Houston hosts intensive Data Management Week (May 1998)

Data management's star was in the ascendant in Houston last month with the Geoshare AGM, the PPDM and POSC member meetings, the PNEC Data Integration Conference and the inaugural Independent Consulting Services Geoshare short course.

Mark Robinson (GeoQuest), speaking at the Second PNEC, (a division of Philip C. Crouse and Associates Inc.) Data Integration and Management Conference estimated that around 90% of the oil produced today is managed through Excel! A situation which he described as frightening (a position with which PDM is in strong agreement - see our January editorial). GeoQuest are working on integrating much of the SCADA production metering systems with Finder/Enterprise and showed video footage of the water front moving through a Nigerian Reservoir obtained from data stored in FinderPRO, the new production extension.

Back door data management

Marion Eftink (Unocal) introduced the concept of "back-door" data management. In theory, data should be managed from the instant it arrives in the exploration department. It should be catalogued and cleaned-up so that, for instance, everyone calls the same thing by the same name. In practice, the power users in the asset teams often get first crack of the whip, and before you can say "data management" there are multiple copies of the same data, with different naming conventions in just about every system within the company. Enter "back door" data management. Instead of attempting the impossible policing of data up-front, Unocal's system uses a GIS front end to the various data stores and implements a system of cross-referencing the different appellations through look-up tables.

Mobil TCS Update

Mobil's Michael T. Farley gave an update on the linkage between GeoQuest's Finder and Landmark's OpenWorks. As we have revealed previously in PDM the chosen route to link these two "POSC compliant" environments is .. Geoshare! Mobil contracted their first Geoshare half link development to Landmark in 1992 and have, since then acquired considerable experience in this type of work. This has not been entirely without pain. One problem was that support for Geoshare half links from vendors can be lukewarm at times. Other more fundamental problems such as ambiguous data model mappings and even the odd bug have been known to surface, usually with fairly catastrophic results. Today, the majority of Mobil's E&P "primary" data types transit successfully through the Geoshare half links. Work is still in progress on some of the "secondary" data types such as DST/RFT which are not currently supported in Geoshare. Farley praised Landmark's support in this effort, with bugs sometimes fixed within 24 hours. Geoshare implementation remains a non-trivial task, but is "better than ASCII transfer". Problems encountered on the project include the Geoshare's cryptic error handling, and the absence of well status symbol codes in the standard. Current projects include more round-trip testing of data transfer, implementation with OpenWorks 5.0 and Finder 8.5 and SQL links to StrataModel. Mobil's Technical Computing Strategy (TCS) is currently a $110 million project over three years. Farley insisted that the TCS was "an added value project not a cost-saving initiative".

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