Peebler advocates a 'revolution in the white-space' (November 1997)

Bob Peebler, CEO of Landmark Graphics Corp. speaking at the SEG conference in Dallas this month fleshed out his plan for a 'revolution in the white-space' in E&P computing and business processes.

The white-space here is both the white-space between functions in the EP organizational chart and between functionally focused E&P applications. The revolution is in allowing E&P organizations to operate seamlessly across the white-space and the main weapon in the revolutionary’s arsenal is – you’ve got it - data management. Peebler is probably preaching to the converted – at least for readers of PDM, and we have in the past (PDM Vol 1 N 4) been somewhat skeptical of Landmark’s deliverables in this context so it is interesting to see just how Landmark is setting out to revolutionize the business.

under fire

The first bastions of traditionalism to come under fire from Peebler’s revolutionaries are the parallel worlds of time and depth in seismic and geological interpretation. Current practices generally perform the "warp" from time to depth once the geophysicist is through interpreting and when the geologist is ready to start modeling. This abrupt shift in domain effectively precludes any iterative interpretation crossing this junction between the two disciplines. LGC’s solution is to move the time to depth warp further up the food-chain by incorporating it into seismic processing. Of course depth imaging is nothing new, there are many companies with highly credible offerings in this domain, but their integration, particularly from a data management standpoint is problematical, these third party offerings can be said to represent an increasing functional focus. LGC’s "revolutionary" contribution in this domain comes in the form of a new release to ProMax (described elsewhere in this issue), LGC’s seismic processing suite which now offers data exchange and visualization of processing parameters from within SeisWorks.

high impact

Peebler describes the marriage of processing and interpretation as one of several "high impact intersections" others are the use of seismic data in reservoir characterization where Peebler estimates that up to 90% of the information on a reservoir is "locked up" in seismic data which is usually "dumbed down" – particularly in the stacking process – because "that’s all we can handle". Another intersection is further down the chain in the realm of interpretative simulation. Here again dumbing down is the watchword, this time with the abandoning of perhaps another 90% or so of the information as the fine grain geological model is reduced to the coarse cellular representation of the reservoir engineer. Again LGC is working on this intersection with enhancements to its ParallelVIP reservoir simulator destined to allow more of the geological model to be incorporated in the simulator without compute times going through the roof.


Another intersection of note is interactive well planning – which Peebler describes as "a real sleeper" - involves improving communication between drilling engineers and G&G’s which is currently deemed very detrimental to cycle times. Yet another is in interactive drilling where Peebler sees video arcade technology applied to real time control of the drill bit in a concept that is reminiscent of the URGENT project (discussed in PDM Vol.2 N 9).

The final intersection which may well prove to have most impact on the way we all do work is a proposed linkage between finance and the technical side of the business. This Peebler describes as "resource allocation" and revolves around improved information movement from the well head, through the accounts department and into the upstream so that financial and human resources and even data can be allocated in a timely and cost effective manner.

PDM comment

The software enhancements to the Landmark suite are hardly a revolution, that will come when a reservoir simulator can see right through the data chain to pre-stack seismics, to allow say for reservoir fluid mapping to be guided by offset-dependent attributes. And when all intermediate stops on the data path have similar vision up and down the data stream. Aware of these issues, and perhaps of the time that it will take before such interoperability -even within a single vendor’s product line - becomes a reality, Landmark’s other "revolutionary" activity is in a booming service offering. This activity involves helping client sites out with workflow consulting and services showing them what can be done, and how to achieve it. This activity incorporates the development of workflow templates which have been developed to solve specific problems in a given area. We will be covering Landmark’s service offering in depth in a future PDM.

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