Oil IT Journal interview - Bettina Bachmann, Shell

Shell’s VP Subsurface & Wells Software tells Oil IT Journal how Jewel Suite fits with Shell’s software portfolio and the software 'nuggets’ that clinched the deal with Baker Hughes.

How does the Jewel Suite deal relate to your GeoSigns proprietary software?

Our GeoSigns tools predominantly have an exploration focus. GeoSigns’ seismic interpretation, along with SipMap, our proprietary seismic processing toolset is used in basin and play analysis (BPA). Shell’s approach is to seek a 100% working interest in areas where we can leverage these tools to ‘see what others can’t see’ and to get a competitive edge in new ventures. All of this will continue as proprietary in-house development. But further on in the field development cycle we had become over-reliant on third party tools, Schlumberger’s Petrel in particular, which did not totally fit with our approach. So we went out to the market to look for alternatives. We were impressed with Jewel Suite which, although it was an immature tool (for our needs) did include some software ‘nuggets.’ Our joint venture with Baker Hughes has allowed us bring the technology to a higher level of maturity, particularly the API/plug-in environment that now supports complex upstream workflows. Jewel does not duplicate GeoSigns although there is some overlap.

Will the Jewel 6 edition that was announced at the EAGE benefit from the Shell-specific developments?

The basic public version of Jewel Suite is the one that has been jointly developed by Shell and BHI.

We have tracked Jewel Suite since 2004 and spotted its geomechanical functionality. The ability to swap between orthogonal and trimesh grids was interesting …

Yes, you spotted on of our ‘nuggets.’ Jewel Suite makes some nifty connections with structural geology, faults and fractures. Along with its correct physics in modeling it adds a user friendly approach with guided workflows.

A Petrel salesperson might have said that! Why didn’t you go with Schlumberger?

We use Petrel a lot and appreciate its strengths. But we did not feel that its fundamental architecture was the right nimble platform that we needed to add our own technology into.

In the early days of Jewel Suite it was presented as a ‘componentized’ .NET development as opposed to pre-.NET tools. Was this a consideration?

All vendors are constantly rejuvenating their technology. It is hard to say if this is really a differentiator although it is fair to say that Jewel Suite offers more modularity and integration potential than monolithic thick client tools.

GeoSigns was originally a Unix/Linux development. Has it all now migrated to Windows?

GeoSigns has now been completely ported to Windows but it actually runs on both. Linux remains important for our seismic processors and interpreters. But all the BPA applications now run on Windows.

You mentioned earlier Shell’s next generation visualization tools. Could you say a bit more about these?

Not really. This is still in the R&D phase. But it covers real time rendering of data and we expect it to have a big impact in seismic interpretation and processing. This is a big investment area for us and we will be presenting the results when we are ready.

Look forward to it.

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