Ex Schlumberger engineer works to tune SAP’s ‘in memory’ compute engine for new digital oilfield workflows in ‘big data’ analytics and predictive approach to MRO and workover optimization.

Speaking at the 2013 SPE Digital Energy conference this month in The Woodlands, TX, SAP Labs’ Ken Landgren described some oil and gas ‘big data’ trials that SAP has been running on its novel ‘Hana’ architecture (OITJ 12/2010). Using a large synthetic data set based on real scenarios, SAP has investigated use cases in well construction, maintenance management and production optimization.

Landgren told Oil IT Journal, ‘My previous work with Schlumberger sparked an interest in the digital oilfield. But I felt that prior efforts lacked traction because they failed to engage both operations and the business. For instance, well construction involves lots of supply chain issues as does equipment diagnostics and maintenance. Much information relating to such use cases is already captured in ERP and MRO systems. So I approached the problem from the other direction, starting with the ERP system and SAP. Just after I joined, SAP came out with a new ‘in memory’ database, Hana, tuned for this kind of analytics which has great potential for digital oilfield and intelligent operations.’

One demonstrator use case is gas production in the face of liquid loading. Landgren’s team used the ‘R’ statistical language on an in-memory Hana database to forecast production, revenues and cost for various scenarios. SAP’s visual intelligence tool was used to find the optimum time along the decline curve to intervene with a swabbing operation. The optimized program dovetails neatly with other maintenance management SAP functionality. Workover plans are pushed to mobile workers and documents signed-off with SoftPro’s SignDoc.

According to Landgren, Hana avoids the need to ‘massage’ data into a hypercube by direct connection to native data sources. A second use case investigated compressor failure. Here key information was tucked away in an obscure text field of an MRO database. Using Hana it was possible to correlate equipment failure with gas production losses. Root cause analysis identified clogged fuel filters as the culprit and a smart maintenance program was kicked off, addressing high value wells at risk of imminent failure.

So will SAP’s foray into the digital oilfield get traction? It’s not the first time the company has tried. We reported in our February 2007 edition on a previous ‘digital oilfield’ drive. Back then, SAP floated the idea that ‘increased systems integration and cross discipline collaboration will enhance production, improve economics and reduce costs.’ At the time we asked, ‘who, among the many stakeholders, will hold the keys to the digital oilfield?’ Maybe now the answer is, ‘whoever holds the keys to the data center.’ More on Hana in our review (OITJ 06/2011) of Hasso Plattner’s book on the topic and his response (09/2012).

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