Offshore Networks 2021 EU Upstream Digital Transformation conference

On the Energistics Packaging Convention, its role in OSDU and data validation.

Speaking at the 2021 EU Upstream Digital Transformation virtual event, Philip Neri and Dave Wallis presented Energistics’ standards portfolio for Industry 4.0. Today’s multidisciplinary geoscience specialists like to use best in class technology from different vendors, possibly augmented with in-house R&D. Today’s current complex, ever evolving data ecosystem can be an obstacle. Energistics focuses on the unambiguous transfer of grids, well and seismic data, along with reliably conserved units of space and time. EPC, the Energistics packaging convention allows for quality-assured transfer of files, data schema and metadata along with an UID for each object. The application-agnostic format lies under Energistics’ flagship protocols WITSML, RESQML and ProdML.

EPC is built on the open packaging conventions (ex Microsoft) with a zipped XML file for small data objects plus an added HDF5 binary file for vectors and arrays. EPC can also be used as an application-neutral archival format. The addition of Energistics transfer protocol (ETP), a web socket TCP/IP stack, allows for the discovery and connection of data objects without intermediate files. This is said to be the preferred option for transfer between apps on the same machine.

In the Q&A, Wallis described OSDU as ‘a fast moving, growing association’. Energistics was the first non-oil company member. Energistics will be a component of the infrastructure for managing data transfer to and from OSDU. Following the event, we had a short email exchange with Energistics resulting in the following Q&A.

Oil ITJ – We assume that ETP is still mainstream for Energistics. Have you any thoughts on how ETP may be leveraged in or alongside OSDU. Or will OSDU make ETP redundant?

Neri - ETP is and will remain mainstream for Energistics as the transfer mechanism that supports the transfer of all Energistics data standards. ETP is also being considered by the OSDU community to support various use cases. We regretfully cannot share details as The Open Group rule is that non-published standards are privileged to members only. Whatever the outcome with respect to OSDU, it would not make ETP redundant since not all data transfers involve cloud systems, notably in the real-time drilling and production domains. ETP can also be used for data streaming between applications rather than file-based processes.

Oil ITJ - Do you have any more on a favorite topic of ours, data validation? It says on the ETP home page that ‘Our use of XML allows us to leverage the schemas for self-validation’. Can you elaborate on this? Are there test suites for ETP developers?

Neri - My use of the word ‘validation’ may or may not align exactly with yours, so to be clear: XML offers the possibility of a data schema that allows developers and data recipients to check formats that they are receiving for compliance. This capability is not as yet widely available for, e.g., JSON. Our use of the word validation is not related to the actual validation of incoming data in terms of quality assurance of the data itself.

Oil ITJ - The developer resources page refers to ETP 1.1 as the latest. Elsewhere I see that there is a 1.2 RC. Any ideas when this will be finalized? Any summary of what’s key/new in 1.2?

Neri - ETP v1.2 has passed its final Release Candidate cycle as of February 15th, and it will be formally published as soon as comments raised during the review period have been addressed. We are targeting publication for May 2021. Our website clearly states the current active version for each standard, versus information describing on-going developments of upcoming versions. For clarity, the User & Developer page lists the latest published of the version of our standards, which for ETP is v1.1. When ETP v1.2 is published, the page will be updated. For developers, the ETP DevKit makes it relatively easy to build software based on the standard. The ETP DevKit was developed by Petrotechnical Data Systems (PDS Group) and contributed to Energistics. The DevKit has been updated for v1.2 and is available to those interested in developing and testing v1.2 implementations.

Watch Neri’s talk on Youtube and visit the Offshore Networks conference home page.

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