May 2005

Ballmer backs Schlumberger

Microsoft and Schlumberger join in ‘strategic initiative’ of an integrated oil and gas desktop, leveraging Microsoft’s .NET technology in Schlumberger’s ‘Ocean’ development framework.

Microsoft and Schlumberger have launched a ‘strategic initiative’ to accelerate delivery of an ‘integrated oil and gas desktop’ based on Windows and the new Microsoft .NET platforms.


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, ‘We’re collaborating on the next generation of Schlumberger software that is designed to give better and more predictive information to geoscientists and engineers. Combining our talents in this extremely important work will have a tremendous impact on the industry.’


The alliance will focus on two key areas: seismic to simulation petrotechnical workflows, and integrated asset modeling from the reservoir to production facilities. Microsoft will work with Schlumberger to ‘optimize and accelerate’ development of SIS applications on .NET and to help ensure long-term alignment and early deployment of new Microsoft technology.


Justin Rounce, SIS VP software explained, ‘With Microsoft providing architectural guidance, consulting and best practices, we will be able to leverage the full potential of .NET in Ocean, our open development framework, to speed the deployment of the next generation of software tools, including Petrel seismic to simulation and Avocet production solutions. The announcement claims ‘additional benefits’ to E&P customers, including the opportunity to move to a single IT environment, thus ‘reducing cost and complexity’ by integrating the petrotechnical and enterprise desktops.

Openness strategy

Speaking of Ocean, an SIS spokesperson told Oil IT Journal it is ‘committed to a strategy of openness. Developers outside of SIS will be able to use the data, services (coordinates and units of measure) and infrastructure (plotting canvases) of the Ocean Development Environment to extend Petrel and the SIS drilling and production tools.’

Petrel API

A key component of Schlumberger’s new solution, the Petrel API, was released last year. This exposes a sub-set of the Petrel modeling data. Third party developers can add their own algorithms to Petrel. A future release will enable developers to ‘create their own products,’ leveraging Petrel’s data infrastructure.


Is this announcement any more than the product placement we railed against in last month’s editorial? What does SIS mean by ‘open’? What exactly is ‘Ocean’ and when will Petrel run in 64 bits? Answers to these and other key questions in next month’s Oil IT Journal!

Roxar fall float

Listing on Oslo stock exchange planned followed by expansion through organic growth and acquisition. Roxar currently showing 18% annual sales growth.

Roxar is to apply for a listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange in the third quarter 2005 with an initial public offering scheduled for later in the year. Roxar’s core competency lies in oil and gas flow dynamics through its software flagships, Irap RMS 3D (geological modeling) and Tempest (flow simulation). Roxar also markets real-time subsea and topside multiphase and wet gas meters and permanent downhole monitoring systems.


Roxar CFO, Ådne Grødem said, ‘Our customer list includes 150 multinational, national and independent oil companies including BP, Total, Hydro, Petronas, PDVSA, PEMEX, PetroChina and Statoil. We believe the time is right to capitalize the company for further growth.’


Roxar’s operating revenue was NOK 624 million in 2004—reflecting compound annual growth of 18% since 2000. CEO, Sandy Esslemont said, ‘We are excited by this opportunity to grow the company both organically and by acquisition.’ Current Roxar owners are Lime Rock Partners, Smedvig ASA and other minority shareholders. Financial advisors for the placement are Enskilda Securities and Deutsche Bank.

Klein Bottles, 3D models and the big picture

Oil IT Journal editor struggles with 3D modeling, mapping and vertical application software as used to model reservoirs and production platforms. Without reaching any hard and fast conclusions, he suspects that today’s focus on ‘integration’ is a little off-target. A multiplicity of 3D applications fulfill diverse, domain-specific needs. But 3D data management may prove a greater commonality.

I saw an ad recently for a piece of software that modeled a Klein bottle. You must have seen them, the neck bends around and goes through the wall of the bottle, continues inside and reappears as an opening in the base. You can see (and buy) one on I wondered how many geo modelers could model the Klein bottle—and whether they might ever need to. I have been struggling with an editorial on 3D since the ESRI PUG, the Klein bottle was an inspiration to try again.

3D is hot

3D is both ubiquitous and ‘hot’. The map may be the ‘integration platform’ of today, but the 3D viewer/modeler will be the integration platform of tomorrow. This is reflected in a lot of activity in the commercial world—from ESRI, the software majors and niche players like EDS, Paradigm and Roxar.

3D is everywhere

3D is everywhere in oil country data and application software. The most basic 3D is the ‘plain sailing’ x,y,z coordinate reference framework. Here, any conversions from geographic coordinate reference systems (CRS) are assumed to have been carried out before data is loaded to the application. Most all interpretation software falls into this GIS naïve category.


A greater level of sophistication is reflected in a proper mapping package like ESRI’s ArcGIS. Such systems can consume data from a variety of different CRSs and map them correctly. ESRI’s software also offers ‘2 D’ support. A point on the earth’s surface can be ‘extruded’ to map a mountain in 3D. While this is ok for topography, or even representing buildings, it will struggle with an overhanging cliff, let alone a salt dome or buried Klein bottle.


In the engineering community 3D is omnipresent with CAD diagrams of plants and pipes. This leads one to wonder if we are doing the same 3D thing over again. Isn’t there a way of seeing the plant model alongside the reservoir model? This is actually a popular boardroom pursuit. I have seen such holistic views including plant data from AutoCad in both ESRI and in Geoprobe. Both times it was clear that the world would have been a better place if the data was available in the appropriate format. ESRI is now ‘reaching out’ to the engineering community with a special track at the ESRI Summit—and a move is afoot to enhance ESRI’s software to allow it to handle true 3D models. This may come as something of a surprise to those who are engaged in reservoir modeling using the many, robust tools that are available today. This is where we have to start considering cultural issues.


Twenty years ago, companies had draftsmen and surveyors who worked on a combination of data management, conversion and mapping to produce base maps etc. A decade ago, the few survivors from this community resurfaced in data management and ‘geomatics.’ Their Swiss Army knife was ESRI and their bread and butter the Shapefile. In the last decade or so, interpretation systems have moved from the map paradigm and into the 3D space. Application software has also discovered a host of new data objects—voxels, surfaces, and geobodies. The mapping community now looks like ‘flatlanders’— hence the desire to extend ArcGIS to true 3D.


As in any community, demarcation is an important issue. The spatial brigade makes a lot of the fact that almost all data has a ‘spatial component’ and therefore falls within their bailiwick, and by implication, should be managed in ESRI. This is a little like saying that, because almost all data has a textual or numeric component, it should be managed in Documentum or Excel (I know, most of it probably is!).


The real differentiation of 3D application software like Autocad, Catia, GoCad, Petrel, VoxelGeo, IRAP etc. is the serious domain knowledge built into these tools. They may not model a Klein bottle, but some know what a fault is, others will ensure that a pipe doesn’t ‘collide’ with another piece of the plant—they may even know what fluid is in the pipe. Some may know that one object is ‘Jurassic,’ others that a cell has a certain permeability or a voxel’s accoustic impedance is 2.6!

GIS as data management

To conclude I submit that the status quo of GIS-naïve applications with a high level of domain specificity is probably a good thing. This moves GIS-awareness upstream of application software and into the data management field. Interestingly enough, at the 2005 PNEC Data Integration Conference there were signs that the data management community is moving on from its obsession with nomenclature and UWIs to discuss CRS management. A sign of things to come?


If this was a blog, I would point you in the direction of Roxar CEO Sandy Esslemont’s excellent editorial on the state of the service industry in the April issue of Hart’s E&P magazine. Esslemont complains of the dual role played by many oil companies who are both technology provider and user. He was scathing about the support given by an operator defending a ‘breakaway group of employees’ from an ‘innovative technology firm’ that had taken ‘intellectual property that was not rightfully theirs.’

Jump ship

The most significant lawsuit that has come into our radar since Oil IT Journal began was the Amoco/Landmark/Coherence tussle (Oil ITJ Vol. 2 N° 7). But technology ‘transfer’ happens all the time—usually without so much fuss. The original Petrel developers hailed from Roxar’s parent Smedvig. And ex-members of the Eclipse team helped code Roxar’s own Tempest simulator! It really is a small world. A fact you can see for yourselves (in 3D!) on

OITJ Interview—Anne-Marie Walters

The Cullen report on the Piper Alpha disaster highlighted poor offshore data and information management, sparking off a renewed interest in plant data standards that is bearing fruit today.

Anne-Marie Walters, (Bentley Systems) began her career as a chemical engineer with BP before moving via Sema Group to Schlumberger and Atos Origin. She later joined ESSI, an Intergraph spin-off and a key player in information systems for asset management and now a part of Bechtel.

Oil ITJ—What’s ISO 15926 all about?

Walters—After the UK North Sea Piper Alpha disaster, the Cullen Report found that a contributory factor had been the poor data on the facility. There were poor records of the plant ‘as built’ and a lack of control over the plethoric sub-contractors involved in maintaining and running the facility. BP, Shell and AMEC decided to do something under the auspices of the UK CRINE initiative, applying Aerospace STEP processes to the petroleum industry in what became PI STEP. CAESAR systems was engaged in similar work in Norway, extending the POSC Epicentre data model to engineering. In the Netherlands, the Shell-driven EPISTLE data modeling exercise determined that ‘you can’t model a plant like upstream data’. Eventually PI STEP and POSC/CAESAR converged on EPISTLE. Later the Dutch USPI-NL industry organization added equipment and supplies to the equation. All three, PI STEP, POSC CAESAR and USPI-NL then converged to a high level PIEBASE organization whose chairman’s committee ‘sold’ the standard to the International Standards Organization (ISO). This eventually became ISO 15926. ISO 15926 is now managed by the POSC/CAESAR organization although with the recent decline in funding of standards, work has focused on ‘getting them out and using them’.

Oil ITJ—What about the US?

Walters—A new US standards body has now entered the fray – the FIATECH organization – backed by DOW and Dupont. This initiative got a big boost last year from a US government NIST study* which looked at major capital facilities such as private and government buildings. The study found that US capital projects wasted $16 billion annually because of poor IT interoperability – underlining the need for better plant data management.

Oil ITJ—Do these bodies cooperate?

Walters—Today several projects are piloting ISO 15926, many vendors are using XMpLant from Noumenon Consulting. This initiative leverages 15926 plus the STEP XML standard. Current work focuses on data translation, interoperability and delivery to the standard. There is a move in the industry to have FIATECH to manage XMpLant.

Oil ITJ—What’s Bentley doing here?

Walters—Bentley has been acquiring various engineering CAD/CAM tools as follows: Intergraph’s PDS, (developed on top of Bentley’s Microstation), REBIS AutoPlant (AutoCad’s plant application) and Bechtel’s 3DS (now Bentley’s Plant Space). These are now being ported to our SmartPlant environment. The REBIS acquisition heralded a change in Bentley to an ‘open platform’ with read/write of AutoCad files. Bentley also acquired ESSI and now covers both CAD and data management, through ESSI’s eWarehouse. Project documents are managed with Project Wise, a specialist CAD DMS. Bentley also acquired Aspen Tech’s AxSys chemical engineering process simulation tool, part of HySys. We are now pulling all this together into DigitalPlant, leveraging the ‘openness’ of the underlying MicroStation format along with XMpLant. DigitalPlant has been used on BP’s North Sea Claire field, the In Salah and In Amenas Algerian Gas fields and on projects in Baku. BP’s digital business unit is in the process of ratifying DigitalPlant for global deployment. DigitalPlant is also used by Chevron on the Aqbani development in the Middle East.

* NIST Study of ‘Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry.’

Who certifies the certifiers?

Both the AAPG and SPE have proposed separate certification programs for reserve evaluators.

There has been a recent flurry of activity from the learned societies to certify their membership. In the left corner, the The American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE) are responding to ‘concerns over recent petroleum reserves write-downs’ are ‘deliberating on a program to certify reserves evaluators’. In the right corner, a task force from the Society of Petroleum Engineers has recommended that the Society establishes a ‘Petroleum Professional Certification’ system.


Heading up the AAPG initiative is Dan Tearpock of Suburface Consulting and Associates (SCA) who observed, ‘In the US and globally, reserves are not audited by independent accountants and are not estimated by evaluators that have to meet any formal standards. This problem is international in scope.’ Regulators, Congress and investors have called for reforms in reserve estimates and reporting.

Lack of standards

The AAPG Division of Professional Affairs has found a lack of standards in definitions and recommended practices and training for reserves estimating and reporting. A joint AAPG and SPEE committee is investigating ‘qualifications, recommended practices, reserves definitions, certification and ethics’.


The new SPE president, Giovanni Paccaloni, writing in the May issue of the Journal of Petroleum Technology, reveals that the SPE too is recommending a professional certification program for its membership. The SPE is exploring the opportunity to ‘verify professionalism’ through a certification program. A pilot program will be conducted in Abu Dhabi early next year.


On the notice boards, the reserves definition discussion rolls on in a manner reminiscent of medieval theologians discussing the number of angels that can reside on the head of a pin. Postings proliferate on the meaning of ‘proved,’ ‘reserves,’ P90 etc. The two certification initiatives may liven up the debate with the possibility of separate ‘geological’ and ‘engineering’ classifications and certified classifiers!

Fugro-Jason announces RockMod services

‘Sixth generation’ reservoir characterization technology derives from UT consortium work.

Fugro’s Jason unit has announced ‘RockMod Services,’ (RMS) a new reservoir characterization offering based on sixth generation, if not sixth sense, technology. The new technique emanates from the University of Texas at Austin’s Formation Evaluation Consortium.


UT associate professor Carlos Torres-Verdin explained, ‘RockMod combines geologic information, amplitude vs. angle (AVA) sensitivity analysis and pre-stack stochastic inversion – reducing the risk associated with conventional analyses.’

Earth model

RMS builds an earth model from all available information and can be applied at any stage of a field’s development. Deliverables can include petrophysics, reservoir property determination, static and dynamic flow simulation models and economic risk assessment.


Fugro-Jason general manager David Graham said, ‘Rock properties and geostatistics can be combined in a single integrated method, providing the best possible earth model. Clients spend less time considering the limitations of their models and more time designing the most effective drilling program for their field.’

New browser and spatial information system

GeoLogic Systems announces land data browser and Alberta spatial information system—SPIN 2.

GeoLogic Systems has just released a land browser system for the Canadian oil and gas industry. The browser combines the latest freehold land information from the Government of Alberta with landholder-specific information available through GeoScout, GeoLogic’s proprietary exploration database. A new User Land database has been integrated with GeoScout to help users track and update their land holdings.


GeoLogic president David Hood said, ‘These elements combine to offer the best land browsing system in Western Canada. Our integrated model will also provide a template for the development of similar systems in other markets, nationally and internationally.’


Earlier this year, GeoLogic became the first authorized industry vendor of freehold land information under the Spatial Information System Version 2 (SPIN 2) Volume Data provisions of the Alberta government. SPIN makes freehold land information available to the industry direct from the government database, but excludes landholder names. GeoLogic has added landholder-specific information gathered directly from landholders and is the first company to combine the two elements.

LogTech’s database—4.5 million curves

One million curves added last year and one thousand users for Canadian public log database.

Calgary-based LogTech reports ‘substantial progress’ in its added value digital log database effort. LogTech now offers 4.5 million digital log curves to users of its LogArc on-line database. In the past year, LogTech has added one million curves from over 15,000 new wells. LogTech claims its database has the best coverage of any public digital log database in Canada – especially in terms of data quality, header data curve suite depth interval coverage. LogTech is currently validating digital log data on a 4,000 well backlog and expects LogArc curve coverage to top five million ‘real soon now’.

940 users

Data is generally wellsite-derived and quality controlled for consistency prior to loading to LogArc on-line. LogTech claims 940 users of its public digital log data set. More users access LogTech’s data alongside their own proprietary digital and raster log data through LogArc software.

Getech leverages GeoSoft’s Montaj

Consultancy standardizes on mapping package and GM-SYS modeling from Northwest Geophysical.

UK-based potential field specialists Getech has chosen Oasis’ Montaj as its software standard for geoscience data mapping and processing. The deal includes Oasis’ partner Northwest Geophysical Associates’ GM-SYS potential field modeling package. Montaj lets geoscientists import, view, process and share earth science datasets, grids and images within an integrated environment.


Getech MD Derek Fairhead said, ‘It was important that the system was flexible enough to accommodate our own software modules. The new system allows data to now flow easily between our UK and US offices.’


GeoSoft Europe’s MD, Ash Johnson added, ‘When working with multiple large geoscience datasets, oil companies want to minimize their data chores and maximize results, so that they are not wasting 80% of their time manipulating and assessing data. Montaj gives us a competitive edge providing clients with quick turnaround times for the delivery of quality data and interpretations.’

Anadarko and Devon sign with LogLine

Independents contract with A2D for online depth-calibrated raster and LAS log data.

TGS-Nopec unit A2D has just announced well log data deals with independents Anadarko Petroleum and Devon Energy. Anadarko awarded A2D a multi-year contract for access to A2D’s US onshore and offshore library. The deal provides for global digitization services and unlimited use of A2D’s depth-calibrated SmartRaster and LAS data. Anadarko will continue to partner with A2D to further expand the commercial digital LAS log library, including new ‘workstation-ready’ logs.


Anadarko geoscience systems manager Mike Seeber said, ‘The agreement with A2D is an important part of Anadarko’s digital data strategy—making well log data available from around the world is an important facet of our competitiveness. ’


Devon has extended a similar multi-year agreement with A2D for well log data access and data management services including a subscription for unlimited use of SmartRaster data in the US and Canada. A2D continues to host Devon’s proprietary log data via LogLine Plus.

Petris becomes FileNet ECM partner

ValueNet program brings enterprise content management to science, engineering and finance.

Petris Technology has joined FileNet’s ValueNet partner program and now offers FileNet Consulting and added-value services in the scientific, engineering and financial fields. Petris also integrates FileNet’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) products with its Petris Winds Enterprise upstream data exchange infrastructure.The partnership expands Petris’ capabilities to address client needs ECM and unstructured data management.


FileNet VP Chas Kunkelmann said, ‘FileNet helps energy companies manage content in multiple repositories, inside applications, and at geographically-dispersed locations. For energy customers, Petris adds its knowledge of their distinctive content challenges. Together, we can help customers maximize the value of their existing content.’


According to Petris, a holistic approach to managing energy companies’ particular combination of structured, unstructured and geospatial information yields the best and most complete knowledge. Increasingly, content is integrated across functional areas and between geo-science and business functions.

Petrosys consolidates mapping niche

Enhanced mapping package offers support for EPSG geodetics and ’curtain call’ for IRIX.

Petrosys has just released a new version of its popular upstream mapping package. Petrosys 14.6 sports a number of bug fixes, enhancements and interoperability extensions. The Petrosys seismic data file now consistently supports long horizon names across Windows, Solaris, Linux and Irix platforms without file translations.

Oracle 9i

Petrosys now supports ESRI ArcSDE 9.0 and Oracle 9i – although legacy implementations will be supported ‘for some time.’ Petrosys now ships a standard suite of queries and reports for multi-connect environments which will be maintained by Petrosys across future releases. The release also adds new functions for management and mapping of 3D seismic survey data based on the PPDM 3.7 data model.


Petrosys believes that understanding geodetic datums is key to E&P data management and now offers support for the widely-recognized European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG) model for coordinate reference systems and datum conversions. Petrosys 3D visualization now displays well data from GeoFrame, OpenWorks, Finder and IPL.

Curtain Call

Petrosys states that ‘Irix has contributed enormously to EP computing over the past 10 years in the areas of 3D visualization and high performance computing.’ But support for Irix to end after the 14.6 release. On a more positive note, Petrosys is beta testing Oracle’s latest 10g database, in the context of integrating Oracle Spatial, ArcSDE, and other spatial data stores.

SEG-D Rev 3 invitation to discuss

Interested parties can join seismic format debate at Madrid EAGE.

Following the 2004 SEG, Jill Lewis (Troika) is chairing a group investigating a revision to the SEG-D seismic data acquisition standard. The group is to investigate how SEG-D can adapt to modern media and various revisions to the SEG-D headers, trailer and channel descriptor. Another issue is whether an upgrade to SEG-D is the way to go, or whether a modern ‘SEG-E’ format should be drafted with XML for metadata, and random access for data stored on disk.


Troika has set up a reflector site for discussion of the possible new format and a meeting is planned at the 2005 Madrid EAGE. Interested parties can also sign up to a mailing list on

PNEC Data Integration 2005, Houston

Phil Crouse’s PNEC Data Integration Conference broke all records with around 250 registered. Although the same topics preoccupy the data management community there is a shift from noting to fixing problems. Underlying the sameness is a ‘phenomenal change.’ Data quality has become part of the workflow with companies deploying what Shell refers to as ‘gold standard’ reference metadata. Outsourced seismic data management is a reality. And IT solutions are leveraging fancy middleware, Portals and W3C standards like XPath to link to disparate data sources.

Randy Petit (Shell) and Dale Blue (Landmark) reported on Shell’s subsurface data management environment. Shell’s New Orleans and Houston data has been migrated to a combination of in-house storage on Landmark’s corporate data store (CDS) and its outsourced solution, the PetroBank master data store (MDS). A combination of PowerExplorer and Landmark’s advanced data transfer (ADT) package is used for data browsing and OpenWorks project building. ADT leverages a corporate ‘gold standard’ of reference values. Merging data from multiple external data sources involved reference data clean up and data blending according to business rules. ADT uses XML to move data between applications. Power Explorer and the CDS are now being rolled-out in the EU by Shell International.


Pat Ryan described Calgary-based Nexen’s data management framework which supports its 280 ‘best of breed’ G&G and engineering applications. Nexen’s Data Application Separation layer (DASL) leverages Tibco middleware to link well data objects with OpenWorks, GeoFrame and an in-house developed PPDM repository. This allows for sharing common UWI, header information and survey data between applications. The system provides audit triggers for data loading, managing coordinate reference systems and other reference data through ‘well defined business rules’. The model is being extended to pipeline and facilities. DASL captures user ‘context’ at login. A ‘reference clearing house’ provides consistent metadata. ‘Discretionary access control’ is provided through Oracle Roles.

IHS Energy

Bart Torbert described IHS Energy’s use of an XML-based metadata schema – a ‘virtual unified data model’ to leverage legacy data models like IRIS21, PIDM, PPDM and a plethora of smaller databases. A high level logical model uses a ‘meta schema’ approach and the W3C XPath protocol to route requests to the appropriate data source. Applications work with ‘objects and ideas used,’ not database tables.


Hamish Wilson reported on a Paras’ study which found ‘no correlation’ between data management/IT spend and business performance. Today’s data management is about low level ‘drain cleaning.’ Wilson wants to get onto a ‘higher plane’ and see how data management could make a difference to the business. Reporting and compliance imply a direct link to technical data management. How does a company justify booked reserves for a particular field to the SEC? This is a ‘profound question’ that requires reservoir characterization and simulation results, seismic data etc. Interpretation results should be captured in real time, capturing versions and keeping them up to date. Paras offers metrics to track performance including a ‘scorpion plot’ combining ERP and technical information.

A2D and Volant

David Hicks (A2D) and Scott Schneider (Volant Solutions) presented the ‘log data procurement challenge’ of squaring ease of availability with secure access control. Companies should enforce a ‘single point of procurement’. Volant’s ‘order once, route anywhere’ system deploys web services-based ‘resource adaptors’ (for OpenWorks, A2D and Recall). The system provides transformation services between LAS, WellLogML, SIF and RasterML. A business logic layer can be extended to integrate ‘best places’ for data storage.

Data quality

Mike Underwood updated last year’s presentation on ChevronTexaco’s data quality effort. Chevron’s workflow has been improved and automated. Data cleanup is performed with Innerlogix tools QCLogix, QCAnalyst and DataLogix. These can check data types including well metadata, deviation survey, horizon picks, production data etc. QCLogix measures differences between objects in data stores in terms of consistency, non null values, validity and uniqueness. QCAnalyst gives a map view of wells by activity, color coded as percentage error. The system is currently being rolled-out throughout North America following a successful GOM pilot. CRS consistency is also tested. Data with the wrong CRS was about to be loaded to Open Works. But the system picked the error up in the metadata.


José Luis Figueroa Correa described Pemex’s @ditep corporate data portal which has centralized regional E&P data into a single database. Oil production data is managed through a link between Pemex’s SNIP production database and Finder (Schlumberger is Pemex’ corporate-wide IM partner). Pemex has tidied up its document warehouse with barcodes and a new filing system—replacing the ‘anarchy’ of the past. The future will include ‘smart’ data loading services, data quality metrics, visualization and the development of better DM/IM skills within the company.

Panel Discussion

Madelyn Bell (ExxonMobil) noted relatively little change from year to year at the PNEC. But this hides a ‘phenomenal change.’ The focus has moved from data models and middleware (now mature), to the value and completeness of data. Exxon is making it easier to retrieve, refresh and reuse old studies. Bell queried why E&P companies are not more proactive in mandating data quality standards for vendors. Pat Ryan (Nexen) agreed that terminology is crucial. Document management is hard to link with geoscience systems—but the need is now to access G&G and corporate documents and contracts. Paul Haines (Kerr McGee) suggested information management was ‘more about people and process than about the data’. Kerr McGee encourages users to ask ‘WIIFM’ – what’s in it for me? Kerr McGee’s unstructured information is being migrated to a semi-structured, indexed data database. Haines advocates the ‘Goldilocks’ approach to data – ‘not too much, not too little, just the right amount - of data and process’. Katya Casey (BHP) emphasized that data preparation is ‘essential for good interpretation’. Companies understand the importance of metadata, but ‘vendors don’t supply it!’ A plea echoed from the floor, particularly for geodetic information where a ‘standard data model/exchange format’ is needed.


David Zappa spoke to the thorny issue of knowledge management (KM) for Halliburton’s top brass. Zappa has been working on getting top management to ‘take the pulse’ of the organization, identify technology gaps, commercialize new products and even to help succession planning. Halliburton’s KM system uses Plumtree with links to other DMS, collaboration and project tools. KM offers managers a ‘window into operations,’ addressing recurring issues efficiently. Communities of practice are used to spot rising stars and ‘thought leaders’.


Pam Szabo outlined StoneBond’s Integration Integrity Process (IIP). The upstream typically deploys hundreds of applications with manifold dependencies—making it hard to manage change. IIP models complete information systems and dependencies and when a change is suggested, the system reports on its impact on inter-connecting applications. IIP relies on metadata and ‘inference technologies.’ One example showed the impact of changing well names in a production monitoring application as data is transferred to a production optimizer. Recursive algorithms are used to manage ‘trees’ of cascading impact.

BHP Billiton

In designing BHP Billiton’s Petroleum Enterprise Portal, Katya Casey took inspiration from eBay and Amazon. The Portal embeds Schlumberger’s Decision Point, SAP Business Warehouse, Microsoft Exchange, Documentum and other tools. The Portal streamlines the workday, reduces clutter and offers effective access to information by aggregating content from multiple systems (without knowing passwords) and serving this to applications. ‘Everything I need today is right in front of me.’


Jeff Pferd (Petris) believes that we need knowledge ‘waypoints,’ a ‘semantic GPS’ to lead us to the meaning of information contained in documents, data, earth models etc. Petris is working on dictionary-based systems to bridge documents and structured data. Sources include the PIDX Petroleum Industry Data Dictionary, PPDM’s Glossary and the Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary. Books such as the Oxford Earth Sciences Dictionary help too. These have been leveraged to map a corporate core sample library’s
terminology across to GeoFrame and OpenWorks.

This article was taken from a longer report from the PNEC produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Report service. For information on subscribing to the Technology Watch Report service, please email or visit and follow the Technology Watch link.

Saudi Aramco unveils huge SAP project

‘High visibility’ in-house SAP-TSW development targets movement of 9 million barrels per day.

Speaking at the SAP SAPphire user meet in Boston this month, Mohammed al-Ruwaii, project manager with Saudi Aramco, presented of one of the largest and most far-reaching ERP deployments in the world. Subtitled ‘How to Move 9 MBOD in the 21st Century,’ al-Ruwaii’s talk described a ‘very high visibility’ in-house SAP development targeting the national oil company’s production and export sales. The project leveraged SAP Trader’s and Scheduler’s Workbench (SAP TSW), a component of SAP’s mySAP Oil & Gas industry solution.


At the highest level, the project addressed supply and demand planning, distribution of oil products to the customer, billing and financial controls. The project addressed business challenges spanning sales, planning, financial and operations. These included a lack of inter-departmental business communication, duplication of data entry across applications, poor reporting decision support and a lack of data transparency and accuracy.


Aramco currently deploys 11 systems to support its operations. The plan is to replace all of these with a single ‘comprehensive solution’ based on SAP’s Supply Chain Solutions. Aramco already deploys SAP APO, SAP TSW, SAP IS-Oil Downstream, and some SAP Business Intelligence tools for planning.

Terminal automation

Aramco has coupled SAP’s Terminal Automation System (TAS) with its SAP Global Hydrocarbon Sales for integrated planning, scheduling, movement, inventory management and billing. A ‘fully-fledged’ solution that is now ‘live’ for distribution, transportation, marine scheduling, ‘everything that relates downstream!’


The single, global view and real-time cash forecasts, inventories and sales information are now streamlining Aramco’s operations. SAP roles provide ‘clearer boundaries of responsibility and segregation of duties.’ People know what processes they own and are authorized to maintain. An interface between the TSW system and the summit pipeline is now completely automated, eliminating paperwork and providing a solid audit trail. Everything, from contract to billing, including material, sales and nominations, is now under a single document flow. Aramco can respond to business changes and is planning to extend the system to e-sales and portals.

Folks, facts, orgs etc…

News from Microsoft, K-Reservoir, GX-Tech, Malibu, Millennial, Roxar, Blue Marble, I/O, Landmark, MVE, PPDM and Sun Microsystems.

Tony Hey is leaving his post as director of the UK’s ‘much-ballyhooed’ e-Science Initiative to coordinate Microsoft’s Technical Computing Initiative.

Kent Horstmann has joined Knowledge Reservoir’s Houston office as VP, Business Development. Horstmann was previously with Exxon.

Lucky Awobasivwe, president Bulwark Services has been named MD of GX Technology’s new Port Harcourt seismic processing center.

Rene VandenBrand has been named president and CEO of Kelman Technologies. VandenBrand was previously VP business development with Veritas.

Scott Miller (Account Executive) and John Rosson (Business Analyst) are heading up Malibu Engineering & Software’s Houston office.

Millennial Net has named Neil Ferris as executive chairman and Terry Halloran as president.

Midland Valley Exploration has joined the POSC/Rescue model association.

Soan Dang Do is sales manager at Roxar’s new Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam location.

Blue Marble Geographics has updated its GeoCalc dev kit to support new vertical datum transformations and the Open GIS Consortium’s WKT (well-known text) definitions.

Input/Output expects land seismic station counts to double—from 800 to 1,600 channels by 2009, with a rise from 4 to 40% of channels devoted to ‘full wave’ acquisition.

Landmark Graphics is now the principal channel for SGI energy market sales in Latin America.

Moose Oils and Midland Valley have released a new ‘2DMove Access Package’ offering short term leases and training for single users.

New PPDM members include Amerada Hess, Pemex E&P, RWE Dea and Santos.

Sun Microsystems is to acquire Tarantella, Inc. for approximately $25 million cash.

Roxar has signed a technical cooperation agreement with Smartec for the application of fiber optic monitoring technology to the oil and gas industry.

SPE Digital Energy Conference, Houston

BP’s Motes, rig data capture, ECM integration, web services and UWI’s—is this the digital oilfield?

Curt Smith, applications director with BP North America demonstrated the use of sensors and Motes—low cost data concentrators and solar powered wireless communications devices. BP is testing sensor and Mote networks from Intel and Rockwell. These have reduced the cost of asset tracking at gas stations and retail sites. One pilot involved the tracking of ‘smart bottles,’ RFID tagged LPG cylinders. In chemical plants and refineries, Motes are set to reduce BP’s shut down costs, estimated at around $420 million/year, improve safety and locate workers in an emergency. Another project—the ‘wireless warehouse’ is encouraging workers to come up with new ideas for RFID use. So far these include real-time supply chain monitoring, cutting inventory cost and simplifying work order management. Smith anticipates ‘multiple’ other benefits, likening the technology to the evolution from clipboard to computer.

Key Energy Services

Bruce Lowe described Key Energy Services’ (KES) well servicing rig data capture project. This targets cost reduction in the well servicing and work over market—worth $2 billion in North America in 2004. Lowe states, ‘If you can measure it you can improve it’. So the project measures rig equipment, activities and real-time data acquisition. The rig data capture project is a ‘pipeline’ for electronic data from service providers on location to the customer, the foundation for digital technologies used in drilling and completions and the source of process data to perform continuous process improvement. Data from remote locations is transmitted to KES’ central database and can be accessed through the KES KeyView portal. The project is helping KES monitor workflow quality, retain its workforce and use data for cost and downtime reduction. Lowe anticipates that in future, there will be more collaboration and performance measurement by operators, well servicing companies and third parties.

Vintage Petroleum

Tulsa-OK headquartered Vintage Petroleum is in the process of integrating its information with an enterprise content management (ECM) system from Livelink. Carrie Daigle stated that ECM lets the corporation ‘benefit from your knowledge when you are gone.’ Key issues for Vintage include turning data to competitive advantage and speeding information delivery. Storing and organizing data electronically ‘creates instant access at your fingertips.’ Using Livelink has minimized risk of information loss to Vintage and improved productivity. The system also scales with changing business needs. The original problems began with invoices; where were they? who saw them? who approved them? Such issues are particularly acute in the light of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Vinatge creates cover sheets for invoices which can be faxed or emailed as a pdf file. ECM offers ‘non repudiation’—proof that the recipient has received the invoice. Livelink offers a ‘map’ of where information is located, allowing for online data drill down.


Lonnie Chin described Talisman Energy’s ‘Reaper’ GIS portal for browsing and managing structured and unstructured well data. Like many operators, Talisman was challenged by data stewardship/ownership issues and the need for data clean-up. Key to Talisman’s solution is the Master Well Identity (MWI) – a Talisman-defined unique identifier for every well. This allows for consistent access of multiple data sources from assets around the world and has improved cross discipline collaboration.

Saudi Aramco

Marwan Labban described Saudi Aramco’s interpretation environment which offers data transfer, search and processing. Saudi Aramco needed a web services based workflow wrapper for its heterogeneous EXPEC Computer Center. The system, which leverages Petris Winds Enterprise, offers a variety of data exchange services and adapters for E& P data types which support authentication, search (by spidering databases) data validation and transfer.

New risk and reserve package from Rose

Multi-mode risk and reserve analysis now includes coalbed methane resource assessment.

Rose Associates is about to release a new version of its flagship Multi-Mode Risk and Reserve Analysis Program (MMRA). MMRA V 4.0 uses Monte Carlo simulation to model input variables with multiple distribution types, providing a ‘fully-stochastic’ analysis of a prospect’s potential.


New features include mutually-exclusive scenario amalgamation and coal bed methane resource assessment. Complex trap modeling lets users track evaluations throughout the prospect lifecycle, as information changes during a study.


A new administration worksheet lets users choose from a variety of prospect evaluation settings where corporate standards, terminology and customizable lists can be set. The software can derive inputs from in-house database products for archival and performance tracking purposes.


MMRA has a hardwired link from Schlumberger/Merak’s PEEP to link E&P economics with prospect risk evaluation.

M2M Corp upgrades remote monitoring

Internet SCADA system links assets to knowledge workers, new service offers remote monitoring.

M2M Data Corporation has announced the second edition of its internet-based Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition package. M2M has also upgraded the M2M Service Platform, an end-to-end managed network for communicating data between remote assets, operators, and enterprise IT systems.


The new release optimizes network performance, particularly for slow connections such as dial-up and GPRS. Assets can be associated with individual users with reports and alarms tailored for shutdowns, data outages and KPI monitoring.

Status Alert

M2M also unveiled a new remote machinery monitoring service ‘Status Alert,’ providing run status, read out from local control panels and remote control. The satellite-based service, which was developed from M2M’s Compressor Alert service (OITJ Vol. 9 N° 7), is claimed to payout with one avoided site visit. StatusAlert monitors electronic flow measurement, takes one hour to install and operates for two years on an internal battery.

Merrick unveils Rig-Hand RFID tags

Shell is testing new radio frequency ID-tagged tubulars and bottom hole assemblies.

Merrick Systems has just announced its ‘Rig-Hand’ radio frequency identifier (RFID) tag-based downhole equipment monitoring system. Rig-Hand comprises ruggedized handheld computers, tag readers and software modules and is designed for ‘fast, accurate and consistent’ collection of information on downhole equipment for drilling, workover and completions operations. Rig-Hand deploys patented RFID tags embedded in downhole tubulars such as drill pipe, casing, production tubing and other bottom hole assembly components.


Merrick Director Ian Binmore said, ‘The pipe measuring method used on rigs today requires three to five people to measure, manually document and calculate pipe tallies. Rig-Hand lets one operator do this by scanning the pipe with a handheld computer that automatically provides the pipe tally. Rig-Hand provides critical drill string information that helps reduce pipe failures, fishing costs and downtime. The financial benefits are significant, from $70,000 to $1 million per rig per year.’


Technology partners Shell and Maverick Tubing will join Merrick in the first commercial test of Rig-Hand on a Southern California workover later this year. Factory installed RFID equipped will be deployed and tested with different Rig-Hand modules.

US DoE reports on CO2 sequestration

Carbon sequestration Atlas of US now available.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory, a unit of the US Department of Energy has just produced a status report on its carbon sequestration program. Seven sequestration ‘partnerships’ have been initiated with the goal of supporting carbon sequestration field tests. A national network of companies and professionals has been established and the NETL has published a carbon sequestration atlas. Current projects include the California Energy Commission’s Westcarb. The Atlas shows CO2 sources, areas of CO2 storage potential and coal bed methane fields.

Alliance heralds ‘as built’ plant information

Aveva and Quantapoint team to capture plant data in the real via ‘open’ laser interface.

Document scanning is a well-understood process for ‘capturing’ legacy information in the form of paper hard copy. But what if you are trying to populate a plant information system with the ‘as built’ configuration of an oil refinery or offshore production platform? An alliance between plant information specialist Aveva and Quantapoint targets this issue with the integration of photo-realistic laser scan data from Quantapoint’s Prism 3D and Aveva’s Vantage Plant Design Management System (PDMS).

Open technology

Aveva’s PDMS can now ‘consume’ 3D laser models through an ‘open’ laser model interface. Users can compare and validate CAD plans against 3D laser models, visualize proposed modifications and ‘clash-check’ models to identify physical interference—a major cause of rework.


David Wheeldon, Group Product Development Director at Aveva said, ‘Quantapoint holds several laser technology patents and has nearly 700 projects to its credit. Closer integration between our products will significantly decrease design and modeling time.’


Quantapoint CEO Eric Hoffman added, ‘This integration enhances the value laser scanning brings to owner-operators who recognize the benefits of using ‘as-built’ documentation as part of an asset lifecycle management strategy.’ Aveva clients include AMEC, Daewoo, Halliburton, Petronas Carigali, Shell and Sinopec Engineering.

Consortium develops new instrumentation

Norwegian academic institutions have funding for new real time oilfield instrumentation research.

The Research Council of Norway has awarded Christian Michelsen Research (CMR) and the University of Bergen a $3.5 million project for the development of new subsea and downhole instrumentation. The five year project is a joint effort between the research labs and Norsk Hydro. The program targets the development of ‘robust and reliable’ measurement technology and ‘novel solutions’ for high quality measurement for real-time reservoir control, e-field operation and subsea processing facilities.


Secondary objectives include the development of improved downhole multiphase measurements, instrumentation for subsea in-line multiphase fluid sampling and analysis, instrumentation for monitoring of subsea separators and water quality measurement and metering technology for subsea allocation and fiscal measurement. The project is intended to trigger spin-off activities and industrial projects. The project staff comprises one post doctoral position, three PhDs and ten engineering Masters candidates.

Roxar equips Hydro’s intelligent wells

Permanent downhole meters provide real-time measurements from multi-zone completions.

Norsk Hydro has awarded Roxar, a ‘multi-million dollar’ extension its contract for permanent downhole monitoring systems in the North Sea. The two-year contract extension provides remote access to real time pressure and temperature information from Hydro’s conventional and multi-zone intelligent wells.


Roxar CEO Sandy Esslemont said, ‘Our permanent subsurface monitoring systems give customers the information they need to better manage their reservoirs and optimize production—providing them with effective, intervention–free reservoir surveillance around-the-clock.’

Largest ever deal

Roxar has also sold 50 of its topside multiphase flow meters for deployment on a middle east onshore field—its largest order to date. Roxar expects more multiphase meter deployment, particularly for subsea completions and high value onshore wells.

Rig scheduler package optimizes rig use

Malibu Software’s new package extends its Wellcore daily reporting tool.

Malibu Engineering and Software has just released an extension to its Wellcore suite for companies which manage and plan rig schedules. Malibu’s new planning tool provides a visual representation of an operator’s rigs, their status, and schedules. This module allows for data from Wellcore to be auto-populated from both office and field users.


The software circumvents problems such as inconsistencies arising from spreadsheet-based rig planning and discrepancies between rig status from both field operations and head office. The visual overview of rig utilization also helps avoid schedule time gaps due to incomplete information and communications. Users have a visual representation of how rigs have been scheduled and can drill down from the Scheduler to daily report information held in Wellcore.

Xerox scans Sunoco’s 5,000,000 documents

Enterprise content management system to leverage Microsoft SharePoint Server portal.

US refiner Sunoco has contracted with Xerox Corp. for the digital management of its 5 million paper documents including contracts, asset blueprints, human resource records and invoices.


Sunoco office services manager Greg Wood said, ‘Xerox Global Services’ imaging and indexing has enabled us to regain control over our huge paper assets and will optimize our document access.’

35,000 documents/day

Sunoco will ship its documents to Xerox’s Imaging Services Center in Hot Springs, Ark. Xerox is to scan and index 35,000 documents a day into TIFF or PDF files. Images and index files will be stored onto a secure FTP site for web retrieval and burned onto DVDs for shipment back to Sunoco. The contract runs into 2006 and includes secure storage of the original hard copies at Xerox’ Imaging Services Center.


In addition to the scanning and indexing solution, Sunoco operations recently extended its consulting contract with Xerox for the next phase of its document-management strategy. Xerox is to extend its digital solution with Microsoft’s SharePoint portal software.

Wellogix rolls-out electronic AFE solution

Workflow-based package targets complex services management and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

Houston-based Wellogix, Inc. has released a new electronic Authorization for Expenditure (AFE) solution as a component of its Complex Services Management (CSM) suite. The new module enhances oil and gas operations by streamlining the AFE process, targeting AFE creation, routing and internal authorization. Joint ventures are supported, from the pre-AFE planning process through AFE compilation, routing to final approval.


Wellogix CEO, Ike Epley said, ‘Customers told us their current, paper-based AFE processes are mired in paper and difficult to manage. Current processes suffer from poor visibility as AFEs are routed through the company. Wells are even spudded prior to AFE approval—an obvious compliance issue for publicly traded companies and a challenge to a privately held operator.’

CSM Suite

The Wellogix CSM suite is an end-to-end solution that helps engineers to collaboratively plan and specify complex services with their service providers, to automatically create and reconcile AFE, field-tickets and invoices, and to enforce compliance with preferred service providers’ contracts.

Chevron joins Scandpower consortium

The $7 million ‘Horizon’ project targets drilling and production in ‘challenging’ environments.

Chevron has joined Scandpower Petroleum Technology’s Horizon project (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 1). The three year, $7 million project targets production from ‘greater depths, longer flowlines and challenging environments’. Results will be embedded in future releases of Scandpower’s Olga simulator, refining multiphase modeling predictive flow assurance. Other Horizon members are ENI, ExxonMobil, Statoil, Shell and Chevron.


Scandpower has also signed up new customers for its Drillbench product including KMC Oiltools (Kuala Lumpur), Odjell Drilling (Norway) and Wild Well Control (Houston). Earlier this year, Scandpower signed with Houston-based Knowledge Reservoir for the joint development of technical workflows leveraging SPT’s Mepo reservoir history-matching simulator.

Low cost downhole gauge from DoE

Real-time temperature and pressure data transmitted through ‘stress waves’ in pipe string.

A US Department of Energy (DoE) backed consortium has developed a low-cost ‘real-time downhole gauge’ suitable for deployment in low rate, ‘stripper wells’. The Stripper Well Consortium is funded by the DoE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil. The consortium has developed 55 new technologies of which some ‘are approaching commercialization.’

Wireless downhole gauge

The latest technology, developed by Tubel Technologies of Houtson, is a downhole wireless gauge. This uses ‘stress waves’ in the pipe string to communicate throughout the wellbore. The tool currently monitors temperature and pressure, but additional parameters can be added. This new technology can be used both in permanent and service applications. The wireless gauge can also provide reservoir evaluation with formation build up tests to optimize production and maximize the amount of hydrocarbon that can be extracted from the wellbore.

Gould sees decade of double digit growth

Current situation most favorable upstream climate since 1970’s according to Schlumberger CEO.

Speaking at the Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans last month, Schlumberger Chairman and CEO Andrew Gould described 2004 as a a year of ‘consistently broken records.’ These included an oil price high of $55.67 in October, US oil demand topping 20 million bbl/day and record land rig activity—all in all ‘the most favorable business climate we have seen in the upstream industry since the early 1970s.’


Gould noted that under-investment in all parts of the industry means that ‘tight supply and volatile prices are likely to remain with us for a number of years’. New supplies from Central Asia and the deepwater will not happen quickly enough to correct the situation and restoring a ‘comfortable margin’ of supply will take a number of years.


Gould opined that the oil service industry was ‘not in particularly good shape’ to meet the challenge of a rapid increase in activity with aging rigs and equipment and little spare capacity. A shortage of specialized E&P professionals means that ‘industry is fighting over the core of professionals that remain.’

Landmark manages Hydro’s paper

Project merged 1.5 million indexes to Documentum and shipped 58 truck loads of paper to storage.

A report in Landmark Graphics ‘Solutions in Action’ series spotlights a major ‘paperless office’ project performed for Norsk Hydro. Following its 2000 acquisition of Saga Petroleum, Hydro found itself with six legacy paper archives in four cities.


Ellen Marie Ramberg, Hydro’s Director of Information Management said, ‘We were under pressure to release storage for office space and decided to outsource our paper documents, making them available in electronic form.’ Landmark unit Petrodata was awarded the contract for document management and the implementation of an ‘integrated digital workflow,’ including the provision of virtual data rooms.


Hydro’s paper was previously indexed in eight different Lotus Notes databases. These have been merged to a customized version of Documentum to provide shared access to physical documents in a multi-client electronic archive. Archives are outsourced to Landmark’s Managed Services. In eight weeks, 1.5 million paper documents were bar-coded and 58 truck loads of documents shipped to a central repository. A custom Order and Delivery system, integrated with Hydro’s EDMS, initiates scan-on-demand electronic document delivery—minimizing the risk of losing important originals, since they never leave the archive.

Electrobusiness supports e-whistleblowers!

New Canadian rules stipulate anonymous reporting of questionable accounting or auditing.

Calgary-based electroBusiness now lets ‘whistleblower’ employees ‘talk’ electronically to their employer’s audit committee, in compliance with new Canadian regulations. The new rule, ‘Multilateral Instrument 52-110,’ requires publicly traded companies to establish whistleblower systems by July 1, 2005.


Part 2.3 subsection 7(b) requires companies to establish procedures for, ‘the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the issuer, of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters’. electroBusiness’ products eBsecuredesk and eBgateway are compliant with the new rule and allow for ‘the secure submission of confidential documents and information directly to the audit committee from anonymous employees’.

Real Time Operations Center for Shell unit

Shell is to deploy Halliburton’s remote technology Gulf of Mexico drilling and logging operations.

Shell E&P Co. has awarded Halliburton’s Energy Services Group a two-year contract for the provision of integrated drilling services for its Gulf of Mexico activities.


Paul Goodfellow, wells manager for Shell said, ‘The Shell/Halliburton Real Time Operations Center (RTOC) will be the lynchpin of this contract. The RTOC brings together drilling, exploration, and development teams to enable multi-disciplinary well delivery. The facility supports 24/7 well monitoring and interventions, real-time collaboration and decision-making.’


Halliburton VP Brad Murphy added, ‘Our integrated drilling and formation evaluation technology will help Shell meet its drilling challenges and maximize reservoir deliverability at the most effective cost.’


Landmark’s WITSML implementation OpenWire is leveraged in the RTOC. The RTOC is a component of a larger contract, for directional drilling, measurement-while-drilling (MWD), and logging-while-drilling (LWD) and is worth approximately $24 million.

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