1. Geophysical & Geological (G&G) software technology is designed to aid oil and gas companies to maximise their understanding of subsurface and improve their decision making – what is the uptake of this technology in Russia at present?
Baker Hughes: In my opinion G&G software is gaining acceptance in most major Russian oil companies and quite a few small independents. Speaking specifically about geophysics, it may not be utilized to its full extent (considering different attributes), but it may mainly be due to lack of well-trained specialists rather than software limitations to Russian geology. As for geomodelling software – I can truly confirm that all major companies understand the value it brings to the field management and thus use it for 3D models. There are still some companies that still work with paper maps and have almost no software due to relatively high license price for small field applications and lack of return on the investment in software.
Schlumberger: We see increasing uptake of Petrel for exploration and development where the companies are able to capture their cumulative knowledge in a single shared-earth model – where multi-disciplines can work together to visualize their asset in one single canvas. The importance of new and powerful G&G technologies will grow due to increasingly challenging exploration environments and the lack of experts in the industry.
Seismic Micro-Technology: Most of the companies in Russia and CIS have been using G&G SW for more than two decades by now. For example the first license of Kingdom in Russia was sold almost 20 years ago. Since then Kingdom has been enjoying steady growth in Russia and CIS. Kingdom has become even more popular after the opening of the Moscow office 3 years ago when we have a direct presence in the Region.
Roxar Services AS: Currently, G&G software tools are widely used by the majority Russian oil companies in their decision making process. Computerized interpretation, modeling and simulation have become the standard way of doing things in Russian Oil & Gas industry.
Landmark: In general, the level of understanding of computer technologies for processing and interpretation of geological – geophysical (further called GG) information in gas and oil industry is high enough. We have many companies working to the highest level of the world standards, but at the same time, many old school managers clearly underestimate the influence of GG technology on the effectiveness of the company. When comparing Russian and western oil companies, you can clearly see the deficiencies of the Russian geologists, even though the activity of these specialists determines the overall effectiveness of oil production, which is of course vital for any oil company. It needs to be noted that the definition of GG technologies itself has been expanded in last decades, and it includes the entire range of activity starting from processing and interpretation to 3D modeling.
Tigress Ingeoservice: G&G software for interpretation and field development is used all over Russia by oil companies of all shapes and sizes. All the latest international and Russian tools are in use. In one arena (E&P data integration) it is still rare to see modern, fully integrated, digital asset management systems. This is disappointing, but that is not a uniquely Russian problem. The exploration business trails other industries in this regard. Unfortunately in Russia as elsewhere, it doesn’t seem to either realize or accept this, instead naively, and incorrectly, assuming it is in the vanguard. There are huge potential benefits from sorting this out and implementation of such systems should be the next step.
2. In the late nineties one of the biggest challenges in the region was to change attitudes towards seismic and G&G software technology. Is it still an issue within some companies?
Baker Hughes: I would say emphatically NO, non-technical barriers do not exist any longer. Most companies have young professionals educated in modern software and techniques among its employees; they are receptive to the utilization of G&G software and the attitude towards software is good. However as I mentioned before, some smaller companies would still have economic challenges to implement it.
Schlumberger: Yes, in late nineties companies didn’t use G&G software efficiently for practical tasks; exploration and development processes were based on people experience and knowledge of well known reservoirs. They did use technologies, mostly for formal field development however, and now the situation has changed dramatically. There are many risks and uncertainties in new exploration areas in East Siberia, Yamal, Pechora and Arctic shelf as well as in well-know areas with unconventional reserves where analytical approaches and past experience do not provide adequate information for confident decision making. We have seen more and more companies recognising the value of basin-scale petroleum systems modelling, near real-time log interpretation, modelling while interpreting, uncertainty analysis etc. in order to help deliver better exploration outcomes and increase return on investment.
Seismic Micro-Technology: Yes, I think there are still some companies on the CIS market that do not use any G&G software technologies. Personally I met probably 2 or 3 over the last 5 years. But you know this is an exception rather than a rule and I don’t think I will encounter with such companies in the future. On the other hand it indicates that market is not fully covered.
Roxar Services AS: Most Russian companies do understand the role and importance of modeling and interpretation software technologies and are investing significant resources in this area. When it comes to seismic, I think that companies now understand the applicability and limitations of seismic much better and therefore are shooting seismic where it really can give them effect.
Landmark: I remember well how it all started. Almost 20 years ago, at the first Russia SEG Exhibition in Moscow, many specialists went around the stands of western companies that supplied processing and interpretation and G&G software and said that they would never use such tools. Many years later however, we have a new generation of specialists working with modern western systems. Many institutes and universities are also using the advanced programming products to teach a new generation of students. Landmark gives grants for using its most advanced products for the leading universities in Russia. Today, the tackling of separate issues is relatively easy for many oil & gas and service companies, but there are considerable difficulties in solving complex multi-specialization problems.
Tigress Ingeoservice: This is not an issue any more. Most of companies use modern G&G software technologies in their research centers. Others sub-contract third-parties to do the research, but everyone understands that without software technology it is not possible to meet all challenges of modern exploration.
3. Accessing, digitizing and the use of legacy data in Russia has been, and continues to be, a major challenge. How localised are your solutions and tools to handle this type of data?
Baker Hughes: There are some problems with legacy data we are facing right now. The completeness of well and production data is inconsistent. Some of the older data was acquired with poor calibration and lacked data validation. As a solution we bring on specialists within region with local expertise to format data as well as normalize it against offset records. Much of the work is on local servers instead of global for data transfer to centers where it can be processed with algorithms or other routines. Some major companies do allow data to be sent abroad, and thus we can apply more resources to solve problems. Currently however we are mainly working within the regions.
Schlumberger: I cannot fully agree with that statement especially from a technology point of view. SIS has a very strong, and globally recognised, offering in the information management domain and my observations from personal experience are that the collection, digitization, quality checking, storage and accessing of legacy data is not a big challenge if companies understand the value of the historical data. SIS has conducted several very successful projects in Russia for regional administrations and O&G companies where we restored and managed data in excess of 30-year’s old including: seismic, logs, cores, tests and other. We are continuously developing our solutions and have achieved a new paradigm in corporate data management – thanks to ProSource and InnerLogix software. These technologies enable customers to evaluate quality not only in data terms, but also in the context of different interpretation and modelling results or stages. More importantly, SIS not only provides a universal tool for data management but also unique local expertise and knowledge built on a foundation of rigorous business rules and standards to connect to many different applications and data.
Seismic Micro-Technology: Yes, this is still an issue here. A lot of old data should be digitized and loaded but this is not a big problem for modern G&G software technologies today. Our product has a number of tools to handle it. We gather feedback from our customers all over the world including Russia and CIS and hold free special events called User Group Meetings in order to better understand our customers’ needs and problems and solve them. It also helps us to define roadmap for further development of Kingdom.
Roxar Services AS: Surprisingly most of the data now exists in digital form. Problem is that there are large volumes of legacy data of relatively low quality. Having worked in Russia since 1998 however, we have developed procedures and workflows to Quality Control input data.
So now I can say that our users and our service teams can get the most of the existing dataset to build their models on all available information.
Landmark: Regardless of the “delayed start” I mentioned above in using the advanced computer systems in GG, Russia has since caught up and even overtaken their western colleagues in some positions. For example, today in Russia practically all analogue seismic data has been digitalized. There are options for working with analogue data in many products including those of Landmark, but they have no demand in our region.
Tigress Ingeoservice: There are two parts to this answer; firstly legacy data is a major challenge wherever you are in the world. Effective solutions to this problem have a major impact on exploration efficiency, perhaps much more than most oil companies realize. The vast majority of data is legacy especially in established oil provinces such as the Russian Federation. Too often people focus on data volume but volume is not generally a great technical issue these days. With respect to localization, all of our products are localized for the Russian Federation both in terms of language localization and technical localization (interpretation of data from Russian tool types, metering systems etc.).
4. Cross-disciplinary asset teams are a key component to improving workflows and efficient decision making within operating companies. How well utilised do you feel asset teams are in Russia and how does your software add on value to these teams?
Baker Hughes: I can only generally comment my perceptions of the asset teams. A synergetic approach is relatively new and requires several cross-disciplinary trained professionals from the industry to enable all members of the team to effectively interact. What we are facing right now is that people from one discipline (e.g. – drilling) don’t understand the importance of geology and vice versa. The benefit of interaction of these professionals cannot be changed by simple implementation of software. A professional ‘bridge’ needs to be established by people who have good understanding of various domains to coordinate those teams.
Schlumberger: Russian companies are following the industry trends and have recognized the advantages of the multidisciplinary asset teams approach. The updating of business practices and change management required to extract the maximum value from this approach is still however a significant challenge. These changes are critical to extract the maximum efficiencies and value from the 21st century technologies that are helping to facilitate these more productive business processes. For many companies the change in culture has been a struggle; some moved part way and have adopted the concept and created the asset teams but in a traditional (domain by domain) way. The next step to maximize the value is to more fully integrate the communication between teams through the utilization of shared-earth models, where all disciplines can work together. We are able to share our international experience in process optimisation as well as leading technologies to help deliver significant productivity improvements for asset teams by using the power of this method. Our Petrel software provides a single, unified, environment to uniquely integrate and preserve the cumulative knowledge of E&P teams as the information evolves through their workflows – from exploration to production – all in one seamless software platform. By enabling different domains to work seamlessly on one software platform the fidelity of the data and information is preserved in a single shared-earth model. Teams are also able to work faster as the need for transfer of data between different software applications is removed allowing geotechnical staff more time to focus on the science.
Seismic Micro-Technology: Our SW consists of different modules that allow you to handle the projects that need the participation of different types of specialists. Geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and drilling engineers can work simultaneously in one project today creating an asset team. So, from this perspective we can be considered as one of the best SW in the industry.
Roxar Services AS: Unfortunately most Russian companies have not yet adopted the asset team approach as their standard way of managing assets. The process is split between different departments (log interpretation, seismic interpretation, geomodeling, reservoir engineering and flow simulation, economics, etc). But among the companies there is a growing understanding that multidisciplinary teams can do better job. We are well prepared for that because our integrated software products are made of domain modules which are known to be among the best possible solutions within their individual domains, but are also fused together into a single program with a common data model, user interface, visualization and API’s.
Landmark: Integration of modern technology remains the most important task for many regions and industries, including oil and gas. The solution to this task can be divided into two components – Programs and organizational structure. Organizational structure allows different specialists to work as one team with the specific purpose. Integrated programs help in tackling the problems in a common environment. For almost 30 years Landmark has been developing integrated programs for the oil and gas industry and today we are one of the only companies that supply a complete and integrated solution for the problems of GG. For many years, companies in Russia have been using the Landmark products, however organizational issues have frequently handicapped their ability to get the most out of these products. The level of integration in the programming field often becomes better compared to the organizational integration in industry subdivisions. At the same time, in such a scientifically rich region as geology and geophysics for oil and gas there is the potential for integration and many tasks need to be solved.
Tigress Ingeoservice: Most of Russian companies have no concept of asset teams. Geophysicists, geologists and production engineers work separately from each other. Normally there are special departments devoted to each of the directions. For example seismic data are interpreted in one department, well data in another, geological model is build in the third and finally passed to production department. In my opinion, the idea of intergration and asset workflow is underestimated in Russia and this is the way forward.
5. Russian companies are often looking for integrated solutions to their G&G software needs from global vendors. What do you feel are your key selling points to the customers and what additional local services or support do you provide?
Baker Hughes: Our company does not offer a large number of software products for sale to our customers. There are some special item packages including Jewel Suite that was developed in Russia. However Baker Hughes can provide various software licenses as part of a consulting service where we work with our customers teams.
Schlumberger: Schlumberger software provides the broadest integration of domain science enabling teams to work more effectively together. The extensive integration allows users to run comprehensive uncertainty analysis across their workflows to better understand the risks in their E&P planning process. Combined with the capability to run all sorts of workflows in batch mode Petrel enables rapid updating of subsurface models as new data – such as information from new wells – arrives. The Ocean software development framework also enables our customers to rapidly and easily deploy the technologies they need to solve their specific challenges, either via in-house development using their own intellectual property or by accessing leading technologies from independent software companies at the Ocean Store (www.ocean.slb.com).
Seismic Micro-Technology: One of our clients once said when he first tried Kingdom: “working with some SW solutions strongly reminds me of a ritual: first the IT guys take their time installing the SW, then geologists traditionally load data etc. This is not the case with Kingdom. It seems to me you (SMT) just didn’t know how to complicate things…”
Kingdom does not demand much in terms of hardware and additional staff to install and maintain it. At the same time it has a lot to offer: a multi-user environment, advanced functionality of applications for geophysicists, geologists, petrophysicists (and most recently engineers -microseismic?) in the same project on a common database.
Kingdom is both intuitive and integrated without compromising functionality, and this is our main selling point.
As for the services, in addition to the standard technical support trainings and user group meetings I mentioned earlier we provide on-site consulting services in the customer’s office, advanced trainings that involve not only the SW learning but involve different interpretation workflows and approaches.
Roxar Services AS: We provide an integrated solution from seismic to simulation. But when it comes to individual domains we can be well compared to highly specialized tools in terms of technology and functionality. The same time our tools are as open as possible for commercial software products. For companies this means that they can export or import data into/from our applications at any stage and so can seamlessly include any third party technology in their workflow.
Support has been recognized as the key success factor for us in Russia since we first came to this market. We were, are, and will be investing a lot into our support teams. There are three key characteristics of our support service: responsiveness, qualification and creativity. The first one means that we are fast and proactive in reacting to any client question or problem which is related to our software. Qualification means that we always give precise answers and advice. This is important because the software is only a set of tools, while responsibility for the final decision is on the end user, who has a right to have the exact technical understanding of how his/her tools are working. Creativity means that we are prepared to find and invent the ways of addressing client needs, even if they are not yet implemented explicitly in our code. New challenges appear in front of our clients all time. Our software has enough flexibility and our support team has enough creativity to deal even with most unforeseeable requests.
On the service side we have created a dedicated service team in Russia. This team is made up of high qualified and experienced experts who are working on client projects in different locations in Russia.
Landmark: Landmark has been present in Russia for 19 years. We have had clients working with our products for decades and they continue work with us. Summarizing our past experience we can distinguish some of the unique characteristics of our programs, which are also the most significant for our users:
» United database and multi-users regime;
» Technology integration;
» Stability and robustness;
» Technological and functional depth;
» Constant development of the data handling system.
To get the most out of our products we offer training system and documentation in Russian. Local customer service and our website – www.lgc.ru – have been working for many years. All the latest developments can be seen on our website.
Tigress Ingeoservice: We believe passionately in integration. Our tag line is “integrated by design”. It is hard to imagine a sector that could benefit more from digital data integration. After all one view of an oil and gas company is that it takes survey data and uses it to produce or increase production of hydrocarbons.
6. What are the latest technology developments within your software suites?
Baker Hughes: As above software products are not a focus for Baker Hughes. We have a wealth of global and local experience that we offer supported by the best software packages in the market. Baker Hughes works to continuously improve our internal software packages to make it easier and more helpful for geosciences personnel. Baker Hughes is a reservoir focused service company, and such we pay more attention to reservoir scale software allowing us to do 3D or even 4D visualization for better understanding of field, with packages such software is CoViz. We have also implemented it recently as 3D real-time visualization with the WellLink system to enables more effective wellbore placement in the best quality reservoir rock and hydrocarbon layers.
Schlumberger: Through 2009 and 2010 we have added many exciting new technologies to our software offering and will deliver more in 2011.
In 2010 we launched the Exploration System to demonstrate the new technologies we’re delivering to help reduce the risk of dry wells in exploration by adopting a holistic approach to evaluate the key risk components of trap, reservoir, seal and charge. With the majority of exploration well failures resulting from a poor understanding of charge and seal, PetroMod petroleum systems software and new seal evaluation technologies in Petrel increase the understanding of these critical exploration factors. With the 2010 release of Petrel we added more technologies to enable large-scale exploration, using tens of thousands of wells and regional-scale seismic, and the introduction of the exciting Structural Framework tool to enable seismic interpreters to model-while-interpreting.
In the 2009 we also acquired the Techlog wellbore-centric software platform. Going beyond petrophysics Techlog provides cross-domain workflows for petrophysics (core and log), geology, drilling, reservoir and production engineering and geophysics with the benefits of a modern and intuitive software interface. Techlog is now the wellbore platform for Schlumberger log analysis and in its relatively short history has become the new wellbore-centric standard for more and more of the World’s top E&P companies.
The Ocean Store was launched at the SIS Global Forum in May 2010 creating a unique place where users can browse, buy and use technologies from independent software companies to do more with their Petrel software. Combined with the potential to develop Ocean plug-ins for Petrel with their own developers, Ocean enables operators unrivalled extensibility to differentiate like never before with unique technologies while leveraging the power of the Petrel software platform.
Seismic Micro-Technology: Kingdom is developing very fast and the current version has many improvements. Personally I was impressed by the work of new auto-pickers on the very complicated data in Kazakhstan. Also coloured inversion is a very fast and accurate tool that can be very useful in interpretation.
Roxar Services AS: To list all of the latest developments would probably take couple of A4 pages! Recently we have introduced a very advanced and scalable seismic visualization and analyses tool for geomodeling, extended our well correlation and geosteering functionality for better handling of horizontal and highly deviated wells, introduced new technology for modeling salt and intrusive structures and made important extensions to our 3D modeling toolbox. We have also released several very important flow simulation technologies: modeling of hydraulic fractures advanced segmented well model, correction for non-Newton oil behavior, improved multigas model to simulate IOR processes related to gas injection and various others.
Landmark: Last year Landmark launched a new series of products for interpretation, modeling and engineering tasks called DecisionSpace Desktop. A unique feature of this series is the accumulation of our long term experience in classic Landmark products, operating in a new format. Having said this it is similar & familiar, simple in terms of training and user friendly. This product is based on decades of data handling of OpenWorks, with the addition of a series of new data and technologies, expending the possibilities of specialists. The joint use of “old” classical products (Seis Works, Strat Works, ZMap, etc) and new products such as DecisionSpace Desktop series is possible. Data, knowledge and experience accumulated during decades can be fully used in a new environment with new possibilities. Users without experience can quickly and effectively use the system due to the modern and friendly interface. The multi-user interface, deep inter-specializational integration in accordance with the environment and technologies adapted from previous generations are the main characteristics distinguishing the DecisionSpace Desktop from other systems currently on the market.
Tigress Ingeoservice: GIS and geospatial systems for to catalogue, quality control and manage E&P data. An example of which is our new GeoBrowse 4 system which is developed here in Tyumen.
We are leveraging advanced virtualization technology, designed for the cloud computing business to deliver ultramodern digital integrated asset management systems such as our forthcoming TIGRESS Professional software suite.
Real time data acquisition from the oilfield.
7. G&G software technology plays a key role in every phase of a fields lifecycle. How is this being adopted and implemented in Russia?
Baker Hughes: Baker Hughes experience in this domain is relatively young, as it is throughout the Russian market. Baker is drawing upon global experience in brownfield revitalization to help our customers in Russia. We are currently running several large projects in Russia for the top oil producers with the help of the company’s RDS resources in Canada, Aberdeen and the Middle East. Those professionals are interacting with our local staff, the customers and regional institutes to come up with the best recommendations for field development projects.
Schlumberger: There are many examples in Russia that illustrate the expansion of G&G technologies throughout the E&P lifecycle. One of the most powerful examples comes from the exploration success of one of our customers in East Siberia. Our customer achieved significantly improved exploration drilling success ratios in very complex carbonate geology by importing seismic data into their Petrel model and using an advanced interpretation plug-in developed via the
In a mature field in West Siberia we made new log interpretations for hundreds wells in Techlog, transferred the new data to a Petrel and rebuilt their reservoir model in a few weeks instead of the months it took previously using legacy technologies. Residual reserves have been identified and customer has now implemented a successful side-track drilling program. Some clients are now also adopting integrated asset modelling technologies, where we see impressive economic results as field development plans can be more fully understood and managed. There are therefore, many successes resulting from the adoption of new G&G technologies and there are also huge opportunities to utilize these advancements for many more fields and exploration areas.
Seismic Micro-Technology: Today we have a lot oil companies that use Kingdom at different stages of the field cycles. Despite of the fact that Kingdom historically is positioned as an interpretation tool now it is being used as a tool that helps exploration engineers review and update seismic interpretation and data, drilling engineers to work with deviated wells. Moreover, we have just released the new functionality in Kingdom 8.6. called Microseismic that will help the engineers control the direction of the hydraulic fracturing.
Roxar Services AS: Currently there is nearly 100% uptake of geological and flow simulation modeling during the development and planning process. Russian companies could however better utilize modeling tools in supporting their day to day operation decisions. This is currently adopted by some of our clients but clearly can potentially be applied to more assets. Anyway we see that companies are using modeling technologies at asset level and we also see that they are getting very good ROI on this type of activity. So an increased appearance of geological and flow simulation models in operator offices all across Russia looks, to us, as being only matter of time.
Landmark: G&G software is used in Russia during all stages of field development, but due to specific conditions in Russia, in particular the abundance of well’s being developed, this software is used most widely at the research stage. In addition to this, the use of the latest technology, for example 4D, has definite potential for the research and development stage.
Tigress Ingeoservice: Our geological and production monitoring solutions based on Tigress technologies are used in many Russian oil companies to monitor production and exploration activity. We utilize client-oriented approach, where each installation and set of reports is tuned for a particular client’s needs.
8. What do you think the future holds for your G&G software solutions in Russia?
Baker Hughes: I feel the market will soon appreciate the value of LWD RT data and the benefits of the software packages capable of collecting, processing and displaying critical data from many wells being drilled at the same time and feeding it into a single geological model. This allows 3D decision taking instead of updating a 2D section of the reservoir. With the continuously updated full field model we can take decisions while the well is drilling to place it within the sweetest spot. Another benefit of a fully interactive shared earth model is allowing access to any data of a particular reservoir section with a simple click at that section. Using all the best data available to make the best decisions to create the best wells.
Schlumberger: Increasing integration from Exploration to Production on a single platform to allow operators to far more rapidly update their asset models and reduce onboarding (training) time for new recruits. We expect the use of uncertainty analysis to increase significantly as operators exploit the opportunity to understand the quality of their data, interpretation, analysis and decisions at all stages of the workflow. With a rich and diverse talent pool of developers we also see Russia becoming a key contributor in the global development of Ocean plug-ins for Petrel to create and deploy new and innovative software solutions to address some of the industry’s toughest challenges.
Seismic Micro-Technology: I think we have a huge potential here. We have been showing significant growth and I hope to keep this growth for years. Despite the saturated market we entered, the major companies are replacing our competitors’ solutions with our own. Kingdom is very easy to use and cost a effective tool that can handle huge volumes of data. I saw a lot of huge regional and marine projects that were interpreted in Kingdom, making it a tool with a huge potential in the market.
Roxar Services AS: We invest a lot into the technological development of our software tools. We are inventing and improving technologies, expanding the functionality range and at the same time making our software more accessible for non expert users. This strategy is relevant to all regions where Roxar is working, but in Russia the payback is even faster. The reason for this is that Russian geologists and reservoir engineers, with their high education and qualification levels, have an ability to get the most out of our software. With our current development roadmap and existing user base we see a bright feature for Roxar software tools in Russia.
Landmark: Our new DecisionSpace Desktop series continue the unique history of Landmark in the industry. There are no analogues to the integrated solution for GG tasks, modeling and engineering problems in Multi-Users environment (on Windows or Linux platforms) using data handling system OpenWorks. It also has a huge potential of further development embedded in the architecture of the system.
DecisionSpace Desktop gives the client:
» Necessary data;
» Verified technologies;
» Years of accumulated experience.
Tigress Ingeoservice: The future looks very positive.