Archive for October, 2009

Shell Realizes Value from Landmark R5000 Software Upgrade

Landmark, a brand of Halliburton, announced it had completed the first of several critical deployments in Shell’s global rollout of R5000 versions of Landmark software.

            “With R5000, we offer many innovations, including improving multi-user collaboration through OpenWorks® software; adding new workflows, such as pre-stack seismic data interpretation; and streamlining existing workflows,” said Paul Koeller, VP Halliburton Software and Asset Solutions. “Shell’s rollout of R5000 is one of the largest and most ambitious global deployments of R5000. It has been a privilege to be involved in the partnership and to share in their success.”

            Additional benefits of R5000 include the simplification in management of cartographic and seismic data along with the ability to integrate proprietary subsurface applications with vendor applications using a standard data format. A standard global approach was taken when rolling out this project, including common architecture, hardware, software applications and workflows to achieve cost savings in IT infrastructure.

            Shell began its production upgrade to the new R5000 versions of Landmark software in the company’s Americas Region in April 2009. Today, all of Shell’s asset teams in the US and Brazil have been upgraded to the R5000 versions of Landmark’s software. Once complete, the R5000 deployment within Shell will encompass 28 sites worldwide, including locations in Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.





October 28, 2009 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

TerraSpark Unveils SDK for Insight Earth

TerraSpark Geosciences has launched its Software Development Kit (SDK) for Insight Earth® as a means of providing the oil and gas community with an innovative tool for developing customized extensions and plug-ins to the Insight Earth 3D visualization and interpretation suite.

            “This SDK augments TerraSpark’s core 3D visualization and interpretation platform with powerful software development technologies that provide a nonrestrictive, fully open development architecture that will benefit customers, third-party developers and ultimately the exploration community as a whole,” said Geoffrey Dorn, PhD, President of TerraSpark. The Insight Earth SDK is included at no additional cost with the license for Insight Earth Base.

            Insight Earth users can leverage the new SDK’s high performance, multi-threaded, easy to use C++ plug-in architecture to extend Insight Earth’s capabilities by integrating existing proprietary algorithms and creating customized, high performance volume attributes or custom volumetric algorithms and calculations.

            The Insight Earth SDK further enhances the integrated workflows made possible by interoperability with OpenSpirit® software and OpenSpirit-enabled applications. The OpenSpirit connection enables a seamless exchange of data and cursor locations, thus simplifying the process of mobilizing data volumes and allowing interpreters to spend less time managing software requirements and more time achieving business results.

            This SDK will also permit developers to harness the massively parallel processing power of graphics processing units (GPUs) to accelerate non-graphics computation for large volume data sets. According to Jon Marbach, Director of Software Architecture and Engineering, TerraSpark will include SDK samples in the next version release.

            “We are currently working to include functionality for APIs such as CUDA™ and OpenCL™ with the next version of the SDK,” said Marbach. “This will help developers in the oil and gas industry gain even greater competitive strength through the use of the most advanced processing technologies available.”

            The Insight Earth SDK also allows developers to add support for proprietary volume file formats, thus enhancing Insight Earth’s data interchange capabilities. Future versions of this SDK will support custom processes that operate on Faults, Horizons and other data types supported by Insight Earth’s interpretation capabilities.



October 28, 2009 at 5:10 am Leave a comment

AGR, Codify Launch Envision JV for Multi-Touch Computers

AGR Petroleum Services has joined forces with Codify to develop new ways of using multi-touch computers to revolutionize the energy industry. The working group, called Envision, has been set up in response to a major lack of software applications for the latest multi-touch computers that respond to natural hand movements without a need for a keyboard or mouse.

            Ian Burdis, VP of well management at AGR, said: “This is incredibly new and exciting technology and we really want to push the boundaries with it. It’s much more than a gadget coffee table – it has the potential to transform our activity. We believe that multi-touch computers will have the same impact the Internet had 15 years ago and totally change the way we work.”

            A key focus of the group, which also plans to work closely with students from Robert Gordon University’s IDEAS Research Institute, will be to develop a new tool that will allow engineering teams to step away from a computer screen and instead take a high-tech, hands-on approach to interacting with information and data. It is anticipated the technology will provide a real alternative to expensive visualization rooms that engineers currently use during planning stages of projects.

            The Envision Working Group is coordinated by AGR’s VP of Information Technology, Chris Ferrier, and Codify’s Managing Director, Mark Griffiths, with support from AGR’s subsurface and well management engineers and IT experts as well as input from Codify’s programmers.

            They will be creating bespoke software applications that will provide a cost-effective solution to visualization rooms while ensuring engineers have all of the necessary information at their fingertips – literally. The technology is expected to become a key tool for AGR’s own engineers with a view to rolling it out to the marketplace at a later date.

            Mark Cook, AGR’s Director of Reservoir Management in the UK, said: “Multi-touch computers have huge implications for our subsurface reservoir study work. Having the ability to use advanced visualization technology at our own office will greatly improve the way our teams work, integrate data and share knowledge.”

            The development process is already under way with the first software application expected to undergo trials by Spring 2010.

            Burdis added: “We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of new techniques and embracing new technology. Developing tailor-made applications for multi-touch computers offers huge potential for us to significantly raise the bar in all areas of our activity. We are very excited about the prospect of working with Codify again and look forward to seeing the outcomes of our collaboration.”

            Mark Griffiths, Managing Director of Codify, said: “It’s fantastic that AGR has recognized the value that this new technology can bring to the energy sector, and we look forward to developing software options with them. We have worked closely with the company for almost five years and have helped develop a number of applications for them in that time. This latest project will enable us to draw on our extensive understanding of their activity to produce applications that could significantly improve collaborative projects within the oil and gas industry.”

October 28, 2009 at 5:07 am Leave a comment

Geotrace Accelerates Oil and Gas Discovery with Isilon IQ

NAS vendor Isilon® Systems announced that Geotrace, a reservoir services provider, has deployed Isilon IQ to power a robust suite of seismic data processing and analysis applications used to accelerate worldwide oil and gas discovery. Using Isilon scale-out NAS, featuring its OneFS® operating system, Geotrace has created a single global namespace for both its Unix and Linux-based cluster compute environments, streamlining seismic data access to reduce data processing times from weeks to days. With Isilon, Geotrace can complete more projects in less time and with greater accuracy, all while requiring less than one full-time worker to manage the system.

            “Our seismic data processing and analysis operations serve oil and gas leaders around the world, meaning our workflow is both mission-critical and very time-sensitive,” said Matt Gaskamp, data center operations manager, Geotrace. “We don’t have time to manage multiple storage systems and perform the ongoing data migration necessary with traditional storage. With Isilon, all of our data is in one, immediately accessible location, allowing our engineers to work collaboratively around the clock and get more done, faster, with less cost.”

            Prior to using Isilon IQ, Geotrace employed separate traditional storage systems to support the two primary components of its workflow: seismic data processing and analysis. When Geotrace moved to a data center model leveraging both Unix and Linux-based cluster compute environments each running hundreds of servers to process and analyze data simultaneously, these traditional systems were incapable of providing the single global namespace or linear scaling of performance and capacity necessary to power Geotrace’s workflow effectively.

            By turning to Isilon, Geotrace unified both its massive compute clusters onto a single, high-performance, highly scalable, shared pool of storage, enabling engineers to access data seamlessly between clusters at all stages of the workflow without having to migrate data back and forth, increasing productivity and accelerating time to results. With Isilon IQ, Geotrace eliminated the costly and time-consuming manual data migrations and lengthy scaling delays common when using traditional HPC storage alongside traditional SAN or NAS.

            “Traditional storage systems lack the performance, scalability and ease of use to effectively power seismic processing and analysis, forcing today’s most innovative oil and gas companies to deploy disparate, disconnected systems or find a better alternative,” said Sam Grocott, senior director of product management, Isilon Systems. “Geotrace is one of many leading-edge companies that have found an improved approach by deploying scale-out NAS. With Isilon, Geotrace unified its workflow and increased operational efficiency, demonstrating that with Isilon IQ, innovative organizations can do more – better – with less.”


October 28, 2009 at 5:04 am Leave a comment

Horizontal Directional Drilling Toolbox Released

Technical Toolboxes announced the release of their Horizontal Directional Drilling Toolbox (Professional Edition) Software. The HDD Toolbox is a comprehensive, integrated software suite for design and installation of pipelines and utilities by horizontal directional drilling.

            Design and installation of pipelines and utilities by HDD presents a challenge due to the diverse technical disciplines involved, including soil mechanics, drilling and rheology, structural mechanics, and pipeline transmission and distribution technology. The HDD Toolbox is designed to assist with this challenge and help avoid costly technical and environmental problems such as hydraulic fracture.

            The HDD Toolbox’s underlying mathematical models and technical procedures are based on current technology and are in compliance with regulations, standards and recommended practices for HDD installation of pipeline and utilities crossings. The software can be used for design and installation of pipe and conduits for various applications including natural gas, petroleum, water lines and other fluid transport as well as for telecommunications and electric power lines.


October 28, 2009 at 5:01 am Leave a comment

ffA, OpenSpirit Add Interoperability to 3D Seismic Solutions

ffA and OpenSpirit Corp. have entered into a Business Partner Agreement to provide multi-vendor connectivity to users of ffA’s 3D seismic analysis products using the OpenSpirit Software Development Kit. ffA’s SVI Pro and SEA 3D Pro seismic analysis applications will be able to reach out to any OpenSpirit-enabled data store to access data and share interaction events with other geotechnical software.

            ffA software rapidly extracts 3D representations of subsurface geology directly from 3D seismic data sets. Applied within the interpretation workflow, ffA software significantly improves interpretation productivity and provides unprecedented levels of clarity and detail to seismic interpreters, delivering more complete and accurate interpretations, an improved understanding of uncertainty and risk, and better well placement in both exploration and production scenarios.

            “By providing direct access to data stores through an OpenSpirit-enabled data connector, data import and export to ffA applications will be simplified by eliminating manual SEGY file read/write steps,” said Steve Purves, ffA’s Technical Director. “By providing an OpenSpirit data connector, users will be able to maximize the productivity gain our software gives them by working seamlessly with their data management infrastructure. Getting data in and getting results back out will come down to a few familiar mouse clicks for OpenSpirit-enabled users.”

            “We appreciate that the ffA team sees the value of incorporating the OpenSpirit data interoperability framework as part of their solution foundation,” said Dan Piette, President and CEO of OpenSpirit. “ffA delivers a world-class 3D seismic analysis solution, and this enhanced level of integration will give geoscientists the flexibility to create more robust and value-added workflows using data from across their petro-technical environment.”

October 27, 2009 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

ION, BGP Team Up to Provide Global Seismic Products

ION and BGP have signed an agreement to create a joint venture that will provide land seismic products worldwide. The joint venture will align ION’s innovative land equipment business with BGP’s expertise and experience in land seismic operations to create a new enterprise with the resources, technology and experience required to provide state-of-the-art products and services on a global basis.

            ION will significantly enhance its financial position through total cash proceeds of $175 million from BGP. BGP will receive a 51% interest in the joint venture and a 16.66% interest in ION. Prior to the joint venture closing, ION will also receive up to $40 million of bridge financing arranged by BGP. At the transaction’s closing, ION will refinance and reduce its long-term debt and receive an expanded replacement revolving line of credit. Overall, after closing ION expects to have over $100 million in liquidity from cash and spare capacity on its revolving line of credit.

            ION CEO Bob Peebler commented: “Our Board of Directors and senior leadership team are delighted to be forging this transformative partnership with BGP. ION and BGP have been doing business together for more than two decades, with each company contributing to the other’s growth and success. This transaction will create not only a new global leader in land seismic equipment capable of seizing high-value opportunities in the fastest-growing geophysical markets, but also a financially stronger ION through a significant de-leveraging of the company.”

            Wang Tiejun, President of BGP, added: “As an ION customer for many years, BGP has always been impressed with ION’s vision and products, which have proven to be capable of improving the operational efficiency and the safety and environmental effectiveness of land seismic acquisition. By joining forces through our planned joint venture, we believe we can combine BGP’s operational knowledge and experience and emerging land seismic product portfolio with ION’s innovative products and culture to become the leading land seismic technology company of the 21st century. It is the intention of both ION and BGP that our joint venture will provide products and field support services to all land seismic contractors around the world, not just to BGP. The sale of products and the provision of field-support services to both in-house BGP crews and third-party land seismic contractors is a proven industry model that will benefit the broader land contractor community and the hundreds of seismic crews that operate around the world.”

            The transaction is subject to the completion of regulatory reviews and receipt of applicable approvals in the US and the People’s Republic of China, which are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2010. Prior to closing, ION and BGP will file a joint voluntary notice of the transaction for review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government inter-agency committee chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury.

            The terms of the agreement have been unanimously approved by BGP and by ION’s Board of Directors and is not subject to approval by ION’s shareholders. ION’s current bank group has amended ION’s credit facility to the extent necessary to allow the transactions to proceed.

            The joint venture will provide ION with preferred access to the world’s largest land seismic contractor, currently operating 110 seismic crews around the world. In addition to improved economies of scope and scale and enhanced supply-chain efficiencies, the joint venture will enable joint engineering teams to develop innovative, market-leading land recording systems, 3C (full-wave) sensors and vibroseis products.


Key Aspects of the Joint Venture

  • ION will contribute its Land Imaging Systems assets and intellectual property to the joint venture, including its ARAM, Aries®, Scorpion®, and FireFly® product lines as well as its VectorSeis® land sensor and vibroseis businesses, but excluding ION’s Sensor geophone business. All other ION businesses – including ION’s Marine Imaging Systems, Concept Systems, Data Management Solutions, GXT Imaging Solutions, Integrated Seismic Solutions (ISS) and BasinSPANTM seismic data libraries – will be retained by ION and will not become part of the land joint venture.
  • BGP will contribute land seismic equipment assets and intellectual property to the joint venture, including an innovative land recording system currently under development, its vibroseis business, and various complementary land seismic equipment businesses. BGP’s geophone business, including associated BGP geophone joint ventures with other parties, will be excluded.
  • The joint venture will be governed by a board of directors consisting of representatives from both owners. The joint venture’s board will appoint management, approve strategic and operating plans, and govern the direction and performance of the company.
  • After taking into account the value of tangible and intangible assets contributed to the joint venture by both parties, BGP’s cash investment to be paid to ION with respect to the joint venture will be $108.5 million.

October 27, 2009 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

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