PETEX 2002 “Extending the limits”

The 2002 edition of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain’s two-yearly PETEX conference and exhibition was held in London’s Olympia complex last month. Larger premises allowed for more exhibitors and flashier booths. But the ‘buzz’ of previous editions was gone. Perhaps the PESGB has gone a little too far in the direction of the big trade shows. There were however rich pickings for Oil IT Journal’s software aficionados. Of note was a new immersive VR environment for offshore platform commissioning from startup VR Context. New streaming log technology from Geologix also caught our attention as did PGS’ ‘Holoseis’ GeoProbe clone. Read on for more news on over 20 products.

BP Group Treasurer Tony Hayward’s keynote address outlined its role in creating a new future for the U.K. North Sea. The way forward for a super major is to ‘manage decline in the most economical way’. This is to be done by keeping costs down and leveraging economies of scale. BP’s 5bn bbls of remaining reserves will be chased through ‘commercially innovative solutions’ and by ‘continually reinventing’ BP’s business. Through this BP plans to increase profitability by 25% - the ‘5th quarter’—and by implementing its ‘great operator’ program focused on ‘HSE, integrity management, lifting costs, capital investment, operational efficiency, infill drilling and financial management’.


John Perry explained how BP is to ‘bridge the new technology implementation gap’. Finding the right technology is only half the battle. Successful roll-out is necessary to realize technology’s value. BP has initiated the ‘ISIS’ global technology project to address the problem of implementing new technologies in real-time integrated subsurface information management. The ISIS task force helps business units define the problems, find a solution and helps with adoption.

BP Hive

A couple of demos on the SGI stand caught our attention. Mike Saunders (BP’s Hive manager) was showing tiled satellite imagery of Abu Dhabi using Ikonos’ Space2Face software. Starting from a view of the earth from outer space, Saunders zoomed in to view tennis courts and other detail thanks to the 60 cm resolution. Saunders also showed how Magic Earth’s GeoProbe has been used to create a time lapse video of a CAT scan core analysis.


Also showing at the SGI theatre was new software from Belgian startup VR Context. WalkInside generates a 3D immersive virtual universe from CAD drawings and is used for plant and offshore safety training, planning and maintenance. WalkInside links into SAP plant maintenance and was used by Shell Nigeria to present a huge offshore project ‘in situ’ along with 400 square kilometers of digitized sea bed.


Most current log data is sent over the internet as a static PDF document or a bitmapped image. To offer more efficient and usable data transmission of logs over the internet, Geologix has developed a streaming feature in its ‘Geo’ software package which accesses log data through a web folder url. A plug-in ‘Geo e-View’ reads the streamed data in a browser.


Baker Hughes is rolling out a Windows version of its Recall log database to complement its existing ‘Logscape’ Windows client for Unix Recall databases. Recall is to be integrated with Baker Hughes well-site data management solution ‘Express’ early next year. ASP use is enabled by RecallML, an XML data file which leverages the POSC Practical Well Log Standards work. Most applications can be run using RecallML on a web browser.


Cambrian’s new Access-based software ‘In:toto’ supports wellsite capture and management of geological data and generates daily and post-well reports. Cambrian offers secure web hosting for data distribution to clients.

Centra 2000

Centra 2000 (aka Autotrol) is an Arc IMS-based E&P document management system. A custom web interface to data offers version control and launch of domain viewers. Vienna-based OMV is rolling-out Centra 2000. In Australia, Woodside uses Centra along with Petrosys and PPDM in its ‘GeoDatabase’ in-house development.

Conwy Valley

Conwy Valley Systems is dedicated to ‘reversing the decline petrographic analysis’ by bringing it into the digital data age. A new digital stepping stage electro-mechanical microscope is under development at Bangor University.

Digital ‘Brown Book’.

The UK DTI no longer produces its ‘Brown Book’ annual summary for the North Sea. Steve Allen (Data by Design) spotted the opportunity to re-package the dataset into the ‘UK Petroleum Data CD’. The CD offers and Access database, maps and statistical tables of UK activity.


UK-based transcription software specialists Troika have announced new tape management products. Minima reads post stack seismic header information to a spreadsheet and trace data to disk. Troika is working with FileTek on bundling Minima into an archival solution offering trace-level indexing and retrieval. Deva copies field data and manages demux and gain to produce test plots. Deva preserves the original bit stream and format and can be used for QC in field - or to offer QC plots to holders of field data without means of reading (e.g. Governments and small companies).


‘On-call’ is a new telephone service from Deloitte & Touche Petroleum Services (formerly Andersen Petroleum Services) for subscribers to help use D&T PS’s databases. On-call ‘lets end-users in a hurry speak directly to D&T PS’ petroleum engineers and economists’. A new version of D&T PS’ PetroView now supports ESRI’s ArcGIS. The old MapInfo-based product will continue to be supported ‘until further notice’. ‘Ignite,’ D&T PS’s new ‘gas strategy’ software and service offering was also announced.


Earth Decision Sciences (formerly T-Surf) has issued a new release of GoCad—including geostatistical property modeling with multiple constraints such as geological concepts and trends. EDS was also showing its Volume Explorer which includes a voxel-probe à la Magic Earth displaying multiple attributes.


Dutch consultancy Enres has rolled out Cyclo-Log. The software uses the new concept of cyclostratigraphy to apply seismic processing techniques to wireline logs. Milankovitch cycles and palaeo latitude can be rolled in to the equation. Cyclostratigraphy was developed by Texaco’s Nio Perlmutter and is used by Aramco, Shell, and Gaz de France.


GeoCenter’s SeisUP processing now incorporates a ‘geologic analysis via maximum likelihood’ module—GAML-Seis. The software derives rock types from seismic data. Attributes such as stacks, AVO intercept and gradient and selected traces from angle dependent gathers can be studied.


GeoFocus’ Pathways migration analysis software was developed as part of Andrew Hindle’s Open University PhD thesis (his father wrote the software). Pathways does drainage area and fill-and-spill analysis. Clients include BHP, ChevronTexaco, Encana and Robertsons.


Ikon’s new interpretation helper application—‘FaultX’ extracts fault planes and segments from seismic volumes for integration into models and reservoir simulations. FaultX was trialed on BP’s Magnus field. V 1.0 is out this month.


NeuraSection Plus V6 includes ‘ad hoc’ hand contouring along with auto-tracking of map contours (see the excellent Flash demos on The new release goes ‘beyond correlation’ by letting users make show maps, logs, sections and complete presentation montages. New ‘gridless’ mapping allows for quick data posting and contouring.


PGS’ ‘Holoseis’ is a virtual reality-based seismic display system used for survey planning, interpretation and well planning. Holoseis has been in internal use for ‘a few years’ but is not sold commercially. Used to demo PGS’ Mega Surveys, Holoseis holds all data on a single system.

Oilfield Data Manager

Production Geoscience Ltd. (PGL) has released a new version (V2.0) of Oilfield Data Manager. ODM is used as front end to Landmark for integration, interpretation and presentation of well-based data (G&G and production). Users are said to prefer this PC-based front end over Unix-based StrataWorks. ODM also fronts for data in GeoFrame. An Open Spirit link will be available ‘real soon now’.


Startup Q-Venture Development’s ‘Q-Fault’ is described as an ‘integrated 3D fault and hydrocarbon migration modeling tool’. The Windows-based software computes basin dynamics and fluid pathways. Fault models include shale gouge ratios, smear factor and ‘cataclastic deformation’.

Unite IT

‘Unite IT’ is a multi-user multi platform document collaboration tool which integrates with E&P workflows. Unite IT is sold by Schlumberger as MindShare and Landmark will ‘probably have a version next year’. A new release early in 2003 will offer PDF document creation, subscription and notification for users to register an interest in a subject and to receive email or SMS upon update. A Linux version will also be available.


New V2.0 release of Fugro unit Robertson’s ‘Target’ play fairway analysis database. Target was acquired last year from Asset Geoscience and is offered as a subscription service. Target also loads proprietary data. One typical use is to see which wells penetrate which horizons and to determine why they were unsuccessful. Target draws probability-based fairways and creaming curves for failure analysis.


RRI Trax is a productization of Roberston’s data/asset storage and management solution. RRI Trax offers web-based information management and data hosting service for digital and physical assets. Trax leverages ESRI’s Arc IMS to provide web based GIS access to data. Trax monitors dispatches from any number of storage locations.

World’s smallest cluster!

Corelab’s Bee Bednar was showing the ‘world’s smallest Linux cluster’ (made up of 4 Fuji laptops) running Corelab unit ADS’ Dagger synthetic shot modeling and Radon transform software. Incidentally, Bednar told Oil IT Journal of his work on the American Mechanical Engineers Project Cyclops—a search for extraterrestrial life which begat the SETI screensaver.

Chronostratigraphic website

Paul Sikora presented the Energy and Geoscience Institute (EGI) at the University of Utah and its chrono-stratigraphic database. During the BP-Amoco merger this 3,000 locality dataset was donated to the university. The EGI web site went on line last year—powered by PetroWeb’s GIS browsing technology. Visit But be prepared to wait for the plug-in to load.


Altinex’s NetTool simulator computes multiphase fluid flow for well completion and in the vicinity of the wellbore. NetTool is said to fill a gap between conventional reservoir simulators and current hydraulic simulators. NetTool handles open hole, slotted liner, perforated and cemented pipe.


Watch out Amazon—Bobbie Smith has moved her specialist G&G bookshop into cyberspace! Browse Smith’s list on

This article has been abstracted from a 17 page illustrated report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch service. For more information please email .

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