergy and more accurately model and characterize reservoir properties away from the wellbore. Statoil program manager John Granli said, “Prestack seismic data has a dimension of information that is lost in traditional stacked seismic volumes. Integrated access to prestack seismic data is crucial to our ability to more accurately resolve and predict reservoir fluid and rock properties.”


Landmark president Andy Lane added “We are committed to working closely with customers to develop integrated solutions to exploration and production challenges. WSF delivers innovative tools that let users generate prospects more rapidly and predict reservoir properties more confidently.”


WSF leverages Landmark’s ‘next generation’ DecisionSpace platform and integrates both SeisWorks and OpenWorks. Murrac Roth, Landmark VP marketing, concluded “Prestack seismic interpretation with direct access to well information combined with the ability to model various reservoir scenarios provides geoscientists a better way to extract value from seismic data.”

Kalido for BP’s LPG unit

Kalido’s information warehouse drills down to access multiple financial sources in situ.

BP’s European LPG unit has chosen Kalido’s Dynamic Information Warehouse (DIW) to build an enterprise data warehousing architecture for its management information system (MIS). Kalido DIW will enable BP to aggregate information from its country operations for central, drill-down views of business performance. Kalido’s multi-repository access will allow BP to mine data across some 30 different types of enterprise resource planning and other operational systems—allowing individual country businesses to continue using their own systems.


Kalido DIW’s automated build routines enable BP to design a data model for its MIS which will accommodate change requests during and after implementation – allowing for a ‘faster, cheaper’ roll-out with less technical risk than traditional solutions.


BP program manager David Peralta said, “The MIS all about providing BP’s team leaders across eleven countries with high-quality information for reporting and planning. The initiative is also designed to share best practice and new developments. Kalido’s DIW will provide this business intelligence while surmounting significant technical challenges.”

Business Objects

Kalido has also announced that it is to team with Business Objects to integrate Kalido’s DIW with Business Objects’ Enterprise business intelligence suite. Kalido’s software will ensure that data used in Business Objects’ reporting tools is current, consistent and accurate whatever its source.

Emerson revamps optimizer

Emerson’s process optimizer now leverages web services to support real time asset control.

Emerson Process Management has released a new version of its AMS real time optimizer. The AMS Optimizer (AMSO) combines plant modeling, data reconciliation, and optimization in a single package. The AMSO can also power Emerson’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture.

Web services

AMSO V3.0 now supports web services, allowing integration with the AMS Suite including Asset Portal, Emerson’s decision-support application that provides information on the health and performance of equipment through a web browser.


An updated library has improved the speed and accuracy of computations, a new interface to the scheduling tool simplifies model and processes planning. Multi-level diagnostics can now be included within larger models. AMSO now offers full support for Windows XP.


Peter Hodgson, Products Director at Emerson said, “AMSO now produces a robust on-line optimization system that solves problems and delivers benefits.” The AMS Suite supports predictive main-tenance, performance monitoring and economic optimization, helping companies improve availability, plant throughput and product quality, while reducing operations, maintenance and utility costs.

SimSci-Esscor teams with Innotec

A joint development sets out to integrate front-end plant engineering with process simulation.

Invensys unit SimSci-Esscor (SSE) has signed a five-year agreement with German software house Innotec to develop iFEED, a new suite of integrated front-end engineering and design tools for the oil and gas industry. The new products will combine Innotec’s ‘Cosmos’ front-end engineering design (FEED) solution and SSE’s process simulation software PRO/II.


SSE general manager Ken Brown said, “The relationship with Innotec significantly increases market opportunities for our simulation software. Integrating PRO/II simulation data with Cosmos FEED will enable better-informed engineering decisions. We look forward to working closely with Innotec to provide the process industry with state-of-the-art, fully integrated process engineering tools.”


Cosmos FEED is an engineering data and document-centric database management system which integrates process simulation data during scope, conceptual development and the preliminary engineering phases of a project. The system provides engineers with a collaborative environment to manipulate simulation data and input non-simulation data for defining process flow and equipment specifications.

Dynsim 3.1

In a separate announcement, SSE announced an upgrade to its dynamic process simulation tool Dynsim. Dynsim 3.1 targets both refining and upstream modeling to meet the challenges of designing and operating a modern process plant safely and profitably.


Dynsim takes advantage of open software standards to interface with other plant applications such as steady-state simulators and control system emulators. The solution lets operators deploy the same model in multiple applications such as process design studies, control evaluations, training and analysis.


Dynsim forms an integral component of SimSci-Esscor’s Dynamic Simulation Suite (DSS), which provides ‘rigorous’ dynamic simulation and control emulation for plant engineers, operators and managers. All DSS programs, including Dynsim, FSIM and TRISIM, can communicate with each other to enable ‘seamless’ integration into specific plant requirements.


Dynsim is delivered as a component of SimSci-Esscor’s SIM4ME user environment and leverages the company’s 35 years of experience providing simulation and optimization products and services to the process industries. SIM4ME helps companies build open computing solutions for the process industries. Based on a model-centric design, SIM4ME hosts SimSci-Esscor’s process simulation, optimization and control system emulation programs.

WITSML 1.2 for ‘Third Eye’

The latest version of WITSML underpins ONGC’s real-time center.

The Indian national oil company ONGC has completed a pilot project for real-time operations on the Mumbai (Bombay) High North. Real time logging while drilling (LWD) geosteering data from Sperry-Sun’s LWD tool was streamed from an offshore rig to the ONGC’s ‘Third Eye Center’ (TEC), a 3D immersive visualization facility located at Vasudhara Bhavan, Mumbai. Real time data from the rig is transmitted through a WITSML 1.2 link into Paradigm’s Geolog geosteering module.

IHS Energy buys Data Source Inc.

The acquisition adds seismic brokerage applications to IHS Energy’s Accumap environment.

IHS Energy Canada has signed a letter of intent to acquire the Central Marketing (CMP) and Advantage Programs from Data Source Inc. (DSI). DSI’s CMP markets seismic data to industry on behalf of its owners. The Advantage program provides geophysicists with access to a mapping source that identifies available industry data for immediate purchase.


IHS Energy (Canada) president, Chris Jones said, “By combining AccuMap, our Mapit partnership and now DSI’s CMP and Advantage programs, IHS Energy will provide geophysicists with the opportunity to identify 100% available seismic data within AccuMap and the ability to email a QI request to their broker.”


Ron Chiovetti, DSI president, added “AccuMap is recognized as an industry leader and now will be able to assist geophysicists and brokers in accessing a single source for seismic data purchases.”

375,000 km.

CMP’s 375,000 km of available data will be available commercially in the Mapit Seismic module of AccuMap. New customers will receive the Mapit Module with this layer. Otherwise the module is available for a free trial until the end of February.

Digital signatures for UK Oil Portal

The DTI is at the cutting edge of e-government with digitally signed offshore operations approvals.

The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – is planning to issue ‘digitally signed’ environmental consents and notices. The DTI intends to make all of its offshore oil and gas consents processes electronic through the UK Oil Portal and is working with BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and the UK Offshore Operators Association to streamline the new procedures.


The process involved consultations with HM Treasury and the UK Government’s ‘e-Envoy’ to get clearance from lawyers. Prior to any deployment the entire process will be audited to ensure compliance with legislation and all relevant standards.


The DTI recently ran a pilot exercise to determine the best way to deliver consents and notices from the UK Oil Portal for environmental activities. Three areas require authentication—the process needs to verify that the right person is logged onto the Portal; only ‘legal’ documents can be exported from the Portal, and documents received via email must come from a known source. These requirements will thus satisfy the 2000 Electronic Communications and the British Standard PD0008 for legally admissible evidence.


The DTI Pilot leveraged technology from Identrus – a global trust systems established and used by an international group of banks and financial institutions. Identrus participants serve as Certificate Authorities or Registration Authorities, establishing the identities of their corporate customers and certifying them as trusted trading partners on the Internet by issuing unique digital IDs to their customers. A global public key infrastructure (PKI) makes such transactions ‘virtually impossible’ to falsify.

Test drive

The DTI were kind enough to let us test drive the online submission system. We logged on and within a few minutes had completed our own, digitally signed pdf (xml is another option) PON15B—by choosing from a pick list of environmentally sensitive muds and chemicals. The certificates are to be issued in accordance with a set of Trust Rules currently being drawn up in consultation with UKOOA.

Tibco becomes RSA Security partner

Infrastructure provider Tibo is to embed digital security into its single sign-on portal builder.

Tibco Software has joined RSA Security’s Secure Partner Program. Tibco’s PortalBuilder integration platform has been certified ‘ClearTrust-Ready’ following testing. Tibco customers can now leverage RSA’s web access management software within their TIBCO PortalBuilder environment to include identity and access management.

Single sign-on

The Tibco platform supports interactive business services with a single view of underlying corporate data and systems. Customers, vendors, partners and employees have access to business information and services. ClearTrust protects content and provides a single sign-on for users.


RSA Security director Stuart Cohen said, “As the demand for single sign-on and identity and access management solutions increase, our standards-based approach to implementing web single sign-on helps us maintain a faster, seamless experience for business partners such as Tibco.” Tibco infrastructure is deployed in the oil and gas industry by companies such as BP, Shell and EnCana and is embedded in AspenTech’s Enterprise Platform.

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