2011—a year in review

Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton looks back over 2011. The year when data modeling came to fruition? Perhaps not. But lots of interesting stuff around the ‘cloud,’ on regulatory interest in data management, on cyber security and more. But don’t forget the ‘small stuff.’

This time last year I reported on the ‘bumper year’ for mergers and acquisitions that was 2010. Well, A&M carried on at a fair pace in 2011, although tempered with what could be considered another bumper year of share buy-backs.

Our January issue was something of a data modeling special with a continued interest in ‘horizontal’ i.e. not oil and gas specific techniques. At the IRM-UK conference Shell, Statoil and BP presented on data modeling and enterprise architecture.

Our February was, after the fact, dedicated to the ‘cloud’ which featured at the Microsoft Global Energy Forum (although MURA did not and remains something of an obscurity). Standards were in the limelight as the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon accident castigated the API for its dual role as pro-industry lobbying group and safety standard setting body. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed here as the API continues to lobby vocally against anything coming out of Washington while maintaining its role as standard setter. The API home page promises ‘over 160 standards at your fingertips.’

In our March issue we reported on Santos’ move to the ‘cloud’ even if this ‘cloud’ could have been mistaken for what used to be called a ‘mainframe.’ Shell reported trials of Microsoft’s Azure cloud for Office software. We also noted data ‘issues’ getting attention from the regulator, with BOEMRE finding ‘significant problems’ with BP’s engineering documentation on Atlantis. Vendors have been scaremongering the likelihood of SOX and other regulations impacting the data managers for a while now—sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for...

April saw P2 Energy Solutions on a buying spree with acquisition of Explorer and WellPoint Systems. In our Cyber Security round up, McAfee reported a ‘dramatic increase’ in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. And there was ironically, also a successful hack of McAfee’s own website!

May brought more cloudiness—as Baker Hughes announced reservoir simulation in the Azure cloud. The inexorable rise in data volumes was confirmed with Sercel’s announces of a ‘million channel’ capable seismic recording system. At the Digital Energy conference we heard of the unstoppable rise of iPhones, iPads and much agonizing over Stuxnet.

In June we reported on Shell’s plans for standards-based identity management, also in the cloud, leveraging Covisint’s Energy Ecosystem. The annual Fiatech conference confirmed the rise of the ISO 15926 standard for engineering data management with a flagship deployment on Statoil’s Snohvit LNG project. ‘Deployment’ is perhaps a bit strong. Aveva leveraged ISO 15926 in migrating over 2,000 DGN files to some 120 PDMS databases. At the International Digital Oilfield Conference we learned of the use of Siemens’ ‘XHQ’ as the basis of its Saudi Aramco’s enterprise monitoring solution that runs its refineries, pipelines and export terminals. SAP’s strength in oil country IT was confirmed with Baker Hughes’ ‘Odyssey’ corporate-level HS&E development and a mega land project, also for Aramco.

We led our July-August issue with a great story from Industrial Evolution which managed to solve the production data exchange problem between multiple partners and facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. There was the A&M deal of the year as IHS acquired SMT for an eye watering $500 million. We also reported on ‘reproducible’ open source seismic code—something we expect to hear more of in the future. And our exclusive report on VSG/Comsol’s shale poroperm analysis for ExxonMobil brought a significant hike in our website traffic following a LinkedIn post—thank you that person!

In September we reported on yet more cloudy stuff as the San Diego Supercomputing Centre leveraged Hadoop/big data technology to index seismic and Lidar data sets. In our report from the OSIsoft EU regional meet, we heard how Total has squared the circle of real time/alarm/event detection and ‘production intelligence.’ ISO 15926 was in the limelight again at the Norwegian Semantic Days event. But a clear presentation of its business benefits remains elusive. No doubt all will be revealed when the $15 million ‘Integrated operations in the high North’ project concludes in 2012. IOHN turns on the ‘application of semantic models in ISO 15926’ for ‘proactive monitoring and management of production critical sub-systems in collaboration with external expert centers.’ We also spotted some amazing modeling technology represented at the Big Data and Big Computing in the Geosciences’ Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geosciences.

October brought more reflections on data and regulations from the Office of Pipeline Safety citing ‘poor data integration within integrity management programs’ as a contributing factor to recent high profile spills and explosions. Microsoft announced ‘Chemra,’ a Mura for Chemicals, but revealed little as to its inner workings.

In November we had another scoop with our carefully researched piece on BP’s enterprise architectural success leveraging technology from Composite Software and Netezza. But before you run off with the idea that this problem has been ‘solved,’ it is worth reflecting that the high end solution has so far connected 32 out of BP’s 3,000 applications.

A highlight for December might be POSC/Caesar’s proposal to port ISO 15926 from Express to RDF/OWL. The Norwegians have to be complimented on their semantic stamina.


Somehow in this wrap-up our 16th year of publication I feel that I have omitted the essential. I write Oil IT Journal thinking of folks who will devote a couple of hours per month to reading it cover to cover. To my mind, along with the headline grabbing big stories, the little stuff—like a GPS-controlled spigot on a tanker, or a clip-on wireless device that ‘digitizes’ a remote oil well—are just as interesting. We will try and keep you supplied with the tidbits as well as the big picture through 2012. Happy new year.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.