Volume 24 Number 2


Editorial Big Data Paris 2019

Neil McNaughton spends some time at a generic ‘Big Data Paris’ conference, an action-packed affair with speakers from Audi on connected cars, Mapr on Kubernetes and its own dataware approach, and online betting company Betclic which runs a data warehouse with 1.5 billion records on Snowflake in the cloud. But how these disruptive new technologies might translate to oil and gas is where things get interesting.

It is always a good idea to listen to other industries, especially when they are engaged with initiatives that seem to parallel things that are happening in oil and gas. Hence my attendance at Big Data Paris organized by the curiously named ‘Corp Agency’. This event was seriously busy with a packed exhibition area where vendors large and small pitched to enthusiastic crowds. The multiple auditoriums were likewise busy, with folks pushing to get out against those who were pushing to get in. It was a bit like the Metro.

I managed to avoid much of the bun fight by sitting in on the plenary sessions where I heard Hubert Fischer explaining how VW Group’s Audi Electronic Venture unit is studying streaming data from connected cars. Data is ‘a lot more than the new oil’ it is the ‘new DNA’ for the auto industry. Audi’s onboard data collector takes data from the engine, tires, pollution, liquid levels, radars and transmits it all to an ‘internet of things backend’, aka the automotive cloud. Collaborating fleet cars can broadcast where there is a free parking spot! Real time is key, ‘life does not happen in batch’. VW’s own fast IoT platform in the cloud gathers data streams from millions of vehicles and performs real time analytics to analyze for black ice/aquaplaning risks. Swarm intelligence provides best route calculations ‘displacing service providers’ (like Google Maps? … really?). Kafka queues run on AWS for data ingestion. Asked what data volumes come into the system, Fischer stated that VW is not allowed to collect all possible data, ‘but if we could, we could have around 4TB from a single vehicle in an 8 hours ride’.

The ‘terabytes of data’ remark reminded me of GE’s extravagant claims for data streaming from its airplane engines that appear to have been largely made-up. If you are ‘selling’ big data analytics, then you need the raw material of big data. Once you have this you can beat up on folks for not using it. Given that the first use of an in car computer dates back to 1968, when Volkswagen introduced its ECU Computer (Engine Control Unit), and the fact that these have been standard on most cars since the late 1970’s, it is reasonable to assume that there is indeed a lot of data buzzing around in an automobile. But most of this emissions control data is already processed on board in real time. It’s not really a candidate for the cloud. Other data snippets – like ‘hey there’s a free parking spot’ could be pinged out as a very small message. Good data is not all ‘big’.

We then heard Remi Forest from Mapr describe a ‘Kubernetes and dataware ’ approach to big data. Seemingly web server/stateless solutions are ‘unsuited’ to intensive big data applications such as IoT, mobile, monitoring and analytics and where scalability (100k users up) is an issue. Forest’s talk was more hard-core IT with talk of containers and abstraction layers. At-scale management of data leverages Kubernetes and (potentially) millions of containers, ‘Google does billions!’ If one dies, never mind there are plenty others! Kubernetes keep containers up and running whatever happens. But data management remains a challenge in the world of containers. Data ‘gravity’, whereby bigger data attracts apps, is a problem. Enter ‘dataware’, an abstraction layer that ‘allows data to be managed as a first-class enterprise resource decoupled from other dependencies’.

I have a hard time relating to this talk of containers and Kubernetes. I’m not sure if they are terribly relevant to oil and gas IT. They seem to be necessary in a world of massive real-time access to computing resources and data. There may be a requirement for such somewhere in the upstream, I’m not sure, but if there is, it would be nice if someone else ‘abstracted’ all this stuff away!

Which is exactly what happened in the following talk from French online betting company Betclic. Camille Reverdy and Christofer Daussion have rebuilt Betclic’s analytics from scratch using a Snowflake data warehouse running on AWS along with an on-site Tableau for analysis. Snowflake is a totally managed service with 1.5 billion events in a single table growing at some 20 million/day. But wait a minute, Snowflake is a ‘collection of stateless services that manage virtual warehouses, query optimization and transactions’ and which appears to be hugely performant. Just the opposite of what Mapr was saying earlier in the day! OilIT.com has a dozen or so references to Tableau, but none so far for Snowflake. Having said that, Snowflake’s early growth came from displacing on-premise Netezza and Teradata boxes in various industries including oil and gas, according to CEO Bob Muglia.

We have reported on containers, in particular with our analysis of Docker, the ‘next big thing’ a couple of years ago. The container paradigm is associated with ‘small pieces of loosely-coupled software’ provided as microservices. But until there are many such software apps, as advocated in the OSDU, this edition’s lead, discussing containers in a world which remains one of monolithic applications is probably putting the cart before the horse. It’s interesting but probably a bit too techie for most.

And what of ‘generic’ technology as opposed to oil and gas specifics. Is it better to leverage off-the-shelf stuff like the Betclic folks have? In the Q&A someone asked about maintaining the Betclic stack. The reply was that in fact, there was not much development involved in the project. That’s rather different from those who advocate running a complete Hadoop stack, managing containers and what have you. If something like Snowflake can run your business intelligence, that neatly avoids all the ugliness of the cloud. However, your business may not map to Betclic’s. In Jim Crompton and Steve Cooper’s new book*, which we review elsewhere in this issue, one reason for the relative failure of ‘Digital Oilfield 1.0’ was the difficulty of applying generic technology to oil and gas because of its ‘domain complexities’. Which raises the interesting question as to how much of today’s novel big data technology stack can usefully accommodate the upstream’s data niceties.

*A Digital Journey: The Transformation of the Oil and Gas Industry. Cooper and Crompton 2019. ISBN 9781 7918 909 02

Headlines

Open Subsurface Data Universe

The Open Group publishes data sheet for the Shell-backed Open Subsurface Data Universe. Next up is a reference architecture for a cloud-native, API-driven platform for upstream application development.

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CFIHOS to merge into IOGP JIP33

Capital facilities information handover standard to migrate from USPI-NL to UK’s IOGP, opening a new chapter in the long search for construction industry procurement standardization.

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Book Review: A Digital Journey: The transformation of the oiland gas industry

Steve Cooper and Jim Crompton’s new book traces the failures of ‘Digital Oilfield 1.0’ and the movement’s resuscitation in today’s ‘digital transformation’. Big data and analytics will fail too unless there is a renewed focus on data management fundamentals, perhaps with the deployment of a master data management solution like EnergyIQ’s TDM, used throughout in a soft sell-cum-illustration of the ‘fundamentals’. The authors argue that ‘things will be different this time’.

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Upstream Intelligence’s 2018 Data Driven Drillingand Production Conference, Aberdeen

Amazon’s paradigm shift for oil and gas. Equinor’s Integrated Operations Center. Blue Gentoo - physics-based modeling and AI for gas hydrate early warning. Dell EMC/Arundo/Wipro’s connected digital operations joint venture. Wipro’s ‘Intelligent Drilling Advisor’ and ‘explainable’ AI. Wood Group’s Proevx AI-inspired well integrity data management. RAB Microfluids’ ‘point-of need’ engine oil analytics.

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Aramco’s Data Loss Prevention

World Digital Refineries Congress presentation shows how to prevent confidential information from ‘leaking’ out of the organization with corporate-wide roll out of RSA Data Loss Prevention suite.

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Software, hardware short takes…

New releases and updates from Yokogawa, Ikon Science, Schneider Electric, Rock Flow Dynamics, Emerson, INT, Esri, ATEK, CGG GeoSoftware, Sercel, Element Analytics, Fieldbit, FracGeo, LMKR, Isatis, KBC, Landmark, CGM Larson, FutureON, Schlumberger, E-Matica, ProcessVision, Quorum Software, Railroad Commission of Texas, RS Energy Group, Siemens, Technical Toolboxes, Vallourec.

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2019 Energy Conference Network Emerging ComputingTechnologies, Houston

IOT-eq’s ‘Toy-Box’ blends machine learning and PID control for frac sand delivery. Swim.ai on the ‘stateful digital twin’ at the edge.

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BHGE Annual Meeting 2019, Florence

The 2019 BHGE AM was dominated by concerns over carbon and the climate. Plenary sessions highlight the growing role of LNG, ‘the magnitude of which is hard to appreciate’. BP trains thousands in ‘agile/scrum’-inspired management. Total’s ‘Gaia’ AI for geosciences. Binu Mathew interview. AkerBP on digitizing with Cognite.

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GE’s Predix: An investigation

Back in the days of Jeff Immelt, Predix was set to transform GE from an engineering company into a digital powerhouse. But as GE spins off its IoT software into a new unit and sells out of Pivotal, what is left of the platform?

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Folks, facts, orgs…

Arria, Atwell, Bechtel, CAM Integrated Solutions, CO_LaN, CGG, Chevron, ClassNK, Cognite, Cushing, Emerson, EMEX, Endress+Hauser, Energistics, ENGlobal, Exebenus, ExxonMobil, EY, Foster Marketing, Halliburton, Henderson, Implico, Landdox, IOGP, Magellan, Marathon Oil, Nabors, NAES, PRCI, Preem, Rose & Associates, Rubicon Oilfield, Ruths.ai, Ryder Scott, Seeq, SkyX, Society of HPC Professionals, Stress Engineering Services, WekaIO, Siemens, XBRL International, Wintershall Dea, Esri, Kosmos Energy, Inpex, APEGA, Fuld, SkyX, XBRL International.

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Standards stuff

International Data Spaces data architecture, aka ‘the engine of the European data Airbus’ ready for commercial use. American Petroleum Institute to collaborate with Gulf Cooperation Council standardization organization. Cfihos, the Capital facilities information handover standard, announces Version 1.4. Construction Industry Institute announces new advanced work packaging projects. New OneGeology portal and web mapping service. IOGP launches Phase 3 of JIP33 procurement standard. ISO releases climate change adaptation and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Modelica Association rolls-out standard to connect and assemble models and an API for integrating real-time and offline systems. Open Geospatial Consortium approves 3D Tiles Specification 1.0 and moots geospatial blockchain working group. XBRL explains its new Open Information Model. The Open Group has publishes ‘preliminary’ O-PAS Standard process automation standard.

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The Open Group fleshes-out OPAF, the ExxonMobil-backed openprocess automation standard

‘Preliminary’ OPAF V1.0 standard-of-standards set to ‘break the chain’ of proprietary non-interoperable process device software with a ‘brave new world’ of certification and conformance.

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Fiber optic sensing developments from Energistics andOptaSense.

Proposed mods to ProdML add HDF storage for raw sensing data acquisition. OptaSense leverages existing fiber networks in ‘opportunistic’ monitoring of earthquakes and ambient noise.

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OpenModelica Association 2019 Workshop

Modelica’s systems of systems approach potential candidate for oil and gas digital twins. ABB leverages protocol to drive Optimax models. Latest release adds interactive control of simulations. Modelicon demonstrates model-based drone/robot controller.

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Schlumberger to ‘open source’ core components of its E&P data ecosystem

Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard, speaking at the 2019 Scotia Howard Weil Energy Conference described navigating ‘deepest and longest’ downturn. A ‘long overdue’ modernization program sees deployment of state-of-the-art SAP-based IT framework. Cloud-based Delfi platform for upstream software and new ‘digital hardware framework’ cited.

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Sales, partnerships …

Accenture, P97 Networks, Aker Solutions, Nvidia, Ansys, Kongsberg Maritime, Bureau Veritas, Bourbon, eDrilling, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, Fat Finger, Geologix, IBM Services, KBR, BHGE, Maana, Met Office, Kongsberg Digital, Orchestrade, Pason, Recon Technology, Sabic, HTE, Seeq, Altira, Siemens, SparkCognition, TIBCO, IHS Markit, Transect, DrillingInfo, Wood, Emerson, Sapien Cyber, PSE, ChemTech, INT, TechnipFMC, IFPen, ConocoPhillips.

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Done deals

Acquisitions and mergers involving 4Subsea, Astori AS, Hexagon, Thermopylae, Bitcoin Oil, Eagle Automation, Cartasite, Equinor, SeekOps, First Reserve, Weir Flow Control, Inventys, BDC Cleantech, Proserv, C-Automation, Quorum Software, Coastal Flow Measurement, Aramco, Earth Science Analytics, Thoma Bravo, Aucerna.

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Natural language processing news

Equinor adds natural language processing to operational planning tool. Max Plank Institute open sources its Ambiverse natural language understanding software. Australian National Data Service releases Swagger OpenAPI-based vocabulary services. Open University and Springer Nature release Computer Science Ontology.

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Going, going, green…

Gaffney Cline on carbon pricing. IOGP on future climate risk. IEA – world well off-track for climate goals. US DoE funds ‘transformational’ sensing for CCS. Aker Solutions gets Northern Lights CCS contract from Equinor. UK push for ‘Acorn’ CCS project. DNV GL publishes world energy systems forecast out to 2050. New methane detection systems from FLIR, eLichens and BHGE. BP teams with EDF on emissions reduction. Total funds Collège de France R&D into CO2 use. Carbon Engineering gets funding from Oxy and Chevron. Leonardo DiCaprio shows ‘how we can solve the global climate crisis’. Texas, Railroad Commissioner defends US’ environment stance. InfluenceMap finds majors spent $1 billion ‘battling Paris climate deal’. News from the ‘International Scalar Wave Quantum Institute’.

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Energy Conference Networks’ 2018 Supply ChainConference, Houston

DataGumbo: Blockchain to replace siloed ERP systems. MDxBlocks’ end-to-end blockchain solution. Weatherford: Compliance in a world sanctions. Hess 360 supply chain management. US Oil & Gas Blockchain Forum. Engage Mobilize’s digital transaction API. GEP Smart, cloud-native, source-to-pay software.

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Blockchain news

US NIST secures ‘smart’ manufacturing systems with tamper-proof system, releases UML code for implementation. US Offshore Operators Committee kicks-off US Blockchain Consortium. News from SAP’s Enterprise blockchain summit, Berlin. Kraken IM’s blockchain for engineering. ZiyenCoin, a ‘regulated’ oil cryptocurrency. But are these really blockchains?

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Wireless world

Communications announcements from Anybus, Blackline Safety, Tampnet, Iridium, LightPointe, Fairfield Geotechnologies, Siemens, Sierra Wireless, Speedcast.

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A wake up call for BYOD

OilComm/FleetComm presentation from RML Business Consulting warns of ‘surveillance capitalism’ and the considerable dangers of a ‘bring your own device’ policy. Terms and conditions of mobile device hardware and services (including cloud computing) merit scrutiny.

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