PPDM Spring meeting highlights metadata

The joint meeting of the Public Petroleum Data Model (PPDM) and the Pipeline Open Data Standards (PODS) associations debated metadata, semantics, data exchange and units of measure.

At the Spring meetings of the Public Petroleum Data Model (PPDM) and the Pipeline Open Data Standards (PODS) associations, held in Houston, metadata held the spotlight. PPDM CEO Trudy Curtis showed how the Dublin Core metadata standard supports records and information (RIM) functionality such as retention, content life cycle as well as considerations such as geographic coverage, format and language. PPDM is building support for ontologies, taxonomies and meta data into the PPDM data model, mapping the Flare Catalogue into a W3C-compliant ontology.


PPDM is planning to publish XML schemas for a range of activities from acquisition and divestment, through business associations, seismic data processing and well information. The schemas will be developed through architectural collaboration with other organizations including GML and POSC. The issue of standard data content continues to exercise the community. Current thinking is that if relevant value sets exist, then PPDM should ‘point members to the list’ rather than take on the burden of maintenance.


Wanda Jackson (WHL Information Solutions) explained how the Taxonomy and Metadata workgroup is setting out to create PPDM modules to manage semantic information and taxonomies. The workgroup will also implement mappings between taxonomies and metadata in PPDM and generate mechanisms for sharing and exchanging such information. A terminological gear change saw Hakan Sarbanoglu (Kalido) speak about similar issues in terms of the Enterprise Data Warehouse and Master Data Management. Sarbanoglu, who previously delivered a federation of Kalido Data Warehouses across Shell Oil Products’ 21 European units, believes that technology is mature enough to make the master data management concept succeed where previous corporate database initiatives have failed.


Greg Smith (New Century Software) addressed the issue of data exchange between PODS and other pipeline industry stakeholders such as the inline inspection (ILI) community. PODS’ RP-0102 offers a standard data structure for the exchange of inspection data between vendors and pipeline operators. The project will embrace anomaly classification through Hunter McDonnell’s Anomaly Library for Inspection Assurance Standards (see pipelinealias.com). PODS is also working with the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) on a new External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA) data exchange standard (RP 0502). Alan Herbison (Kinder Morgan) reported on the PODS Spatial Implementation Working Group’s extension that can be implemented in various commercial mapping packages.


Harry Schultz (OilWare) explained how units of measure (UOM) were handled by various data initiatives including PPDM. The oil industry is a minefield of different unit systems and usages. The current PPDM UOM initiative will provide a unique UOM identifier in the database and will support original UOM data along with approved conversion constants and an indication of conversion accuracy. Schultz regretted en passant, the powerful API RP66 format which allowed for conversions to be derived by parsing the data. This is not the case for PPDM although UOM conversions can be put into stored procedures. Shultz noted that storing data in a default UOM with a pointer to the original units is ‘useful but very confusing!’

3.8 Alpha

Last month, PPDM announced the Alpha release (V2) of its next major model, PPDM 3.8. The new release embeds the results of the data management, metadata, taxonomy and well operations workgroups.

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