Data Management Inside PEMEX's NetworkWed, 01/25/2012 - 09:36
Q: Real-time drilling has been around for a very long time. What is different with the product that Petrolink offers?
A: Today, there are a lot of companies that oer realtime drilling and most companies have jumped on the bandwagon. What Petrolink is doing dierently and what is attractive to Pemex and our other customers is the technology that we are using and the way we deliver it through service. We do not sell software, instead we provide customized services based on our technology and experience in drilling operations. Our systems are based on WITSML, which is the standard for drilling data exchange in the oil and gas industry. It’s basically a common language that everybody speaks. When applications can speak the same language that enables interoperability, so data can be properly managed and exploited. You don’t really gain any value from just having the curves in real-time and having someone look at them. You need to take control of your data and have the flexibility to push it into thirdparty applications for interpretation and analysis and then is when you create a big impact. WITSML is the enabler. It is a technology standard coordinated and orchestrated by Energistics, which is a global consortium based in the United States. Energistics has over 100 members, from national oil companies like Saudi Aramco to big service companies like Schlumberger or Halliburton. Petrolink is an important member of Energistics and Mark Farnan, our Software Development Director, is currently the technical lead of the group that develops WITSML.
Q: How does Pemex’s attitude towards data management technology compare to that of other oil companies?
A: I would say that Pemex is among the companies that have more technology. They probably have most of the technology that is available on the market and other NOCs are emulating Pemex’s usage of technology. Sometimes it is challenging making it work all together, because the way in which service companies are contracted is complex. Additionally, Pemex is a very big organization, so coordinating eorts across the entire organization is not easy. You probably know that they are organized in four regions: north, south, marine south west and marine north east.
In 2010, Pemex started using the Petrolink WITSML Store Today, that Store holds data from more than 150 wells, making it the largest in Latin America. Pemex presented the results of this project in Calgary, Canada in September 2011 at the Main Annual Conference of Energistics and I believe many people were interested and impressed by what Pemex has been able to do, such as monitor pore pressure prediction in real-time.
Q: I can also imagine that the safety of the information is one of the main concerns, especially when you create a system where contractors access and provide data. And data has to be available to the right person at any time that they might need it. How do you ensure the safety of the information?
A: We have a worldwide secure server network to provide services to international companies. In Mexico, we have customized our services by allocating our infrastructure inside Pemex’s network. Our personnel work at Pemex’s oces to make sure that the data doesn’t leave Pemex´s network or the country. This is a great dierentiator because most of our competitors have their data centres in Houston and that is not very attractive for Pemex. Petrolink Mexico has its own 24/7 operations and technical support centre. Whenever there is a customer request or a security issue, we send people to the rig or oce to provide immediate support to Pemex.
Q: In the end, this is all about money as well. How does this work in terms of the balance between the investment that Pemex has to make in order to implement their system and the cost savings that will accrue over time?
A: Petrolink does not sell software or boxes. We provide a service that brings together everything: software, hardware and personnel. We coordinate these three elements according to the business process of each customer, in this case Pemex. This has been of great impact because the licensing for this type of technology can be costly. Licensing without support may not allow the customer to reach desired outcomes. Petrolink service enables access to the system for as many users as required. So our software can be used by high-level managers in Mexico City as well as by the operational people on the field. Our service also includes provision of technical knowledge personnel, such as drilling engineers, geologists and geomechanics, to assist with analysis and interpretation during the operation. And all that together, software, hardware and personnel is less than 1% of the cost of the entire well budget. The percentage is less for oshore operations. We look at our business with Pemex as a long-term relationship. It’s been five years since we started operations and while it was quite slow at the beginning, the last two years have been very intense. We have established ourselves in the market and have made a name for ourselves, which makes maintaining and raising service levels more challenging.