Oil IT J interview—Ihab Toma president SIS

Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) president Ihab Toma talks to Oil IT Journal in this exclusive interview. Toma describes how SIS intends to help oil companies achieve Euan Baird’s vision of a 15% hike in oilfield recovery. Toma outlines plans for rationalization in its burgeoning software lineup subsequent to its acquisition of Petrel and how SIS differentiates UNIX/PC products.

Oil ITJ - What are Schlumberger Information Solutions’ top-level objectives today?
Toma - To deliver on our vision of the smart field—the next paradigm shift for upstream productivity. Euan Baird’s 1996 vision was of delivering a 15% percentage point improvement in recovery. A global one percent increase in recovery equates to a year of production.
Oil ITJ - So how is the Smart Field (SF) going to achieve this?
Toma - SF links the field and the office more closely and facilitates concurrent analysis of field data and financial information—making the right decisions in a timely manner. In drilling, this might mean real-time collaboration with external stakeholders or with co-workers in the Visionarium. All this requires secure global, managed access in and out of corporate firewalls.

Oil ITJ - Where does Petrel fit in?
Toma - The key software component of the SF is the Living Model (LM). The LM holds the current best estimates of reservoir characteristics. The LM allows for real time well path planning—no more ‘blind drilling’! The LM includes seamless access to enterprise knowledge, data and financial information—coupled to the Living Business Plan. Where does Petrel fit in? The LM is the heart of the SF and Petrel is the heart of the LM!
Oil ITJ - Schlumberger now has at least three ‘solutions’ for seismic interpretation alone - can we expect rationalization?
Toma - We can’t ask our clients to throw away everything they have got! We have attempted to encourage rationalization of our two seismic interpretation suites IESX and Charisma - but the camps are entrenched!

Oil ITJ - But how do you differentiate the UNIX tools from Petrel?
Toma - GeoFrame focuses on the high end, seismic interpretation market, producing a high uncertainty, coarse model suitable for refinement and further interpretation within Petrel.

Oil ITJ - Last year the Petrel folks were going head-on with Unix interpretation systems—how can you maintain this differentiation?
Toma - GeoFrame and Petrel are complementary. GeoFrame provides multi-user UNIX/Linux tools for high data volume interpretation. During and following reservoir delineation, the PC-based Petrel is more appropriate. Today’s 32 bit Windows-based PC is still limited to 2GB of memory.

Oil ITJ - If there is no product retirement, how do you separate Unix workflows from Petrel workflows?
Toma - Our software offering comprises three ‘pillars’. First is the GeoFrame-based enterprise solution. Next, Petrel’s ‘asset performance’ solution focuses on integration and working in depth. Finally the simulation ‘pillar’ centers on ECLIPSE. We intend to share intellectual property across the three pillars.
Oil ITJ - What about geological modeling?
Toma - Mapping and geological tools will be available in both GeoFrame and Petrel. But Petrel is now our definitive 3D modeling tool - we made the acquisition to fill a hole in our product line - and to gain market share - Petrel is N° 1 in 3D modeling and is showing incredible growth.
Oil ITJ - How does all this integrate?
Toma - OpenSpirit is the key to seamless software integration in SIS. Petrel was already deploying OpenSpirit to link with GeoFrame successfully. In fact Open Spirit Corp. is doing well - standing on its own feet - and it made a positive net from sales growth in the first two months of 2003. No vendors will today deny the success of Open Spirit.
Oil ITJ - What about enterprise IT?
Toma - Schlumberger Information Solutions wants to be the enterprise integrator of choice. This is a tremendous growth market for us. IM solutions are 20% software and 80% services. Leveraging third party tools is also a strength for us—particularly through

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