Microsoft COM object technology core of new interoperability initiative. (February 1999)

Landmark Graphics, Microsoft, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, SAP and GeoQuest are launching COM for Energy an inter-domain interoperability specification for E&P technical and business process integration

COM for Energy is described as a "non-profit industry initiative" which sets out to "foster greater business process integration between the technical and business domains of the energy industry through the development of open, multi-platform software interface standards utilizing COM". COM for Energy will be focusing initially on exploration and production and will develop software interface specifications for interoperability of technical and business applications. These open business object specifications will be based on Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM) architecture. COM is the core technology behind interoperability within Microsoft Windows applications. Object Linking and Embedding, - the ability to use Excel from within Word, or to acquire data from a scanner from inside Corel Draw - is based upon COM. But Microsoft's COM ambitions go beyond intra-Windows operation.


The newer flavors of COM - Distributed COM and COM on UNIX (announced at last year's Landmark World-wide Technology Forum) are intended to allow one program to access services provided by another program - even if it is running on a different OS across the network.

Forecast benefits from COM for Energy are

'Open' inter-domain integration.

Geotechnical to financial linkage.

Subsurface to facilities to economics links.

A single approach for accessing all kinds of software.

Independence of programming language

BP Amoco

Christine Connelly, vice president, Upstream IT at BP Amoco said "BP Amoco is a strong supporter of industry standards and open computing architectures designed to provide interoperability between applications and platforms. This initiative has particular promise to create new value for the industry, and complements our company’s vision of a networked world that removes barriers all along the energy value chain." These new specifications, are being designed to complement existing industry standards. David Archer, president and CEO of POSC said "COM for Energy is committed to building on, and to be compatible with the foundations that the industry has established through POSC and other related initiatives. I look forward to close collaboration in support of broad industry needs to enable new levels of overall enterprise effectiveness."


COM for Energy specifications will focus on integrating operational, financial and management processes to create a better understanding of the business implications of operations throughout the oil and gas value chain. Oil and gas companies will be able to make more informed business decisions while controlling costs, reducing risk and shortening the cycle time from finding to retailing of hydrocarbons. "Statoil has been a leader in the development of industry standards as a major contributor to cost reductions and productivity gains throughout our exploration and production activities," said Randi Grung Olsen, senior vice president, E&P Technology, Statoil. "We are pleased that this initiative to advance the integration of technical and business systems for a complete upstream system is being driven by leading companies who are known for developing and delivering performant commercial applications." COM for Energy will also drive the SAP BAPI business interface standards, which are accessible through COM. This 'open' business object specification will eventually be managed by an independent third-party organization with the participation of industry software developers.


The focus of COM for Energy is described as "inter-domain integration". This is as opposed to the intra-domain integration of other standards such as the API, and POSC. Similar vertical Microsoft standards have been proposed such as OLE for Process Control (OPC), Windows DNA for Manufacturing and OPOS (OLE for Point of Sale). Deliverables from the Initiative will be COM interface definitions rather than implemented code or objects and components. Oil and gas companies, software vendors, and consulting organizations are invited to participate in the definition and review of standards. More from the Com for energy website on

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