I mentioned before that I am an occasional listener to the BBC world service. For a while now, the beeb precedes its hourly newscast with a rather long winded ad consisting of a variety of different ethnic voices saying ‘Zees eez zee BBC from Paris,’ ‘Dis is da BBC from Rome’ ‘Thees is tha BBC from Melbourne’ and so on. The trouble with repeating the same message ad infinitum, is that it gives your audience plenty of time to reflect on its meaning—hidden or not. After a few weeks of ignoring the ad, I was forced to note a rather obvious difference between these ‘cute’ ethnic voices, and the clipped English accents of the broadcasters. A few more weeks of repetitions later, it dawned on me that these were not BBC broadcasters, they were ‘actors.’ As Churchill might have said, ‘Truth is the first casualty of advertising.’
Similarly amusing advertising is increasingly in evidence at trade shows, conferences and even, in the ‘learned’ journals. As oil companies and their contractors do R&D deals with each other, or with the IT majors, product placement is a feature of many ostensibly technical presentations. Shell recently vaunted the merits of Microsoft’s next generation ‘Longhorn’ operating system—despite the fact that Longhorn will not be released until late 2006 at the earliest. Other product placements and alliances fluctuate and interfere with each other depending on circumstances. At the Schlumberger Technical Forum in Las Vegas this month (pages 6&7 of this issue), Schlumberger lent its official backing to Microsoft, HP and Intel. Charles Johnson, Microsoft’s manufacturing vertical MD, appeared in a video message to plug Petrel which is, apparently, ‘based on Microsoft Office and .NET.’ Johnson did a good job reading from the teleprompter as did Intel’s Paul Otellini who read that ‘Intel is working on 64 bit computing’ to let users go ‘from seismic to simulation on an Intel-based platform’. Both Microsoft and Intel’s messages were somewhat diluted in HP’s lunchtime presentation which vaunted the merits of Microsoft’s bęte noire, Linux and the Intel Itanium slayer, AMD’s Opteron!
You used to hear the Schlumberger folks apologize for their marketing effort. The hidden marketing message in this was ‘we’re really a technology company—marketing is kind of beneath us’. Well all that changed with the arrival of Petrel—which first and foremost was a textbook example of marketing success for its savvy founders. In Las Vegas, Schlumberger went into marketing overdrive with a snazzy video on Petrel in the asset team.
The video involved an acrimonious debate between asset team members of suitably diverse ethnicity on why a well turned out a duster. The reservoir engineer to the geologist—‘You said there was no fault.’ The geologist to the PE—‘Your grid cells are too big.’ The PE to the driller—‘Your wells are too thin.’ And so on (jet lag induced ADD makes this account less than 100% accurate). I personally found this ‘reconstruction’ a bit fishy. I mean, in my day, acrimony and buck passing were an integral part of the ‘workflow’. But to each other’s faces? In a round table exchange of views? No way. Bucks were passed behind backs. Fingers were pointed from a safe distance. Perhaps today’s exploration mores allow for such robust debate, I really don’t know.
Going back to the video, the argumentative actors of the fictitious asset team were looking for a tool to integrate their disciplines, letting geologists see the PE’s big cells, the engineer the faults and so on. It was a pretty good airing of what (apart from marketing) has made Petrel famous. But there was also a new theme that may prove a marketing message too far. The argument goes that industry is suffering for a lack of young blood (true). That youngsters these days believe that working for the oil and gas business is selling your soul to the devil (also true). And that if we could manage to make our software like a video game, the youngsters would forget their misgivings and rush to join the new joystick-wielding asset team (hello!).
Flight of fancy
I have to say that while Petrel is a great tool, the notion that it is like a video game is a flight of marketing fancy. The further notion that if it were like a video game, it would change anything regarding the oil industry’s hiring problems is pretty sweet too!
As Schlumberger and AspenTech unveiled their joint offering for production optimization, Honeywell released its own simulation solution—leveraging some of the same computer code, which originated in Hyprotech’s HySys tool.
The Schlumberger-AspenTech offering is an upstream-specific development which rolls HySys, PipeSim and Eclipse into a new Avocet Integrated Asset Management tool. Avocet IAM allows for simulation and optimization (SimOpt) of the subsurface, gathering network and production facility. More on Avocet IAM on page 7.
Honeywell’s new ‘UniSim’ solution, embeds the ‘latest release’ of HySys, acquired from AspenTech following the FTC’s ruling on the earlier Hyprotech acquisition (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 1). The UniSim Design Suite offers steady-state and dynamic simulation, design, performance monitoring, optimization and business planning for oil and gas production, gas processing, refining and petrochemicals.
Honeywell’s Rob Vasbinder told Oil IT Journal, ‘We acquired the intellectual property rights (IPR) on HySys, but not the name, hence the ‘UniSim’ rebrand. Nor did we acquire Aspen’s license and maintenance agreements with its customers. But our aim is to have all these customers switch to UniSim! We also acquired Aspen’s operator training business including the IPR, all associated products and 40 people.’
Vasbinder added, ‘Customers now have a choice. They can either buy HySys from Aspen or UniSim from Honeywell. Both are based on HySys 3.5, but we plan for a more aggressive product development than Aspen can match. We hired 15 top HySys developers from Aspen earlier this year. The fact that we use UniSim in both the Operate/Optimize and the Design markets will also accelerate new developments’. Honeywell is working with Schlumberger, Scandpower and other third party vendors to ensure their HySys-based tools operate with UniSim.
Vasbinder offered a different slant on the digital oilfield, ‘Process optimization has been done for years with automatic production controllers (APC). We have been preaching the merits of APC to the offshore industry, but this has largely fallen on deaf ears. Later this year, we will have agreements with the same key technology providers as Aspen has for HySys in oil and gas and in other industries.’
Paradigm is suing French software minnow Techsia in the US for alleged copyright infringement. According to Paradigm, Techsia ‘misappropriated’ code from Paradigm’s Geolog well log data management program, and is now marketing and selling the infringing code in Techsia’s ‘Techlog’. Techlog offers well log QC tools, facies analysis, an ‘alternative’ log interpretation technique and a core data interpretation module developed in collaboration with Total.
The suit seeks damages and an injunction to prevent Techsia from marketing and selling any product infringing Paradigm’s copyright. The suit raises many interesting issues stemming from different legal treatments of software ‘patentability’. In the US, software patents are readily granted (see last month’s lead on the Halliburton patent) and in the EU, patenting software has hitherto been impossible—although this is currently under review.
Another aspect of Paradigm’s action is whether a small European company can afford to defend such a suit in the US—irrespective of the intrinsic merits of the case.
Letter to the editor. ‘Neil, Thanks for your excellent coverage of the 2005 ESRI PUG, it’s always good to have an external opinion. I wish, however, to correct a couple of points in your paragraph on ‘Pipelines.’ ‘Pipeline database wars’ are not being ‘rekindled’. PODS and APDM deliver two tiers that balance user and vendor needs, a light geodatabase template (APDM) on top of a full relational standard (PODS). There are PODS members on the APDM board, and an upcoming technical paper will show how to link the two models. Also there is no ‘MJ Harden-backed ISAT data model’. MJ Harden (now GE Energy) are party to APDM , and both APDM and PODS derived from ISAT. And while there is no published link to ISAT, this can be achieved in the same manner. You will also note in the following links, that PPDM has the same 2-tier approach in petroleum. For more, visit apdm.net, pods.org and isatmodel.org. See also my article at esri.com/pipeline >Literature>Standards and Data Models. We now have cooperating associations and complementary technologies. APDM, PPDM and PODS shared booth space at the PUG, and PPDM and PODS have an upcoming joint meeting.’ Regards, Andrew Zolnai, ESRI.
OITJ—Where is OFS Portal at today?
Le Sage—Our mission is to work with oils and suppliers to facilitate e-commerce. One big step for us is support for transaction routing—hence our deal with GSX (see Oil IT J Vol. 10 N° 3). This technology allows buyers and suppliers to communicate regardless of backend systems—leveraging PIDX standards.
OITJ—Are you referring to PIDX EDI or the newer XML protocols?
Le Sage—I’m talking about the new ComproServ specification. PIDX is unusual in that the new XML-based specification got quick take-up from buyers and suppliers and with strong support from PIDX in the EU with Shell’s John Boardman at helm.
OITJ—And your transaction volumes?
Le Sage—Actually, we don’t refer to ‘transacting!’ We are the wire between parties.
OITJ—Do OFS Portal buyers see sellers’ catalogs?
Le Sage—We do send e-catalogs to buyers. But because we are in the domain of complex services, these are not really catalog purchases. A frac job is not like assembling a computer—or even like buying oil products.
OITJ—So how does a buyer initiate a frac job?
Le Sage—The catalog gives the pricing and contractual terms and conditions—which are broken down into simple and complex pricing: ‘catalogable’ and dynamic pricing. Oils can plug all this into their back ends and do their own spend analysis—benchmarking to validate pricing etc. It can be very costly to get disparate ERP systems to interoperate—taking native ERP documents, transforming them to industry standards—or transforming PIDX to non standard documents.
OITJ—Do companies issue multiple RFQs through OFSP?
Le Sage—Let’s go through the process of e-commerce—from sourcing, contract terms, ordering, delivery, invoicing and payment. While the e-sourcing/procurement process works in commodity-oriented businesses, it has not been successful in the upstream—where sourcing is a more collaborative process. Many suppliers may even have a desk engineer inside their client’s offices. There is ongoing collaboration of well services procurement. Once a contract has been signed—the time sheets, purchase orders go out and invoicing processing can begin—this is where the e-commerce has proved extremely beneficial, with e-field tickets etc. Where e-commerce has blossomed is in fulfillment—not in sourcing. E-commerce has cut day sales outstanding in half (bringing average DSO in line with contract terms!). Oils get great spend visibility. Last week Segment 71 (oil industry) of the UNSPC Code was approved—underscoring the internationalization of oil and gas e-commerce.
OITJ—How does the GXS deal fit in?
Le Sage—GXS (which used to be the GE Transaction Hub)—offers 24x7 monitoring of transactions—a very high service level.
OITJ—Are you live now?
Le Sage—Yes, we are now open for transactions. We used to offer just catalogs.
OITJ—Who are your main clients?
Le Sage—Digital Oilfield customers (in Canada), ChevronTexaco and we have an interoperating agreement with BHP Billiton. There will be more in a couple of months. E-commerce is also very big for suppliers as buyers. Another breakthrough is the new PIDX envelope with non repudiation—to prove an invoice was received.
OITJ—What happened to Trade Ranger?
Le Sage—I don’t believe that much of its technology will be used by Hubwoo – which has more of an MRO focus. The management has mostly left or is leaving. The shareholders got $1.4 million cash. Not a great return on a $200 million investment!
About 45 GoCad geological modeling users attended Earth Decision Sciences (EDS) EU user group. GoCad novelties include ‘YACS’ (Yet Another Channel Simulator) offering ‘revolutionary’ simulation of fluviatile environments, enhanced tools for up and downscaling of gridded models, more seismic interpretation functionality and a new cartographic display. More development too, on the statistical front – with the release of ‘ALEA’, the first in a trilogy of uncertainty assessment tools from EDS. EDS is also moving into production data analysis, offering closer integration with reservoir simulators.
CGG presented an interesting GoCad plug-in which allowed for multi-scale, multi unit representations of the earth to be stored in a single model. CGG’s technique allows for a high resolution geological model to co-exist with a seismic model in time and a coarser fluid flow model. CGG’s Stratigraphic Inversion (SI) Model ‘nests’ different scales in a single model and provides fast upscaling and downscaling to assure internal consistency at all scales. The software can also manage multiple time-depth mappings for different vintages of 4D and 4C seismics.
Total’s Data Analyzer
Total has developed a Data Analyzer plug-in for GoCad to add ‘missing’ statistical functionality. The Data Analyzer offers univariate and bivariate model fitting, data storage and manipulation and an ‘easy to use’ variogram tool. Stratigraphic objects and workflows are captured in XML. The software was developed by geostatistical specialist Arben Shtuka, of Shtuka Consulting.
GoCad’s roadmap includes grid math scripting and seismic filtering to enhance autopicking. Future releases will offer YACS—‘Yet Another Channel Simulator,’ and workflows for property modeling with histogram and cross-plots. The ‘InGrid’ project promises structured and unstructured gridding and 3D layer modeling. IT R&D targets infrastructure—clusters, parallel processors and archival.
Real world use
User presentations included BP’s 30 million cell velocity model of the South Caspian and Total’s complex and rapid depth conversion of the NE Bab field, Abu Dhabi.
This article was taken from an illustrated report in The Data Room’s Technology Watch series. More from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calgary-based Divestco has acquired US-based Petro Data Source (PDS) of Denver, Colorado. PDS is an oil and gas information and data broker with a database of well header and production data for more than 4.3 million wells in most of the US’ producing regions including federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore California and Alaska.
Divestco president Terry Barnhart said, ‘This acquisition completes one of our objectives—to expand our products and services into the US. PDS is a highly respected supplier of well data, and the opportunity to accelerate the growth of their datasets and client base through integration with Divestco’s software products and technology is tremendous.’
Divestco generated revenues of $25.9 million in 2004, up $10.9 million from 2003. Net income for 2004 was $3.9 million, up $3.2 million on 2003.
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has awarded a ‘major’ data storage and maintenance services contract to Ovation’s UK unit, DPTS. InfoAsset Ltd. (formerly DPTS Storage) will manage KOC’s physical media and provide value add services from a dedicated new E&P facility in Dartford, UK. Services will include audit of the inventory and E&P catalogue cleansing, and the provision of secure, on-line catalog access and on-line ordering of services and data to KOC staff worldwide .
KOC data on older IBM 3480 and 3490E cartridges will be remastered to high density IBM 3590 cartridges. DPTS will also provide routine data maintenance and will keep KOC abreast of new technology, media and methodologies that may benefit its data asset. The contract duration is four years commencing 1 January 2005.
SDC Geologix and Sense Intellifield have teamed to provide joint solutions for accessing real-time drilling data and on-time interpreted mudlog data, leveraging the WITSML standard. The joint solution combines Geologix’ GEO wellsite authoring suite which includes the WITSML/POSC Mudlog Object and Sense’s SiteCom .Net-based WITSML server. The solution is said to be web-accessible, scalable and affordable – even for onshore operations.
Geologix MD Samit Sengupta said, ‘This solution commingles streaming real-time drilling parameters and lag-corrected gas and lithology data, through the WITSML server, to give a fully integrated log. Stakeholders can access aggregated real-time drilling data and on-time interpreted mudlog data, to optimize wellsite operations and facilitate the integration and interpretation of their drilling and formation evaluation results.’
Bandwidth requirements are minimized by combining WITSML and GEO’s efficient update format. WITSML assures connectivity with corporate data stores and compatibility with other emerging WITSML applications. The WITSML mud log object was originally developed by ExxonMobil.
Common Data Access celebrated its 10th birthday last month. Chairman Isobel Emslie (ConocoPhillips) described the Herculean task of cleaning well names, company names, sorting out entitlements and ownership, recalling the IRA bomb which ‘upset’ acceptance testing. One unexpected benefit from the initiative was its usefulness in transferring data after asset swaps and mergers. ‘Switching entitlement is much easier than mass data movement.’
Malcom Fleming, OBE, described the CDA/DEAL website as a ‘significant achievement.’ Operated by the BGS on CDA’s behalf, DEAL offers prospective licensees a GIS interface to well, seismic, fields and infrastructure along with open acreage. Today, users can view blocks on offer in the UK’s 23rd Round and locate available data in an area of interest.
Mike O’Brien, Minister of State for Energy and E-commerce revealed that DEAL received the Association of Geographic Information’s award for best use in central Government. In its five years of existence, DEAL has had more than 12 million hits from industry users and has delivered in excess of 10,000 information packages.
Spectral decomposition specialist Prism Seismic is to use Mercury/TGS’ Open Inventor and VolumeViz development tools to visualize the results of its flagship Spectral product. Spectral, which runs on Windows, Linux and Unix, provides a ‘user-friendly’ workflow for spectral analysis and visualization of seismic data.
Prism chose Open Inventor and VolumeViz LDM for its cross-platform 3D capability. LDM’s rendering technology allows geoscientists to work with huge seismic data volumes without the need for high-end hardware. Prism president Ahmed Ouenes said, ‘We have leveraged VolumeViz to accelerate time to market of our interpretation solution, bringing high-end visualization, interactivity and control of very large data sets to Spectral.’ Spectral uses wavelet transforms to analyze seismic data and displays the results with 3D ‘brick technology’-based volume rendering on multi-gigabyte seismic cubes.
The Information Store (iStore) of Houston, has signed a deal with Pemex unit Integrated Trade Systems, to improve Pemex’ data access. Pemex’ data managers will deploy iStore’s PetroTrek tools to analyze, report on and distribute ‘mission-critical’ exploration and production data.
Pemex’ José Luis Figueroa Correa said, ‘iStore gives our teams access to a wide range of oil field data which can quickly and easily be put into various formats and used to support decision-making. We’re excited about the results.’
iStore president Barry Irani added, ‘As a niche player, we often compe with better-known software providers. But oil companies are coming to the conclusion that iStore provides a superior method of accessing oil and gas data.’
iStore used its proprietary ‘Knowledge Sharing Solution’ to negotiate the agreement. iStore posted documents to a web-based IM system where both parties could make changes and post approvals quickly and easily.
Back in 2003 (OITJ Vol. 8 N° 3), Pemex awarded a two year, $60 million contract to Schlumberger’s Information Solutions and Sema units for the provision of upstream information management solutions and services.
UK-based Foster Findlay Associates (FFA) has released a new seismic volume imaging product ‘SVI Pro.’ SVI Pro combines interactive tools for structural and stratigraphic volume imaging with high performance 3D visualization. SVI Pro also supports opacity rendering of 3D geobodies, attribute generation and slice-view of 3D volumes. SVI Pro contains the same functionality as FFA’s SEA 3D suite including the StructApp, StratApp, and FaultApp modules. Because SVI Pro uses disk–to–disk processing, it is not restricted by shared memory limitations – large surveys can be processed with SVI Pro efficiently and reliably on inexpensive PC hardware and then visualized.
Mercury/TGS’s Open Inventor and VolumeViz LDM were key enablers in SVI Pro development. FFA’s R&D Director Jonathan Henderson said, ‘Open Inventor and VolumeViz LDM from Mercury were the 3D graphics development platform for SVI Pro, offering high performance visualization of large seismic data volumes.’ SVI Pro output integrates the interpretation workflow and can be loaded directly into industry standard 3D reservoir modeling packages. FFA clients include Shell, ChevronTexaco and BP.
Repsol YPF has awarded Roxar a global software contract for the supply of Irap RMS, Roxar’s flagship 3D reservoir modeling software, for use by Repsol’s geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers. Repsol YPF owns 99% YPF, Argentina’s leading oil company and has operations in Libya, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and the United States.
Roxar CEO, Sandy Esslemont said, ‘This deal strengthens our operations in South America, which supplies 14% of the world’s oil. However, many countries are past their production peak and the E&P sector is under pressure as companies look to maximize reservoir performance to sustain production and profitability.’
In a separate announcement, Roxar announced it has joined the Petrotechnical Open Standards Consortium (POSC). POSC CEO David Archer anticipates working with Roxar on extensions of WITSML to production objects via the POSC Integrated Operations SIG.
Keynote speaker Dan Miklovic of the Gartner Group observed that IT means different things to different people. For the CIO, ‘IT is ERP’. For the rest of us, IT means technical computing which may be outside the control of corporate IT and present a ‘challenge’ to the CIO. Key aspects of the digital oilfield are E&P data integration and visualization. The solutions will come from ‘grid computing, high performance visualization and sensor networks.’ All of which are currently at different locations on the Gartner ‘Hype Cycle’ curve. Miklovic notes a new ‘asset focus’ as witnessed by the Aspen Tech/SIS partnership (see page 7). He also noted that oil and gas has ‘struggled’ with IT standardization, ‘Other industries have done better’. Following up on this theme in the Q&A, Miklovic further opined that PIDX has been ‘reasonably successful’ but that POSC and PPDM are ‘struggling to gain momentum’. Referring to the Hype Cycle, Miklovic puts POSC in the ‘trough of disillusionment’ and PPDM just past the ‘peak of expectations,’ with folks starting to ask ‘where’s the ROI?’
An Elvis impersonator then burst upon the scene to announce, ‘My name is Steve Comstock. I work for ExxonMobil and my job SUCCS!’ After extricating himself from the sequined suit, ExxonMobil’s CIO allowed himself a brief boast on the theme of Exxon’s profitability ‘leadership’. This stems from ‘business principles, ethics, safety, controls, and standards’. What is learned in one place is applied everywhere. Operational excellence is key to Exxon’s success. People should work with their core skills. Geoscientists should not have to ‘figure out how a computer works’. The increasing dependence on technical computing across Exxon’s operations raises the possibility that IT becomes the ‘weakest link’. Exxon is working hard to mitigate this risk, through its Common Environments—UTCS(G) for geology and UTCS(E) for engineering. Hence the Standard Unit of Computing Complexity (SUCC) metric which helps Exxon reduce IT components and complexity. SUCC is obtained by multiplying the number of networks, databases and applications together. Exxon uses Microsoft to ‘reduce complexity’. IT support is also key with standard knowledge sharing, technology, innovation and (more) operational excellence. Comstock likes to ask his own questions in the Q&A. This time his curveball was for Ihab Toma—‘What are we doing to avoid the data quality/management trap with Petrel?’ Toma assured Petrel users that SIS is ‘definitely not going to re-create the same level of complexity. SIS plans transparent data access and ease of use for Petrel’.
Seismic to simulation video
Aside from the asset team fiction we covered in our editorial on page 2, the Petrel video had real-world endorsements from Lukoil (Galina Shevelova), Apache (Mike Bahorich), SCM (Dave Hamilton), Anadarko (John Nieto) and Murphy (Chris Whitmee). SIS president Olivier le Peuch emphasized how Petrel could help data handover issues—a ‘step change’ in the integration paradigm. SIS is further building on Petrel to achieve a ‘single dynamic earth model.’ Petrel offers rapid and even automated update when new data arrives. Petrel extensions are ‘co-developed’ with partners including OpenSpirit, Microsoft, Intel and HP. Whitmee described how Petrel helped Murphy author a 3,000 page document on the Indonesia Kikeh development, in only six weeks.
SIS’ Rod Laver described Petrel as moving from ‘data centric’ to ‘model centric’ computing. Petrel is best known as geologic modeler, but now offers 3D and 2D seismics with Ant Tracking uncertainty all served up from a ‘consistent, easy to use interface’. The Petrel Process Manager captures the complete workflow which can be redone with a few mouse clicks as required. SIS is bullish about the number of Petrel users—licenses are predicted to grow to 4,500 by 2006, with 80 software developers working on the project. One churlish questioner ventured that Petrel was ‘incomplete—there is no seismic inversion, no petrophysics’. Laver stated that petrophysics will be available by connectivity with other software and that SIS is currently investigating in house and third party tools for seismic inversion.
ChevronTexaco’ (CTC) manager of information protection, Rich Jackson, applied a ‘lifecycle IM concept’ to the security of CTC’s exploding data volumes and communications traffic. ‘From the security standpoint, point to point solutions are pointless.’ Like Comstock, Jackson advocates ‘standard components’, data architecture and integrity, business process optimization and automation. Storage is the next ‘battleground’ for security. Unfortunately, CTC’s IT strategy has been vaunted as providing information ‘at any time, in any place, on any device’. This is ‘not great for security’. ‘Making high quality decisions sitting on the beach is important to CTC’ ironized Jackson.
Martyn Beardsall (SIS) stated that, for reserve estimation, ‘One deterministic answer is not enough’. To date, risk analysis has been ‘one dimensional’ à la @Risk— ‘not appropriate’ for a 4D, dynamic spatial problem. Petrel includes tools for investigating uncertainty everywhere—from seismic processing, through facies distribution to economics. Petrel 2004 introduces ‘case management’ of many ‘equiprobable’ representations of the earth model. Simulations can be run on depth conversions and viewed as movies showing the oil/water contact move up and down. The Process Manager is used to capture and replay scenarios while tweaking inputs. Petrel is a powerful tool used in this way—but this is no video game—there is a limit to the number of dialog boxes a person can face in a days work!
Petrel Data Management
As Comstock’s question implied, Petrel data management is the ‘big issue’ in this community. How do you define and implement naming conventions, units of measure and depth references etc? Today’s partial answer is to use existing systems like GeoFrame, Open Works, Finder to cleanse and manage data. ProSource results capture manager and Petrel Project Builder will soon allow for ‘cleansed’ projects to be built for Petrel. So data management in Petrel is now possible, given resources and rigor. But there remains plenty of scope for screwing things up!
A different approach to data analysis, was given by the Decide! folks. Decide! operates at several levels—collecting raw data from SCADA feeds in the Data Hub before cleansing and resampling for consumption by Finder or FieldView. Data is conditioned by removing outliers, de-noising and aggregating to a time interval ‘truly representative of the underlying data’. A rule editor and task launcher allow for post processing for material balance computation or gas allocations. Traditional petroleum engineering workflows load daily data on a monthly basis. Decide! shows cleansed, hourly data in real time. Once a significant amount of data has been collected, Decide’s neural nets and self organizing maps are used to mine the data and perform multi-variate analysis, projections and clustering.
Clay Harter (Open Spirit) showed how OS connectors serve project data through the OS integration framework and support ‘CRUD’—create, update, delete. OS has added capabilities to ArcView to connect to data in Landmark’s OpenWorks and GeoFrame. Selection criteria can be saved in an XML file and OS can synch data stores at regular intervals. OS is used to bring cultural data into Petrel. Surprisingly, Petrel cannot see data in other Petrel projects. Petrel can ‘consume’ data from an OS server. But Petrel does not serve OS data itself. Harter says that to do this would necessitate a Petrel API from SIS which ‘may happen at some time in the future.’
Dean Quigley (SIS) described how real time information management is used to monitor and improve operational processes. A survey commissioned by SIS found that ‘IM should become more intuitive’ and that ‘technology will remain a differentiator’ - allowing companies to extract information from huge data volumes. SIS’ information stack now rests on the Seabed database, with Open Spirit providing pervasive data access. Data management is now synonymous with ProSource and reflected in product names like ProSource.Results.Manager etc. The legacy database products SeisDB, LogDB, Finder, Drilling DB are all to be rolled into Seabed. And SIS has agreed to make at least one manifestation of the Seabed data model public. ResultsManager can scan and spatialize Petrel projects and capture and store 3D models to SeaBed. But these are so far just snapshots, not an application-independent format. The idea is to be able to ‘see everything in the enterprise from within a single window or map view’. ProsourceCorporateManager, the first component of a replacement for Finder Manager is now out on ‘restricted release.’ But Quigley hastened to add, ‘There is no end of life to Finder’. By 2006, SIS will have a complete IM offering with ‘next generation’ log, document and image management via a link with Documentum. Whether GeoFrame moves to Seabed is ‘under discussion’. Finally, in the Q&A, ‘Ocean’ was described as ‘.NET services for Petrel’. A slight downplay from last year’s key role for Ocean.
This article has been taken from a longer report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Reporting Service. More from email@example.com.
The fun thing about technology is that it consistently defeats the best efforts of the marketing department. With the marketing spotlight on Petrel it was therefore natural that our star of the show award should go to a fiesta of Dos boxes and Fortran number crunching.
Andy Howell (SIS) and Mark Lochmann (AspenTech) jointly presented the ‘world premier’ of the Avocet Integrated Asset Management (IAM) interface. Today, 90% of production engineering is done in Excel. ‘It’s an art, not a science’. Avocet IAM sets out to inject science into facilities design. Avocet uses a canvas onto which number crunching design and simulation engines can be dragged and dropped.
Without more ado, Howell performed a live demo, dragging, dropping and connecting HySys, PipeSim and Eclipse onto the Avocet IAM canvas. Test data from Statoil’s Gullfaks and Brillig fields was used to investigate the commercial logic of a proposed interconnection between the two production facilities.
The canvas paradigm allows just about any tool to be used in the computation – including Excel, tank models or production profiles. One key workflow involves updating spreadsheets and tank models from the simulator results. Eclipse and PipeSim results feed HySys for heating/treating and gas flash-off calculations. A time stepper animates graphs of production, water rates and steam used. Eclipse shows wells shutting in as they reach the economic limit.
The simulation showed the gas oil ration doubling in 4 years. Can the compressors handle this? Can electric drives cope? Water from the reservoir is up, but water produced by the facility is down. We were confused as to the outcome of the demo. Did Gullfaks get plugged in to Brillig? Could the compressors cope? What does ‘swapping the exchangers mean’? It really didn’t matter. This is it! The digital oilfield in all its splendor. And not a Petrel in sight!
4th Wave Imaging has signed a consulting and service contract with Petrobras for the provision of 4D time-lapse seismic monitoring services.
Knowledge Systems has appointed Dave Savelle to its Board of Directors and Kevin Brady as VP marketing. Savelle was previously with Munro Engineering, later acquired by Landmark Graphics. He also works with Digital Oilfield. Brady was previously with Gulf Publishing.
Francis Hodsoll has been appointed deputy director of the US Minerals Management Service. Hodsoll was previously senior policy advisor at the Department of Energy.
Paradigm has appointed Dave Richard president of its Canadian operations. Richard was previously president and CEO of Kelman Technologies. Paradigm also appointed John Gibson to its board of directors. Gibson recently quit his job as ‘the admired and ambitious boss’ of Halliburton’s oilfield business—as reported in a fascinating profile of Halliburton in the May 9th issue of Fortune magazine.
Wellogix director Tim Morgan has been named co-chairman of the API’s Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX) Business Messages Work Group, responsible for the continued development of eCommerce standards and guidelines.
WellPoint Systems has engaged Daniel McGrath to manage its Houston office and to spearhead its US expansion. McGrath was previously with software houses Primus and IM-Age Software.
Feby Hapsari has joined Hampson-Russell’s Jakarta office as software support geophysicist for the SE Asia region. Feby was previously at the Petroleum Geoscience Study Centre (PGSC) in Jakarta.
Denver-based Transform Software has just joined the POSC/RESCUE reservoir model exchange format body.has just joined the POSC/RESCUE reservoir model exchange format body.
Jan de Jager, (Technip) noted that in the ten years to 2003, oils managed to triple earnings while engineering and construction earnings decreased! This has resulted in a ‘significant risk imbalance.’ The average value of Technip’s five largest projects is around €600 million - one third of the group’s equity! Oils are ‘transferring risk to suppliers,’ this in turn is leading to a ‘claim culture’ as lawyers sort out who does what and who pays. Technip has grown from 6,000 to 19,000 people in five years. Today’s students in Europe the USA do not find engineering ‘sexy’ and cost differentials are driving work offshore. But this requires upgraded IT facilities, a €70-80 million/year cost to Technip. De Jager complained of clients ‘who mandate their own tools’ for engineering contracts and who refuse data in ‘standard formats’, resulting in ‘inefficiencies and extra cost’.
Dalip Sud, (Shell) presented the plant data standard ISO 15926 (Part 4) as a ‘text book’ of references, organized by disciplines (rotating, piping, instrumentation, activities etc.) with 12,000 core definitions of plant objects. Shell uses a mixture of proprietary tools and libraries – but is moving to use and integrate with ISO 15926. Industry has moved on from the STEP common data model. Today, data in commercial systems is mapped and extracted to ISO where needed. Mapping a system to Part 4 is done ‘once and for all’. Questioned as to the overhead of using the standard, Sud responded ‘In the early days, we were talking about data modeling at an astronomical cost. Today we just map equipment definition and terms. The effort has been drastically reduced, down to man-weeks.’
Andy Till (BP Exploration) addressed the IT behind construction of the Angolan Greater Plutonia FPSO. The ISO 15926 standard was used for data and documents and written into the contract, along with detailed responsibilities for handover. Links from an equipment tag number point to OEM documents with equipment characteristics etc. 80,000 documents are available in a ‘Virtual project Room’ publishing tool with 3D views of plant (Aveva Vnet).Till complained that ‘consistent, clean data is not generally available from vendors’. The Angola project ‘only scratches the surface of the possibilities of standards-based engineering and handover’.
ChevronTexaco’s (CTC) Saha condensate project is a $1.9 billion, 100,000 bbl/day development. CTC had issued guidance on documents and drawing classification tags, but there were ‘deficiencies’ in implementation. Goulding described the contract specifications as ‘appalling’ in terms of standards and format prescription. CTC’s managers believed that standards increase costs. They don’t! Today CTC’s contracts now include precise terms re data and documents. Initial construction started without an IT/IM plan. This was rectified and CTC put in a Documentum eRoom server. The technology began to drive adoption, users could see benefits from standard document nomenclature. ‘The whole thing accelerated’ to embrace transmittals and change management. Vendor documents (manuals) on PDF are being re-organized by CTC into a Data Warehouse which now holds the ‘best information in the concession’ and ‘will become a standard.’
$16 billion waste
During the round table discussion, Anne-Marie Walters (Bentley) reported that a study by the US NIST had ‘put the wind in the plant IM industry’s sails.’ The report found that US Capex projects wasted $16 billion in IT interoperability overheads – and that this cost is borne by owner operators.
This article has been taken from a longer report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Reporting Service. More from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intervera Data Solutions of Calgary has just released a new ‘streamlined’ version of its flagship Data HealthCheck data quality reporting tool. Intervera’s ‘Rapid HealthCheck’ provides diagnostics and inventory of technical data quality. Rapid HealthCheck (RHC) provides regular reporting of non-standard values, highlighting basic data issues, and discovering data entry errors.
Once discovered, data issues may prompt a broader analysis of data including identification of business and operational impacts, which can be performed using the Data HealthCheck product.
Intervera has also added production data quality rules to its DataVera repository, adding to its previous QC rules for exploration, drilling and completions rules. DataVera claims to correct 90% of data issues through automated tools.
ChevronTexaco Corporation (CTC) and the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance (WAERA) have signed an AUD $5 million per annum deal to further petroleum industry R&D and education.
CTC Overseas Petroleum president John Watson said, ‘This agreement underscores our long-term commitment to developing Australia’s offshore oil and gas resources and to using research to enhance the safety and efficiency of our operations. We anticipate part of the alliance’s mandate coming from ChevronTexaco affiliates outside Australia and expect this will benefit our worldwide operations.’
R&D topics will span E&P, hydrocarbon processing, HSE and training initiatives. Projects will include deepwater seismic acquisition and interpretation, drilling and producing from large bore wells, subsea production systems and CO2 sequestration. Future research may also target the hydrogen economy.
WAERA Chairman Gordon Martin said, ‘Our primary role is to help the energy industry maximize its sustainability by improving outcomes at all stages of the upstream supply chain, from exploration to production.’ WAERA is an alliance between CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific Industry and Research Organisation), Curtin University of Technology and the University of Western Australia.
Baker Hughes Inteq (BHI) division has augmented its Baker Expert Advisory Center Operations Network ‘Beacon’ service (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 3) on Norsk Hydro’s North Sea Troll field.
BHI’s ARTE (Advantage Real Time Engineer) will simultaneously run the real-time part of MWD and mud logging, with support from dedicated Beacon engineers onshore. ARTE reduces the overall number of field engineers required to support the operation, described as ‘one of the most technically challenging drilling projects in the world.’
BHI Beacon real-time, remote operations centers are currently deployed at client sites or co-located in BHI data centers around the world. In last month’s Oil IT Journal, BHI’s Pat McGinley argued that future will see less investment in in-house data centers and a focus on co-located centers such as Baker’s Gulf of Mexico site.
Have you ever heard a vendor apologize for not having a data set available for demonstration? This excuse is no longer tenable thanks to the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC), operator of the US Navy’s petroleum ‘reserve,’ the depleted Teapot Dome oilfield. RMOTC has just issued a 3 CD-ROM data set for public use. The data includes 400MB of 3D seismics in SEG-Y format, 60 MB of LAS files for 29 wells on Teapot Dome, 335MB of core, image log, slab photos etc. on the 48-X-28 strat test well and a 238MB of monthly production from Teapot Dome. More from www.rmotc.doe.gov.
Real time specialists OSIsoft has partnered with Houston-based startup GlobaLogix to to provide ‘integrated data management’ of oil field data. GlobaLogix and OSIsoft will integrate customer data into OSIsoft’s Real-time Performance Management (RtPM) Platform and develop specific applications to fit their business needs.
OSIsoft VP Michael Saucier said, ‘This partnership emphasizes OSIsoft’s commitment to a healthy ecosystem supporting our business initiatives. We are now able to deliver operational performance metrics to the upstream oil and gas market, a game changer for the upstream.’
GlobaLogix CTO Philippe Flichy added, ‘GlobaLogix moves real-time data from well head to web site, through our integrated data management solutions. Efficient production operations are an absolute necessity for the upstream oil and gas industry.’
GlobaLogix deploys OLDI’s Tecla intelligent end device as the heart of its ‘Knowledge Node’ architecture. Knowledge Node moves intelligence out into the field - as close to production as possible. Communications and data hosting are assured by partner Stratos, offering satellite and wireless communication along with a redundant data center and Tier 2 Internet access.
Invensys unit SimSci-Esscor has released a new version of its VisualFlow (VF) steady-state simulator. VF is used in the design and modeling of safety systems and pressure relief networks on oil and gas production facilities, gas processing plants and refineries.
The new version includes enhanced ‘Sim4Me’ thermodynamics, improved reporting capabilities, and more efficient data entry workflows. SimSci’s Jim Browne said, ‘Plants require reliable, accurate answers to tough questions, from the rating of complex relief systems to highly looped cooling water systems. VF makes it easy to integrate information and thermodynamic calculations to ensure safer plant design and operation.’
Over the last couple of years, Fugro has been building quite a portfolio of oil and gas service offerings. In its 2004 annual report, the company reveals a couple of financials that went unreported previously.
In June 2004 Fugro paid € 4.9 million for C&M Storage of Houston. C&M Storage offers data management and storage services for cores and cuttings, paper records, samples, tape and microfiche. The deal included Fugro’s assuming liabilities of €3.1 million. C&M Storage has 18 employees, 60 company clients in the Houston area and an annual turnover of around $2 million.
In 2003, Fugro acquired UK-based reservoir modeling software house Volumetrix for €2.3 million cash and Seiscan for €300,000. Other acquisition prices were reported in previous issues of Oil IT Journal.
It has been a busy month for Calgary-based e-business solutions provider WellPoint Systems. The company has entered a marketing agreement with Data Management Solutions (DMS) of Houston. WellPoint will sell DMS’ Gas Marketing and Risk Management applications to the Canadian market and DMS will sell WellPoint’s Oil Marketing System (OMS) as a complement to its current products. WellPoint has also done a deal with Calgary-based Gemini Performance Solutions for the provision of eLearning-based training for its clients.
WellPoint also announced a couple of value-add deals based on Microsoft financial solutions. HSE Integrated, described as ‘the largest oilfield safety services company in Canada’ has selected Microsoft Axapta to manage its growing services organization and CenAlta Well Services has chosen Microsoft Solomon to manage its rig inventory.
Saudi Aramco has awarded a contracted to Siemens’ Industrial Solutions and Services unit (SI&S) to equip two hydrocarbon product distribution terminals with its ‘Sisog TMS’ terminal management system. The Sisog TMS simulates fuel tank farm and distribution terminal activity to optimize plant personnel training. Simulation of ‘unusual’ operating scenarios and fault situations prepares operators to react quickly and appropriately. System changes and upgrades can also be tested in advance using the virtual plant simulator.
These installations bring the total number of TMS sales to Saudi Aramco to 19. Additionally, a ‘virtual plant simulator’ is being deployed for technical support. The simulator can load any plant configuration and simulate field-device and interface behavior. As a result, even plant-specific functions can easily be simulated, and the operating personnel can be trained efficiently.
Automated road-tanker and driver identification manages traffic to and from the terminal. Transactions are booked automatically and the associated information is available in real time. The system can determine currently available quantities and grades and automates the management, administration and balancing of stocks as well as tank-to-tank transfers and batch management of all pipeline transports.
Sisog TMS can be implemented as a standalone solution for a single location or can be integrated in a company-wide ERP such as SAP. The latter variation is especially suitable for companies such as Saudi Aramco, which require up-to-date information on stocks and on incoming and outgoing quantities in a large number of tank farms at all times. Sisog TMS will also integrate the Siemens XHQ real-time information portal which is presently being installed throughout Saudi Aramco in order to enable a link up between production data and business data.
Oracle Resources is to deploy Wellogix’ Complex Services Management (CSM) suite to improve the purchase-to-pay process of its US operations. Oracle Resources provides consulting and property management services to the upstream oil business.
Oracle Resources’ VP operations, Ray Walker said, ‘Wellogix CSM streamlines our planning, procurement, and payment processes. The CSM suite will let our employees focus on the task of drilling wells instead of the accounting process. We chose Wellogix after a comprehensive review of the market for oil and gas specific business management solutions.’
Wellogix VP Pat Talley added, ‘Oracle Resources’ vision of a streamlined planning to procurement to payment process will showcase our ability to deliver exceptional value to early stage operators.’
Wellogix CSM helps companies improve business processes relating to the planning, procurement and payment of complex oil field services. Wellogix CSM reconciles field-tickets and invoices and enforces compliance with service providers’ contracts.
Hot on the heels of HP, with its xw 8300 announcement (OITJ Vol 10 N° 2), SGI is offering an optimized price/performance system targeting the Energy vertical. The new Linux-based Prism ‘deskside’ visualization system has a starting price of $8,500 and is scalable to 24GB memory and two graphics pipes.
Dual ATI FireGL
The Prism is said to be ideal for ‘multi-attribute’ tasks, enabling ‘faster and more quantitative reservoir analysis.’ Dual ATI FireGL graphics processors serve four ‘full bandwidth’ channels—driving displays with up to 10 million pixels. Available with single or dual Itanium 2 processors, units can be combined in a ‘visual area network’ (VAN) to share data and CPU resources. The unit can be configured as an entry-level SGI Reality Center.
SGI Irix applications can run concurrently with Linux applications using Transitive Corp’s QuickTransit hardware virtualization technology. QuickTransit provides access to some 140 IRIX utilities, bringing ‘rich and powerful’ extensions to Linux.
Several software houses have already ported their applications to the SGI Prism platform including Advanced Visual Systems’ AVS/Express, Earth Decision Sciences’ GoCad, Mercury Computer Systems’ Open Inventor, Tecplot and VR environments from VRCO and VRcontext.
SGI also reports further sales to the energy vertical. Marathon has added 64 more processors to its SGI Altix 3000 (total 256 processors) and an SGI VAN comprised of an eight-processor Prism system with 96GB memory and four ATI graphics pipes, an Onyx and four Vizserver licenses. Storage has been boosted by a 12.5TB CXFS shared file system and additional SAN infrastructure. In the United Arab Emirates, Zadco has opted for a 64-bit SGI Altix 350 Linux-based supercomputer for reservoir simulation.
In a survey conducted last December by Spur Digital for POSC, Oil IT Journal came out way ahead of any comparable websites and publications in the oil and gas information technology vertical. The report, entitled ‘How Energy Information Technology Professionals Access News and Information,’ was based on a survey of 200 energy and IT industry executives. Oil IT.com was found to be the most visited website in the oil and gas IT space, even beating ‘generalist’ sites such as ZDNet, CIO, Computer World and Microsoft. www.OilIT.com currently receives an average of 850 unique visitors per day.
MRO Software, developers of the Maximo suite of asset management solutions has initiated the MRO Software Oil and Gas Advisory Council, to provide ‘expanded support’ for the oil and gas industry. Founding members of the Advisory Council include representatives from BP, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Kuwait National Petroleum Company.
Council member Professor Karlene Roberts of the Walter A. Haas School of Business at Berkeley said, ‘Industry is facing increasing pressure to address compliance, reliability, Sarbanes Oxley, and HSE requirements. This program, centered on the high-reliability organization, will help achieve compliance.’
The Council’s first meeting included an overview of strategic asset management in oil and gas and facilitated discussions of market trends and opportunities. Working groups will provide feedback and best practices for optimizing the Maximo platform and will provide an information source for users.
MRO VP Jack Young, said, ‘Oil and gas is important for MRO Software. I look forward to working with the Council to enhance Maximo’s capabilities and deliver solutions to these industry leaders.’ MRO Software has 200 oil and gas clients and posted $185 million revenues for 2005.
Houston-based LiveSurveillance has announced a real-time video monitoring service for oil and gas pipelines and petrochemical facilities. The ‘low-cost’ solution can monitor up to 300 hundred video cameras in real time. These are fed to an onsite ‘Livideo’ concentrator. The Livideo unit processes video feeds from security cameras before transmission to the LiveSurveillance remote server.
Operators can view feeds in an operation center or over the internet via a LiveSurveillance ‘Watchdog’ station. LiveSurveillance uses monitoring-on-detection, filtering and classification techniques to reduce the time spent actually monitoring video cameras. The Live-Surveillance hardware, database and server integrate with existing IT infrastructure.
LiveSurveillance operations manager Bill Rutledge said, ‘Companies can affordably add live surveillance to their existing security installations. One security operator can monitor 300 or more cameras from a single station – a real breakthrough for the industry.’ More from livesurveillance.tv.
ChevronTexaco Corp. (CTC), Total and Schlumberger have kicked-off a joint R&D initiative to develop thermal simulation technology aimed at improving recovery from heavy oil reservoirs. The two-year collaboration will leverage ‘next generation’ simulation technology from the CTC/Schlumberger ‘Intersect’ project.
CTC VP and CTO Don Paul described the Intersect as demonstrating ‘breakthrough performance.’ Intersect offers a Petrel-based platform for the advanced simulation of thermal recovery processes. ‘This capability will enhance ChevronTexaco’s heavy oil operations.’ Paul added.
The project involves research to ‘capitalize on advances in software and hardware, parallel computing, advanced gridding and modern software engineering techniques. IPR from the project will be commercialized by Schlumberger and embedded in its ‘next generation’ simulation products.