It was April, 2010. Seventy miles offshore the US coast, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and spilled 210 million US gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico causing till date the largest oil spill in the history of petroleum exploration. It took six months of humongous effort to close the rig and control the spill. Some reports allege that the site was still leaking in 2012.
Around eleven people were missing and declared dead in the explosion. It had a devastating effect on the natural flora and fauna in the sea and resulted in huge losses to the surrounding fishing and tourism industry – to the tune of 30 billion US Dollars. A post mortem to figure out the causes of explosion and spill revealed, among the many reasons, issues like faulty readings of valve conditions, failures in valves, late spotting of leaks in the pipelines and lack of alarms.
Oil drilling is risky business. Minor errors can directly affect industries, economies, environment, health and people’s lives – both in the shorter as well as the longer term. Minute and accurate monitoring of all stages of oil drilling is thus an extremely essential part of the whole process. There are thousands of sensors attached to various parts of drill bits and all other types of machineries in the oil rigs to allow minute control of operations.
The readings from these sensors are transferred from deep below the sea to the servers on oil rig surface and from there to onshore monitoring centres where geologists, petrologists, engineers and other operational staff monitor and analyse the data round the clock. There are several OEMs involved with thousands of types of machineries, sensors and gauges. Thus in order to properly allow smooth data flowing between these multivendor components, a uniform protocol for capturing, transferring and storage of the data was imperative. The Energistic Standards thus evolved over time, devising several protocols to do the same (WITSML for drilling and exploration data, PRODML for production data and RESQML for reservoir data).
We have been working with the Energistic Standards for over 15 years now and have around 100 man years worth of experience in delivering mission critical software in this domain. We have built monitoring and alarm servers, visualisation consoles, central data sync servers – both on-premise as well as on the cloud (Azure). We have extensive knowledge of how alarms are generated, what kind of visualisation this domain mandates and are well conversant in properly dealing with the time sensitiveness of the data. We have been working with multiple national and international companies and have our software running on hundreds of rigs around the globe.
WITSML is the well established standard that allows transmission of data related to exploration and drilling between drilling contractors, oil companies, service companies and vendors. Energistics Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as ETP, has become a popular protocol for data and information exchange. It ensures a smooth data flow between various stakeholders of the oil and gas industry.