Integrated Exploration Systems PetroMod 3D (October 1998)

Integrated Exploration Systems (IES - norelation to IEDS!) with financial support from Amoco, British Gas, Conoco, Norsk Hydro andTexaco has developed a 3D version of its PetroMod geochemical basin modeling tool.

Proselytizing Professor Dietrich Welte has been saying since he founded the company in 1982 that the present distribution of hydrocarbons in a sedimentary basin can only be understood by studying its history as a set of dynamic processes. Welte’s company IES, with principal offices in Houston and Juelich/Germany, provides high-end interpretation and modeling technology for such assessments. PetroMod software performs petroleum systems modeling by creating a digital model of a basin incorporating well and seismic information. The model is then used to analyze hydrocarbon generation, migration and trapping. IES is releasing PetroMod 3D, the industry's ‘first commercial software with full 3D hydrocarbon generation and migration modeling capabilities’.


A prime consideration in modeling such systems is integration with the main industry interpretation environments. IES began by offering direct access to seismic data and interpretations with the PDI/2D a joint development with Landmark Graphics. Subsequently, access to GeoQuest Charisma and IESX has been added and IES claims to be the only third party vendor that ‘fully utilizes software development kits for direct access to Landmark SeisWorks and OpenWorks, as well as to GeoQuest Charisma, IESX and GeoFrame’. Introduced in 1992, PetroMod comprises SeisStrat for geophysical and geological interpretation. PetroGen and PetroFlow, for 2D basin modeling packages, using a claimed unique finite-element based approach.

True 3D

The new product, PetroMod 3D, aims to offer technically advanced 3D modeling technology in a user-friendly package. IES emphasizes that PetroMod is a ‘true’ 3D computation of generation using both flowpath models, and full 3D migration simulators. State-of-the-art multi-component flow modeling has also been implemented. Areas of Interest can be defined in a 3D study area, for example to perform high-resolution simulation runs in restricted areas only, novel full 3D grid sampling techniques are deployed, and parallel processing, for example in workstation clusters, can be used to spread the processing load and reduce simulation times.


During the last year IES has embarked on a drive to acquire new sales, support and service partners and this has already resulted in a distribution agreement with TechSpan Technologies in China. Other deals have been struck with Robertsons for international services and a new partner in Australia to support the local and SE-Asian market. IES has also teamed with software developers Midland Valley in the UK in addition to their long-standing relationships with Landmark Graphics and Schlumberger-GeoQuest. University links have also been strengthened, for example with USC in South Carolina.

Excellent center

An important new development that will have long-term ramifications within the industry is the founding of the first Center of Excellence for Petroleum Systems Modeling together with a group of research and university partners (HARC in Houston, Rice and Texas A&M Universities) together with GeoQuest. The Center will offer training, research and development in the use of Petroleum Systems Modeling in exploration. PetroMod 3D v1.0 will be available in Dec 1998. More from

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