Volume 25 Number 2


Editorial VB6, HTML Frames … still going strong!

Oil IT Journal editor Neil McNaughton havers between Windows 10 and Linux and reflects on decommissioned PCs and on old programming paradigms. Reluctant to add to the junk in the basement, he revamps a 12 year old machine and upgrades www.oilit.com with an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to software development.

It has been 15 years now since I paid tribute to Jerry Pournelle, now the late Jerry Pournelle, he died back in 2017. I was an avid reader of Jerry’s ‘Chaos Manor’ column in Byte Magazine which, like Pournelle is now deceased. My 2005 piece was a ramble around a dilletante build of a super (micro) computer, assembled from esoteric parts bought on Ebay. I never said what became of it. So, for those of you with long memories here is the end of that story.

When I finally assembled the dual Xeon monster with super-fast SCSI drives and found an OS that worked, I switched the thing on and immediately realized why servers live in server rooms. This thing made a noise like a helicopter. No way I was ever going to use it in the office. It was relegated to the basement where it still sits. Alongside, by the way, maybe a dozen other old computers that have for the most part been rendered obsolete by software upgrades.

My next couple of computer purchases, a Mac mini server and a black box Windows PC were made a couple of years after this experience in the late 2000s. The Mac mini reached its end of life (in software terms) a few years later and was mothballed – along with its super high-res display with its Mac-only connectivity. The black box, which I named, ‘BlackBox’ has been my workhorse ever since. Which meant that come January 14, 2020 and the end-of-life for Windows 7, I had to upgrade. To Windows 10.

I really didn’t want to add another piece of junk to my collection so, despite Microsoft’s warnings that I would probably need a new machine, I decided to stay with BlackBox, especially as I has just added a 1TB solid state drive (a great €100 investment). Windows 10 installation (from a bought USB stick) went fine. One curiosity though. At one stage the installation asked me ‘how I wanted my adverts served’. There was no option for ‘not at all’ which I would have been happy with. After some fiddling around I managed to keep Window 7 on a partition so that my ancient VB6 programs can run natively. I reboot to W7 without internet access so this ought to be safe, even if it is a bit of a pain.

During the process it crossed my mind that maybe this would be a good time to jump off the Windows bandwagon completely and downloaded Linux which is on yet another partition on BlackBox. I found that Linux installs are now as easy if not easier than Windows. Which made me think that there was more life in the old Mac mini. There was. I now have Ubuntu running on the Mac mini and the beautiful Apple 24” screen is back in action.

So why didn’t I make the switch? There are a few reasons. One because leaving things to the last minute does reduce one’s room for maneuver. But mainly, I didn’t make the switch because Microsoft has me by the short and curlies as they say in the UK. Windows 365, One Drive, Share Point are fantastic at assuring lock-in and I am still trying to find the way out.

I mentioned VB6 which may surprise you. In which context I have a few things to get off my chest. From the above you will have gathered that I don’t like to throw away old hardware. In fact, I am even more attached to old software. I figure that once you have solved a problem, written the code, then you should not have to write it again because the old development environment (hardware or software) is at its ‘end-of-life’. Unix shell scripts I wrote back in the 1980s run fine under today’s Linux. VB6 was officially obsoleted in 2008.

Which brings me to the Oil IT Journal website. This too uses technology that is not only old but the actually deprecated by the W3C. The deprecated technology deployed is HTML Frames and Framesets. I use these stubbornly because they involve a minimum amount of programming effort and they work (at least so far) in all browsers without fancy browser-specific coding.

The current Corona virus crisis has given me some extra time to spend on the website. I could have devoted this to a port to some fancy CMS or other. Instead I decided to double down on my Frames. On www.oilit.com you can now manipulate the frame boundaries to optimize your view of the main frame containing the Journal text, the navigation menu and the newly revamped Conferences page at the bottom of the screen. If you are new to the site, grab the frame boundaries, move them around and scroll through the text. You may notice how fast the site works (well I hope you do). This is because of another against-the-norm technology choice. No database. All the site is built from small files which the Apache server assembles in the twinkling of an eye. Oh, and another unconventional technology choice of which I am especially proud is … NO COOKIES! I think that web cookies represent one of the craziest facets of the internet. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and just about every website you ever visit write stuff to your hard drive! Not Oil IT!

Speaking of the Conferences section this, and indeed our great relationship with the major conference organizers, is one of our main assets. We have put a lot of effort into this page, keeping it as up-to-date as we can, and tracking conferences as they move to online ‘virtual’ events or get re-scheduled. Let me know (info@oilit.com) how you find the tweaks to the site. Should I ditch the frames? I still have that project of a shift away from Windows and am looking at a more stable (and up-to-date) programming environment than VB6!

Headlines

SafeSense, AI to go

Baker Hughes truck-mounted mobile edge analytics platform from Nvidia brings supercharged Street-View technology to the oil field.

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Petrobras - build not buy!

Go Digital initiative includes SAP S/4 HANA deployment and 30 petaflop supercomputer, an AI ‘trip detector’ and ubiquitous digital twin deployment.

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Book Review - Quantitative Geosciences: Data Analytics, Geostatistics, Reservoir Characterization and Modeling

Zee Ma’s monster (640 page) work sets out to fill the gap between quantitative and descriptive geoscience analysis for reservoir characterization with a systematic ‘integrative’ approach. While recent data-driven approaches are included, QG adopts essentially a mathematical and first principles approach. The fairly heavy mathematical content is balanced by Ma’s erudition and insights that run through the work. Ma argues that in-depth domain knowledge and first-class statistical know-how will trump the naïve ‘data-science’ approach.

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A geotechnical approach to decommissioning the North Sea

Ikon Science white paper stresses importance of formation pressure analysis in well plug and abandon. An ‘overly strict’ following of the OGUK guidelines ‘can lead to poor technical choices’.

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News from Academe

Oil IT Journal reviews some recent developments from the research establishments. Virtual flow metering review (NUST, Trondheim). Digital rock physics in unconventionals (UTx Austin/ConocoPhillips). NORCE research on ensemble Kalman filters in oil and gas. Sirius (Oslo University) on ‘rewriting logic’ in multi-scenario geological reasoning.

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Amazon in geophysics

‘Serverless’ seismic data management (with help from Osokey) and automated salt picking (with help from Amazon Lambda).

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New API for Energistics' ResqML and other data exchange standards.

F2i Consulting white paper presents FESAPI, a software development kit for Energistics’ technical architecture. Consortium formed to progress initiative.

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Software, hardware short takes …

Geoteric 2019.2. INT IVAAP 2.5. Geovariances Isatis.neo 2020.02. Geophysical Insights’ Paradise 3.3. Cube viewer for Lynx’ iSeisview. Neuralog Pro. Peloton WellView Allez! Petrosys PRO 2019.3. Petroweb’s Energy Data Curator. Ceetron/Equinor ResInsight 2019.12.1. Tecplot RS 2019 R1. Rock Flow Dynamics’ tNavigator 20.1. Schlumberger Ocean/Petrel 2020 preview. Thermo Fisher Scientific - Open Inventor Toolkit 10.5. Blue Marble Geographics’ Global Mapper V 21.1. Seeq Data Lab R22. New FieldComm FDI release. IBM’s new Maximo Asset Monitor and Novate ops center. DNV GL CUI monitor. Halliburton’s SPIDRlive. Spectra Logic StorCycle. Getac ruggedized UX10-Ex tablet. OptaSense high backscatter fiber. Weatherford ‘Centro’ digital well delivery. Wellsite Navigator redesign. Emerson/Rosemount and DataManager V8.2 ProcessViz. ExxonMobil/Redlist Mobil Serv. Sharc Periscope 7.0. Open iT LicenseAnalyzer2020.

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MEEP, open source HPC hardware and software

Repsol-backed MareNostrum exascale computer to defend EU tech ‘sovereignty’.

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Esri 2019 Petroleum User Group, London

Equinor goes green with GIS. GIS ‘at heart of digital transformation’. GIS and real time production data. Notebook Server for data scientists. ExxonMobil’s major GIS-for-BIM deployment. Pipeline ‘GIS in GIS’. Survey 123 and Borealis for seismic stakeholder engagement (Tullow). Esri big data toolkit. WoodMac blends AI/ML with GIS. Shell on GIS-enabled exploration. ExxonMobil on GIS data quality. Orbital Insight on GIS-enabled intel. IOGP offshore infrastructure survey data model. UKCS as a ‘data-driven basin’. Neftex on ArcGIS interop extension, on PostGIS and QuickPlates. 40Geo’s Raptor Geo-IoT.

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Folks, facts, orgs…

Applied Petroleum Technology, ARMA International, Aspen Technology, Atwell, LLC, BCCK, Bluefield Geoservices, University of Texas at Austin, ClassNK, Computer Modelling Group, EnergyNet, DNV GL, Dresser Natural Gas Solutions, EU federation of geologists, eLynx Technologies, EPSRC, Flotek, geoLOGIC systems, Golder, PGS, IAGC, INPEX, Lineal Industries, Michael Baker International, OGUK, BGS, OneGeology, The Open Group, Parker Drilling, Petrolink, PLH Group, Plutoshift, PRCI, Quality Companies, Recon Technology, Red Hat, IBM, RigNet, Texas Railroad Commission, Ryder Scott, Schneider Electric, SeisWare, Sercel-GRC, Siemens Energy, Stratagraph, Structural Integrity Associates, Surtek, Technical Toolboxes, Tendeka, Wintershall DEA, CDA, IOGP JIP33, eLynx.

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Done deals

Baker Tilly buys Oil and Gas Business Solutions. DNV GL Ventures backs VeChain. Enverus acquires RS Energy Group. IDEX Corp. has acquired Flow Management Devices. ION Geo gets NYSE notice. Koch closes Infor deal. Aveva acquires MESEnter. Basic Energy Services buys NexTier Oilfield Solutions’ well support segment. Petrosys has acquired Interica. Quorum Software buys EnergyIQ. Rockwell to acquire Kalypso. Schlumberger quits LSE. Sword combines Venture and DataCo acquisitions. Wolters Kluwer completes CGE Risk Management purchase. Yokogawa bags Grazper.

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2020 LBCG Cost-Effective Artificial Lift Strategies Permian Basin, Houston

AmeriCo Energy – Akaike analytics for Permian waterflood. Unico’s sucker rod pump controllers. Harrison Wright on in-depth ESP failure analysis.

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Safety first …

Chemical Safety Board budget request, new Texas City animation, ExxonMobil ruling. DNV GL’s Safety 4.0. Tubular corrosion risk study. EU Agency – digitalization, occupational safety and health. Gulf Research Program and safer offshore energy systems. LR SafetyScanner - data science for HSE. MiX Telematics fleet safety for NOV. UL’s Houston safety service center. IOGP HSE data portal. CDC on preventing suicides.

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Facility Lifecycle 3D Model Standard

Netherlands USPI standards body floats 3D model for construction and digital twin operations in possible rapprochement with emerging BIM standards.

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2019 Energy Conference Network Oil & Gas Supply Chain and Procurement Summit, Houston

Enverus on machine learning in the supply chain. Blue Wave on local content development. Sirion Labs, ‘chase mice or hunt elephants?’ Appian’s low code for ERP integration. ISM on supply chain trends. Fluor mitigates the ‘bump’ factor. Chevron and the Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium. Requis - from ‘supply chain’ to ‘value network’

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Machine learning challenges abound

Norway’s FORCE announces well log challenge. Agile’s Kata geological decoding test. Fugro team wins geotechnical AI competition. Contilio wins IIOT construction challenge.

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Cyber security round-up

Trend Micro on oil and gas cyber risks. CSTB workshop on artificial intelligence and cyber security. Cegal on IT/OT convergence and its ‘connect@plant’ solution. McAfee on risks of cloud APIs. Ultra Petroleum deploys Datrium ransomware protection. Mol selects MobileIron’s security. Baker Hughes/Nexus Controls adds Tripwire threat monitoring to SecurityST. EU cybersecurity taxonomy. Ken Munro hacks a MODU. NIST reports on supply chain cyber risk management. Yokogawa gets ISASecure certification.

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Sales, partnerships …

Aker BP deploys Cognite AI. Baker Hughes backs Avitas, C3.ai. Total renews CGG deal. Wintershall Dea deploys Coupa. Ecolog teams with Smartline. SK Oilfield and eDrilling. Emerson teams with Quantum Reservoir Impact. Equinor, Shell digital collaboration. Fieldbit AR for Linde. geoLOGIC leverages BetaZi. DecisionSpace 365 for Pertamina. Hexagon OSIsoft PI connector. Implico teams with Brainum. Kongsberg K-Sim for NSSR. Microsoft Azure for Petrofac . Jason RockMod in Azure cloud. Nextoil partners with Nutech. Omega PIMS supports Maersk/Tota Culzean development. Vermillion Energy deploys Omnira Software. Petrofac partners with MODS. Petrolink joins Open Subsurface Data Universe. Petrosys, Rogii partner. PGS prefers Google Cloud. Energistics certifies proNova. PetroCap selects Quorum Software. Italgas deploys RealWear. Northern Offshore contracts RigNet. Robert Bosch joins Sirius . Metroval, Modec and Rotork. SAP and Accenture. Schlumberger and Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum. Stress, Optimum form RiGUARD JV. VELO3D and Duncan Machine Products. Chevron and Wood.

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Standards stuff …

Deep-Time Digital Earth standard. Exxon/Open Group release O-PAS Version 2.0. 5G-ACIA ally on wireless IIoT/5G synergies. ISO updates Dublin Core metadata standard. OGC on CRS API candidate standard. Canada’s spatial data infrastructure. OMG’s AI Platform Task Force. OPC Foundation’s O-PAS certification. OPC UA Functional Safety R 1.00. EPSG upgrades CRS registry. New PIDX PriceSheet XSD schema.

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2020 IQPC Intelligent Automation in Oil & Gas, Houston

Weatherford and Kalypso on AI/ML in mill-out operations. Dow Chemical’s enterprise manufacturing intelligence dashboard. Noble Energy and i2k Connect, AI for log curve ingestion. Progress report from ExxonMobil’s Open Process Automation initiative. Koch Industries on leak detection and repair. Equinor’s AI/ML ‘chassis’ for automation.

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'Digiref' to rationalize Total's engineering documentation

Specifications and rules extracted from documents and datasheets to separate technical, quality, contractual, and design requirements.

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IEA - Oil and gas industry in energy transitions

International Energy Authority’s (pre-coronavirus) analysis of the oil and gas industry shows stranded assets and stranded capital if the COP 2° warming scenario is to be realized. Solutions to global warming ‘cannot be found within today’s oil and gas paradigm’. Carbon capture is a means of mitigating the risks of stranded assets and capital. But CCUS investment is low and decreasing. On the positive side (for the industry) the risk of a mid-term supply shock means that ‘continued investment in existing oil fields, as well as some new ones, remains a necessary part of the energy transition’.

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