OITJ Interview—John Gibson, Paradigm

Paradigm chairman John Gibson spoke to Oil IT Journal at the SEG. Gibson describes how a $100 million company is to compete with billion dollar behemoths—and reveals a major change in Paradigm’s software strategy, ring fencing application scope to the ‘upstream’ upstream.

OITJ—What’s happening in Paradigm?

Gibson—We are making tremendous changes. Paradigm’s shareholders offered me an opportunity to turn the company into a platform for value creation. But for a $100 million company to successfully compete with two ‘billion dollar’ vendors we have had to rethink our strategy.

OITJ—What are the major changes?

Gibson—We are to restrict our activity to the ‘upstream’ part of the upstream—ring fencing geology, geophysics, drilling and petrophysics where, with Geolog, we are world leaders. The next decade is going to be all about rock mechanics—and here, petrophysics is the key.

OITJ—How do you ring-fence upstream upstream?

Gibson—Think of what feeds into a seismically-conditioned reservoir model; rock properties, attributes—all of which are correctly positioned in space with accurate depth migration, signal processing and petrophysical analysis. We don’t have to do fluid flow simulation nor production accounting. It’s already a big niche.

OITJ—Is this a return to the silos?

Gibson—It is something I’ve been preaching for some time. People don’t want dumbed-down seismic processing technology. In fact geoscientists are going to have to be smarter in the next decade to solve tomorrow’s problems and we are going to give them research quality tools. We also want to componentize our leading edge technologies. VoxelGeo for instance is the tops in volume rendering but it is a monolithic application. We want to componentize the good bits of VoxelGeo and other technologies and serve them inside new workflows—a move to a model of software components and re-use.

OITJ—Will this finally bridge the processing and interpretation divide?

Gibson—This is a ‘done deal’ for Paradigm. This is what GeoDepth is all about. But our users are not pushing us hard enough here.

OITJ—How will this affect pricing?

Gibson—We need to realign our pricing to drive our development model. Our private ownership helps here, reducing the impact of prices on our development effort. But I have to say that companies are over-focused on license management tools like FlexLM and GlobeTrotter. They are wasting everybody’s time. The last thing the industry needs is more licensing management software!

OITJ—So how do you counter the penny pinchers?

Gibson—I don’t know! But some how we have to optimize use not cost!

OITJ—What are your plans for Paradigm’s Epos middleware?

Gibson—EPOS is a best of breed enabler that circumvents our competitor’s proprietary data models. We are working on an EPOS dev kit and API. Maybe with a move to open standards.

OITJ—You mean there will be an ‘Open Epos’?

Gibson—Maybe. We might even outsource the development and maintenance of an Open Epos.

OITJ—And what about data management?

Gibson—We want to be infrastructure independent but we don’t want to have to cater for multi-supplier datastores. We are committed to providing a ten fold performance differential in our applications so we need an ‘intimate relationship’ with our data. We are not a horizontal DM/IT company (except for HPC applications).

OITJ—Can a $100 million company offer worldwide support?

Gibson—We are everywhere! We have very broad coverage for our size with representation in Russia, Mexico, Canada, Europe and Nigeria. We also just issued an announcement about our beefed-up customer support which leverages web based tools.

OITJ—What’s your strategy on WITSML?

Gibson—Talk to us in three months!

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