National Data Repositories 10

Brazilian gathering of operators and suppliers hears of common problems—storage volumes, standards, data quality and legacy media disposal. Country reports provide state of art snapshot.

The 10th meeting of the Energistics-sponsored National Data Repositories (NDR) organization held this month in Rio de Janeiro saw some 130 delegates representing 28 countries. Magda Chambriard, director of Brazil’s ANP oil and gas regulator underlined the importance of good quality, accessible data in attracting newcomers to the Brazilian E&P scene. Following the softening of Petrobras’ monopoly, some $650 million worth of data has been transferred to the Brazilian Data Center BDEP1, endowed with around $3.5 million of hardware. BDEP’s staff of around 50 currently manages over three petabytes of data. Some 78 companies (40 Brazilian) utilize the resource. BDEP deploys a Petrobank solution from Halliburton’s Landmark unit along with an internally developed tool, ‘PowerQC’ for well data. This checks incoming data for conformance with ANP’s own versions of LIS and DLIS formats and validates curve mnemonics with the ANP standard nomenclature. ANP is now working on a tender for a completely new solution.

On the other side of the ocean, and of the vendor fence, Sonangol’s Angolan NDR leverages Schlumberger technology as Rick Johnston related. The Angolan NDR was designed as a showcase for the country’s high volume deepwater data assets. Schlumberger tools including the Seabed database, eSearch, Petrel plugins and ProSource data management are accessible through a secure, encrypted data access layer although, ‘encryption requires enormous compute time.’

NDR 10 featured several breakout sessions offering a platform for operators and suppliers to exchange views. The old chestnut of data standards continues to fuel the debate. Many upstream standards like SEG-Y and current versions of Witsml are not very standard themselves. Energistics is working to tighten up the 1.4.1 Witsml release to enhance interoperability.

Some NDRs mandate their own NDR standards and have adopted a draconian ‘if data doesn’t conform, we send it back’ approach. There is a general recognition of the high cost of ‘standardizing’ and managing data. Standardization extends beyond data formats to include naming conventions for well and seismic data objects and their digital files. Older seismic data has proved especially problematical. One NDR operator reported 50,000 SEG-Y tapes with no identifiers. Even when standards are set and laws are made, enforcement can be problematical.

Media disposal is another problem shared by NDR operators and operating companies. On the one hand space is a problem, especially for older media. But not all are prepared to bite the bullet and go for destruction of legacy media. The transcription process is never entirely risk-free. ANP reports some 200,000 tapes ready for disposal. These were initially offered back to the operating companies but they didn’t want them! ANP, like others, is now faced with the issue of how to dispose of or recycle their old media.

Jerry Hubbard noted Energistics’ growing role in the NDR arena, with five agencies as Energistics members. Hubbard encouraged NDR operators to ‘think of the economics behind standardization’ and leverage the three flagships of Witsml, Prodml and the embryonic Resqml. For Hubbard, ‘proprietary standards have no value.’ Energistics, with help from the UK’s DECC regulator is mooting a collaboration portal for NDR operators.

Remastering seismic data is another hotly debated topic. One experienced user noted that it is important to perform the critical matching process—tying seismic and navigation data with observers reports before touching the tapes. Otherwise a laborious load into a datastore can result in large volumes of orphaned and/or duplicate data.

For ANP, copying to new media is a ‘never ending’ process as manufacturers only offer a 10 year guarantee for their media. New technology is offering ever increasing capacity with terabyte discs and multi gigabyte media.

The tape vs. disk storage is another hotly debated issue. Some advocate staged storage with high performance media for online data and cheaper media for long term storage. Falling disk prices mean that many are considering all disk storage although this is deprecated by others as suitable archival media. On the other hand, the perennity of tape hardware has been questioned too! Such decisions are often taken in the context of a resource and cash constrained environment.

LMKR runs the Pakistan Petroleum Exploration and Production Data Repository2 as a pubic-private partnership with government. Saeed Akhtar described this early adopter of Petrobank which is now a disk-based online solution. All investment are made by LMKR ‘at its own risk’ with cost recovery through future sales before a profit sharing split with the government. A major upgrade and office automation program was part financed in a USAID program. Today the system holds the digital equivalent of 300,000 tapes and 22 million feet of log curves. The system can be configured to provide a digital ‘E-Room’ for data review during bidding rounds and also provides an active upstream scouting service3 on Pakistan’s activity. Along with the more usual benefits cited by NDR operators, PPEPDR is used to ‘groom’ and increase utilization of in-country resources.

Individual country reports showed a range of projects at varying stages of maturity. India is in the tender stage for its five year ‘INDR’ project to store its country wide data on disk and a 250 slot LTO4 robotics system. All data will be available in digital form with optional self-service uploading by operators. Kenya has scanned 90% of its paper data archive into the Norwegian Petrad web-based asset management system. Netherlands-based TNO offered a different perspective on NDR rationale. As larger company exploration declines, the Dutch government wants to maintain activity levels by encouraging smaller companies and sees easily available online data as a plus. Paper data and 3D seismic is now available online in the DINO system. This was set up according to EU directives, leveraging Inspire for spatial data and the UN framework for energy resources and risks. Dino has a €2 million budget for the next 3 years.

Fugro won the Azerbaijan NDR Tender in 2009 and its Traxx software underpins ‘Odlar,’ the oil data library of Azerbaijan Republic. Odlar offers controlled access, encrypted login, strong password validation and data entitlement with all transactions recorded. Running of Odlar will be taken over by Socar after the pilot load phase.




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