PPDM User Group Meet, Perth, Australia

PPDM and master data management, Woodside’s EpiDB, Petrosys CEO on unstructured data.

Speaking at the Public Petroleum Data Model Association’s user group meet in Perth, Australia last month, CEO Trudy Curtis noted growing interest in upstream master data management (MDM). MDM plays a role in data collection, quality assurance and distribution throughout the organization. Curtis believes that the collective industry investment in the PPDM data model, which she puts at $75 million, its scope and user base make it a logical a starting point for an MDM strategy.

Hélène de Beer described how Woodside has built its EpiDB corporate upstream database around the PPDM standard. Work on Woodside’s data infrastructure began in 1996. EpiDB is still the focal point of Woodside’s information management system and has recently been extended with new applications for well data management, petrophysics and Petrel project management. Woodside’s ‘eWell,’ a SharePoint development that provides central data loading and continuous data QA. Woodside uses OpenSpirit to sourcing basic data for Petrel reference projects. Corporate reference data is loaded using a combination of the EpiDB Browser and Excel. Work on well data quality metrics has led Woodside to tweak the PPDM data model with the addition of new data types and automatic triggers and scripts to update the database with information from SharePoint. Data management has given ‘clear value and benefit’ to Woodside, providing continuity in the face of new software, data and people with new ideas.

Petrosys CEO Volker Hirsinger compared the merits of different strategies for linking structured master databases to unstructured document collections. There is a trade off between the difficulty of implementation, the accuracy of search and ease of use. Structured data management enforces uniqueness and encourages ‘final decisions’ but can be time consuming. Unstructured (document) data management allows knowledge to be shared in its most ‘natural’ form. But this can be compromised by varying formats and units, making cross referencing of numeric data hard. One solution is to hotlink to documents from the database providing drill down into specialized or technically complex information. Indirect, Google type search can be enhanced with standard classification schemes or used superficially. Free text search links can be established without data management overhead—they may allow new data relationships to be discovered or conversely obscure important connections through irrelevant ‘noise.’ Spatial-based search has proved so popular that it has create a whole new, costly layer of data management. For instance, the PPDM records management module comprises 52 tables. Spatial search is eased with tools such as the Petrosys asset module, naturellement.

This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2008 Issue # 10.

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