2004 PETEX Conference and Exhibition

The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) was founded in 1964 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. PETEX, the PESGB’s biennial conference and exhibition, has become a showcase for new European oil and gas information technology. At this year’s show we spotted two new seismic interpretation packages, Inpres from Valioso and Continuum’s Geocap. This is not a big show for the major vendors but we did manage to get a peek at the new AVO packages – Landmark’s Well Seismic Fusion and Schlumberger’s Well Driven Seismics. Other items of interest include new tools for portfolio management and a new tool for HSE reporting, Xait Porter which, despite a very small booth, receives our ‘star of show’ award. Also of note is Working Smart’s Oilfield Licensing System, developed with guidance from John Brooks, ex-head of licensing at the DTI.

David Allard (Apache) described North Sea competition as fierce. This has forced Forties lifting cost down by 30% to $5.5/bbl. Forties (acquired by Apache from BP) produced 42 kbbl/d in 2003. Today it produces 70kbbl/d. At the same time STOIIP estimates have risen from 4200 to 4800 mm bbl. Apache hopes to reach 70% recovery. Apache drilled and completed 16 wells in 2004 at a cost of £ 4.5 million per well. Platforms are being linked with electricity and fuel lines which will save $1mm/month in fuel and will reduce or even eliminate flaring. Apache’s geophysical group in Houston designs modem acquisition and processing techniques which have produced ‘dramatic improvements’ especially from pre-stack inversion to derive P&S cubes from which rock properties are derived.


Arthur Millholland (Oilexco) described the UK DTI as ‘one of best government regulators—comparable to Alberta twenty years ago.’ Oilexco raised £50 mm on the London Stock Exchange and today is the ‘most active E&A well operator in North Sea’. Millholland believes the UKOOA model agreement is outdated. Non operators ‘have no rights’ and sole risk clauses don’t carry a tough enough penalty. Overhead payments ‘have got to stop.’ These discourage activity and ‘reward mediocrity’. Millholland attributed exploration success in part to work done by Ikon and GX Technology as well as Oilexco’s own experience in Western Canada, ‘Where we come from stratigraphic traps are the norm!’

Economic modeling

Palantir has just released a new economic evaluation package, the PalantirEłngine offering spreadsheet management, fiscal modeling, visual portfolio management and advanced reporting. The PalantirEłngine is integrated with Excel, is customizable to environments such as upstream, midstream or downstream and also handles the ‘complex features’ of economic evaluation tools such as visual fiscal modeling and security. Biznet Solutions’Capit@l portfolio management has been in association with Paras Consultants. The software evolved from work done for BP. Capit@l ranks properties by a configurable scoring system. Corporate activity and options can be tracked with a project management option à la Microsoft Project. Project snapshots can be printed up for discussion in the boardroom. Information is sharable with discussions and workflow is tracked at approved stages using scorecards. User configurable data capture allows mapping of external database fields. One client, Noble Energy, has migrated its portfolio analysis from multiple spreadsheets to Capit@l and is said to benefit from being able to find and share its data.

Interpretation packages

Valioso’s Inpres is an integrated geology and geophysics interpretation package developed by the Russian Central Geophysical Expedition. Inpres has a ‘state-of-the-art’ project manager and offers petrophysical and seismic interpretation. Inpres runs on Linux. Earthworks Environment Resources is to release a new prospect evaluation tool - Hiip early in 2005. Hiip combines Monte Carlo methods with geostatistical depth conversion with Earthworks Vpp grid analysis and volumetrics. Another Earthworks seismic package offers colored, deterministic and ‘ultra fast’ stochastic inversion. Intrepid Geophysics Euler Worms provides Fourier analysis, an Euler depth solver for potential field data and automated structural worming – similar to the edge detection of seismic ‘coherency’ packages. A new product Intrepid/JetStream is described as a ‘backoffice engine room’ for internet geophysical data delivery. Continuum Resources is now marketing Geocap’s interpretation package. The PC/Unix-based tool is set to compete with Schlumberger’s flagship Petrel on the basis of price—and by virtue of its mathematical operations and Tcl-based scripts. Geocap’s scripting language is described as a ‘continuation’ of Roxar’s Irap RMS programming language. Geocap was built partly to the specifications of sponsors Aker Geo, Norsk Hydro and Norske Conoco. Geocap was founded by Olav Egeland, the original developer of Geomatic’s Irap.

AVO software compared

TGS Imaging’s Prima offers a straightforward approach to AVO analysis. Users access gathers by clicking anywhere on a displayed seismic section, time slice or a 3D cube. Crossplotting capabilities allow the user to create AVO rock class surfaces and 3D viewable rock class attribute volumes. Open Spirit provides links to Landmark and Schlumberger environments and supports cursor tracking on a seismic base map and in SeisWorks. Users can page between near, far and full stack to see which angle produces an anomaly. Prima also allows for ad hoc math in the angle stack or offset stack domains. Schlumberger/WesternGeco’s ‘Well Driven Seismics’ AVO is nothing if not rigorous. The WDS workflow starts with well data conditioning and pre-stack inversion of P and S waves – allowing for spatially variant VP:VS ratio and attenuation – ‘Q’. Source and receiver directional response are accounted for in the de-signature process. WDS is more service than product – ‘You can’t just take the data and plough it through the machine.’ WDS links WesternGeco’s life of field seismic offering to Petrel. Landmark Graphics’ Well Seismic Fusion (WSF) technology is now stable and integrated with SeisWorks. WSF is used to display well data, seismic gathers and stacks. An intelligent cursor link tracks picks across WSF, OpenWorks and PowerView. A click on the seismic base map brings up the associated gathers. A variety of cross plots are used to indicate fluid content. There is also a ‘fluid substitution wizard’ for what-if modeling. In comparison with SIS’s approach, WSF offers a neat, productized AVO suite linked with OpenWorks. WSF is presented as a screening tool for further petrophysical investigation.

Production optimization

Work done on Statoil’s Norne field with multiple high resolution Q surveys has pushed WesternGeco to revamp its workflow for quantitative, 4D seismic based reservoir analysis. A new multi-measure reservoir description (MMRD) offering is to replace the ‘multiplicity’ of software tools used to date. MMRD is a major re-engineering project performed by Schlumberger Information Solutions for WesternGeco linking the Omega seismic processing suite to Petrel. There are no plans for productizing MMRD at the present time. Zencus oilfield instrumentation and communications bring data ‘from wellhead to desktop’. Sensor options include pressure, flow, temperature, pulse count and on/off indicators. Zencus software offers trend analysis, alarms from complex, combined sensors with email and sms alerts. The software is also said to be oil and gas friendly in that its nomenclature is domain specific – ‘well head pressure’ rather than an equipment tag. Visualization also offers a realistic display of well head equipment – along with sensor data. Hydrocarbon Data SystemsGas Field Manager (GMAN) is used to analyze and optimize a gas production facility. Version 7 offers decision support for new wells, compressors etc. GMAN combines information about producing formations with production tubing, surface flowlines, compression and separation facilities to compute the performance of the entire system. The software was developed for consultancy use by Maraco Inc. and has been used by storage specialists GasTop, the Dutch Government organization EBN and Kuwait Oil Co.

Other exhibitors

Working Smart’s Oil Licensing System (OLS) targets government organizations responsible for oil exploration licensing. OLS provides a web-based system for managing license rounds. OLS uses ArcView GIS for shape files and provides a configurable scoring system for applications. Applicants can access the system and express interest or query for more information on what kind of applications are being made. Company reports, partner information and other collateral can be uploaded to the system. The system was developed in collaboration with former DTI Director of Exploration and Licensing John Brooks. The system is designed to enhance transparency in permitting and reflects concepts put forward at the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative – Multi-stakeholder Conference 2003. OLS provides licensing authorities with a global portal for dialogue with E&P companies, and a structured process that demonstrates transparency.

Xait Porter

Porter is a configurable, collaborative project documentation and workflow system. The current implementation is tailored to Norwegian regulatory and HSE reporting – but the system could be reconfigured for other regions or workflows. Documents are generated online to company approved standards of content and presentation. Porter avoids the awkward formatting glitches experienced by sharing Microsoft Word documents. The system is deployed as an ASP offering – with data resident on Xait’s servers. Porter was written using Microsoft Explorer with Active-X components on the client. Current Porter users are BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Statoil, Hydro, Total, Vetco Gray.


Kestrel is back in the UK oil and gas storage and tape transcription business and has just been awarded a data management contract by WesternGeco. This involves the management of WesternGeco’s legacy seismic. Kestrel is to manage Western-Geco’s tape storage and transcription facility at Gatwick and will be transcribing all WesternGeco’s data to IBM 3592 cartridges. The transcription operation will use Troika’s Magma seismic transcription suite. Kestrel is also to deploy its own E&P Inventory Manager, DataLink, and Mitek’s document management software.

Presentations of note

Garry Perrat (Geocon Group) showed how a relatively low tech procedure can be used to merge different 3D seismic surveys. The procedure, developed with Seismic Unix, reads seismic data from the source projects and massages the inline/crossline information in the SEG header. The merged data is loaded to a new project. Perrat warns that this is a ‘fit for purpose’ approach and does not replace pre-stack or pre-migration techniques. John Brooks (Brookwood Consultants) reported on the state of play regarding international efforts to combat corruption through transparency in oil and gas licensing, referring to the work of the Center for Democracy and Technology and Working Smart’s Oilfield Licensing System above. Paul Maton (POSC) describes an upgrade to the UKCS Environmental Emissions Monitoring System (EEMS) to improve data quality and implement UK government directives on the use of Internet technologies. XML is used for reporting to the new EEMS along with digital signatures, leveraging off-the-shelf Microsoft XML and SOAP tools. The schemas have been provided to POSC for consideration as standards for environmental data sharing. Pal Ingsoy (Statoil) asks ‘how should an E&P application software portfolio be managed?’ Since it is hard to evaluate the ROI of IT, companies should share experiences and best practices. To this end, Statoil evaluated application portfolios from several vendors used in 10 different scenarios. Statoil found that ‘even the most ambitious providers of integrated software have difficulty bridging the gap between engineering and G&G data,’ a lack of coherence that ‘continues to impede our efforts to expedite the subsurface work.’ Statoil is inviting other companies to take part in the ongoing study.

This article has been taken from a 16 page illustrated report produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Reporting Service. More from tw@oilit.com .

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