POSC, PPDM standards report

Our reports from the spring member meetings of the Petroleum Open Standards Consortium and the Public Petroleum Data Model Association have been some time ‘in preparation’. This tardiness in no way reflects on the significance of these organizations’ efforts to harness what is a widespread desire in the industry for standardization. Of particular note are the POSC data catalogue project and the PPDM’s evolving Spatial Integration effort. These two projects illustrate one difference in approach: PPDM’s work is almost always centered on model development and extension, POSC projects are more wide-ranging and often emerge fully-formed from prior in-house sponsor projects. A significant plus point we noted was the use of the POSC well header XML as a starting point for the PPDM equivalent. Other signs of what remains timid collaboration are witnessed in the cataloging effort—now that catalog torch bearers Flare Consultants have joined PPDM.

POSC Spring Member Meeting - London


Paradigm’s Phil Neri, speaking at the London POSC spring member meet contrasted the ‘tight data and lose applications’ of the major vendors with Paradigm’s ‘lose data and tight applications’. Paradigm’s interoperating technology leverages CORBA calls (but not Open Spirit) to disparate vendor data repositories. Paradigm’s Web Asset Manager (WAM) spiders the LAN and returns an XML catalogue of project data. WAM’s GIS front-end helps locate data.

Smart field

John Willis (Halliburton) believes the Smart Field reflects a new era where a massive influx of data mandates pre-processing before use. Smart field benefits include real-time simulation to anticipate future declines with faster and more effective intervention. Data exchange standards are important—a common framework allows for plug-in components to be deployed.

IM metrics

Paul Cleverley (Flare Solutions) believes ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’. Cleverley presented the results of a survey of 14 companies reflecting a ‘strong interest’ in information management metrics. Flare is punting an IM metrics study at a cost of £5,000 per participant. Results will likely be released to POSC at a later date.

Premier Oil

As befits one of the dwindling number of UK independents, Premier Oil boasts an individualistic IM strategy as Nigel Webb reported. Premier uses a variety of repositories including GeoFrame, Livelink, OpenRSO and Robertson’s Traxx. A GIS enabled subsurface data portal was developed from Stephenson & Associates’ Sapphire and Deloitte & Touche’s PetroView. This leverages a metadata catalogue and standard UIDs to provide a single point of access for Premier’s data.

Subsurface data standards and procedures have been developed and tested for GeoFrame. Another project involved clean-up and indexing of data stored off-site. This reduced storage and retrieval costs, and paid for itself in under three years.


Hugo Belder (NAM) asks ‘how good is your company at supplying information on asset integrity?’. This is an issue for NAM which could impact its license to operate. Shell has an ongoing ‘quality data at your fingertips’ program which has involved a study of Shell’s knowledge assets acquired since the 1940’s. Input and output tasks and related documents fall into around 2,000 different categories—or ‘natures’. These constitute Shell’s catalogue through which users can locate data. Access and use passes through regular portal-enabled applications. The system is being rolled out at Shell Expro and Norske Shell.

Managed collections

The catalogue is a component of NAM’s ‘managed collections’, a complex, streamlined workflow aimed at assuring data quality during capture. Shell’s Asset Hierarchy Application (AHA) manages the interface between information producers (structured office workers), and knowledge consumers (event-driven action men!). AHA leverages transactional data along with the master reference data catalogue to enable ‘controlled publishing’ of documents and other corporate data. The details are contained in a Company Data Blueprint (CBD) – of which there is one per domain. The subsurface CDB helps users classify (pick the ‘nature’) from 15-20 choices at the portal. A combination of LiveLink EDMS and collaboration technology offers structured access to the 200,000 of NAM’s documents, which been classified so far. This took one year—from a total of 6 million items!


Danish state oil co DONG’s rapid expansion forced a rethink of data management. A review performed by Flare Consultants revealed a multiplicity of databases and applications. Iter-departmental data sharing was hard. DONG has deployed Flare’s E&P Catalogue and Wave system which leverages POSC-defined product types. A product type comprises a KID-type, a product group and a consumer discipline. DONG now plans to extend the catalogue to other domains, integrating with other applications like EDMS and GIS.


David Archer recapped POSC’s active projects. Many (E&P Catalogue, Data Storage and revisiting the PIDX Petroleum Industry Data Dictionary) originate in Shell’s Knowledge-Information-Data (KID) work. A related project for 2003 involves ‘Reference Entities and Values’ stemming from more Shell work on an E&P Business Process Model. The Data Storage Solutions SIG is an attempt to respond to an industry ‘struggling with data management work practices’. Mention was made of the ‘Universal Business Language’ (UBL) for defining ‘context’. This is likely to be deployed as a part of the an E&P business processes initiative where Shell has contributed a model.

PPDM Spring Member Meeting - Houston

PPDM technical update

Trudy Curtis (PPDM) outlined recommendations from the modeling committee including the use of a global unique identifier in all tables, enhanced data management capability, data time stamping and support for any SQL 92-compliant database. Work is in progress on a PPDM meta-model with a DDL code generation option. PPDM V3.7 now comprises 45 modules, 1,207 tables and 22,825 columns. Work on version 3.8 of the PPDM data model will start later in 2003—and will include modules for Well Operations, Taxonomies, Geochemistry, Heavy Oil, Well Log Interpretation, Royalties, Special Core Analysis and Joint Interests.


Colin Knill (PetroSoft) described the reserves booking process including classification, production entity definition and estimation. The workgroup has addressed reserve reporting including revision management, joint venture accounting, volume conversion and rollup hierarchies. Various production forecasting methods are supported and evaluations can be stored in the database—along with a record of how they were obtained. Future work will focus on economics, budget planning and portfolio optimization.


Robert Witrock (US Minerals Management Service) reviewed the final PPDM biostratigraphy module covering lithologic sampling, fossil identification, taxonomy, ecozones and assemblages. A sample dataset from the US MMS is included. A second paper by Witrock described the use of biostrat databases in stratigraphic architecture and sequence stratigraphy.

Well Logs

Harry Schultz (Oilware) reported that the Well Log work group is developing dictionaries and classifications for curves and logging parameters. Storage of digits, raster and original format logs is also provided (in or outside of the database) and a range of metadata and presentational preferences is provided.


PPDM’s Ian Batty recapped the PPDM Spatial Enablement II project—showing how a table of well deviation data could be leveraged in a spatial database. The prime target is the ubiquitous ESRI Geodatabase. But Spatial II also offers an OGC compliant methodology. Batty defended the PPDM spatial project from criticism that it is too closely linked with ESRI’s proprietary technology. Batty insists that PPDM Spatial principles are technology independent; although implementation will contain proprietary elements. The 2003 spatial project will be delivered in three technology ‘tracks’ as OGIS-enabled data, an OGIS-compliant simple feature dataset, and as an ESRI Geodatabase.

Seismic formats

Petris’ Jeff Pferd described an ongoing project to map seismic positional formats (UKOOA P1/90 and SEG/P1) to the PPDM data model. Problems were encountered with inconsistencies in the PPDM model due in part to ‘successive minor improvements that did not take the global schema into account’. Pferd advocates closer cooperation between PPDM, the SEG and the UKOOA to produce a definitive mapping.

Data exchange

The data exchange project is PPDM’s main venture into XML-based data formats. Rick Taylor (PPDM) reports that the XML schemas are used by Nexen, and EnCana. Once data has been captured to an XML file, it can be reused via XSLT style sheets to produce a variety of documents. Taylor acknowledges that the current phase of the data exchange project relies heavily on prior work by POSC and PIDX.

Enterprise GIS

Andrew Zolnai described ESRI’s Geodatabase as offering ‘full description and geo-processing of geographic features’. Current work focuses on detached editing and synchronization, 3D texture mapping, database-driven cartography and editing over the internet. Zolnai believes that Enterprise GIS is ‘less project than implementation’—where considerations of security, IT infrastructure and workflow predominate. Data models are important too—Zolnai cited PPDM (naturally), the ESRI Plot File (ESI) and the MJ Harden Pipeline Data Model. GIS has seen a paradigm shift from data exchange (through Geoshare or XML) to reading data ‘in-situ’ with on-demand access. Modern geo-processing leverages secure communications across the firewall to view disparate sources like real-time hurricane weather maps as a backdrop to offshore facilities.

Calibrated Logs

Bill Ross (A2D Technologies) noted that depth calibrated log images are increasingly used in interpretation. A2D has proposed that the format of the registration file is standardized and incorporated into the PPDM data model.

Corporate Governance

Travis Osborne (Stonebridge Technologies) sees data management as a component of good corporate governance as encouraged by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley act. Primarily this lays down rules for financial reporting but can also be understood as applying to operations, supply chain and asset management. IT’s role in this is to provide the technical infrastructure to support strategic objectives like data cleanup, systems integration and application development. Osborne believes that the PPDM data model provides a base framework to capture the data required to ‘bridge IT and corporate governance’.

Extract, transform and load

Harry Schultz’s company Oilware has teamed with ETL Solutions Ltd. to leverage extract transform and load technology in the upstream. ETL was formed by a management buyout of Prism Technology’s ETL unit in 2002. A proof-of-concept transfer of data from a variety of industry standard formats (LIS, LAS, DLIS, BIT) to PPDM 3.7 leveraged Oilware’s EZTools and ETL’s Transformation Manager. ETL tools are mainly deployed in the financial services industry today. Data validation is built in to the ETL process.

Expanded versions of these reports are available as a part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch reporting service. For info email tw@oilit.com.

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