ESRI 2005 San Diego user group

As if the PUG wasn’t enough, ESRI’s plenary San Diego meet gets a significant amount of attention from the oil and gas GIS community. At the 2005 plenary, Petrobras, Aramco, BP and others addressed issues such as pipeline data models, GIS-based well planning and oil spill modeling.

Despite a whole conference, the PUG* (OITJ Vol. 10 N° 3), dedicated to the applications of ESRI’s Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to oil and gas, many authors keep their papers for the annual ESRI User plenary—held in ESRI’s San Diego fiefdom. Most papers in the oil and gas track related to pipeline GIS, with several presentations from Government agencies.


Petrobras was an early implementer of the ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model (APDM) at Petrobras. Sidney Santos described how the company leveraged its APDM system, in particular with a ‘Scenario Builder,’ and in-house development that exposes gas pipeline simulation results to different stakeholders throughout the company. The new tool allows non-specialists to access GIS and pipeline simulation data without detailed knowledge of the underlying applications.


Imtiaz Ahmed’s presentation showed how GIS now plays a central role in Saudi Aramco’s well placement workflow. Aramco’s well planning process (WLP), a GIS-based application developed in-house, is used to optimize well placement according to criteria including geology, reservoir information and surface features. Locations are analyzed by drilling engineers, facility planners, production engineers and geoscientists for final approval. A toolbar in the E&P GIS application provides an entry point to advanced WLP functions including an ArcMap table window for viewing and analysis in Crystal Reports.

Applied Science

Chris Galagan (Applied Science Associates) described how digital terrain models such as the US National Elevation Dataset (NED) are used to model oil spills and their consequences. NED provides 30m (in some places, 10m) resolution over the US. Other inputs to the modeling process are land cover, surface water, oil composition and environmental parameters like wind speed and air temperature. The ASA spill model outputs its results to ArcGIS for high consequence area (HCA) analysis and reporting.

Pacific Gas and Electric

Gordon Ye’s presentation also related to HCA evaluations. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) uses aerial ortho-photography and cadastral GIS data to make accurate determination of land use in the vicinity of PG&E gas transmission pipelines in California. Spatial analysis is performed in ArcGIS’ native Visual Basic to derive HCA data and Class Locations in compliance with federal regulations.


Nicholas Spiteri (StarTrack) showed how GIS use is augmented with real time data from the field. StarTack uses low cost messaging services provided by low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite networks. These are being used to track mobile assets; to monitor meters, storage tanks, wells and pipelines; and to stay in touch with remote workers. Potential applications are in automated pig tracking with real-time reporting on pig movement and pipeline security for leak detection, monitoring of pipe/soil detentions and illegal tapping detection.

BP Canada

Robert van Wyngaarden (Golder Associates) described BP Canada’s GIS-enabled Emergency Response/Stakeholder Relations (SRD) database. Drivers include regulatory requirements and legislation, business operational efficiencies, as well as general Best-of-Practice principles. The SRD is a custom development integrating database and GIS technologies served in a Application Service Provider (ASP) mode.


Samuel Hall (US Dept. of Transportation) described how the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) uses GID to disseminate critical pipeline infrastructure data. The database is owned and maintained by the Office of Pipeline Safety and holds information on hazardous liquid and gas pipelines in the US. One challenge has been to protect sensitive data while making it available to qualified parties for activities such as analysis and emergency response. The solution, an ArcIMS Web site, displays pipeline data, sensitive and high population areas and Federally-owned property. Innovations include the use of OpenGIS to display other agencies’ data, granting users partial data access by password, advanced buffering and query and enhanced security.

* Petroleum User Group.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.