SPE 2002 San Antonio ACTE

What stood out from the 2002 Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers was the ‘democratization’ of remote monitoring technologies using low cost spread spectrum wireless. Newcomer Intel made a big entry on both Halliburton and Schlumberger’s booths. Landmark’s Real Time Asset Management Theater gets our ‘star of the show’ virtual award. Never before has such an effort been put into an upstream trade show exhibit. Elsewhere, 4D seismics got a boost from Shell, while wellbore mechanics gets serious, with sophisticated software from companies like Advantek, CTES and Knowledge Systems. PennEnergy Data has a sexy new front end from PetroWeb.

The Landmark Real Time Asset Management Center (RTAMC) has to qualify as the ‘star of the show’. No expense was spared in putting together this multi-room theater showing real-time collaboration between an offshore rig, regional and head offices – and even a mobile worker on an international flight. Drillers access Landmark’s drilling software through an oversized electronic whiteboard/touch screen and communicate with the shore by videoconferencing. The finale of the RTAMC is a globetrotting manager accessing real time information from an intercontinental flight—overseeing the whole process through Accenture’s E&P Online.


SIS president Ihab Toma announced that Schlumberger and Intel are teaming to produce a high performance reservoir simulator running on the latest Intel chips – including the 64 bit Itanium 2. A ‘massive reduction of total cost of ownership’ is promised. The simulator is ‘at the heart of real time reservoir management – and will ‘be the equivalent in the current decade 3D of seismics in the 1980s’. Today, only 45% of the world’s reservoirs are simulated. Amongst these, simulations are only re-run every 3 months on average. Today simulators are limited to 3-4 million cell models. In the future this will rise to 30-40 million.

Object Reservoir

Eugene Ennis (ex Landmark CEO), John Mouton (Landmark co-founder) and Zycor founder Jim Downing are developing code for a “space-time dynamic model of the reservoir”. Currently a service offering, the software derives rock physics properties from production (not test) data. The first month of production data is analyzed for ‘perturbations’. The software will later be productized as “Resolve”.

TecPlot RS

Amtec’s TecPlot Reservoir Simulator (RS) post processor for VIP/Eclipse also displays seismic data with animated and interactive slicing of model. TecPlot is a joint development with ChevronTexaco and will be released early next year.


The IRAP reservoir modeling system (RMS) offers consistent fault handling, structural framework and facies modeling. These can be used to ‘bias’ petrophysical parameters in upscaling to the simulator model. All the time the tree-view workflow manager expands and contracts to show contextually relevant information. A movie can be viewed moving down and around the model to check consistency.


TACIT’s Knowledge Mail (TKM) extracts knowledge from emails, installing as an add-in to Microsoft Outlook. Users ask a question of TKM which checks its expert database and decides who should receive the mail. A click on the name brings up the expert’s CV. Tacit’s proprietary search technology performs noun and noun stemming searching – claimed to be more powerful than Google. Tacit builds its expert database automatically by reading emails and documents on disk. Tacit builds on existing taxonomies augmented with its own analysis. TKM’s first customer is development partner Texaco.


Core Laboratories is leveraging web hosting with its new CoreWeb front end to its database of seismic rock properties. Core Web is a reservoir information browser which lets users gather and use data in an HTML environment. CoreWeb offers thin client access to the large volumes of geological and petrophysical data associated with consortia projects. CoreWeb was developed around Rapid (acquired along with Reservoir Inc. – formerly Core Petrophysics). Rapid (Reservoirs Applied Petrophysical Integrated Data system) is used by around thirty major, independent and national oil and gas companies. CoreWeb is being used in CoreLab’s Deepwater GOM study currently underwritten by 35 companies.


Aclaro Software’s PetroLook V 3.0 – reporting and data analysis tool has been developed over Microsoft’s .NET architecture. PetroLook is used to roll-up and reconcile reserves and produce EIA and RIGS reports. PetroLook can be used with other vendors’ tools such as ARIES, PEEP, and Excel. The security model is new in V 3.0. Aclaro’s Christoph Faig told Oil IT Journal “Microsoft’s .NET architecture is fantastic—it’s highly scalable and integrates well with non Microsoft systems. Also, you only need a single Windows 2000 .NET server”.

Wellbore engineering

One of the biggest changes in drilling over the last decade or so is the amount of science that goes into wellbore design. Economics, deepwater drilling and environmental pressures argue for improved well construction and design traceability. Advantek’s borehole mechanical software performs quality assurance of cuttings and produced water re-injection. The tool also computes fracturing, erosion and wellhead corrosion and assures life cycle management of the injection process including C02 and H2S disposal.


Advantek is currently working with the DeepStar consortium in the Gulf of Mexico on the major problem of production related fault reactivation. Varco unit CTES’s Cerberus software models forces acting on a completed well – computing buckling and tensile stresses. The software targets service companies working with jointed pipe and coiled tubing. Landmark’s PressGraph computes a 3D ‘pressure cube’ from seismic data. A WITSML compliant OpenWire link brings drilling data into PressGraph for real time analysis. Knowledge Systems’ ‘Safe Seal’ is a new tool for analyzing the efficiency of a reservoir’s top seal. Safe Seal is currently a service offering involving estimation of minimum stress and compartment fluid pressure.

Project/Data Management

PetroWeb has been contracted by Penn EnergyData to build and manage the ex-PI/Dwights dataset that the old PennPoint acquired. PetroWeb uses MapGuide technology (an ESRI port is available). PetroWeb can be used to dump data into an application, or to view over a thin client browser. The price is ‘a fraction of the cost of IHS Energy.’ PennEnergy data has a staff of around 15 plus 5-10 scouts maintaining database. The data model is described as ‘optimized—not PPDM’. XML is used to deliver data to clients.


PetrisWindsNow hosted ASP software now includes 55 products—from G&G, through project management and into mid and downstream. These are supplied by 15 vendors including Computer Modeling Group, EPS, Inside Energy, Invensys and TH Hill. Petris CEO Jim Pritchett says, “ASP is coming of age in verticals where upfront cost and lead times are barriers to the adoption of niche software.” After nine months in business, WindsNow has 15 clients. A new version of Halliburton-Landmark’s InsiteAnywhere Drilling ASP was rolled out at the SPE. Insight began life as Sperry-Sun’s Intelligence Central – now incorporated into myHalliburton.com. Insight offers multiple, context sensitive interfaces—showing drilling gauge data from the drill floor—in near real-time. The limits are satellite/microwave link latency. V 6.5 includes enhanced plots with API standard grid types and SnagIT’s TechSmith for cut and paste. iReservoir’s iProject is a software tool for sharing data with clients and joint venture partners. An intuitive interface offers a tree view of data. New data can trigger an email report along with annotations. iProject also offers free text search and QC tools for common data types and simple viewers. An FTP-like function supports file transfer with resume, encryption and access control. Current uses are data sharing and annotation – true workflow and security will come next.

4D Seismics

Shell’s Rodney Calvert asked in a keynote paper, “Can you do without 4D seismics today?” 4D data is most useful early in the life of a field – where it can influence critical well placement. The key to good 4D is to keep acquisition parameters identical between subsequent surveys—if necessary repeating acquisition ‘mistakes’. 4D take-up has been slow in part because of cultural barriers. Calvert suggests we need ‘genetically engineered merged geophysicist/petroleum engineers’!

This article is abstracted from a 26 page illustrated report on the 2002 SPE ACTE produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch service. For more information, email tw@oilit.com.

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