PDM Interview - Jeff Pferd

Houston-based Petris Technology has developed the Winds Enterprise database spidering technology, the Internet Data Room, for online A&D and the Petris Mall, for data sales. PDM hears more from Petris CTO, Jeff Pferd.

Petris was formed in 1996 when Perceptive Scientific Imaging demerged its instrumentation subsidiary. Since then, Petris’ focus has been e-business, well log data, imaging and integration with financial systems. The last five years have seen associations with 1-Image, Neuralog, Paradigm Technologies, Harts and the AAPG. Major clients include Anadarko and the Minerals Management Service.

PDM – A while back (PDM Vol. 4 N° 5), we covered some interesting software that Petris developed to spider E&P and other databases – the Winds Enterprise system you originally developed for Anadarko. How is that work going?

Pferd Anadarko now has the Winds system installed and we have other clients - notably Mitchell Energy. Winds middleware connects different data stores and offers seamless data transfer at the click of a button. There are currently four adapters available, Open Works 97 & 98, Recall, the Petris Mall and another for OilWare’s WellLogML.

PDM – Winds was announced in May 99 so progress has been quite slow?

Pferd Technology issues meant that the software was not really deployable then, but it is now. A merger slowed things down, our client ended up with a combined 700 applications and the jury is still out on how these will be rationalized.

PDM – Do you have application vendor partners?

Pferd Petris is working with Petra on integrating its PC-based geological application. We will be making an announcement at the AAPG.

PDM – What of GeoQuest?

Pferd – Finder and GeoFrame make up a large market and they are high on our list. Linking to ODBC compliant data stores within the GeoQuest environment is fairly straightforward, but the proprietary data stores are harder.

PDM – Your activity is rather similar to that of Open Spirit. What is your relationship with them?

Pferd We are supportive, but the difference is that while Open Spirit is an interoperability solution, Winds is focused on data management. Winds does not use Open Spirit middleware, but does leverage some formats and representations. Winds’ focus is well data management, you can view data prior to transfer and soon you will be able to view well file documents and scanned images. We also let you exchange large format documents such as montages. In Winds, our spidering, CORBA/Java-based technology connects to native data stores through XML streams via a patented, dynamic common data model (CDM). The CDM distinguishes three E&P data types – raw, interpretation artifact and spatial model. If data can be represented in this manner, then Winds can search, retrieve and transfer data to and from applications. Some applications are being built that will plug and play directly with Winds.

PDM – So it is an Open Spirit unto itself?

Pferd Not really, Open Spirit has more of an interoperability, project focus. Winds is a non-invasive data management tool. Winds also offers data analysis tools, telling you who uses data, what data is dormant etc. Knowledge Management if you will! It is easier to tap into processes for these metrics, than to interview people.

PDM – This technology also underpins the Internet Data Room. How is your Acquisition & Disposal business going?

Pferd Our Internet Data Room (IDR) houses digital imagery including large format documents, using technology from ER Mapper. We have a significant new client in Phillips Petroleum which has posted 14 prospects. We have developed access filters to keep the ‘tire kickers’ away from the door.

PDM – Many oil companies we talk to are concerned about accessing data from the main data vendors. What is your relationship with the data vendors?

Pferd We are in discussions with IHS Energy and International PetroData in Canada. Anadarko is very concerned by this, they want to build an adapter to Winds Enterprise to allow import of IHS data into Open Works. We are currently enhancing our own data vending outlet - the Petris Mall with scanned images of the Shell onshore scout ticket database. This should ‘cross pollinate’ the IDR and provide further value for customers.

PDM – How is the IDR traffic developing?

Pferd Domestic North American prospects get lots of traffic and hits. After Bass Brothers picked up the Horizon play, we got very busy. We are also busy around the NAPE show.

PDM – You seem to have developed a special relationship with the Minerals Management Service (MMS)!

Pferd Our data cleanup project for the MMS is now in its second year. Petris also sponsors a semi-annual well data cleanup meeting for Texaco, Chevron, along with data vendors Energy Graphics and Lexco.

PDM – What is Petris’ main focus; service provision or productized software?

Pferd Our plan is to fulfill needs of customers with appropriate, extensible solutions and then productize the results.

SmartMoney in the Hive

Petris has been working with Burlington Resources on a new Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS) utilizing components from Connect and Winds. The web browser can now view accounting, well production and other key data. The IDSS was rolled-out at the NAPAC show in Dallas this month. Petris is adapting some interesting new technology from the financial sector for use in upstream decision support. SmartMoney.com offers punters a zillion ways of drilling down through financial information - through interactive charts, bars, and an intriguing new way of drilling down through data. Here, stocks, licenses or oil production can be visualized and manipulated in a dimensionless map view. The tool is described as a management ‘dashboard.’ BP has tested the Petris/SmartMoney tools, on production history and risk analysis. Rumor has it that BP CEO John Browne has been shown the technology in the BP visualization center - the ‘Hive.’

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.