Stavanger iCenter

Published Dec 12, 2003
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Edit page New page Hide edit links

Captivating Working Environment

In the basement of Schlumberger’s headquarters in Stavanger you can enter a virtual world – really! Visiting the iCenter you can put on 3D glasses and headset and virtually walk around in the reservoir you are drilling, or planning to drill.

The iCenter is a center for communication, collaboration and visualization of data in real time. Following the acquisition of Inside Reality on 30th January 2002, the center’s software makes the virtual world even more real.

Given a test tour by Schlumberger’s Operations Supervisor at the iCenter, Tyson Bridger, is definitely fascinating.

With 3D glasses and a headset that makes the display follow every motion, it feels like a computer game has taken over the whole living room. It is fun!

But it is not made for fun, and it is not my living room. It is a large centre with ample room for expert panels and operators of all kind. The screen covers a whole wall. It can show the data on a huge scale, or it can be divided up so that you can project various data needed for comparison.

The screen is flat. Normally curved screens are used for 3D effects. ‘But they create lot of noise and heat,’ Bridger says. ‘Since we are using the latest technology, we still achieve a very good 3D effect and at the same time avoid all the disadvantages with curved screens.’

Bridger takes me on a journey below the Norwegian Continental Shelf. ‘We can use any kind of software here,’ he says. ‘We have a lot installed. But if a client has a specific request, it is no problem. We will install it and it will work on all the equipment here.’

Real Time
The equipment includes a 6x2 meter LCD screen. Next to the screen is a Smart Board, which will capture notes during brainstorming sessions and store them on a computer. The brainstorming does not include only the people present at the iCenter, but also external experts or anyone linked up to the iCenter.

Information coming onto the huge screen is real time data from a rig offshore. The real time data can, as with the brainstorming notes, be accessed by other experts or members of a working group located at other Schlumberger sites, or at a client’s office. The data can be used to update a model of, for instance, a reservoir on the big screen.

‘The iCenter is versatile and flexible. We want to use it for as many different functions as possible. Clients come here and do all their work in conjunction with Schlumberger people. Or we can hook up to the clients sitting in their offices,’ Bridger explains.

Acquired Inside Reality
Schlumberger has recently strengthened its virtual world by acquiring Inside Reality AS. Inside Reality is a unique and powerful 3D virtual reality system that transforms collaborative workflows to increase recovery rates. It was developed by Inside Reality, a Bergen based company established in 2000.

‘Inside Reality was founded on a belief that virtual reality technology will have a strong impact on how the oil industry will perform in the 21st century in terms of reduced cost and increased recovery of oil and gas,’ said Christopher Giertsen, president of Inside Reality. Inside Reality uses OpenSpirit for data access from industry-standard project databases. OpenSpirit is a platform independent application and integration framework.

‘Schlumberger is committed to investing in technology that helps our customers increase their success in reservoir exploitation and recovery,’ said Andrew Gould, executive vice president of Schlumberger Oilfield Services following the acquisition. ‘This acquisition matches our strategy to develop leading technology in conjunction with our clients.’

‘The acquisition is perfect for us,’ said Christopher Giertsen. ‘This will enable us to accelerate both the implementation of other high value virtual reality workflows and the global deployment of the technology.’

Inside Reality technology was developed in conjunction with Norsk Hydro and Christian Michelsen Research AS (CMR), a leading Norwegian contract research and development institute.

Impressive Results
Impressive results from its use within Norsk Hydro include up to 90% reduction in turnaround time for planning of horizontal wells and significant increases in oil production compared to wells planned with conventional workstation software. The first commercial workflows of Inside Reality have focused on well placement and 3D geosteering to optimise the trajectory and ensure accurate target positioning.

‘We plan most of our complex wells within the Inside Reality environment. As a result, the increased quality of our well plans has had a major positive impact on the economics of field development. These advances have fuelled the rapid uptake of the technology and over 150 Norsk Hydro geoscientists are already trained,’ said Jens Hagen, vice president of Technology & Research, Oil & Energy, Norsk Hydro.

In addition to installing Inside Reality in the company’s iCenter, Schlumberger will license the system to oil and gas companies, bringing additional value to customers for well planning, geosteering consulting services and seismic exploration and interpretation.

Similar Smaller Centres
‘Schlumberger is not the only one to have a center like this. All our major clients have similar centers, like Norsk Hydro’s ‘Cave’,’ Marketing Manager Oilfield Services at Schlumberger, Roar Bekker says.

‘But our commercial center here is probably the most versatile and flexible. For example, our center is the only one where you can do video-conferencing in conjunction with real time data model updates. The center is therefore not only used for drilling, but also for production, seismic data models or other applications.

Drilling from the Office
Real time data from for instance a directional driller at a rig offshore means that everyone at the iCenter can see the same information at the same time as the driller gets it.

‘We can also talk to him at the same time,’ Bridger says. ‘We can tell him to stop, change direction or inclination or whatever. When we are sitting here at the iCenter we have much more data available to us, and we therefore have a better picture of what is going on than what is possible to have offshore. The data coming in fits directly into the models the experts here have. We can see where the driller is drilling, because we have the models on the screen at the same time. We can react immediately as opposed to afterwards. We can prevent as opposed to correct,’ Bridger explains eagerly.

‘The directional driller sitting offshore does not have all the information. He does not have a geological model. On site he doesn’t have all the team expertise that will be gathered in this room to evaluate the information coming from the well.

HSE training is another feature of the iCenter. ‘We can display a 3D model of a platform, grab the joystick and walk around the platform,’ Bekker explains.

‘That way you can familiarise yourself with the platform before, learning the escape routes, where the fire extinguishers and aids kits are, etc,’ he says.

Any kind of information can be put up on the screens, and need be it can be made 3D. So the imagination is the only limit to its use.

Did I say the iCenter is not for fun? Well, it is not all work and no play.

‘As SchlumbergerSema is IT integrator for the next three Olympic Games, I guess we have an excuse to follow the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games closely. I expect it will be crowded here during those days,’ Bridger smiles.

As the industry is discussing how to make young people today interested in a career in the oil & gas industry, an invitation to iCenter would certainly be a good advice. Attraction guaranteed!

Bookmark and Share

Do you have any comments to this articel, please let us now:

Do you have any comments to this articel, please let us know:

Please be civil.

(Use Markdown for formatting.)

This question helps prevent spam:





Mobile News
Mobile news

Our news on
your website


Do you have any
tips to us


sitemap xml