PDM Interview – Bob Peebler, President of Landmark Graphics Corporation. (June 1999)

Bob Peebler tells PDM how COM for Energy is seeking out the ‘high-impact intersections’ between technical and financial IT, and how reduced cycle times and collaborative interpretation are helping Landmark‘s clients streamline their business.

PDM – We have been trying to keep up with the relationship the Landmark has evolved with Microsoft, and with the recent developments on the COM for Energy front. Could you walk us through a concrete example of a COM for Energy-based application?

Peebler – At the frontier of business and petrotechnical computing there is a requirement to move data back and forth between the two environments. Landmark was convinced that standards were required in this area, but they needed to be a high level of abstraction. Somewhere around the interpretation level, linking for example the uncertainty in reservoir analysis with business planning tools. We are currently working in the field linking production allocation to accounting where there is a requirement for real-time accounting. Other immediate targets for such technology are the drilling AFE, tying in to cost accounting systems. This is a joint industry effort.

PDM – You have adopted a very high-level approach in talking to oil executives about the strategic importance of IT. Has the CERA/Gartner Group approach ever backfired, have you ever been thrown out of the CEO‘s office?

Peebler No never - oil company executives clearly understand the need to translate business requirements into IT solutions. Landmark is a more credible partner in this than consultants from the ‘big six’ - we are closer to the action! There are however parallels from outside of the oil industry, especially in the field of reducing cycle time, which can be applied to the whole interpretation process. This is where real productivity gains are to be made, you can't have a business model that relies on $18 oil these days, you need to establish leadership through improved productivity, which I'd define as a quality decision reached at quickly. Speed is of the essence.

PDM – How do you maintain quality while you up the speed?

Peebler – There is a balance between cycle time and quality of course, but slow does not equate with quality. We don't want to generate bad prospects.

PDM – The Asset Team is it myth or reality?

Peebler – We do have a problem of definition here. Some would have it that the Asset Team is an accountable unit that might appear on the balance sheet. For others, it is a multidisciplinary team which may be a reality, but is not universally implemented. We believe that over time the deployment of such teams will become routine.

PDM – Many recent trends such as interoperability and the Shared Earth Model can be seen as a move towards a more iterative workflow. Will this reduce or increase the cycle-time?

Peebler – We believe that collaborative processes can bring both speed and quality. Discussions in the context of the right work process enhance the quality of the final decision. This is why we are investing so much in our Decisionarium for collaborative interpretation. We have also been studying team behavior inside the Decisionarium. At first, people are kind of clumsy, but by the third day they really begin to work differently. People meet up and leave energized!

PDM – how are the Decisionariums selling?

Peebler – We have made sales, and we lease the facility so companies can try them out for a few days. Soon everyone will have one! When you think about it, the Decisionarium is just the modern day equivalent of the wall chart. - enhanced in 3D space.

PDM – What would you say differentiates Landmark from the competition today?

Peebler – Landmark's primary differentiator is that we have routinely envisaged the next step of integration. Back in 1986, few people were really thinking about integration, but Landmark was putting the first pieces together, integrating interpretation and mapping. What also sets us apart is the view we have of high potential intersections - with our deliverables last year of interpretive seismic processing, and now with the ongoing work at the frontier of drilling and G&G. Both our efforts at the intersections, and our focus on integration reflect our understanding of the business drivers of our industry and our desire to put this understanding into practice.

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