Databanks, trade and Entitlements - or what the Norwegians did right (October 1996)

The PESGB Data Management Seminar held in London last month included case histories of National Data Repositories in Norway and the UK. A comparison of the centralised approach evidenced in the Norwegian DISKOS project with the devolved responsibilities of the UK's CDA shows a lead for the former - at least in allocating entitlements.

Mona Torsvoll (Statoil), speaking at the PESGB Data Management Seminar gave a paper on the Trade Module, the latest addition to the Petrobank suite of tools managing Norway's Diskos project. The subject of databanks was core business in just about all of September's data management conferences. Norway has a great advantage over the UK sector of the north sea thanks to Statoil's omni-presence. Because of Statoil's role in the Norwegian sector, they know pretty well everything that has happened in the way of trades, and what they don't know, hasn't "happened" - if you get my drift. So, contrary to the situation in the UK, the question of entitlements is relatively easy to sort out. If Statoil says you are entitled to data, well then you jolly well are. Why is this such a big deal? Well Isobel Elmslie, speaking at the Stephenson Data Management '96 conference told a different tale. The UK's Common Data Access initiative, destined to provided network access to well log data to subscribers in the UK, has faltered faced with the near intractable problem of who owns what.


But first back to the Diskos and the Petrobank trade module. This has been developed to handle trading of well logs. The module registers well trade proposals, relates these to others, simulates the consequences, offers alternatives and helps to locate common ground between trading partners. Anyone who has been involved in trading data knows how quickly this seemingly simple process turns into a nightmare of interlocking and contradictory desiderata. While the process was described as relatively easy for well trades, even including complications such as bottom hole contributions, shared ownerships and farm-ins, the extension of the trade module to seismic data is anticipated to be problematic. This is because of the complex structure of a seismic line which Torvoll breaks down into "business objects" (that rings a bell) which are essentially shotpoint to shotpoint ranges owned by different companies. The problem of trading pre-stack data makes the business objects fairly rich in complexity. So far the trade module has been used internally by Statoil but is should be available for use by Petrobank customers by year end.


Dave Overton (Amoco) Chairman of CDA described the progress of this project at the PESGB conference. Current status us that 60% of raw well log trace data has been loaded, with 181 wells online. This represents a considerable slippage relative to the forecast schedule, due to the aforementioned entitlements problem. No vendor added value data is available to date, probably the reason why only 16 of the 40+ member companies are connected to date.

what's next?

Phil Williams (Hydrosearch Associates) described the objectives of the next phase of the CDA initiative - to extend the on-line data bank to include seismic data. This has been divided into three phases. Phase 1 will cover the standards, navigational data, entitlements (again), cultural and license data and the access systems. Phase 2 will involve the banking of stacked seismic data, and Phase 3, the main volume of field data. It is interesting to note the inversion in the implementation order between the current well CDA, and the future seismic version. The well program has focused on making the raw data available, whereas the seismic phase will follow the Diskos initiative in considering the processed, stacked data a priority. We are touching on an important issue for data banking. Should it really be a neutral no-added value datastore of raw data, or should it have convenient processed (depth adjusted curves or stacked seismics) data available to the end users. The answer depends on what the end user wants and how one views the industry. Some may be happy to download some lowest common denominator of a processed data set, sure in the knowledge that everyone in the bidding round will have the same interpretation. Others, may actually consider that processing seismics is an activity which can give a considerable competitive advantage to a company who, having done it right for their own use, may offer up a rather poor provisional stack for the common weal.

Click here to comment on this article

If your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to with PDM_V_2.0_199610_9 as the subject.

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.