Entries in petrophysics (16)


The digital well scorecard

In my last post, I ranted about the soup of acronyms that refer to well log curves; a too-frequent book-keeping debacle. This pain, along with others before it, has motivated me to design a solution. At this point all I have is this sketch, a wireframe of should-be software that allows you visualize every bit of borehole data you can think of:

The goal is, show me where the data is in the domain of the wellbore. I don't want to see the data explicitly (yet), just its whereabouts in relation to all other data. Data from many disaggregated files, reports, and so on. It is part inventory, part book-keeping, part content management system. Clear the fog before the real work can begin. Because not even experienced folks can see clearly in a fog.

The scorecard doesn't yield a number or a grade point like a multiple choice test. Instead, you build up a quantitative display of your data extents. With the example shown above, I don't even have to look at the well log to tell you that you are in for a challenging well tie, with the absence of sonic measurements in the top half of the well. 

The people that I showed this to immediately undestood what was being expressed. They got it right away, so that bodes well for my preliminary sketch. Can you imagine using a tool like this, and if so, what features would you need? 


Swimming in acronym soup

In a few rare instances, an abbreviation can become so well-known that it is adopted into everyday language; more familar than the words it used to stand for. It's embarrasing, but I needed to actually look up LASER, and you might feel the same way with SONAR. These acronyms are the exception. Most are obscure barriers to entry in technical conversations. They can be constructs for wielding authority and exclusivity. Welcome to the club, if you know the password.

No domain of subsurface technology is riddled with more acronyms than well log analysis and formation evaluation. This is a big part of — perhaps too much of a part of — why petrophysics is hard. Last week, I came across a well. It has an extended suite of logs, and I wanted make a synthetic. Have a glance at the image and see which curve names you recognize (the size represents the frequency the names are encountered across many files of the same well).

I felt like I was being spoken to by some earlier deliquent: I got yer well logs right here buddy. Have fun sorting this mess out.

The log ASCII standard (*.LAS file) file format goes a long way to exposing descriptive information in the header. But this information is often incomplete, missing, and says nothing about the quality or completeness of the data. I had to scan 5 files to compile this soup. A micro-travesty and a failure, in my opinion. How does one turn this into meaningful information for geoscience?

Whose job is it to sort this out? The service company that collected the data? The operator that paid for it? A third party down the road?

What I need is not only an acronym look-up table, but also a data range tool to show me what I've got in the file (or files), and at which locations and depths I've got it. A database to give me more information about these acronyms would be nice too, and a feature that allows me to compare multiple files, wells, and directories at once. It would be like a life preserver. Maybe we should build it.

I made the word cloud by pasting text into I extracted the text from the data files using the wonderful LASReader written by Warren Weckesser. Yay, open source!


News of the month

Our more-or-less regular news round-up is here again. News tips?

Geophysics giant

On Monday the French geophysics company CGGVeritas announced a deal to buy most of Fugro's Geoscience division for €1.2 billion (a little over $1.5 billion). What's more, the two companies will enter into a joint venture in seabed acquisition. Fugro, based in the Netherlands, will pay CGGVeritas €225 million for the privilege. CGGVeritas also pick up commercial rights to Fugro's data library, which they will retain. Over 2500 people are involved in the deal — and CGGVeritas are now officially Really Big. 

Big open data?

As Evan mentioned in his reports from the SEG IQ Earth Forum, Statoil is releasing some of their Gullfaks dataset through the SEG. This dataset is already 'out there' as the Petrel demo data, though there has not yet been an announcement of exactly what's in the package. We hope it includes gathers, production data, core photos, and so on. The industry needs more open data! What legacy dataset could your company release to kickstart innovation?

Journal innovation

Again, as Evan reported recently, SEG is launching a new peer-reviewed, quarterly journal — Interpretation. The first articles will appear in early 2013. The journal will be open access... but only till the end of 2013. Perhaps they will reconsider if they get hundreds of emails asking for it to remain open access! Imagine the impact on the reach and relevance of the SEG that would have. Why not email the editorial team?

In another dabble with openness, The Leading Edge has opened up its latest issue on reserves estimation, so you don't need to be an SEG member to read it. Why not forward it to your local geologist and reservoir engineer?

Updating a standard

It's all about SEG this month! The SEG is appealing for help revising the SEG-Y standard, for its revision 2. If you've ever whined about the lack of standardness in the existing standard, now's your chance to help fix it. If you haven't whined about SEG-Y, then I envy you, because you've obviously never had to load seismic data. This is a welcome step, though I wonder if the real problems are not in the standard itself, but in education and adoption.

The SEG-Y meeting is at the Annual Meeting, which is coming up in November. The technical program is now online, a fact which made me wonder why on earth I paid $15 for a flash drive with the abstracts on it.

Log analysis in OpendTect

We've written before about CLAS, a new OpendTect plug-in for well logs and petrophysics. It's now called CLAS Lite, and is advertised as being 'by Sitfal', though it was previously 'by Geoinfo'. We haven't tried it yet, but the screenshots look very promising.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Except OpendTect, which we definitely do endorse.


News of the month

Our semi-regular news round-up from the greenbelt between geoscience and technology.

OpendTect 4.4

Our favourite volume interpretation tool, OpendTect, moved to version 4.4 in June. It seems to have skipped 4.3 completely, which never made it into a stable release. With the new version come 3 new plug-ins: Seismic Net Pay, Seismic Feature Enhancement, and Computer Log Analysis Software (right)—we're looking forward to playing with that.

The cutting edge of interpretation

A new SEG event aimed especially at quantitative interpreters is coming later this month — the SEG IQ Earth Forum. Have a look at the technical program. Evan will be there, and is looking forward to some great discussion, and finding out more about Statoil's open Gullfaks dataset. On the last day, he will be talking about Agile's workflow for interpreting seismic in geothermal fields... stay tuned.

Geoscience freeware

We read in OilIT that US consultancy Ryder Scott has updated its Reservoir Solutions tools for Excel. These include Volumetrics, QuickLook Economics, Gas Material Balance, and LogWizard. If you try them out, do let us know what you think of them!

New iPad apps

Geoscience is perhaps a little slow picking up on the tablet revolution, but mobile apps are trickling out. We love seeing experiments like Pocket Seis, by Houston-based geoscientist-developer Jacob Foshee. And it's interesting to see what the more established software-makers do on these platforms... we think Landmark's OpenWells Mobile app looks rather tame.

This regular(ish) news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Except OpendTect, which we do endorse, cuz it's awesome. The screenshot from CLAS is a low-res fair-use image for illustration only, and copyright of dGB Earth Sciences


News of the week

This news feature has settled down into a fortnightly groove. News of the week sounds good, though, so we'll keep the name. Filtered geoscience tech news, every other Friday. Got tips?

Is it hot in here?

Google's philanthropic arm,, sponsored a major study at Southern Methodist University into the geothermal potential of the United States, and the results are in. This was interesting to us, because we've just spent a couple of weeks working our first geothermal project. Characterizing hot rocks is a fascinating and fairly new application of seismic technology, so it's been as much research exercise as interpretation project. From the looks of this beautiful map—which you must see in Google Earth—seismic may see wide application in the future. 

And the possibilties in Google Earth, along with Google SketchUp, for presenting geospatial data shouldn't go unnoticed!

CLAS arrives in OpendTect

A log analysis plug-in for dGB Earth Science's open-source integrated interpretation tool OpendTect was announced at EAGE conference earlier this year, and now it's available. The tool was developed by Geoinfo, a small Argentinian geoscience tech shop, in partnership with dGB. So now you can compute all your seismic petrophysics right in OpendTect.

On a sort-of-related note, Bert Bril, one of dGB's founders, just launched his blog, I can't believe it's not SCRUM, about agile software development. He even posts about geophysics. Yay!

Agile* apps

We're still regularly updating our completely free apps for Android. If you have an Android phone or tablet, go ahead and give them a spin. Volume* (right) is on version 3.1 already, and now does gas volumetrics, including Bg computation, and can grab any of the major crude oil benchmark prices for a quick-look value. And AVO* is just about to get a boost in functionality with an LMR plot; watch this space. Don't hold back if you've got requests. 

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these people or organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Unless we say we think they're great.