Archive for September, 2009

BW Offshore Selects IFS for Back-Office Solutions

BW Offshore has selected Industrial and Financial Systems (IFS) to provide business application solutions. In 2007 BW Offshore acquired Advanced Production and Loading AS (APL), a leader in the development, fabrication and sale of turret mooring systems and related technologies for the oil and gas industry. APL has been an IFS customer since 2004, and BW Offshore aims to facilitate the merger and streamline the companies’ business processes by standardizing on IFS Applications.

            BW Offshore will implement the IFS project-based business applications to support its major business processes, including project management, material management, human resources, financials and after-sales. The objective is to have an integrated solution covering all aspects of its business, and improving project performance through increased control over the five key success factors for project-based companies; risk, cost, cash, time and resources. The add-on implementations have started in Brazil, and the next step is to continue with the Oslo office, and have the whole group consolidated on IFS Applications during the second quarter of 2010.

            Fritz Ekloff, BW Offshore’s Sr. VP of Corporate IT & Systems, said: “We chose to standardize on IFS Applications based on IFS’ focus and knowledge from project-based industries, the rich project functionality of IFS Applications and its global consulting reach. We share the view on how to apply a standard business application solution in a project environment.”

            BW Offshore’s customers include major national oil companies such as Statoil, Petrobas and PEMEX, as well as Aker-Solutions, PGS and Teekay.

September 30, 2009 at 2:32 am Leave a comment

NOV, Schlumberger Form IntelliServ Joint Venture

National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and Schlumberger have created a joint venture to provide high-speed drillstring telemetry systems to improve the efficiency and safety of oil and gas operations. The IntelliServ joint venture is expected to accelerate development and delivery of intelligent drilling solutions through the expanded use of the IntelliServ® Broadband Network, a patented technology that provides high-resolution data in real time to and from the bottom of oil and gas wells as they are being drilled. IntelliServ also will provide along-string evaluation services that will enable real-time monitoring of drill string conditions, and an unlimited ability to actuate downhole tools on demand. The current speed of 57,600 bits per second is up to 20,000 times faster than the transmission speed that is available using conventional mud pulse technology.

            NOV owns 55% of the joint venture and provides manufacturing, technical and operational support, while Schlumberger owns 45% and brings evaluation and measurement expertise, and will pursue the development of advanced drilling-related systems enabled by the IntelliServ Broadband Network. The joint venture will maintain the open access architecture of the IntelliServ Broadband Network and will seek to become the industry standard for all drilling tools utilizing high data transmission rates.

            Pete Miller, Chairman, President and CEO of National Oilwell Varco, stated: “Our new joint venture with Schlumberger will permit us to better serve our customers by opening a range of new, intelligent drilling possibilities and expanding the global reach of the IntelliServ Broadband Network. We are excited about the possibilities this joint venture brings to the marketplace, and we look forward to working closely with Schlumberger to expand further the commercial use of IntelliServ.”

            Commenting on the new arrangement, Andrew Gould, Chairman and CEO of Schlumberger, remarked: “The combination of our respective strengths in drilling measurements and telemetry brings a unique opportunity for a step-change in the development of technology capable of significantly improving drilling performance through continuous information about the well and the reservoir as the well is drilled.”

September 29, 2009 at 3:25 am Leave a comment

ASCI Secures ConocoPhillips Global Inventory Optimization Contract

Alaska-based Asset Management Services (AMS), a subsidiary of Advanced Supply Chain International (ASCI), announced the finalization of ConocoPhillips’ purchase of the Oniqua Analytics Suite (OAS) – Inventory software solution. The software has performed above expectations, providing rapid ROI exceeding 400% in ConocoPhillips’ trials at three of their largest upstream sites: Alaska, Indonesia and the North Sea.

            OAS – Inventory, developed by Australia-based Oniqua Enterprise Analytics, is specifically designed for asset-intensive industries such as oil and gas. ASCI will install OAS – Inventory at 25 ConocoPhillips production and refining facilities worldwide. As the Master Distributor for Oniqua products within the North American oil and gas industry, ASCI will customize the software for use at each ConocoPhillips site.

            This application delivers a tremendous return on investment by right-sizing inventory based on maintenance, inventory and procurement data and applying leading techniques for inventory optimization. The optimization algorithm has demonstrated proven inventory reduction results of 15-25%.

            “The challenge for asset-intensive corporations is to maximize their return on heavy [plant and ongoing operation] investments,” said Mike Schwarz, VP of Business Development at ASCI. “To accomplish that, companies must overcome difficulties of operating and maintaining complex and diverse equipment in difficult climates. This software suite increases service levels, thus reducing downtime, with decreased inventory investment.”

            Schwartz told PetroComputing that the algorithms in OAS – Inventory serve to “right-size” even very large, global inventories by balancing the risks of overstock with understock. Using connectors to the company’s ERP system, the software captures more than 200 fields of data per month for each SKU, or stock keeping unit. Statistical analysis is then carried out with a focus on equipment criticality and workaround options using sophisticated lead-time analysis based on past experience. The software can be “tuned” for each location to capture local costs and lead-times, and business rules can be implemented to set parameters for approvals, enabling staff to manage by exception.

            Each month, the OAS – Inventory software takes about 11 hours to upload all of the data and makes recommendations for balancing the inventory. Then a ConocoPhillips supply chain professional can model various what-if scenarios and do a reality check on the software’s suggestions. ASCI is providing three segments of training to ConocoPhillips employees:

  • One week of introduction plus one week of using the system with actual corporate data;
  • A month later, a second round (two weeks) of intermediate training after users have been able to play with it a while; and
  • Two more weeks of advanced training 6-12 months later.

            “Customers are able to deliver significant savings after the first round of training,” Schwartz told PetroComputing on the sidelines of the E&P Technology Summit 2009 in The Woodlands, TX.

September 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm Leave a comment

Software Toolbox Joins Siemens Premium Add-on Program

Software Toolbox® has been selected by Siemens AG to participate in its Premium Add-on Program designed to expand customer awareness of third-party industrial automation software solutions that can be used to enhance Siemens Simatic WinCC and WinCC flexible products for process visualization and plant intelligence.

            “The Siemens catalog is the key product resource for sales, applications engineers and customers,” said John Weber, president of Software Toolbox Inc. “It’s where everyone goes to look for approved third-party products for use with Siemens software.”

            To qualify for the Premium Add-on Program, products must be determined by Siemens to be important application- and sector-specific add-on products that supplement WinCC. Siemens conducts independent tests of the third-party software to ensure product compatibility with SIMATIC WinCC. Solution providers whose products pass all compatibility tests are invited to list their products in the Siemens Premium Add-ons for SIMATIC WinCC flexible and WinCC print and online catalogs. Also as part of the program, Siemens product technical support accepts calls for listed products, connects customers with the solution partners and tracks the resolution of issues.

            “The added level of assurance provided by Siemens is significant,” Weber said. “Since Siemens has focused a magnifying glass on all third-party products listed in its catalog, customers benefit from processes and procedures designed to handle any issue. This significantly lowers the customer risk for using an approved third-party product with SIMATIC WinCC flexible and WinCC.”

            Software Toolbox products listed in the Siemens catalog include TOP Server and TOP Server UCON. Both products are powered by Kepware automation communications technology through Software Toolbox’s 14-year partnership with Kepware.

September 28, 2009 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

Study Finds 33% of Money Spent on IT Development Is Wasted

IAG Consulting unveiled the results of its 2009 Business Analysis Benchmark report that surveyed over 400 businesses across North America. For the second year in a row, IAG found poor requirements definition and management consumes over one dollar in three of the application development budget. Yet, when companies move from using ad-hoc requirements processes to institutionalizing a well-constructed requirements definition and management capability:

  • On budget performance for technology projects improved by over 95%;
  • Budget overruns were reduced almost 75%;
  • On-time performance of technology projects increased 161%;
  • Time overruns on projects were reduced 87%; and
  • The percentage of projects that deliver the functionality needed by the business rose by more than 75%.

            The study compared companies at 5 different levels of requirements maturity: ad-hoc, defined, implemented, institutionalized and optimizing. Low maturity companies failed to achieve their business objectives on almost half their projects, while taking 35% more time to complete them. High level maturity companies, however, turned their greater management efficiency into fiscal results with their return on assets averaging 10% higher than comparable publicly traded firms in their industry.

            In the past year, 86.5% of the survey respondents tried to improve requirements discovery and management. Almost two-thirds of those successfully increased both stakeholder satisfaction and on-time/on-budget performance through this improvement strategy.


Common IT Productivity Myths Busted

The study examined and busted a number of commonly held beliefs about IT development effectiveness. Significant findings included:

  • CIOs cannot simply attempt to hire great analysts and expect the problem of poor requirements to go away. In fact, lower skilled people in a high requirements maturity company significantly outperform highly skilled people in a low requirements maturity company. Only organizations that improved all areas of requirements maturity competency dramatically improved overall performance.
  • CIOs cannot gain productivity by just switching development methodologies (e.g., Waterfall to Agile, Iterative, or Prototyping/Visualization-centric approaches). Switching methods offers improvement only if overall requirements maturity also improves during the adoption process.

            “CIOs need a step-by-step path that predictably delivers performance improvement,” said Keith Ellis, VP at IAG Consulting and author of the study. “Focusing on requirements maturity not only shows the long-term gains of doubling productivity, but short-term results are also immediate and tangible.”

            The report lays out a clear framework for requirements maturity and documents how the optimal path changes as maturity level increases. Transformation begins with a clear assessment of the current maturity level and identifying the strength of a company’s requirements processes, techniques, staff skills, technologies, organization and deliverables. Companies that pursued this transformation virtually eliminated project failure, delivering over 90% of projects successfully.

            The report’s most basic finding is that without a commitment to requirements definition and management, IT projects will fail.

            “Companies that rely on IT projects to execute their strategy need to commit to focused development of requirements definition and management capabilities if they are to improve business performance,” concluded Ellis.

            For a copy of the full study, please visit

September 26, 2009 at 1:29 am Leave a comment

Noah Consulting Opens Office in Calgary

Noah Consulting is expanding its presence in global markets with the opening of an office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Noah chose Calgary because it is home to a diverse array of industries including oil and gas, utilities, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, transportation, and technology. The new office will be located in the historic Bankers Hall twin towers at 888 3rd St SW, Ste. 1000 Calgary, AB T2P 5C5 and will open on October 1st 2009.

            Said John Ruddy, President of Noah Consulting: “In the past 5 years, Calgary has experienced above average economic growth and is experiencing the highest employment rates in the region. The office in Calgary will allow us to provide a higher level of service to our Calgary clients and provide us with a solid foundation to grow our employee and client base throughout Canada.”

            Spun off of HP last year after HP acquired EDS, Noah Consulting focuses on delivering information management solutions to clients by providing best-in-class data management, data warehousing, data integration, business intelligence, information quality, and master data management solutions.

September 26, 2009 at 1:26 am Leave a comment

Invensys Offers PAS Integrity Software to Configure Control Systems

Invensys Operations Management has signed an agreement with PAS, a supplier of operations and automation effectiveness software, to provide Invensys clients a comprehensive suite of system documentation and configuration management tools and services.  Their IntegrityTM Software solution will be used to map the databases, programs, displays and interconnections within and among plant automation systems, including Foxboro I/A Series distributed control systems, InFusion enterprise control systems and Triconex safety instrumented systems. Invensys Operations Management will provide its customers with a choice of three levels of Integrity Software, allowing them the flexibility to match the solution to their specific needs.
            “A back-documentation and ‘where-used’ facility for our Foxboro I/A Series®, InFusionTM and Triconex® systems is a high priority for our customers,” said Betty Naylor-McDevitt, director of marketing, Invensys Operations Management. “Leveraging our strong industry expertise, we chose the Integrity Software solution because of its comprehensive scalability. Integrity allows us to provide a scope of offerings from simple system documentation to robust configuration management and full mapping of the breadth of systems installed in our customers’ plants.”
            “The PAS Integrity Software solution provides the capabilities that Invensys’ clients need. It simplifies the complexities of their entire automation infrastructure and enables them to capture and share knowledge in real time to improve delivery of automation system projects,” said Chris Lyden, president, PAS. “We are pleased to extend our business partnership with Invensys Operations Management for the benefit of their customers.”

September 24, 2009 at 5:53 am Leave a comment

Implicit Monitoring Solutions Updates Intellisite

Implicit Monitoring Solutions (IMS) has upgraded Intellisite to include a new, user-friendly interface called Control Commander, which allows for commands to be sent via satellite connections to the Right Smart 1200 or Right Smart 2400 data acquisition and satellite communication devices. This Web-based enhancement allows users to manage their remote devices anytime, anywhere with no additional fees. These new control features allow users to manage more complicated production optimization solutions, such as sending commands (start, stop, change speed) to drives for pumping units. Control Commander also allows Plunger Lift parameters to be set and then communicated to the controller via satellite.

            Control Commander includes Web-based, easy-to-use templates, and once selected, these templates will automatically generate the appropriate commands. Here is a partial list of satellite-based Control Commander templates:

  • Pump Drive Controller Commands;
  • Immediate Data Commands;
  • Send Orifice Diameter Changes;
  • Set Plunger Lift Parameters;
  • Send Gas Composition Changes;
  • Send Pipe Diameter Changes;
  • Alarm Limits & Delays;
  • Get Back Records; and
  • General Purpose.

            Implicit’s services allow producers to improve the performance of wells, send out alarms to avert a costly shutdown, employ an efficient “manage by exception” approach, avoid the escalating investment in technology, and comply with standards.

September 24, 2009 at 5:50 am Leave a comment

First Reservoir Monitoring Using Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor

UK-based Fotech Solutions has installed the world’s first downhole distributed acoustic optical fiber system using the company’s unique Helios monitoring solution in a coalbed methane well in Scotland for Composite Energy Ltd of Stirling, UK. The easily-installed Helios system can be deployed in a range of applications in the global oil and gas industry including reservoir surveillance, production monitoring, integrity assurance, flowline movement, flow assurance and leak detection.

            The system was installed in August 2009 and has already provided valuable data including:

  • Downhole pump condition monitoring,
  • Location of water level,
  • Flow profiles across the production intervals,
  • Vibrations at the wellhead, and
  • Gas flow.

            Such a set-up can also be used for monitoring sand production, casing/tubing integrity and cross flow.

            The system comprises two elements: 1) a simple, low-cost, telecoms grade optical fiber cable; and 2) the Helios interrogator, which is the heart of the system. Helios effectively provides acoustic or vibration information along the entire length of the installed optical fiber to provide multi-event information, event characterization and highly accurate event location. An acoustic signal is recorded for each meter along the fiber, enabling the system to detect and position an event to an accuracy of one meter and distinguish separate events more than two meters apart. It also has remote control capability. The fiber can be laid near a pipeline or installed in a borehole.

            Don Sharples, technical manager, Composite Energy, said: “Initial results from the Fotech fiber are very encouraging. The Fotech Distributed Acoustic technology collects data that is not available from other downhole sensors and will give Composite the ability to determine which coals are producing in any given well.”

            Alan Piesse co-founder and Exec. VP of Fotech Services, said: “Our vision for Helios was to provide sound at the speed of light, and its successful deployment has really changed the game in the global monitoring sector. We see a strong future for the system in monitoring gas flow in coalbed methane wells and other applications. For the first time flow can be seen and

heard entering and moving in the well and quantified in real time. We hope to continue monitoring Composite Energy’s CBM wells and look forward to a close working relationship with them.”

September 23, 2009 at 1:26 am 1 comment

Invensys Releases New Virtual Reality Training Solution

Invensys Operations Management announced the commercial availability of its new EYESim virtual reality immersive training solution. The first industrial virtual reality training solution based on first-principle simulation and augmented reality, EYESim technology enables engineers and operators to see and safely interact with the plant and the processes they control.

            Using and applying gaming skills familiar to younger employees, the EYESim solution also appeals to new plant employees and experienced engineers. It combines virtual reality technologies with high-fidelity process and control simulation, computer-based maintenance and documentation management and other applications to provide a highly realistic and safe training environment for improving operating efficiency and skills. Simulations are driven by the company’s DYNSIM® process simulator, FSIM Plus software, I/A Series® control system emulation and other compatible programs.

            “The increasing complexity of plants, combined with a changing workforce, demands next-generation tools that can safely and interactively train new operators and engineers without putting them, the community or the environment at risk,” said Tobias Scheele, VP advanced applications, Invensys Operations Management. “This system provides a stable, realistic environment for practicing routine operational and maintenance functions, as well as rarely performed volatile tasks such as plant shutdowns. In addition, using computer models of real equipment allows endless experimentation without ever taking the equipment offline, mitigating risk to production as well.”  

            By merging virtual plant imagery with screens from asset management or other application software, the Invensys solution creates a computer-generated representation of either a real or proposed process plant. Using a stereoscopic headset, trainees enter a completely immersive environment in which they can move throughout the plant. Such freedom is possible because the virtual environment is rendered at 60 frames per second, significantly faster than what can be achieved by traditional, non-real-time rendering.

            EYESim technology is geared toward the energy, chemical, oil and gas, and other vital process industries as they face knowledge management, training and retention challenges brought on by an aging and dwindling industry workforce.

            “The loss of experienced workers and associated knowledge is increasing the risk of conducting safe, reliable and efficient plant operations, but the EYESim solution creates an environment in which operators and engineers can quickly absorb and utilize the wealth of process data and control system information that is available to them,” said Tom Fiske, PhD, senior analyst with ARC Advisory Group. “Traditional operator training simulators play a significant role in protecting knowledge assets, and these systems are evolving into increasingly more sophisticated simulators, such as the new solution from Invensys, which combines virtual reality and immersive technology with high-fidelity modeling to enhance knowledge protection and improve operator performance. Additionally, outside operators and other operational team members can use such simulators to provide more realistic and complete training experiences, or to assist in other asset management and operational activities.”

September 22, 2009 at 1:59 am 1 comment

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