OSDU – what is it actually for?

Oil IT Journal Neil McNaughton performs some traffic analysis on the OSDU website. With 200 plus member organizations on board, one might expect more from The Open Group/OSDU Forum’s public-face. No newsletters since 2022, a moribund ‘Innovation Marketplace’, unrealized ‘Energy Types’. And what to make of Equinor’s ‘no end users’?

In trying to track what is going on with OSDU*, we regularly visit the public facing home page at The Open Group. Earlier in its existence, OSDU published fairly regular updates in the format of press releases, newsletters and blog posts. The newsletters seem to have stopped in 2022, also the year of the last press. The latest blog is an interview with Patrick Kelly, Chevron, in his role as the newly elected OSDU chair. TOG’s interviews consist mainly of softball questions like, ‘How important is collaboration to you?’, ‘What does the word community mean to you?’ or ‘What is a business philosophy or principle that you follow?’, which do not really offer much insight into OSDU’s activity. A missed opportunity for the newly elected chair?

There is an upcoming OSDU Forum Member Meeting to be held in Houston, on October 30, too late for this issue, so we thought we would do some traffic analysis on the OSDU website to see what’s happening, and what’s not.

The member count currently stands at a staggering 231 corporates. Membership costs between $2,750 and $22,000 with an additional ‘sustainability fee’ in the range of $0 to $40,000 payable to The Open Group. However you do the math, OSDU is not short of cash. Better still for the organization is the fact that much of the work is done for free by its membership. The Open Group just provides the Forum infrastructure and hosts the meetings and website.

Talking of which, it is not just the communications from OSDU that appear to have stalled. Some of the activity announced in recent years is not showing much sign of life. The public-facing OSDU ‘Innovation Marketplace’ has only seen three solicitations of which one, Shell’s request for ‘data management tooling that is built and hosted on the OSDU cloud’ is interesting in that it specifies a format agnostic ‘ideal solution’ solution that covers multiple data domains, combining specialist external data services into a single workflow’. Shell’s ideal solution should also ‘avoid managed service solutions or solutions that require us to use a 3rd party cloud environment’. Good luck with that! The three Shell solicitations are now closed.

Another facet of the OSDU Forum website is the bravely-announced scope creep that is evident from the ‘Energy Types’ tab on the home page. Here we see tantalizing developments in OSDU services for windfarms, for photovoltaic, for geothermal and CCUS. All four of which appear to be stuck with a November 2021 report of an ‘MVP N°1’. BTW, the agenda for the upcoming Houston member meet mentions none of these energy transition OSDU services.

And so to this issue’s lead on Equinor’s talk at ECIM. Actually what struck me even more than the ‘no end users’ reveal was Mortensen’s entreaty-cum-cry-for-help ‘What is the actual intention of the OSDU platform?’ What can one say? Can 230 plus companies and thousands of OSDU hackers be barking up the wrong tree?

* The Open Subsurface Data Universe.

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