Oil ITJ Interview—Murray Roth, Landmark

Oil IT Journal spoke to Murray Roth, Executive VP Marketing and Systems with Landmark at the 2004 EAGE in Paris. Roth tells of OpenWorks extension to engineering, new Grid-computing based HPC solutions and automated velocity analysis—the ‘biggest thing since Magic Earth.’

Oil ITJ—The announcements of the Prospect Generation Engine and Field Development Engine sound great. What are these and how much is re-packaging of existing solutions?

Roth—OK, let’s cut to the chase! The big change is the expansion of OpenWork’s scope from G&G to engineering with the OpenWorks Engineering Data Model (EDM). This is leveraged in products like Asset View and Well Planning—making new workflows possible. These are underpinned with synchronization and data management tools for working with both Unix/Linux-based OpenWorks databases and EDM on Windows. This has involved a new focus on IT/hardware components and we are working with Sun, SGI, Intel/IBM to offer complete ‘shrink-wrapped’ IT systems.

Oil ITJ—Shrink-wrapped?

Roth—We have been working with IBM and Intel on IT ‘templates’—addressing workflow bottlenecks such as seismic processing. Systems are tuned for load balancing and to assure data management across the workflow. These can include Myrianet switches from NetApp and United Devices’ Grid computing solutions. The Grid is very applicable to reservoir modeling—you don’t need big NUMA machines any more. The flexible IT model, as deployed in Abu Dhabi, is part of a global network of Landmark Asset Management Centers leveraging our on-demand agreement with IBM.

Oil ITJ—Where else are these available?

Roth—These need to be locally available, we don’t want to separate data from the CPU. IBM has centers in Abu Dhabi, Poughkeepsie and France.

Oil ITJ—These are Itanium-based?

Roth—No they use Xeons.

Oil ITJ—What’s the ‘best thing’ chez Landmark since Magic Earth?

Roth—Auto Imager is a good candidate for that categorization. This is new automatic seismic processing technology, automating velocity analysis. We partnered with Calgary-based Data Modeling Inc. to develop these image-driven techniques. One 80 million trace land 3D survey, which would have taken six weeks in a traditional workflow, took two days with no human intervention. The technique is also great for pressure prediction and AVO studies. The integration of processing with interpretation has now been accepted by our larger clients—particularly ProMagic’s use of GeoProbe in processing.

Oil ITJ—Is ProMagic a killer app?

Roth—ProMagic sells well to GeoProbe customers—big oils and NOCs. We have also seen interest in Well Seismic Fusion reflecting the changing role of AVO analysis, accessing pre-stack seismic data during the interpretation process. We are working closely with Statoil in this area.

Oil ITJ—What is Landmark doing in knowledge management these days?

Roth—We have had some success with our Team Workspace portal but we try to avoid the ‘portal for portal’s sake’ mentality. Clients get better results starting with a data management focus. Here, Open Explorer has been replaced by Power Explorer, along with WOW for QC which now offers thumbnail displays of data. But really, data management will never be a ‘shrink-wrap’ application.

Oil ITJ—Still using Java?

Roth—Yes, in the context of a heterogeneous platform. Java gives platform independence that matches the state of the industry today. DecisionSpace runs on both Windows and Linux. We use .NET in isolated engineering applications but get more flexibility and less risk with Linux.

Oil ITJ—What’s Dave Hale up to; how did the atomic mesh work pan out?

Roth—He is presenting some interesting work on atomic-mesh derived ‘tanks and tubes’ which are used to perform a simple simulation of subsets of the reservoir—to high grade modeling options.

Oil ITJ—Will you be productizing atomic mesh?

Roth—Some European customers are looking to form a consortium around this. The tanks and tubes work may prove a quick win for the technology—in the seismic to simulation workflow. The technology is leveraged in the new DecisionSpace Nexus*—next generation unstructured simulator. This uses a tetrahedral grid, and reservoir simulation is modeled along with surface facilities. Nexus was a joint development with BP.

* More on Nexus in next month’s Oil IT Journal.

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