EDM: How this Technology Relates to You (May 1997)

Al McDougall from Auto-trol Technology (Canada) Ltd. has contributed this article which explains the practical application of Document Management Systems (DMS) to E&P data management. Auto-trol is the vendor of the horizontal (cross-industry) document management system Centra 200; now linked to the PPDM data model.

"When you're up to your neck in alligators, it's hard to remember your objective is to drain the swamp!" OOPS! Today, in our environmentally conscious world, we need to re-write this: "When you're up to your neck in alligators, it's hard to remember your objective is not to drain the swamp!" We now see the world differently, due to a clearer understanding of inter-relationships. What do alligators and swamps have to do with petroleum data management? Everyone writes about the alligators - the huge volumes of new data being generated every day. But we need to manage more than data. To obtain a better understanding, we need to manage the relationships between pieces of information. Knowledge consists largely of understanding relationships.


Technology can often aid in seeing information more clearly, and thinking about it differently. For example, reservoir studies benefited from SEM image technology. We now better understand relationships between reservoir quality, completion techniques, and production. We have built up knowledge. SEM technology helped change how we think about reservoirs, and how we plan reservoir development. Information management technology likewise shows promise of changing how we view related pieces of information, plan workflows, and make decisions. Use of existing information is key to better interpretations of newly acquired data. The petroleum industry is adopting Information Management technology which is changing how companies access and safeguard information. This technology, originally developed for the space industry, is called Electronic Data Management (EDM).


Selection of EDM technology by companies such as Woodside, NOVA, and DynMcDermott demonstrates the world-wide applicability of this powerful solution. Woodside Offshore Petroleum Pty Ltd. of Perth, Australia, selected CENTRA 2000 (combined with the PPDM model and Geostation) for their Geoscience Database Project, to manage Woodside's wealth of Exploration data and information (see related press release). NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. operates Alberta's 13,300-mile-long, high pressure pipeline, which is one of the world's most technologically advanced gas transportation systems. NOVA selected CENTRA 2000 to provide access, manage, and control active and released drawings. DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations Company, a U.S. Department of Energy prime contractor responsible for managing the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, selected CENTRA 2000 to manage the huge volume of documents relating to this national petroleum resource.


Key aspects of a full function EDM System include:

Object Management

Folder Based Hierarchy

Search by Multiple Methods

Document Linking

Role Based Security

Check In/Out

Application Launching

Graphical Workflow

Application Programming Interface

Industry Standard RDBMS

Vaulted and Non-Vaulted Environments

Compound Document Management

EDM is bridging the gap from today's PPDM data model to the day when the "ultimate" data model is available. A geographic interface, accessing both "structured" data such as well tops in the PPDM model, and also "unstructured" information such as well reports, SEG-Y files, and maps is a key requirement. Geoscientists can then view related information easily. EDM is changing how we relate information today and how we plan for tomorrow. Visit Auto-trol's web site http://www.auto-trol.com for more information.

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