EAGE—EUROPEC 2006, Vienna

Keynote speakers to the 68th meeting of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers spoke of exciting times in an industry which is ‘at the top of everyone’s agenda’. OMV’s Helmut Langanger wondered if this was boom time or revenge time for suppliers. We report on Total’s move to ubiquitous pre-stack depth migration of its seismic data, Petrel data management, Aramco’s knowledge management and new hardware from IBM.

Martin Bartenstein, Austrian Minister of Economics and Labor gave the keynote address to the 68th EAGE conference held in Vienna last month. Energy is at the top of everyone’s agenda, with demand set to rise 50% by 2030. Hydrocarbons will continue to dominate. Renewables will ‘decrease the increase,’ but will not change the fundamentals of demand for oil and gas—and coal, where demand is increasing most. Downstream, refining capacity is lacking and requires investment at a ‘most gigantic’ level. Global warming ‘is an issue for all,’ although there is ‘no realistic chance’ that the US will implement the Kyoto agreement. Clean carbon technologies like ‘flue free’ carbon chemical non-burning ‘combustion’ may be a way out.


OMV’s Helmut Langanger noted the increasingly tough tax terms for new licenses, musing that, as $30/barrel is still possible, ‘Will host governments revise the tax take down? I wonder...’ Today capex and opex are rising steeply. ‘If you want tubulars, join the queue!’ Langanger described the current situation as ‘boom time for suppliers—or should that be revenge time?’ Ten years ago, a 100 million barrel field was ‘comme ci comme ca’. Today, smallish fields in the 30-50 mmbbl are back on the agenda. Overall, ‘This is the most exciting time in the upstream for 30/40 years. There is no alternative to oil and gas for the next 50 years, the future is bright.’


Eric Steenken, (RAG) noted that mature basins (the theme of the conference) hold around 95 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bnboe) reserves of which 72 bnboe have been produced, leaving 23 bnboe to come from mature fields. Technology advances are potentially rewarding. A 1% recovery hike gives an extra bnboe. But it is worth noting that this implies 20 years more production from 20 year old facilities (especially pipelines) which is ‘a formidable challenge’. It will require serious investment to get infrastructure back into shape. According to Erasmus awardee Augustinus Berkhout, ‘energy has become so important to society as a whole, that if something happens to supply, we will be in big trouble’. $100/bbl oil is ‘just a matter of time’ and this will transform oil and gas into a high value industry that ‘doesn’t buy-back its own shares’, one that introduces new concepts rather than ‘chewing over old stuff’. We need new tools that we don’t have today. For instance in seismics, our capability to do reservoir characterization would be greater if we spent more on acquisition. Today’s segmented budgets means that the acquisition budget is in the hands of the seismic people – not the reservoir management community.


Yves le Stunff presented some results from Total’s near ubiquitous seismic depth imaging which is no longer reserved for complex situations. Depth imaging is changing Total’s interpretation workflows, and simplifies links to the earth model. Total’s new workflow moves depth conversion ‘upstream’ by building the model early. This makes for slower upfront depth cube building, but accelerated geo-modeling. Pre stack depth imaging heralds a ‘new era’ in interpretation. The downside is the cost and a longer wait for the seismic interpretation. The project also signals a move to in-house software development which is helping break down the processing/interpretation silo boundary.

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco has developed a web-based system for managing drilling information. The Drilling Knowledge Base (DKB) produces template-based reports for well prognosis, daily drilling, drill time analysis, mud use and planned vs. actual analyses. The system was developed with J2EE, a Flex Charts development is in progress. Each rig is responsible for database population over the web. Saudi Aramco is moving towards automated data capture with real time data links. Another project uses Adobe’s LiveCycle Forms to provide service companies with templates for offline population of the DKB.

Virtual reality

2D3D Animations produces interactive virtual reality displays that can be used for office reception areas, training and R&D concept development. An interactive animation showed CGG’s new remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for deployment of seabed sensors for seismic recording. 2D3D mixes techniques from video games and the traditional company video. Check out the sample animation of a Devonian sea at animatia-online.com/video/DiveIntoTheOrigins.avi.

Petrel data management

Russ Sagert presented Schlumberger Information Solutions’ (SIS) four approaches to Petrel workflow integration and data management. These start with ‘simple deployment’ of OpenSpirit (OS) whose data footprint now embraces more of Petrel’s data types. Level 2, the Petrel Reference Project, will give co-workers notification of changes such as a re-picked fault path. More sophistication is available at Level 3 with the ProSource GUI and results manager that allows snapshots of projects to be captured and managed in a Seabed database. Level 4 (nirvana?) will be available in 2008 when users can expect a ‘full footprint’ Seabed data store for Petrel project data.


IBM booth personnel movements were tracked by a new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system for Critical Asset Tracking (CAT). The RFID provides time-stamped information on the location of people and movable objects, allowing for ‘processes analysis and optimization.’ RFID CAT is used in petrochemicals and was developed in response to increasingly stringent US safety regulations. The technology should also be amenable to fulfilling offshore ‘people on board’ requirements. IBM was also showing a new Playstation III chipset-based Cell Broadband Engine. Fast Fourier transform tests have shown 400 GigaFlop performance for a single 3.2 GHz Cell BE.

This article is a summary of one of The Data Room’s Technology Watch Reports. More from tw@oilit.com.

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