The Digital Oil Field Of Tomorrow 12 Dec 2010

Senergy Software, creators of petrophysics software Interactive Petrophysics (IP), is moving towards the digital oil field of tomorrow by integrating the product with sister software, ODM3TM (Oilfield Data Manager), to leverage the functionality of both systems and create a seamless petrophysical/ geological work-flow.

Digital oil field

Integrating data is seen as the new 'holy grail' in geological work-flows - the ability to have a single window into subsurface data, the so-called 'digital oil field'. Traditionally, diverse data has sat in separate niche softwares or, worse still, gathering dust as reports on shelves. Meanwhile, the geologist works only on the data that is easily accessible and readily available. ODM3 sets out to address this issue by offering an extremely flexible database structure and direct links to industry-standard software. The result is that the geologist is presented with all the available data for them to work with, giving a clearer understanding of the area in question and allowing more informed decisions to be made.

To this end, ODM3's links go far beyond just IP. Presently it also links directly to Petrel, OpenWorks, Geolog, Stratabugs and OpenSpirit to bring in data from these systems. All kinds of other data can be loaded and viewed beyond the standard picks, logs and intervals - ODM3 can store all types of stratigraphy, engineering data and core images, and with the ability to display this on maps with satellite images and GIS, geologists can work more quickly and confidently knowing all available data is at their fingertips.

The system also has a full set of interpretation tools and 2D visualisation.

"We realised the growth of 3D systems meant everyone rushed to build a model, and there seemed to be a collective amnesia for the importance of getting to your data and understanding the region before you build a model", advised Derek Crombie, Product Development Manager. "We built ODM3 to redress this: data management is painless, and visualisation of your data is extremely easy. From here, you can interpret, edit and QC the data before pushing it into a modelling package. We've also had feedback that using dedicated 2D tools saves money on modelling software; these expensive 3D systems are no longer used for well-data work and can instead be reserved for their best use, modelling. Proper 2D groundwork means you can be much more confident about the data going into the model than previously."

With interpretation in ODM3 complete, data can be pushed into a modelling package. Alternatively, data can be presented graphically to show to partners and colleagues. Montages can be built up interactively - much of the drafting functionality of PowerPoint sits in ODM3, so users can create presentation-quality montages in a geological system. This means there's no disconnect between petrophysics, regional geology and drafting; the montages can be copied directly into presentations or documents or printed to PDF. A geologist working for a German oil company provided some interesting feedback:

"Before a meeting, I create a montage in ODM3 with all the data I have for a well and print it out: location map, a huge well template with all the data on it, maybe some crossplots. My colleagues rib me at the start because of the rolls of paper under my arm, but at the end of the meeting the plot is on the table and we are all gathered around it because it contains all the information we need."

It's an interesting niche in the market that has found success in Europe and growing interest in the Middle East. The system is used by companies ranging from small consultancies (who appreciate a cost-effective, PC-based database and wells system) to massive corporate organisations who have to control large numbers of data streams and use ODM3 as a window for their data (and also to integrate data from the previously mentioned consultancies). In between the two, mid-cap oil companies use ODM3 as a corporate database and geological tool, where it fills a number of roles: database, interpretation tool and montaging system.

"ODM3 allows me to significantly reduce the time I would need for necessary well data work in other comparable software packages", Carsten Elfenbein, Senior Geologist at Det Norske, in Norway said.

The software is equally at home in exploration or development environments; feedback from exploration projects has been extremely positive, including from a Middle-East joint venture company:

"ODM3 has been utilised in a 'digital oil field' concept as a well database to store and work with well-related data. The ability to spatially display and manipulate well data in section and map environments has provided the 'missing link' between downhole and aerial information. We have benefited from the ability to tie together outcrop and subsurface data in one arena, which has been critical in such a large area with sparse well coverage. The ability to link to corporate databases ensures rigorous data management and integration of datasets from outside our direct area of interest. Overall, ODM3 has helped build our 'geological conscience', which in turn has helped underpin business decisions with solid integrated technical work."

Dynamic work-flows

The flexibility of the database and graphical front-end means ODM3 can sit comfortably at the heart of many work-flows, but the more data that is loaded into ODM3, the more advantage can be gained. A mid-size North Sea operator loads virtually all its well data into the system, from standard well data to drilling data. The lead geologist explained:

"Obviously we start by loading in log data, well headers and any information we can get our hands on. This is often enough to begin interpretation, but for us this is just the beginning. Our petrophysicist works in IP; the data is pushed into ODM3 over the link. We outsource our stratigraphy work, and this arrives in StrataBugs format. ODM3 links into this and the data then arrives into the central ODM3 database. I have digitised as much sedimentology and core data as I can, and this now sits in ODM3 too. Engineering data, including perforation, pressures, permeability, casing, cores - it's all in there - not forgetting scanned logs and core images. Our geologists can interpret, with all the information, digitally at their fingertips."

This user also harnesses ODM's ability to tie references to wells. Working with the ODM3 development team, a script was written that trawled the Norwegian Government website and automatically linked the website for each well to the appropriate well in the ODM3 database. That way, geologists could access government information on the website without leaving ODM3. Relevant documents on the company intranet could be linked into the database too, but the work-flow didn't stop there.

"Engineering and drilling data is in there too: leak-off tests, mud weights, ROPs, well design. We can create a well template with all the geology, stratigraphy, drilling data, etc, on it. In fact, we do this quite often. We've started using ODM3 for well planning and drilling because all the information sits in ODM3 and is easily accessible; we can supply our drillers with the information they might need about an area. If they want to know in which formation a casing was set in surrounding wells, ODM3 can create a bubble map for this. It can even attach wellsticks to the map to show log signatures in the wells surrounding the proposed drilling location. Correlation while drilling is possible too, simply by creating a crosssection containing the new well, streaming the data into ODM3 via the Petrel link, and then refreshing the cross-section - the correlation builds itself up."

All this data is quick and easy to find, extract and present, either as raw data or on montages.

Novel database builds

The 'integration, interpretation, presentation' aspects of ODM3 make for some very interesting work-flows. Hamish Strang, Lead Developer for Senergy Software, explained:

"We were approached to provide a solution for a new entrant in the North Sea who had inherited field data in Petrel and IP projects, an OpenWorks database and OFM database. They didn't want the expense of running a database like OpenWorks or doing everyday geology in their 3D modelling system."

ODM3 has direct links to IP, OpenWorks and Petrel, and using a free-form linking system to talk to field history data, e.g. production. Strang linked up all the systems with ODM3 acting as a hub:

"With all the links in place, it was just a matter of sucking the data into ODM3. We built a unified database from OpenWorks and Petrel in a day, then went on to retro-build a strat column in ODM3 from Petrel data. The OFM data dropped in over a link too", Strong said.

The outcome is a client with unified data from Petrel, IP and OpenWorks, as well as production data in the same location. They now use ODM3 as their corporate database for geological interpretation and as a well review tool.

The future

Senergy is investing heavily in the ongoing development of both IP and ODM3. As well as integrating both products to make a petrophysics/regional geology work-flow, steady development continues to link to other software products.

"Senergy's software has links to other systems and we're looking to build on this", Crombie added. The Petrel link is being developed to make same-time updates in the system, rather than moving over a datalink, as this will fulfil the potential of Senergy software offering a fully integrated database, petrophysics and geological front-end to Petrel. We aim to fill the gaps in functionality that Petrel doesn't address, then communicate instantly to it."

Other links are in the pipeline: to ArcSDE as the logical extension to ODM3's mapping frontend. A link to Kingdom is also being explored. Linking to this software will form a high-end PC-based well-data/seismic/petrophysics workflow which will be extremely attractive to a large part of the oil and gas market. 

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