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Developing in four directions

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Halliburton''s ''Landmark'' subsurface software is enhancing its platform, data management, collaboration and technology, says Greg Stephens, ESSA Region Commercialisation Manager with Landmark.

This is all leading to increased concerns over the quality of data, and difficulties being able to find the right data when you need it, said Greg Stephens, ESSA Region Commercialisation Manager with Landmark.

He was speaking at the March 2013 Digital Energy Journal Aberdeen conference, ''improving decision making with subsurface data''.

Another concern is that subsurface technical professionals are spending more of their time working as data managers, when it might be more effective if data management professionals were doing this week.

Companies often end up putting together teams of geotechnical staff based all around the world to work on projects, to access the expertise that they need.

Other challenges are capturing the knowledge of staff who are leaving, helping new staff get up to speed quickly.

Oil companies often also want to integrate new subsurface tools (often developed by small companies to solve a specific subsurface problem) into their main interpretation system.

''What we are having to do is to work a lot harder and closer together in order to extract the finite reserves that we''ve got out in the industry,'' he said.

''There is certainly a need for us [Landmark] to be able to provide the infrastructure to enable people to work more collaboratively together.''

Landmark is trying to tackle these challenges in four ways - by building an integrated platform for data, by helping people manage data, by helping put together collaborative workflows, and by developing new technical tools, Mr Stephens said. ''These four things are really driving the strategy and our philosophy within the organization.''


Landmark''s core ''Decision Space'' platform is a software environment which everybody can work on, to evaluate and develop assets, from seismic interpretation to reservoir management and well planning.

''We''re now working on bringing in the reservoir and production into it too,'' he said.

It means that everybody in the company, including geoscientists and drillers, see subsurface software with the same design, and the same menu structure. It can run on both Windows and Linux, and hosted in the cloud if you prefer.

Decision Space is used by Halliburton (Landmark''s parent company) as the software platform for managing its own services, he said.

''If we are doing this for Halliburton, which has services right across the exploration and production lifecycle, we''re doing everything we need to do for the industry at large,'' he said.

Everybody works directly on the same database - it is not a system of checking data in and out. This also means that there is no possibility of duplication (storing two models of the same section of subsurface).

Data management

For data management, Landmark has the OpenWorks software, to help integrate different applications together. ''It is still the program of choice in the industry, winning awards for the project management system of choice,'' he said.

OpenWorks can work with many different databases and data stores, including data in Landmark''s ''Engineers Data Model'' (EDM) and Petris Borehole (which Landmark acquired with Petris in late 2012). It can also link to data in other companies'' software.

''It''s not just everything in a single database, we''re looking at using multiple databases that are used out in the industry.

''We''ve got this Decision Space Data Server which federates data from multiple sources into a common data record and eliminates the need to move data from one database to another. ''


Developing collaborative workflows ''to me is really the exciting bit,'' Mr Stephens said.

''We can get the geoscientists and the drillers working together on collaborative well plans, in order to be able to hit targets, maximize the well bore placement recovery from them, reducing non-productive time.''

''We get the people from the production enhancement end of the business,[including people working with unconventionals (fracking)], working with the subsurface people, to optimize the well bore placement and fracking.''

''This is where I think the industry has most to gain and that has been able to pull different parts of an organization together. ''

''But collaborative work flows are only really successful if you get number one and number two right [the core platform and data management],'' he said. ''If you don''t have that, then you''re not leveraging all that data.''

For example, to help geologists and drillers work together, it has integrated geoscience workflows with the driller''s ''Engineers'' Data Model'', so they can work together on a project, but on their own software.

There is a lot of development going on in the industry with the collaborative well planning workflow, because it involves people from both subsurface and drilling discipline.

''This for us is not a case of where the rubber hits the road, it is where the drill bit really hits the ground. This is where companies now start to spend money and eventually start to bring money in.''

Another development is for Decision Space to automatically stamp everybody''s work with their name and time, so it is clear to colleagues who has done which work and when they did it.

This means that everything gets kept properly labelled so their colleagues can find it, even if an employee leaves the country or goes on holiday.


A further area of development is in the technology itself, where the software can do new and better calculations.

Many companies are developing ''plugins'' which can work on Decision Space.

''Software Development Kits'' or SDKs with OpenWorks have been available for a number of years, making it possible for other software companies to make their data available over OpenWorks.

But now Landmark is developing SDKs for Decision Space as well.

Landmark also challenged its own engineers to develop plug-ins in their free time, with a competition.

It is developing tools to share data with Schlumberger''s Petrel, which is used by many companies for geology and geophysics.

The Petrel Bidirectional Connector connects to and from OpenWorks (via DecisionSpace Data Server).

''Today the Petrel-to-OpenWorks plugin migrates the data from Petrel to OpenWorks and requires licenses for Advanced Data Transfer, but with the next release and using the Petrel bidirectional connector solution, there is no need for the ADT'', he said.

The data can be transferred between DecisionSpace and Petrel in an xml file. It will be most useful for smaller data sets (which take less processing time)such as faults and horizons.

Also in development is DecisionSpacemobile, a way for users to work on mobile computers without being connected to the core database.

When they connect to the database again, their work syncs up with the database.

''This is for delivery for later on this year,'' he said.

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