Oil ITJ Interview—Jeff Pferd, Petris Technology

Oil IT Journal met with Jeff Pferd, CTO of Houston-based Petris Technology. Petris’ Winds Enterprise infrastructure offers companies web-based browsing of multiple vendor data stores. Pferd described the patented, dynamic common model that makes this possible—and how W3C technologies will soon make it easier for companies to align taxonomies across different systems.

Oil ITJ—Petris Winds is described as a ‘seamless, easy-to-use interface that enables access to key oil and gas company data, anywhere, anytime, via the internet.’ What is the key enabling technology behind this solution ?

Pferd—Petris recently finalized the patenting of its transfer process dynamic common model (DCM). The patent claim defines this as ‘an aggregate of all mappings to and from native formats and dynamic common formats within a data integration application’. The DCM includes mappings for all data types in all native repositories. This makes it an adaptable system—that can be quickly tailored to any third party database or data model. We use XSLT to map and aggregate data transforms.

Oil ITJ—What does this mean to the end user?

Pferd—XSLT is used for instance to map and align different taxonomies—like well names—across systems. We will soon be exposing these XSLT mappings to end users. It will then be possible to map ‘comment field 3’ to ‘BH temperature’ as appropriate.

Oil ITJ—What integration platform do you deploy?

Pferd—We are a J2EE/BEA platform partner for portal and financial integration. We also have a Documentum link. But the DCM and other aspects of our technology extend the BEA platform. When you compare financial computing with upstream, scientific IT there are important differences. Finance has few variables and many transactions. In scientific computing it’s the other way around with a multiplicity of complex variables—but relatively few transactions.

Oil ITJ—Do you use a particular workflow engine?

Pferd—Currently this is embedded in Petris Winds. But we are looking into leveraging the business process modeling language (BPML) which can be ‘consumed’ by other engines such as BEA Web Logic.

Oil ITJ—It’s been a while since we spoke of the Petris Winds Application Service Provision. How many client applications are on offer today?

Pferd—Today there are about 20 different tools from a variety of vendors served as web services on the Petris Winds platform.

Oil ITJ—What other projects do you have underway?

Pferd—Along with our established deployments with companies such as ChevronTexaco and Burlington, we have been working with Total on the user interface to the GeoDrill Project and we have just done a deal to roll in MetaCarta’s geographical text search technology into our platform (see page 9 of this issue).

Oil ITJ—We learned earlier this year that Petris Winds was being used by Saudi Aramco as its E&P middleware of choice – that’s quite a coup!

Pferd—We’ve been working with Saudi Aramco for two years on a competitive pilot for workflow application to integrate its corporate data store, Schlumberger’s LogDB and other applications. Their need is to flow data under supervisor control into a variety of petrophysical applications: Geolog for environmental corrections, GeoFrame for annotation in composite log and LogTrack. Once this workflow is complete and approved, data is published to OpenWorks, GeoFrame and Geolog for use by interpreters. This was a fasciniating project for us, about a third of the time was spent discussing and understanding the processes.

Oil ITJ—What proved your value proposition to Saudi Aramco?

Pferd—As in any multi-vendor environment, our spidering technology was particularly appropriate. Over time, most companies finish up with a variety of ad hoc information capture mechanisms—for instance a status flag may be stored in a comment field. Rolling in half a dozen applications from different vendors requires a degree of independence.

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