There are many players in the digital oil field. There are operators, operating partners, service providers, contractors, equipment suppliers, regulators, and software and hardware vendors. To communicate successfully with each other, there is an obvious need for industrywide standardization for the exchange of information.

There are many standards bodies relevant to the IT world. In addition to these cross-industry organizations, there are groups dedicated to the development of standards for the oil and gas industry. These include the American Petroleum Institute, Society of Automotive Engineers and the International Association of Drilling Contractors. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has at least one technical committee specific to upstream oil and gas, ISO TC67. Some of these groups create standards that involve the transfer of information relevant to the digital oil field. For example, ISO TC67 manages a standard for transferring equipment reliability data (ISO 14224:2006).

There is a group of 11 standards bodies that define standards specifically relevant to the digital oil field. These organizations are coordinated under an umbrella group called the Standards Leadership Council (SLC), comprised of the CEOs or presidents of those groups. They are:

  • Energistics. Energistics is the facilitator, custodian and advocate for the development and adoption of technical open data exchange standards in the upstream oil and gas industry. There are more than 125 corporate members.
  • International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP). The IOGP is a forum in which members identify and share best practices to achieve improvements in health, safety, the environment, security, social responsibility, engineering and operations. It has 83 corporate members.
  • MIMOSA. MIMOSA is an operations and maintenance open systems alliance that develops and encourages the adoption of open information standards for manufacturing, fleet and facility environments. It has 16 corporate members.
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). OGC is a voluntary consensus standards organization of more than 470 entities that develops standards for the integration and sharing of geospatial content and services in any geographic information system, location services, remote sensing, portal or other applications.
  • Object Management Group (OMG). OMG is a computer industry standards group that is driven by vendors, end-users, academic institutions and government agencies. It has 310 corporate members.
  • OPC Foundation (OPC). OPC is dedicated to ensuring interoperability in automation by creating open specifications that standardize the communication of acquired process data, event records, historical data and batch data to enterprise systems and between production devices. It has 461 corporate members.
  • POSC Caesar. POSC Caesar has 36 corporate members that promote the development of open specifications to be used as standards for enabling the interoperability of data, software and related matters.
  • PIDX International. PIDX delivers the process, information and technology standards that facilitate seamless, efficient electronic business within the oil and natural gas industry and its trading community. It has 38 corporate members.
  • Pipeline Open Data Standard Association (PODS). PODS has 164 corporate members. It develops and supports open data storage and interchange standards to meet the specific data management needs of pipeline companies.
  • Professional Petroleum Data Management Association (PPDM). PPDM promotes professional petroleum data management through the development and dissemination of standards and best practices. Its current corporate membership is 95.
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). SEG promotes the science of applied geophysics and the education of geophysicists. It fosters the expert and ethical practice of geophysics in the exploration and development of natural resources, in characterizing the near surface and in mitigating earth hazards. SEG currently has more than 30,000 individual members.

Of these 11 standards organizations, four focus on technical data exchange standards that are oil- and gas-specific.

Energistics. Energistics will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015. It has developed and maintained standards for the transfer of real-time streaming and static upstream technical data in areas not covered by IOGP or SEG. There have been recent updates to all three of Energistics’ flagship standards:

WITSML is the standard for drilling-related data. The most widely used version of WITSML is V 1.3.1, but the newest version is 1.4.1. It has been in existence for two years, and several vendors now have their commercial WITSML servers certified on V 1.4.1.

The new generation of WITSML is called WITSML2 and will be capable of streaming real-time data via updated technology. This was delivered in September 2014 as a community technology preview (CTP) and will be formally released in early 2015.

PRODML is the standard for production-related data. This group is actively working on several projects. In July an update to the distributed temperature sensing transfer was released. A new exchange type is being developed for making a standard transfer of pressure-volume-temperature data from the labs that do the measurements to the operators and other partners. Also being developed is a new standard to cover the transfer of routine production data among joint interest partners.

RESQML is the standard for integrating earth modeling and reservoir simulation software. RESQML2 V2.0, the next generation of this standard, was released in September 2014. It moves real-life features in the earth, specific interpretations of these features and the computer science representations that are used to identify those interpretations. Properties assigned to representations to build an earth model can be transferred as part of that model. Transfers may include either complete or partial models of only the data that have changed.

IOGP. IOGP maintains the geodetic transformation registry. This parameter dataset is updated occasionally, and the current version, 8.6, was released in November 2014. In addition, IOGP has developed a set of GIS shapes that define the area of suitability for each of the projected and geodetic systems.

There also have been updates to the suite of guidance notes, which will help users coordinate transformations.

A new geography markup language version of the seafloor data model standard has recently been released by the Geomatics Committee of IOGP. It is called SeabedML.

The suite of seismic positioning standards (or “P-standards”) originally developed by SEG are maintained by IOGP. They describe the placement of hydrophones and other positioning-related aspects of seismic data transfers. Currently, the P7 standard (data exchange format for well deviation data) is in the process of being updated.

PPDM. The PPDM data model is the primary standard produced by the PPDM Association. The latest version of the model is V3.9, released in May 2014. This version has numerous improvements, including a new geochemistry module.

Another standard PPDM is known for is the “What is a Well?” standard. This standard describes a standard terminology for a normal well and the data related to it.

PPDM has a new set of standardized business rules that will be especially useful for calculating a quantitative score for data quality.

SEG. The standards used in the exchange of seismic acquisition and poststack datasets were developed and are maintained by SEG. The final update to SEG-D rev 3.0 is now available. It addresses problems with endianness and brings SEG-D in line with the latest coordinate system and positioning standards from IOGP.

SEG-Y, the standard for post-stack data, is undergoing a major revision. SEG-Y rev 2 also will be available soon.

Better coordination

In the upstream digital oil field, there are a dozen or so standards bodies that work with data. Some of these groups work with technical data, some with business data. Some are focused on IT, and some are focused on different aspects of the well life cycle, while even others are focused on general information. The four groups that are focused in the area of technical data transfer do not overlap with each other to any great extent. The formation of the SLC will help standards organizations work together and coordinate efforts, reducing any redundancy that might exist. This should make it easier for companies to adopt these standards and realize the value from the efficiencies the digital oil field brings.