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November 23, 2007
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Home / Issue Archive / 2007 / September #9 / Landmark Sails “Back to the USSR” to Showcase New Software Advances

№ 9 (September 2007)

Landmark Sails “Back to the USSR” to Showcase New Software Advances

The IT market has been experiencing sweeping growth.  To keep pace with the times and promptly inform customers of impending changes, the Landmark company, a leader in developing software for Russia’s oil and gas industry and division of Halliburton, holds annual meetings for IT professionals.

By Elena Zhuk

In September 2007, oil industry representatives boarded the Ivan Bunin motor ship and rekindled the spirit of the USSR as they participated in the eighth annual IT Forum.  The organizers’ efforts to imitate the buoyant and upbeat spirit of Soviet-era boy scouts livened up the company’s 15th anniversary celebration of successful operation in the Eurasian market.

For the occasion, Landmark introduced fundamentally new approaches and solutions to its customers.  The company’s latest product showcase is reminiscent of the unveiling of a concept car: these two cutting-edge developments were first shown across the Pacific, nearly simultaneously, at the 77th SEG International Exposition and Annual Meeting in San Antonio, USA.  Many of Landmark’s announcements on the motor ship were new to the Russian market and will be available to customers early next year.

Digital Asset Concept

In conjunction with other Halliburton divisions, Landmark worked within the framework of a single Digital Asset Concept. “The Halliburton Corporation has a large number of products and works in various sectors of the oil and gas industry, including well stimulation and slant drilling, as well as designing special components for drilling equipment and additives for drilling muds, and developing new software,” commented Mikhail Popov, Landmark Eurasia’s Business Development Manager.

“Nevertheless, we succeeded in uniting all the divisions under a single concept.  This is essential because if a large corporation contains many divisions and each one is set on its own task, their conflicting goals can harm productivity. Today all the company’s divisions are united by a uniform vision and a uniform development concept. This concept envisages creation of a multi-user environment that provides for a real-time modeling, measurement, and assets optimization. Landmark’s role in Digital Asset is represented by the DecisionSpace ®, an open environment for multidiscipline integration and optimization.”

Putting their stakes on the new concept, Landmark dubbed 2007 “the year of DecisionSpace®.” The company has  spent years developing the DecisionSpace® concept. “This is not just a tool for interpretation and modeling, but rather an aid that enables the customer to make more correct, and both technically and economically optimized decisions,” said Popov.

Where Innovations Meet Evergreen Classics

The R5000 integrated release  embodies the DecisionSpace® concept and its practical implementation.  Landmark is currently putting the finishing touches on the software, and plans to release it early next year. As Mikhail Popov stated, “Today Landmark is the industry’s only company that offers one integrated solution based on a single database.

“Seven or five years ago, the industry landscape looked quite different: GeoFrame and Integral were both present on the market. Today they are not there, or maybe they even stopped their development. There is no one in the business of integrated systems based on a single database, because it’s virtually impossible to develop a sufficiently sophisticated system from scratch.  We have been developing R5000 gradually since the late 1980’s.”

While the new release is in the final stages of preparation, customers are given the opportunity to use older infrastructure to access the new technology with the R5000 Workflow Preview.  This will relieve the stress on system administrators and users that inevitably accompanies the implementation of new software.
“We offer our customers this maximally comfortable and convenient upgrade, while preserving continuity.  When the new programs arrive, our customers can still use everything they have worked with over the past 10 to 15 years,” Popov said.

Synchronized release of its products is one of Landmark’s competitive advantages.  All Landmark products have been issued as a single release. They operate in a uniform environment and have a uniform interface and uniform installation method.

The new software version can run on older hardware, plus it introduces new capabilities, such as dynamic integration between the applications, multi-volume interpretation and model frame building, as well as basin scale and prestack interpretation.

A new level of basin scale interpretation opens up new horizons. “In the summer, the company signed a joint program with Statoil to develop and adapt our products for regional interpretation.  This direction is especially of interest currently, as companies are concerned with increasing their reserves.  The amount of reserves on the company’s asset books is one of the main indicators of capitalization,” remarked Popov.

Landmark Invests in Training Specialists

A true gift to Landmark software users came in the form of a book presented at the Forum: “Technology of Building a Digital Seismic Model with the Landmark Software Package,” by Inga Khromova, Head of Seismic Processing and Interpretation Department at LUKOIL.

“We made a commitment to finance that project because the author has many years of work experience with our software and is familiar not only with the benefits but also with the drawbacks,” commented Konstantin Schilin, Director General of Landmark Eurasia. “It’s very important for the company that the book be circulated within the universities that have won our grants.”

“Within the framework of grant support, Landmark sells a number of subsidized licenses to institutions of higher education with narrowly-focused departments such as the Moscow State University named after Lomonosov, Novosibirsk State University, KBTU (Kazakhstan), the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, the Ukhta State Technical University in Ukhta, the Tyumen State University of Oil and Gas

A class for six students was established at the Gubkin Oil and Gas University.  The University offers a geophysics course that utilizes the updated versions of Landmark’s software.

Software Users Discuss Merits and Drawbacks

Customer reviews of Landmark’s products have been largely favorable.  Nevertheless, forum participants in the motor ship put forth some criticism, recommendations, and suggestions to the software developers.
“As a processing geophysicist, I’ve encountered some useful information at the Landmark forum about the new product release, as well as information about the applications of ProMAX at TyumenNefteGeofizika and KostromaNefteGeofizika,” commented Maxim Naidenov, Chief Geophysicist of PCOI Marine Arctic Exploration Crew.

Landmark acquired ProMAX in July 2007.  Naidenov believes that the time migration module for seismic records is the main advantage of ProMAX Landmark.  However, the module makes the program run a bit slower, and in some cases has to be purchased separately.

“Since we’ve been using ProMAX, both the volume of completed company projects and the speed of calculations have risen considerably.  We now have the opportunity to process seismic data more thoroughly.  In addition, customers often request processing with ProMAX, especially with data from marine environments,” said Naidenov.

Representatives of BashNefteGeofizika and TyumenNefteGeofizika, among the first users of Landmark software, have vouched for its excellent technical support.

In 1995, divisions of BashNefteGeofizika purchased a full package of software for data interpretation.  The company’s engineers use OpenWorks, StratWorks, WellSeismicFusion, DepthTeam Express, PostStack, and GeoProbe.
This year the company started using ProMAX for data processing as well.  “At the forum, we were interested primarily in the Landmark representatives’ presentations.  They showed us high-tech products that we need right now,” noted Sergei Vasilyev of BashNefteGeofizika. 

However, representatives of those manufacturing companies believe it is too early to adopt R5000.  “Any software that’s just out on the market is ‘raw.’  It must be debugged and examined for possible errors.  Once this has been done and the package is ironed out, it will be more stable.  Our production process cannot suffer any interruptions or failures,” commented Vladislav Kuznetsov, Assistant General Director of TyumenNefteGeofizika.

“My acquaintance with Landmark software is brief – I’ve only been using this package for half a year,” said Ludmila Letunova, a geophysicist at LUKOIL-West Siberia (a Tyumen-based affiliate of KogalymNIPIneft Limited).  “To interpret seismic data, I’ve mostly used modules  such as SeisWork, SynTool, Z-MAP Plus, and PostStack/PAL.  Among the benefits of Landmark’s software, I’d like to highlight its capability to access and work with large volumes of data, shared work with 2D and 3D projects, quick operation, and wealth of calculation algorithms.”

The availability of various software applications facilitates and accelerates interpretation.  However, preparing data files for uploading into Landmark can be inconvenient.  “From my point of view, the Z-MAP Plus application is very hard to work with.  Although it has a lot of capabilities, the presence of too many tabs, radio buttons, and manipulations puts the brakes on the mapping process,” Letunova added.

Letunova believes that user forums like Landmark’s are necessary. “Sharing our work experience and opinions is very important, especially for newbies like myself.  Plus, socializing with bright and cheerful people in an easy-going environment produces tons of positive emotions and bright memories,” she added, thanking the Landmark team for its excellent forum organization.

What They Don’t Mention at Universities Yet

Stellar presentations at the forum were awarded with diplomas and souvenirs.  Marina Romanenko’s presentation for PetroAlliance won first place for originality of approach, due to Romanenko’s demonstration of how a real-world field is treated with Geo-Anomaly, one of the latest interpretive capabilities of GeoProbe.

“About 18 months ago, we introduced a new interpretation  object, Geo-Anomaly.  It’s brand new, and it’s something that’s not discussed much at universities.  PetroAlliance-TNK-BP are among the first to use this technology in real-world projects, and they got good results,” commented Mikhail Popov.
Sergei Zemtsov, representing LUKOIL-Perm, came in second.  He showed how building a powerful corporate system could substantially expand and develop OpenWorks capabilities.

Yegor Ulyanov’s RusImperial Group presentation used extensive actual data to analyze the performance of the OpenWells® corporate reporting system, which is currently replacing its predecessor DIMS®.

“In his speech, he not only framed some problems that occur with the generation and launch of a global system for oil/gas enterprise accounting, but also suggested a number of items that would streamline its setup and implementation,” said Philipp Kutsan, Senior Drilling Consultant at Landmark, to explain the choice of Ulyanov’s work for third place.

According to Konstantin Schilin, the General Director of Landmark Eurasia, “One of the advantages of the road forum is a possibility to create an informal atmosphere, which enables the participants to forget about their daily routines and problems for at least a few days, and to emerge into a different atmosphere.  The main purpose is not only familiarization with the company’s innovative products and strategic plans; it is essential to involve the participants in a discussion in which each of them can share accomplishments and problems with their colleagues and the heads of Landmark’s regional representative office.  Such an atmosphere facilitates an open discussion much more than the environment of any modern office.”

Copyright © 2007 Eurasia Press, Inc. (USA). All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2007 Eurasia Press (www.eurasiapress.com)