Data Repository owners meet

National Data Repository owners, select suppliers and users met in Stavanger this month. NDR ‘business’ is booming.

Representatives from sixteen governmental agencies, several major oil companies and data repository software vendors from across the globe gathered in Stavanger earlier this month to discuss National Data Repositories (NDRs). Hosted by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) this was the fourth meeting of the ad-hoc grouping.


Kjell Reidar Knudsen of NPD said “Knowledge of different reporting requirements may help in harmonizing future regimes, allowing for new standards and more efficient data flow between companies and government agencies regionally and across national borders. We all face similar challenges and opportunities.”


The seminar was co-sponsored by the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the Petroleum Open Software Corp. (POSC). NDR reporting falls into three categories from the software standpoint. Halliburton’s PetroBank and Schlumberger’s Finder share most of the market – with a few ‘home brew’ solutions. Noteworthy among the latter is the US National Geoscience Data Repository System whose ‘GeoTrek’ uses open source technology such as MapServer, MapScript/PHP and POSC’s Epicentre.


Summing up, Stewart Robinson of the UK DTI noted a significant increase in NDR activity over previous years. Robinson noted that different countries had different NDR cultures. But most shared the same motivation – to establish a national archive and to attract new participants to a province. The NDRs’ future lies in the web, which is extending NDR reach and forcing a re-think of funding models.


Commenting on the use of the term ‘standard,’ Robinson opined that while there are de facto standards such as DLIS and SEGY, the metadata standards required for NDR development do not exist. Robinson – a POSC board member – believes that organization has a role to play here as a standards custodian.


Most NDRs have decided upon a centralist strategy with all data being in the same place. The USA is looking at a dispersed model and the UK’s plan is to move to a meta-repository - with pointers to real data repositories. Robinson urged NDR developers to “be realistic - it will be more difficult than you think.”


This, the fourth meeting of the NDR bodies came after a three year gap. Going forward, the intent is to form a team from Norway, USA, UK, Russia, Schlumberger, Halliburton and POSC to arrange the next meeting. An 18 months interval between meetings was suggested giving next two meetings in September 2003 and Spring 2005.

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