What data model for the 20th century scout? (November 1998)

Speaking at the AGM of the Canadian PublicPetroleum Data Model Association (PPDM), David Richard of IHS Energy (formerly PI/Dwights)gave some pointers to the technological future of data modeling within the newcorporation.

Now that IHS has acquired just about everything that moves in the international scouting arena, the question arises as to how store and deliver data obtained by the erstwhile competing units. In North America, PI/Dwights has settled on a database – P2000 that is derived from the PPDM data model, which has been extended with the Erico well log data model. Elsewhere in the organization, Petroconsultants Iris21 and IEDS’ PEN data models hold sway. Whatever the relative merits of the different models, and there are significant differences between US and international ways of handling data, the question being asked by many international major oil companies is "why do we have so many data models around here?". Richard’s work-in-progress report on how IHS was responding to such requests – notably a plea from Exxon to "standardize things" – outlined a phased approach.

PEN – a write-off?

In the first instance, the P2000, PEN and Iris21 databases are to be made accessible in a consistent manner through a middleware layer. This would use PPDM-derived views of data stored in any of the databases, to supply data to desktop browsers such as Power Tools. Subsequent phases will evaluate possible merges of the different databases. It is probable that the first target will be the PEN based data, which will likely migrate to IRIS21 – even though Petroconsultants is now being run by IEDS management. But the big issue for IHS is the possible migration or merger of data in Iris21 and P2000. Defenders of Iris21 have always argued that the scope of their data model – especially in its capacity to store time variant data such as license and scouting information – was such that a merge to a more constrained data model would engender data loss.

Platform of choice

Current studies (being performed by Data Model guru Ian King from Open Data Designs) suggest that while significant differences do exist between P2000 and Iris21, they are mainly in areas where Iris21 is sparsely populated. A loader already exists for moving data from PPDM to Iris, but the ultimate platform of choice, as gleaned from a recent IHS workshop with both domestic and international clients, will likely be based on the PPDM standard. The jury is still out on whether this will involve a migration of Iris to P2000, or (most likely) a middleware layer which exposes PPDM – views of data from the different data sources.

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