Oil ITJ interview - Jerry Langladure, Shell

Shell’s Jerry de Larthe Langladure told Oil IT Journal of his work on a global GIS. Shell deploys Oracle Spatial technology along with the full suite of ESRI’s tools to give a global view of corporate data and to realize the value of its spatial archives.

Oil ITJ – What is the scope of Shell’s Oracle GIS implementation?

JdLL – Almost entirely upstream. We have consulted for retail, but the real focus is the 35,000 strong Shell global E&P sector. Currently, the Oracle Spatial (OS) solution has been deployed or is in the process of being deployed in Brunei Shell, PDM Oman, South America and is extending to Houston and Australia.

Oil ITJ - What data types and extent will the Shell GIS offer?

JdLL – The vision is of a global, federated database. A pragmatic decision needs to be made as to what goes in and what the business units keep to themselves. We draw a line. Above the line everything is pushed out to global database. Below the line, sensitive information is kept locally and will not be visible at the global scale. In the North Sea, Shell Expro UK, Expro Norway and NAM are sharing data ‘above the line’ which is merged into one map view at Rijswijk by SIEP - along with its own and third party global datasets from companies like Robertson Research and IHS Energy. This provides a synthetic view of the whole NW EU cluster. Anyone interested in regional plays, prospects or pipelines has a seamless view, avoiding trying to ‘manage’ data across assets.

Oil ITJ – it sounds like you must be confronted by multiple problems of nomenclature and data standards?

JdLL – Shell has always had standards for surface features, topography, wells etc. We are currently working on formations, plays so that geologists will be able to populate the subsurface data model as consistently and easily as has been done for surface features. The common model naming conventions are grouped into the Shared Reference Library.

Oil ITJ - How do you go about enforcing procedures and standards?

JdLL – Data management is not ‘sexy’. But data, especially spatial, is interesting and our people appreciate the tools we are providing to organize spatial data properly. Our business units recognize the value of regional studies where standards really pay off. We all believe in the value of the information in our archives. In Rijswijk, our Basin Field Evaluation teams, who draft well proposals, are now building a GIS-enabled library of projects to look into analogues. As our ex-Exploration Head Roel Murris once remarked, “We probably have more oil in our archives than we’ve ever actually found!”

Oil ITJ - What key technologies are deployed in the Shell GIS?

JdLL – We have replaced our legacy GIS with the security and functionality of the RDBMS. ESRI and Oracle work together to support all ESRI products and Oracle 9i. Shell deploys nearly all ESRI’s products. The casual user gets ArcIMS data fed from OS. The analyst will have ArcGIS on the desktop while the data manager will likely have the full ArcInfo suite. We have some issues reading and writing to OS and we suffer from (and have learned to live with) a non synchronous 6 monthly release cycle for Oracle and ESRI products. OS has been deployed, managed with ESRI tools. Locally users can set up a GeoDatabase with SDE which is a very flexible solution.

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