PetroBank revisited (August 1997)

DISKOS, the Norwegian national repository built around IBM's PetroBank was the focus of an in depth examination at the July gathering of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain's Data management group.

Richard Eastgate from Norsk Hydro described the background to the DISKOS project, which involves a central repository for (ultimately), all data recorded on the Norwegian continental shelf. The data is stored and managed with IBM's PetroBank, which was largely developed for this project. The initial business driver for the project was for cost reduction, which was to be achieved by the sharing of a centralized resource, and by the use of one entry point for data. The ambitious nature of the project, the cost of data remastering and clean-up and the high cost of setting up the system has meant that that DISKOS member companies have not as yet seen the anticipated cost savings. Other benefits have accrued such as a reduction of the physical data storage volumes and the use of highly standardized formats and QC procedures provide users of the system with consistent data of high quality. Future benefits are anticipated in the shape of an open marketplace for data purchase and trade which it is hoped will allow for vendor competition via the PetroBank repository. Direct workstation access is provided through a high security environment linking company Intranets to the PetroBank through firewalls.


Bernd Lahmeyer from Norske Shell described the client side of the setup. Shell maintain a copy of the PetroBank spatial dataset in-house allowing for map based selection. A 2Mbit/second link to PetroBank allows for rapid downloading of requested data. Bernd described the following "success stories" for Norske Shell -

Easy loading of even tough datasets such as old 2D to Charisma

Timely location of legacy seismics for regional studies

Easy delineation of spec data

Successful loading of 3D data over the network

Statoil initiated the DISKOS project in 1992 but control was soon passed to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) which was perceived as best placed to drum up support from other Norwegian operators and to supervise and manage the project. The first phase, post stacked seismic data, was operational in 1995 when data loading commenced. As Kjell Arne, PetroData's president explained, the data loading of the seismic is the subject of very strict QC controls. So strict in fact that 60% of the data initially proffered was returned as out of spec. Today data suppliers have cottoned on to DISKOS' requirements and returns are down to 10-15%. DISKOS standards have had a considerable impact in the way seismic standards are enforced in Norway.

Running smooth

Before PetroBank, the way in which the official SEG-Y standard was interpreted, especially for 3D data, was very much up to the contractor involved. Western, CGG and Geco-Prakla all use different flavors of the standard. Things have now changed to the extent that the client companies now specify that the PetroBank standard will apply. The process now runs smoothly to the extent that 12GB of 2D data can be loaded per day, with up to 100GB of 3D. The new standard is not however without problems, the format records CDP location in the SEG-Y header which is incompatible with Charisma, necessitating data transfer through Geoshare. The current PetroBank configuration allows for 40 concurrent users accessing 16 terabytes on the robot in Stavanger. Data access allows for a theoretical maximum download speed of 100Mbit/second representing approximately 10 to 15,000 kilometers of line seismic per hour. Initially raw input data for PetroBank comprised clean SEG-Y seismics, CDP locations and entitlements. Today this is being extended to incorporate other E&P data types such as cultural, well locations, navigation data, pre-stack SEG-Y data, field seismics in SEG-D format, stored off-line on high density media, seismic velocities, composite and trace well logs in LIS/TIF format. Well logs are also being QC'd and cleaned up to provide High Quality Log Data (HQLD) in standardized form.

5.5 Terabytes

Today the overall data volume of data stored in PetroBank is around 5.5 terabytes. This is accessed daily by 40-50 regular users. These regular users are not end-users however, PetroBank is a fairly hairy beast and the recommendation is that a member has a few PetroBank gurus who perform the data download on behalf of the end users.

The medium term objectives for PetroBank are to have all seismics recorded on the Norwegian continental shelf in stacked form on line by the end of 1997. Field data is a pilot project today, but will be operational by the year-end. New data types (production data, geophysical logs and physical archival objets) will be incorporated in the PetroBank 2C release and the network link is currently being upgraded to ATM.

Link to UK?

Arne stated that as well as concentrating on assisting member companies to recoup their investment in the project, PetroData would be working on facilitating virtual workgroups centered on PetroBank allowing asset teams to be assembled from personnel from different partners in an association. A more long-term objective involves a link up between PetroBank and the UK based CDA project. (PDM comment: This link could present an interesting opportunity for real cost saving given that CDA does wells and PetroBank does seismics. So why not a networked Norwegian/UK database with a suitable division of labors between PetroBank and CDA? This may stretch international cooperation beyond what is really feasible, and would probably be resisted by other vendors and service providers who have been left out in the cold so far.) The discussion livened up when the relative progress made by CDA and PetroBank was compared. The hot topic was the involvement and facilitating role played by the NPD, and why the DTI didn't take over CDA. This led to a heated debate as to the relative progress made by the two projects and to the merits of having a state organization running the show. While not resolving any of these weighty matters, the proponents' whistles were wetted suitably before the now traditional trip to the pub.

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