SEG Convention Salt Lake City

Given current market conditions, the 2002 Society of Exploration Geophysicists Convention was a fairly downbeat. Perhaps the only geophysical growth sector is in hardware where high-end storage, network devices and clustered PCs are now mainstream to geophysical data processing and interpretation support. There are signs of life in the visualization arena, where clusters offer ‘supercomputer’ performance. The Linux movement continues—with Landmark and Paradigm particularly active. Schlumberger has engaged on a change in direction—with a new focus on service provision. A session looked into the future of upstream computing—to conclude, unsurprisingly, that the future looks rather like the present!


Genetek was showing tightly integrated tools for AVO analysis built into its EarthWorks interpretation package. Synthetic seismogram generation, calibration and AVO form an integral part of seismic interpretation. The synthetic is generated where it should be – at the well location and within the seismic interpretation package. GeoModeling’s VisualVoxAT seismic interpretation system began life as a Statoil R&D project in 1996. VisualVoxAT performs dip cube, dip azimuth, waveform difference, spectral decomposition and other volume based processing as well as neural network-based classification. GeoPlus Corp.’s PetraSeis V2 2D/3D seismic interpretation package is to be released ‘within a month’. The new product incorporates a database and claims ‘accurate’ faults, multiple interpretations and full 2D3D interpretation. PetraSeis can also pick on raster images.

Linux is ‘for real’

Landmark’s John Sherman believes, “Linux is very much for real – providing a 200% to 1100% performance advantage over Unix”. One 60 box Unix installation was replaced advantageously with 80 Linux machines – the cost went down from $12 million to $300K. Magic Earth’s demo used to take 45 minutes on Unix - it now runs in 15 minutes on Linux. Landmark’s EarthCube development is now handled by Mike Zeiltlin in Magic Earth. Ødegaard was pushing its new consultancy workflow which connects time lapse seismic to reservoir modeling. Differences between 4D seismic measurement and reservoir model predictions are used to update the model. Paradigm introduced its new ‘trace to target’ cross-disciplinary workflows which facilitate and enforce cross discipline workflows. Paradigm products are linked together by a common file format—and are interoperable with third party frameworks such as GeoFrame and OpenWorks.


A new Well Asset Manager spiders data from different sources and ‘pumps’ it into GeoLog. University of Colorado’s BP Center of Visualization is releasing its Interactive Drilling Planner (IDP) which will be commercialized through Earth Decision Sciences (ex-T-Surf) end 2002. IDP was developed by Arco’s R&D department. IDP displays ‘cones of uncertainty’ around well bore trajectories – and is used in well path collision avoidance. IDP will be marketed as a GoCad plug-in.

Information Management

Schlumberger’s DecisionPoint (DP) offers a customized workspace and ‘control at a glance’ through alerts, notifications and prioritized workflow. DP can show daily production key performance and has also been used to provide seismic processing clients with workflow status reporting. In a marketing paradigm shift, Schlumberger no longer plans to ‘push’ applications. The intent is to be able to leverage client investment in proprietary or competitor products and datastores. These will be woven into the customized ‘InfoStreams’ announced at the SIS Madrid Forum earlier this year. New SIS Streams components include the Federator middleware, the ISurf browser and the ResultsDB – a new vendor-neutral repository for G&G information. Finder and AssetDB will remain as components of Info Streams ‘when needed’. GeoWeb will be phased out and replaced with ISurf. The ResultsDB will be commercially available mid 2003. CGG has ‘nearly abandoned’ its data management business although it continues with PetroVision in Russia.

SeisDB out

SeisDB is also on the way out and will be replaced by WesternGeco’s Expeditor along with the Panther/SDMS catalog. Oracle is back at the SEG and was touting its e-business tools Product Development Exchange and Oracle Sourcing. OPDX offers revision control and workflow, RFQ, purchase orders, parts, people, documents and change management. Hays IMS new E-Search Asset Management (ESAM) was derived from Open RSO and leverages Oracle’s Intermedia. ESAM is a Java GUI (for power users) or native web client providing searching of configurable database fields. ESAM V1.1 offers a published API for hooking into enterprise IT – amenable to GIS enablement. Kelman has invested $12 million in its seismic data management solution. By year end 2002, Kelman will have around 50TB on its system. The Kelman Archive uses XML/SOAP to talk to PetroWeb’s mapping front end for web data delivery. A shopping cart/checkout process verifies that there is room for the data on the recipient’s machine – in an oil company, or seismic contractor—B2B in action!


ModViz, a spinoff from Siemens, provides PC cluster-based 3D visualization leveraging TGS’ Open Inventor graphics. ReachIn’s haptic GeoEditor interface was developed for ChevronTexaco and Norsk Hydro and is now available as a plug-in for Earth Decision Sciences Gocad. SGI’s VizServer offers high-end interactive graphics over great distances—the screen, mouse and keyboard can be couple of km from the processor. SGI is also engaged in the Open Source movement and has offered its XFS journal file system to the community. Notwithstanding this, SGI will ‘never’ abandon IRIX. SGI also partnered with Teraburst to demo high quality visualization over private or public networks. Teraburst offers synchronized video, audio and control data on a Sonet optical carrier which has been tested over a 30,000 mile link! Paradigm is extending VoxelGeo’s capabilities to allow for visionarium-based well planning.


Multiwave Geophysical Company has developed towed streamer, seabed 4C cables and electromagnetic services. This kit has been deployed in Shell’s ‘game changer’ 4D seismic test on the North Sea Skua field. Engineering Seismology Group’s FracMap monitors fracture growth during fraccing operations by shutting-in an offset well and deploying a VSP array. Data is processed in real time to give engineers an image of what is happening. The time difference between P and S wave arrivals gives range while the horizontal component gives the azimuth. ESG offers a neat laptop-based 4D time lapse visualization package along with the service.


APPRO , Einux, IBM and RackSaver were showing clusters of PC’s deploying various inventive geometries and specifications. Clusters are one real geophysical growth sector—see last month’s editorial. Also in good health is the network/storage space with various OEM configurations on show from DataDirect Networks, Zambeel RaidZone, PARS/EMC, Hybinette and LSI Logic. LSI was showing its new TrAM ‘luggable’ disk array – ‘2TB in flight case’ for serious bandwidth users. NAS/SAN convergence is a hot topic – especially through the SGI SAN Server 1000 incorporating a Brocade 2 GB Fiber Channel switch.

This article is abstracted from a 24 page illustrated report on the 2002 SEG Convention produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch service. For more information, email

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