Archive for March, 2010

CapRock Connects Atwood’s Global Rig Fleet

CapRock Communications announced a multi-year agreement with drilling contractor Atwood Oceanics to provide VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) connectivity to its global offshore fleet. Atwood requires reliable communications to deliver premium drilling services to its exploration and production clients. With CapRock’s turnkey VSAT solution – including equipment, installation, satellite service and 24×7 network monitoring and support – onboard Atwood’s entire fleet, crews have access to the same dependable service regardless of which rig they occupy.

“By consolidating our fleet under one communications provider, our remote personnel will experience a consistent, reliable solution whether they are on assignment in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of Australia,” said Atwood Oceanics IT Director Tim Osburn. “We are confident that CapRock has designed the best communication solution to support our worldwide operations.”

Under the terms of agreement, CapRock will deploy stabilized antenna platforms across Atwood’s global fleet, consisting of five semisubmersibles, three jackups and one submersible located throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Europe, Africa and Asia. CapRock will provide the offshore rigs – plus two newbuild semisubmersibles under construction in Singapore and a regional office in Equatorial Guinea – with voice and data service and access to Atwood’s corporate network so that remote personnel can utilize business applications, as well as other data and document management systems required to do their work. A portion of the bandwidth will be provisioned on every drilling rig to support Atwood’s crew amenities program, which includes wireless access points, Internet access and SafePass, CapRock’s Web content-filtering solution.

Additionally, a fixed VSAT terminal will be installed at Atwood’s Houston headquarters, which will allow for beta testing of new Atwood software and applications in a controlled environment before deploying to all of the drilling rigs.


March 31, 2010 at 5:01 am Leave a comment

PetroSkills Announces New O&M JV

PetroSkills announced the startup of PetroSkills O&M, a new joint venture with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). Focusing on both operations and maintenance (O&M) technicians employed in upstream, midstream and downstream roles, PetroSkills O&M offers companies a full slate of both instructor-led training and e-learning content.

Ron Hinn, Managing Director of PetroSkills O&M, described the new offering as PetroSkills’ response to “the bigger crew change” that will be occurring across operator ranks over the next decade. “The demographic changes impacting the engineering ranks within E&P represent a small percentage of the numbers that will be impacted in the operations and maintenance ranks,” Hinn said.

PetroSkills O&M currently offers competency development and competency management resources for Production Field Operations, Gas Process Operations and Drilling Operations, and efforts are now underway to build out capabilities within the Pipeline, Refinery and PetroChemical operations and maintenance disciplines.

O&M represents the fourth discipline “vertical” for PetroSkills to enter. The rigor and processes utilized to build PetroSkills’ offerings within the E&P, Facilities and HSE sectors will also be applied to O&M. This includes the use of member company subject matter experts to direct and maintain detailed competency profiles for each technician discipline. The result is an “industry shared viewpoint” of the skills or competencies required to perform successfully at a given level. Training offerings are subsequently aligned to deliver the necessary competencies.

What Is PetroSkills?

PetroSkills provides unique, competency-based training programs – not just a collection of courses. Course content is based on detailed skill and competency maps developed with input from member companies. Each discipline is fully described through these competency skill maps to ensure that professionals can identify the competencies needed at their individual level.

Competency maps are available to both individuals and companies via a Web-based Competency Analysis Tool called CAT Enterprise, which allows professionals to track their development, determine what skills they need, and create a customized plan to close learning gaps.

The member curriculum advisors and the PetroSkills Board must approve each course, ensuring practical, up-to-date, relevant training. After attending a PetroSkills course, professionals will return to their workplace and immediately apply the skills learned to create value. Both the PetroSkills coursework and the instructors are reviewed approved by the PetroSkills Board and member curriculum advisors.

March 31, 2010 at 4:59 am Leave a comment

Launching a New Blog: Tech Writing Tips for the Oil Patch

Dear FOJs (Friends of Jeanne):

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of being fired for doing this blog (and losing my unemployment appeal),

I am launching a companion blog:

Technical Writing Tips for the Oil Patch

Not only does it remind you of grammar rules you supposedly learned in high school, but it has industry-specific writing idiosyncracies that only folks in the oil industry need to know. And did I mention lots of humor, fun facts, true stories, and interesting things everyone should know?

Because it’s informative and enjoyable, it’s worth the time you spend reading it.

So set up your blog reader or RSS feed so you get a new tip each work day.

By the way, this PetroComputing Blog is getting ten times the hits per month now compared to a year ago.

Onward and upward!

Love, Jeanne

March 26, 2010 at 4:42 am Leave a comment

New Invensys Solution Improves Refinery Margins

Invensys Operations Management announced the release of its Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution. The company has leveraged and integrated multiple technologies from its solutions portfolio to deliver different aspects of real-time business operations management to the refining industry. From simple control loop performance management and rigorous unit optimization to LP vector updating for multi-unit planning optimization, customers will be able to optimize all of their refining assets and reap cost savings and margin improvements of up to 25 cents per barrel.

“Based on the collective feedback from the more than 50 customers who are already using the solution, as well as our own industry expertise, we believe the Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution is the most comprehensive refinery performance enabler in the marketplace, capable of delivering millions of dollars in savings each year,” said Don Clark, VP Industry Solutions, Invensys Operations Management. “It enables companies to quantify and understand the financial impact of their business decisions in real time and ensures that their technology does not fall into disrepair as they pursue operations excellence related to safety, the environment and asset management. With a sustainable, tuned optimizer, our customers are also able to ensure optimal refinery planning by automatically downloading updated planning model LP vectors that can further drive the profitability of their refining operations.”

The solution leverages Invensys Operations Management’s SimSci-Esscor® ROMeo® optimizer and Wonderware® Intelligence enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) applications. The backbone of Invensys’ Online Performance Suite, ROMeo software is the industry’s leading unified modeling environment for offline and online optimization and is being used to optimize operations in refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants worldwide. The Wonderware Intelligence EMI application acquires critical process and optimal performance data from the ROMeo optimizer and models and aggregates it with data acquired from other operational data sources, including laboratory information management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, manufacturing execution systems and refinery process historians, to provide deeper insight and tracking of refinery performance. The Wonderware Intelligence software can calculate and make readily available unique and extremely valuable key performance indicators to all plant personnel, allowing operators and executives to measure the real-time financial impact of the optimizer through flexible Web-based dashboards.

With clear, measurable and visible benefits that can total millions of dollars per year, refining companies that utilize the solution can make better decisions about how to deliver long-term, sustainable benefits. Additional attributes of the Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution include:

  • A scalable software platform that allows incremental, scalable deployment, all within a common architecture that helps ensure rapid ROI and the ability to grow as the benefits grow;
  • The ability to layer the Wonderware Intelligence EMI solution on top of existing SimSci-Esscor ROMeo optimizer installations;
  • Refinery-wide modeling to identify the most profitable processing of different crude oil feedstocks, which can help ensure the highest value product pools;
  • Closed-loop optimization of individual units and naphtha pools, as well as the refinery’s utilities and hydrogen systems;
  • Refinery-wide mass balance data reconciliation to identify faulty meters and optimal yield accounting; and
  • World-class refinery solutions talent from Invensys that have a proven track record of enabling success.

For more information about refinery optimization please visit and download the free white paper “Achieving Competitive Advantage from Refinery-Wide Business Performance Optimization.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

ExxonMobil Agrees to License Refinery Process Models

Invensys Operations Management has entered into an agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. (EMRE) that allows Invensys to sub-license a suite of EMRE’s refinery process models to third parties. The suite of models will be delivered through Invensys Operations Management’s market-leading SimSci-Esscor® optimization software, using its ROMeo® solution to enable clients to model and optimize process units.

“With depressed demand, decreased margins and increased environmental mandates, refiners no longer have the option to simply operate at maximum throughput,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive of Invensys Operations Management. “Over the course of the coming decade, we will see a drastic shift in the oil industry as refiners constantly optimize their operations in the face of changing feedstock and energy costs, product specs and margins. Refiners will increasingly rely on accurate modeling technologies to construct a refinery-wide picture and assess the financial impact of different operating scenarios. Our SimSci-Esscor optimization software and ROMeo solution, combined with EMRE process models, enables refiners to make improved economic decisions throughout the refinery, from crude feed to final product blending.”

While traditional modeling solutions can only simulate individual process units or provide point solutions to solve a specific problem, Invensys Operations Management’s SimSci-Esscor solution provides a scalable software environment that enables companies to optimize refinery-wide performance, as well as other aspects of refinery profitability, such as utilities and instrument/equipment health monitoring. Additional benefits are derived from leveraging the data generated by rigorous models to enhance planning and scheduling decisions, leading to increased refinery margins.

“These modeling improvements allow refiners to better optimize their operations,” said Charles Darnell, global manager for optimization, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. “We use ROMeo technology in our plants for multiple applications and continue to work with Invensys to develop improvements in this technology.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

OpenSpirit Named ESRI Energy Partner of the Year

OpenSpirit, purveyor of  E&P data and application integration solutions, received the ESRI Foundation Partner of the Year award for its work in the Energy Sector at the 2010 ESRI Worldwide Business Partner Conference in Palm Springs, California.

OpenSpirit is the energy industry’s open integration and interoperability standard, enabling collaborative workflows and multi-vendor data accessibility among the diverse and complex environments used in today’s E&P asset teams. From ArcGIS Desktop to ArcGIS Server, OpenSpirit integrates with all levels of ESRI GIS technology, facilitating cross-disciplinary mapping and spatial data management workflows between GIS, geology and geophysics, as well as integrating subsurface workflows and data with surface workflows and information, such as Land, HSE, Transportation, Pipeline and other oil company departments.

The award was presented during the annual ESRI Business Partner Conference by Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI, to Brian Boulmay, Business Partner Director, OpenSpirit.

“Through the Partner of the Year Award for the Energy Sector, ESRI recognizes the outstanding contribution OpenSpirit has made in their promotion of spatial data management as a key component of an oil company’s enterprise data integration strategy,” said Dangermond. “Their revolutionary platform enables users to combine the capabilities of the ArcGIS platform with industry-leading geotechnical and geoscience solutions in elegant and highly effective practices.”

Since becoming an ESRI partner in 2000, OpenSpirit has developed a comprehensive suite of GIS tools, including an ArcGIS Desktop Extension, an ArcGIS Explorer Add-in, a Scan Utility that spatializes subsurface databases, an ArcGIS SDE Data Connector, and the integration of ArcGIS Server and ESRI Web services with OpenSpirit REST Web services. Users have the flexibility to leverage their ESRI GIS client of choice, with the simplicity of managing just one integration platform.

“We are honored to receive partner of the year recognition from ESRI,” said Dan Piette, President and CEO of OpenSpirit. “The energy industry is a spatial business, and we have focused on ensuring our technology is integrated with ESRI tools since our company’s inception. This collaboration helps our mutual customers manage their complete business workflows via a single integration layer, and ensures accurate and repeatable coordinate, unit, interoperability, and data access processes. We are continuing this focus in 2010 with the release of several new GIS products.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

IBM Uses IT to Boost Oilsands Efficiencies

IBM is using information technology to help energy companies extend the life of oilfields and make them more efficient and environmentally friendlier. IBM’s Oil Sands Centre of Excellence in Calgary has developed an “integrated information framework” that analyzes huge amounts of real-time data from oil operations to identify problems sooner.

“There’s no more easy oil,” said Andy MacRae, a partner with IBM’s Business Consulting Services unit in Calgary. “The next evolution in trends are related to digital energy. It drives a significant improvement in the energy consumption of oil operations.”

In February, Shell and IBM announced a joint collaboration to extend the life of oil and natural gas fields using complex analytics and simulations.

“Using predictive analytics to drive new intelligence into oil and natural gas reservoir management has the potential to extend the life of existing oil and gas fields in a responsible way,” said John Kelly III, Sr. VP and director of IBM Research.

IBM is helping oil companies become more efficient in many different ways. One oil and gas company in Calgary wanted to optimize the extraction of heavy bitumen from the oilsands, but found the effectiveness of their extraction process varied significantly depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the water, changes in temperature, calcium content and ore quality.

IBM mapped and modeled patterns across multiple areas to show how to adjust the extraction process under various conditions. The result was the entire operation’s efficiency improved, reducing energy consumption and the environmental footprint of the operation.

“Not only the energy, but the waste products that get discharged were reduced significantly,” MacRae said. “If you can take more oil off in the extraction process, you end up with less in the tailings pond.”

In another example, an oilsands operator was managing its mine and upgrader “fairly well,” but the operation as a whole was not optimally efficient. After using an integrated software and automation process, routine maintenance was stepped up and scheduled in the least disruptive manner. The strategy included finding more efficient ways to plan shutdowns and improve turnaround time using condition-based monitoring through a series of sensors and fiber optic cables, as well as robotics.

“It means the reliability of the equipment is better and they run more efficiently and use less energy,” MacRae explained.

IBM spends about $6 billion (with a B) on research and development each year, and oil companies can leverage some of that research to reduce oil and gas operations’ costs and environmental impact. As energy companies are forced to look for oil and gas in more difficult places, IT is expected to play an increasing role in how they are developed, MacRae predicted.

March 24, 2010 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

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