How custom software ages | Application Development Video Series, Episode 1

Not unlike hardware, custom-built software applications can age over time. There are a variety of ways that a business can outgrow a software application, and those aging applications can become more burdensome to maintain than to update or rewrite.

We don’t typically think of software as something that can age. The code is written and run on a computer, so it doesn’t age like hardware does or like people do. It becomes obsolete or becomes less functional, unable to keep up with the demands of the business and the business users. Software is usually written based on a snapshot of a business need for a certain period or range of time. Unfortunately, software doesn’t change dynamically the way the business does. Businesses can change, market demands can change, the number of users can change, and the software can have trouble keeping up with that.

Another aspect of aging is that the software may have been built in a technology that is no longer supported or is slowly on its way out the door; it’s being deprecated or replaced by more modern design patterns and technologies. The software was written years ago, and the technical resources are no longer available or difficult to find. When you can find them, they are expensive, which makes maintaining the software more and more costly.

Technologies, design patterns, and understanding of software as a functional piece of a business were limited 10-15 year ago, and that technology continues to evolve. When we think about legacy applications, they were monolithic in nature and written top-to-bottom; every line of code was executed in one lump sum. To change one little thing in those applications, you had to change everything.  Thankfully, now we have better paradigms alongside better technologies where we can separate the different pieces of functionality and objectives into multiple layers.

  • We can have part of the application that is written specifically to manage the database.
  • We can have another piece that manages business rules and validation.
  • We can have another piece that’s a service layer that allows you to integrate other systems and software, preserving the code that’s already in place for business logic and the database.
  • We also have the user interface and front end of the database. This part is also changing: it used to be just PC-based, but now you’re going to want to think about new devices like GPS, tablets, and cell phones so people can access your software anywhere in the world.

We begin to realize there is an aging process that happens with software — as it ages, it becomes more difficult and expensive to maintain in addition to some of the lost opportunities for growth. For instance, older software wasn’t designed to take advantage of the hardware that you’re probably already using which has multiple core processors and robust memory capabilities. Bringing the software up to date will give you the opportunity to take advantage of those hardware options for better performance.

Software Modernization: When Is It Time?

Data Management for Oil & Gas: High Performance Computing

Data Management and Technology

The oil and gas industry is dealing with data management on a scale never seen before. One approach to quickly get at relevant data is with High Performance Computing (HPC).

HPC is dedicated to the analysis and display of very large amounts of data that needs to be processed rapidly for best use.

One application is the analysis of technical plays with complex folding. In order to understand the subsurface, three dimensional high definition images are required.

The effective use of HPC in unconventional oil and gas extraction is helping drive the frenetic pace of investment, growth and development that will provide international fuel reserves for the next 50 years. Oil and gas software supported by data intelligence drives productive unconventional operations.

Evolving Data Management Needs

As far back as 2008, the Microsoft High-Performance Computing Oil and Gas Industry Survey conducted by the Oil & Gas Journal Online Research Center indicated that many industry geoscientists and engineers have access to the computing performance levels they require.

However, computing needs are growing more complex, so significant room for improvement exists. NumerousOil and Gas: High Performance Computingrespondents believe that making HPC available to more people industry wide can increase production, enhance decision-making, reduce delays in drilling, and reduce the overall risk of oil and gas projects.

Chesapeake is the largest leasehold owner of Marcellus Shale Play, which reaches from Southern NY to West Virginia. They employ HPC  in their shales and tight sands operations.

3-D imaging enables technical staff to detect fine-scale fracturing and directional dependency characteristics. Seismic data provides a structural road map that helps identify dip changes, small faults and natural fracture orientation.

High Performance Computing in the Real World

Chesapeake routinely performs inversions of pre-stack and post-stack data management. Datasets for imaging and inversion support models that represent complex earth structures and physical parameters, where true inversion results are known.

Reservoir maps require constant updating. Advanced pre-stack 3-D techniques are used to extract detailed rock properties that aid in discriminating good rock from bad rock at Marcellus.

Focusing on pre-stack data management has significantly increased computational requirements. Depending on the acquisition method, collecting multicomponent 3-D data can increase data size by orders of magnitude.

Advanced algorithms provide results in a matter of days, making it possible to realistically deal with a lease schedule.

Clustered super-computing systems are becoming well priced and scalable. HPC options are not only realistic, but a requirement for independents who want to bring advanced processing capabilities in house.

Check out this blog post on how oil and gas companies are using data management to improve processes here…

Data Management & Technology: Secret to Oil & Gas Growth

Data Management the Key for Unconventional Success

Data management  and new technology is lowering the risk level for unconventional oil and gas E&P. This has become apparent in recent years and is a radical change from former risk levels of investment.

Computational analysis is at the heart of risk reduction and the ease with which entrepreneurs in this field are now finding funds. is more important than ever before.

Technology drives analytics for better governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) applications. The amount of Oil and Gas information is rapidly increasing.

At the same time mobility, cloud, and Big Data analytics offer opportunities to effectively harness the way information is managed, used, and distributed enterprise wide.

Entrepreneurial Gains

Mitigating risk in oil and gas operations at any part of the cycle from upstream, midstream, and to downstream ultimately leads to entrepreneurial gains.

Data Management for Oil and Gas: MobileEnterprise wide management of information and intelligence drives success. Consistent, contextualized, and integrated information that is available immediately and on-the-go is required to support most operations.

Collaboration tools are also necessary for communication both within an enterprise and between enterprises, because expertise is required across the globe.

The complexity of drilling and other oil and gas operations is such that the ability for engineering, design and applications experts to work together is essential.

Teams rely on high-end 3D visualization and collaboration rooms that allow members anywhere to access the same data, models, and tools.

Aside from the need to bring in experts from many areas, including field services, seismic, drilling, exploration and production, team members can also access detailed descriptions of the events leading up the present.

Those engaged in making decisions for exploratory wells can obtain a full brief of both information and through collaboration with essential personnel. Software developments at E&P companies are at the heart of production improvements.

Technology Improvements

Research in unconventional oil and gas technology is ongoing industrywide. GTI was awarded $6.2 million by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America to develop and design new techniques in support of environmentally safe and economically efficient hydraulic fracturing projects.

This work is derivative of an innovative technique recently completed at Marcellus Shale involving a field-based industry collaborative R&D project.

A new technology for natural gas purification uses a hollow fiber contactor design that offers significant advantages over traditional technologies, ultimately reducing gas purification costs significantly.

This technology can be applied to pre and post combustion carbon capture and is applicable for use in floating LNG platforms.

Only recently has there been a holistic strategy for managing risk and compliance across functional domains and the lines of business. Today, with heightened regulation and increasingly complex risks, technology is more important than ever before.

Conventionally, upstream operations have struggled to overcome segregation of data. Now integration and knowledge sharing are driving industry advances.

For more on how oil and gas is changing, read this article on the evolving role of IT…

What is a Christmas Tree?

What is a Christmas Tree?

A Christmas Tree is an assembly of valves, spools, and fittings placed on a producing well to control the flow of the fluid that comes out of the well (usually oil or gas), to transport oil/gas from well to pipeline or to control the injection of gas or water into the well to enhance its production.

How is it important to us?

Oil and Gas: Christmas TreeThe name comes from the fact that it resembles a decorated tree.

The Christmas tree and the wellhead should not be mistaken. The Christmas tree is installed on top of the wellhead to seal the annular space between the casing and the tubing.

Christmas tree can be used on both offshore and onshore wells and are therefore identified as subsea tree or surface tree.

What is Cushing?

What is Cushing?

Cushing, Oklahoma, often referred as the “pipeline crossroads of the world“, is a major storage and trading terminal for crude oil.

How is it important to us?

Cushing is a historical city in the oil and gas industry. It has been a critical point for traders given its role as a major delivery point of the US crude oil futures (the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for example which prices are quoted on the New York Mercantile Exchange).

Oil was discovered at Cushing in March, 1912 by Tom Slick and C. B. Shaffer.

In 1919, the production accounted for 17% of U. S. production and 3% of world production.

What is Acidizing?

What is Acidizing?

Acidizing is a well stimulation or rehabilitation method that consists of pumping acid (usually hydrochloric acide HCl) into the well to dissolve all materials preventing the permeability of the formation.

How is it important to us?

Acidizing can restore and improve the well productivity by creating new flow channels.

There are two main types of acidizing treatments related to  the pumping pressure and acid injection rate:

  • Matrix acidizing which is used to clean up formation damages caused by drilling, completion, and work-over fluids and solids. Acid is injected into the well at pressure below the fracture pressure;
  • Fracture acidizing (acid fracing) which is performed to enhance the well production. The reservoir is hydraulically fractured and then the fracture faces are enlarged by injecting acid at pressure above the fracture pressure.

Acidizing injection

What is a Well Spacing?

What is a Well Spacing?

Well Spacing is a restriction on the number of wells that can be drilled on a given area.

How is it important to us?

Well Spacing regulations are based on some economic, environmental and/or safety concerns like drilling unnecessary wells and wasting oil and gas. It also protects the correlative rights of landowners and well operators and maximizes the reservoir production (by avoiding inter-well interference).

Well spacing depends on the reservoir characteristics (i.e. the depth); but for most oil wells, the spacing is 40 acres and 640 acres for gas wells.

What is an Enhanced Oil Recovery?

What is Enhanced Oil Recovery

Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) also referred as improved, extended or tertiary oil recovery. It is a method for increasing the amount of oil that can be extracted from depleted or high viscosity oil fields.

How is it important to us?

The three main EOR techniques are:

  • Chemical flooding which involves the use of chemicals like polymers,  surfactants, micellar/polymer, and alkaline/caustic substances to lower the surface tension that prevents the oil from flowing up. This technique is used in 1% of U.S EOR production.
  • Thermal recovery which comprises the use of heat such as steam, hot water or in situ combustion to decrease the oil’s viscosity. 40% of U.S EOR production are thermal.
  • Gas injection which uses gas such as natural gas, nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbon to push the oil throughout the reservoir. Gas injection constitutes more than 50% of worldwide EOR projects and more than 60% of U.S EOR projects.

Other EOR methods are: microbial injection and downhole seismic stimulation.

The optimal efficiency of each method depends on factors such as: the reservoir temperature, pressure, permeability, porosity and the fluid viscosity.

Enhanced Oil Recovery has a higher recovery rate than primary and secondary recovery: 30 to 60 % compared with 20 to 40 % using respectively primary and secondary recovery.

Bad Oil and Gas Software: Key Concerns

Optimizing Oil and Gas Software

Oil and gas software is an essential component for businesses in the energy industry. It allows them respond to problems more quickly, review historical data more easily and send reports to managers automatically.

Oil and gas software also allows enables the implementation of  a formal process for tracking production as opposed to the collection of spreadsheets that has traditionally been used in this industry.

However, poor oil and gas software can also create problems, which may be classified into the areas of assets, production and revenue.

Assets

Oil and gas software can cause a failure to pay out on a well interest. This can occur when the software Oil and Gas Software: Field Data Capturecalculates the royalty improperly, causing the balance to fall below the minimum pay requirement for that account.

Poor software can also cause a business to over bid or under bid on an asset by miscalculating the expected value of that asset. The primary factor that determines an asset’s value is the current price of crude oil or natural gas, which can fluctuate greatly over time.

Political factors can also have a significant effect on asset valuation, especially in areas characterized by civil unrest. Technological improvements can increase an asset’s value in the future by reducing the recovery costs.

Production

Software can also create problems with production such as inaccurate estimates of production and reduction in actual production. These problems include double-counting the output of one or more wells, causing your company’s total production to appear higher than it actually is.

Software can also cause your company to drill a hole in a poor location that costs more to operate than it produces. The incorrect allocation of production is another problem that can be caused by poor software.

Facilities with multiple wells must allocate resources to each well, which is generally based on each well’s production. Software that reports production incorrectly can result in a sub-optimal allocation of resources.

Revenue

The loss of a lease is one of the most significant problems for an oil and gas company that relates to revenue. This problem typically occurs when a company is unable to successfully market a lease or sustain its production for an extended period of time.

The failure to receive revenue from all well interests can also be a major problem affecting a company’s revenue. Well interests include basic royalties that are paid to the mineral rights owner and overriding royalty interests that are retained by third parties such as geologists.

Well interests include working interests that a company receives after royalties in exchange for exploring, developing and operating the property. Bad software can also reduce a company’s revenue by inaccurately estimating the reserves remaining in a particular well.

For more, read this post on how oil and gas software can improve decision making and forecasting.

What is Air/Gas Lift?

What is Air/Gas Lift?

Air/Gas Lift in the oil and gas industry is a technique of raising oil from the bottom of the well to the surface by injecting compressed air or gas into the fluid within the casing

How is it important to us?

The injections of the air/gas, contributes to lighten the fluid within the casing and therefore helps in increasing the flow regime.

Air/gas lift is an effective method of increasing the oil recoverability and increasing the production rate.

Air/gas can be injected either continuously, intermittently or rotationally depending on the well productivity.

Air/gas lift technique accounts for 10% of the United States oil production and 50% of its Enhanced Oil Recovery production.