Statoil drives VAN offshore

Using SGI’s Visual Area Network, Statoil has ‘democratized’ high end collaboration and visualization.

SGI recently demoed its high-end remote visualization technology to a group of observers from major oil and gas companies at Statoil’s Stavanger office. PC-users ran an interactive interpretation session involving large 3D models of the Gullfaks oil field from a remotely located SGI Reality Center facility. The demo—claimed as an industry first—leveraged SGI’s Visual Area Networking (VAN) technology, which allows geographically dispersed teams to view and manipulate complex graphical data using virtually any thin client over standard data networks. The SGI VAN, co-hosted by Statoil and Kidra, ran on an SGI Onyx graphics server at Kidra’s Stavanger visualization center, linked to Statoil via a 50Mbps ATM fiber.


Statoil geologist Knut Kirkemo said, “SGI’s VAN lets us interpret large volumes of data collaboratively and make rapid drilling and field development decisions.” The system offers a full screen resolution of 1024 x 768 at between 15 and 20 frames per second. Remote collaboration uses SGI’s OpenGL Vizserver for interactive sharing of large 3D models between the Reality Center and a remote thin client. OpenGL Vizserver optimizes bandwidth use by transmitting only the frame-by-frame images of the data rather than the actual data set. Vizserver can operate on virtually any type of client, including laptops, workstations and soon on a PDA.


SGI Global Energy Solutions director Bill Bartling commented, “SGI’s Visual Area Network solution democratizes visualization, making it available to an organization’s key employees no matter where they’re located. By increasing collaboration, the industry can now make more informed decisions that lead to greater drilling success, reduced costs and increased profits.”

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