Bridging the Data Divide by gjjur4356


									                                                                                                           PAPER 2002-138

                              Bridging the Data Divide
                    A software solution which eliminates the barriers to data accessibility
                    providing data integration, analysis, and reporting not possible before.

                                                         C.H. Faig
                                                   aclaro softworks, inc.

                                                           H. Yau
                                               Chevron Canada Resources

                                                   W. G. Christensen
                                                 Northrock Resources Ltd.

                                                          T. Elser
                                         Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc.

This paper is to be presented at the Petroleum Society’s Canadian International Petroleum Conference 2002, Calgary, Alberta,
Canada, June 11 – 13, 2002. Discussion of this paper is invited and may be presented at the meeting if filed in writing with the
technical program chairman prior to the conclusion of the meeting. This paper and any discussion filed will be considered for
publication in Petroleum Society journals. Publication rights are reserved. This is a pre-print and subject to correction.

                                                                   This data exchange issue extends into data availability.
The oil and gas industry is rich in complex data types.
                                                                   Employees cannot retrieve and analyze the data that they
The data for any organization is often distributed and
                                                                   need because it exists in other systems that they cannot
stored in a variety of formats. It is vital, but almost
                                                                   access, or are not trained to use. The net result of these
impossible to share this data between and among
                                                                   data sharing barriers is that decisions are often made
systems, teams, functions and companies. To overcome
                                                                   using incomplete or incorrect information. Even when the
these integration challenges, companies dedicate
                                                                   desired data is accessible, the time required for gathering
important resources that could be better focused on core
                                                                   and formatting it may limit the amount of analysis that
business functions.
                                                                   can be performed before a decision must be made.
                                                                     Often, the desired source data and the destination
Chevron Canada Resources, Northrock Resources, Ltd,               system physically reside on the same server, but
and Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc. have worked
                                                                  differences in data format, lack of access, and/or lack of
with aclaro softworks, inc. to develop a new web-based
reporting application which bridges this data divide. The         training with the source data system create a data divide
resulting application, petroLook, provides a common               which is very difficult to cross.
interface to multiple systems in the organization,
allowing a richer and more complete source of data to be             The wider the divide, that is, the greater the effort
used for decision making.                                         required to access, integrate or analyze this data, the less
                                                                  useful the source data is, and the more likely that the
In addition to providing a window into the organization’s
                                                                  source data will be ignored, approximated, or obtained
information, the application has been designed to
facilitate analysis of the data, allowing users to mix data       from some other source.
from multiple systems, ‘slice and dice’ the available data,
perform ranking between data objects, perform variance               Nowhere is this data divide more obvious and more of
analysis between data for different time periods or from          a hindrance than in the corporate reporting and corporate
different systems, and to perform additional calculations         planning groups. The primary role of these groups is to
as required.                                                      gather and analyze all of the available data in the
This paper will describe how the petroLook application            organization and provide information to the decision-
has increased data availability and decision making               makers to allow them to chart the course for the
ability at three case companies. Pioneer integrated               company. It is impractical for these individuals to learn
economic and production forecasts, reserves, and field            all of the source data systems in order to access the data
data capture data, which resulted in improved business
process that were then re-integrated into the overall             that they require, so they face the challenge of trying to
process. The application has improved the planning and            pull data from the disparate systems into some format
budgeting cycle at Northrock, while Chevron’s                     that they can work with, or requiring that the data be
implementation extended the functions of the application          supplied to them in a format that they can work with.
to calculate and report forward-looking financials.
                                                                     If a company has difficulty bringing key data together,
THE DATA DIVIDE                                                   the ability to use that data in for day-to-day business
   The oil and gas industry is rich in software solutions         analysis is severely compromised. At many companies,
for almost every phase and component of the business.             data integration requires considerable manual
                                                                  intervention. These manual processes tie up valuable
   Geoscientists, Landmen, Engineers, Accountants, Rig-
                                                                  resources and take considerable time, making it
hands, Marketers, and Computer Scientists all have a
                                                                  impractical to do on a frequent basis.
wide variety of tools at their disposal which make it
easier to do their jobs. Each of these tools has been built          This inability to quickly combine various data sources,
to meet the specific needs of a target user group. The            which is becoming more difficult as the sheer volume of
data generated by these tools is stored in a variety of           data continues to increase, runs counter to most
applications, databases, and formats, and can also be             companies’ desire to track, analyze, and plan at an ever
stored in distributed locations. As vendors add more and          increasing level of detail, and at a greater frequency than
more features to these tools, they are generating an ever-        ever before. It is very difficult to manage a company at
increasing amount of data.                                        the well or field level with daily numbers when it takes
                                                                  weeks to prepare these numbers.
   While the applications are generally designed around
job function, the data they contain and generate is not so           The data divide has graduated from an annoyance
restricted. Actual operating costs for a field, which might       which could be overcome by sheer force of will and late
be stored as a result in an accounting system, is an              nights, to a crisis where data formats can dictate how a
important input for an engineer who is trying to build an         company makes decisions.
economic evaluation for a project in that field.
                                                                               a suite is acceptable. The first is that the company is
CROSSING THE DIVIDE                                                            potentially being forced away from a best of breed
   The data divide is not new, and approaches to crossing                      solution in order to achieve some level of integration.
the divide are as numerous and diverse as the systems                          The second is that even if an entire suite has been
which create it.                                                               purchased, there will always be exceptions where another
                                                                               tool is used and the data divide will re-open, albeit on a
                                                                               smaller scale.
Cut and Paste
                                                                               System-to-System Integration
  The most common approach employed to overcome
                                                                                  Another approach employed by many companies is to
data integration issues is the use of some combination of
                                                                               create system-to-system data integration.          This
manual effort and Microsoft Office® applications.
                                                                               integration may be built by the vendor of one of the
  Users generate reports that they then manually enter or                      software suites involved, or by the company seeking the
cut and paste into a spreadsheet or into the desired                           integration.
destination system.
                                                                                  Frequently, this type of data integration is developed to
   More sophisticated users build Microsoft Access®                            solve a specific business need. Developing these data
databases or Microsoft Excel® Spreadsheets which read                          links is generally complicated and resource intensive;
the data directly from the source system(s), perform any                       maintaining them is even more so. Any changes to either
required manipulations, and then output the data in a                          system or the business need that the link was built to
format that meets the specific needs.                                          address require that the data integration be changed. The
                                                                               timing of a change to this type of integration may depend
   While these methods can provide working solutions,
                                                                               on the vendor’s release schedule or the availability of
often they can be very resource intensive, and increase
                                                                               internal and/or external expert resources to make the
the chance for errors to be introduced into the data.
These errors can be very difficult to trace back to the
source, particularly if several different versions of a                        Data Warehousing
spreadsheet or other tool exist.                                                  The data warehouse concept is vigorously promoted as
    A danger of some of the more sophisticated solutions                       a solution to any and all data integration issues.
is that the inner workings of the solution are often known                       Data warehouses are repositories with relatively fixed
only to the creator of the solution – making it difficult for                  data structures that are populated on a regular basis with
another user to maintain should the source individual                          data from linked source systems. These warehouses
leave the organization, or even take a vacation.                               generally exist as relational databases or multi-
Integrated Software Suites                                                     dimensional OLAP (online analytical processing)
                                                                               databases or data cubes.
   One strategy frequently promoted by software vendors
is purchasing a full suite of applications from a single                          While data warehousing forms an important
provider. The theory is that the integration provided                          component of the information infrastructure at many
between the tools that comprise the suite will eliminate                       companies, there are two main drawbacks to the use of a
any data divide, allowing data to flow freely through the                      commercial data warehousing solution as the primary
system. In truth, data integration between systems in an                       tool for data access and data analysis.
‘integrated suite’ is often poor, particularly if some
                                                                                  The first is the mapping between the source systems
components were originally developed by other software
                                                                               and the data warehouse is a series of system-to-system
companies and then acquired for the suite.
                                                                               links. As discussed previously, these mappings are
  There are two main problems with the single vendor                           generally complicated and expensive to build and
approach, even when the integration between the tools of                       maintain.

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   The second is that reporting from a data warehouse –                        WHAT MAKES A GOOD BRIDGE?
whether a commercial product, or a custom solution, is                            The preceding discusses some of the drawbacks with
generally poor. Native reporting tends to be difficult to                      existing methods of crossing the data divide. The
use and limited in functionality, while third-party data                       following is a list of essential elements found in a good
mining tools tend to require a high level of expertise to                      data bridge:
create and maintain meaningful reports for the
warehouse. The poor native reporting, or complicated                              A good solution must:
third-party reporting prevent the average user from                                       •   Be easy to use. There should be no barriers
accessing the data in the warehouse, again limiting its                                       that prevent the average user from finding and
usefulness.                                                                                   using the data which they need.
ERP Solutions                                                                             •   Be easy to implement and maintain. These
   Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools promise to                                        processes should not disrupt the primary
eliminate integration and reporting issues via a                                              business of the user group.
combination of the above methods.
                                                                                          •   Have comprehensive reporting and exporting
  These applications provide a data model for all data                                        capabilities. Users should be able to analyze
within a company, in addition to the tools to build the                                       and repurpose the data to meet business
applications to populate that data model. In effect these                                     requirements.
systems are both an integrated suite of applications and a
                                                                                          •   Be easy to modify. Users should be able to
data warehouse.
                                                                                              modify the solution to meet changing
   On the surface, this has great appeal. The applications                                    business needs without relying on outside
are custom built to meet the company’s needs, without                                         resources.
the compromises forced by ‘off the shelf’ products. The
                                                                                          •   Be scalable and extensible.      Additional
fact that these applications directly populate the data
                                                                                              systems, reports, or users should be easily
warehouse eliminates the system-to-system integration
                                                                                              accommodated by the system.
issues present with conventional data warehousing.
                                                                                          •   Have a reasonable cost of ownership
   In practice, these systems are extremely expensive and
complicated to build, implement, and maintain. As with                         Building the Bridge – petroLook
the single vendor approach, there are always exceptions                           Using the features of a good solution, as listed above,
which need to be handled, and the ERP system does not                          the participating companies began constructing a bridge
necessarily provide best of breed functionality.                               to cross the data divide.
   Reporting from these systems is tremendously                                   The first consideration for developing the solution was
complicated. Many companies pair a technical analyst                           to select a development methodology. The participants
(an expert in the ERP system) with a business analyst to
provide reporting from the system. This bars the average
user from accessing and using the data.

   Ironically, users in companies with ERP systems often
resort to the least sophisticated means of data integration
– manual or Excel® integration to work around the
complexities of the system.


® Office, Access, Explorer and Excel are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
agreed that a phased development approach would offer                          a report for those new context items. A user that has
the greatest chance of achieving the desired results. Such                     never seen the system before can generate their first
an approach would also offer the lowest risk of failure, as                    report within seconds of first seeing the tool.
the solution could be continuously evaluated and the
                                                                                  The interface for the user remains constant regardless
development project could be modified to ensure success.
                                                                               of the data source. Data from the accounting system is
   The phased approach combined with phased funding                            presented to the user in the same format and with the
would also reduce the cost of canceling the project should                     same navigation as data from the project economics
the desired solution prove to not be achievable.                               system or the field data capture system.

   As the desired outcomes were not fully defined at the                          This commonality allows users to gain familiarity with
outset of the project, it was also decided that the                            the tool using data that they are already familiar with and
objectives would be revisited at the end of each                               then transfer this learning to data from systems with
development phase. Coupled with this was the decision                          which they are unfamiliar.
that functionality would be developed as needed – that
                                                                                  Finally, the tool employs a data dictionary which
adaptable, flexible system architecture was more
                                                                               provides descriptive, customizable, common language
important than ensuring that all permutations of the
                                                                               labels to the user to make it easier to understand the
function were considered.
                                                                               results that they are seeing.
   Using these development guidelines, the team built the
                                                                               Easy to Implement and Maintain
ultimate solution, the petroLook application (Figure 1.)
                                                                                  The components of the petroLook application reside
over a large number of iterations. Features of the
                                                                               on a company’s central server. The only software
solution, described in any section below, may have been
                                                                               required on the client machine is a web browser which is
developed in a single phase, or may have evolved over
                                                                               generally already installed as part of the operating system
several iterations of development.
                                                                               and office tools installation.
Easy to Use
                                                                                  This means that any updates or modifications done to
  Ease of use for the end user was a primary
                                                                               the system are performed on only one machine.
consideration for the team.
                                                                                 Changes which might be required on an ongoing basis,
  The basic architecture of a web-based system provided
                                                                               such as adding or modifying reports, calculations, or data
ample opportunity to make the tool user friendly.
                                                                               sources, can be done without shutting the system down.
  The general user accesses the data using a web                               This allows uninterrupted access to the tool, even during
browser. Most potential users are familiar with using a                        most upgrades.
web browser to access information on the internet or on a
                                                                               Provide Comprehensive Reporting and Exporting
corporate intranet. Navigating to a site and then using the                    Capabilities
mouse to select items of interest is a comfortable                                PetroLook performs all data manipulations and
paradigm.                                                                      calculations on the server. The processed data is then
   Basic use of the tool requires that the user select the                     generated in an intermediate XML format which can be
type of data that they are interested in (using a pick list),                  used to generate almost any style of report or export
the report that they wish to generate (a second pick list),                    format required. The data can be presented in various
and the data that they wish to generate the data for (using                    reporting formats, such as Crystal Reports* , Excel®,
cascading folders similar to Microsoft’s Windows                               AcrobatTM (PDF), HTML, or ChartFX@ (for charting).
Explorer TM). Selection of these three context items                           Alternatively, petroLook can directly populate destination
results in the generation of a report or a chart. Changing
of any of the context items will result in the generation of

® Office, Access, Explorer and Excel are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
™ Acrobat is a mark of Adobe Systems Incorporated                @ Chart FX is a registered trademark of Software FX Inc.
* Crystal Reports is a mark of Seagate Software Inc.
systems or create export files in the format required for                       CASE STUDIES
the destination system.                                                           The following are practical applications of how three
   As data manipulation is done externally to any of the                       oil and gas companies identified and dealt with their data
tools used to display or print the reports and charts,                         divide problems.
petroLook is able to generate reports in formats that are                      Chevron Canada Resources
very difficult to achieve in the tools directly.
                                                                               The Divide
  The filtering and hierarchy functions of the system                             Chevron required a solution to replace their
provide powerful selection, sorting and consolidation                          spreadsheet-based financial model, which was complex,
methods, allowing the same report to meet the needs of a                       difficult to maintain and not user friendly. Furthermore,
wide variety of users.                                                         certain exceptions to standard tax and financial
                                                                               calculations called for manual adjustments.
Be Easy to Modify
  Wherever possible, the petroLook application has been                           The financial modeling process involved several
designed to separate items that a user would want to                           manual and repetitive steps, which were ideal candidates
customize from the application itself.                                         for automation. Changes to the model or input data
                                                                               would cause considerable time and effort to generate new
   The design objective was that a reasonably
knowledgeable user should be able to modify
reports/charts, mappings between source systems, or                               Most properties in the Western Canadian Sedimentary
calculations using a simple text editor.          This is                      Basin were modeled using commercial economics
accomplished by storing this information in text-based                         applications, while other large projects were modeled
files, structured to ease modification. Employing text-                        through custom Excel® models. Economic results were
based files rather than compiled program files also allows                     manually transcribed into an Excel® template for
the system to be modified without being shut down.                             consolidation.

   PetroLook’s business layers allow a company to add                             The tax and corporate accounting groups input tax and
business logic to modify the end uses of the system. This                      financial parameters through separate Excel® templates.
ability allows one company to use the tool as a financial                      A custom visual basic application would first consolidate
reporting system, another to use it as a fee allocation                        the economics, tax, and accounting data into a new
model, and yet a third to use it as a planning tool, without                   spreadsheet, and then import the results into yet another
requiring changes to the application’s underlying                              spreadsheet to generate forward-looking financials.
                                                                                  The model was not directly accessible by the users.
Be Scalable and Extensible                                                     Those requiring results would have to request runs from
  The petroLook application is designed to                                     the administrators. This lead to a proliferation of result
accommodate an unlimited number of source systems                              versions and an increased administrative burden.
and/or users.
                                                                                  Manual adjustments could be entered directly into the
   Adding users to the system requires only that they be                       spreadsheet, which increased the risk to data integrity and
added to the user table and be given appropriate                               necessitated additional control measures.
                                                                               The Bridge
   Adding a new source system is done by adding records                           Chevron evaluated several commercial tools available
to a small number of tables in the database and by adding                      in the marketplace to satisfy their financial planning
additional result tables, if required or desired.                              requirements.       Their concern over incomplete
                                                                               functionalities, implementation time and cost of these
                                                                               packages led to their decision for a custom solution.


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  Aclaro, already providing custom reporting for                                  PetroLook is not only well received by users but also
Chevron’s economics systems, was approached for a                              requires far less administrative effort for maintenance.
proposal. Its extensive knowledge of the economics                             Its simple and intuitive design allow analysts to serve as
systems and expertise in data integration were the key                         system administrator responsible for updating
considerations of Chevron's selection.                                         maintaining database tables, changing calculation logic
                                                                               and updating reports.
   Aclaro presented a prototype web-based reporting and
data integration tool, and a phased development plan to                           Chevron was able to implement the system with
implement Chevron's requirements. The first phase was                          minimal disruption to their ongoing processes, with
to develop the data mapping tools to import data from                          minimal manpower, and at a cost of ownership far less
commercial economics tools and Excel® models.                                  than the other solutions they evaluated.
Mappings between systems are stored in text format,
                                                                               Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc.
which can be edited with any text editor.
                                                                                The Divide
   The second phase improved the navigation, filtering,                           Pioneer had an effective base set of applications when
consolidation and reporting functionalities. Additional                        they first saw petroLook. They were not looking for and
report-rendering tools were added, as were reports                             application to fill any holes in the system suite, rather,
designed with specifications defined in text files for ease                    they were looking to improve the way that the
of documentation and future modification.                                      applications were working together and to automate some
   The third stage was to construct a layer for calculating                    of the manual processes in their system.
the financials with additional mappings to import                                 One of the drivers that led to a search for better
accounting and tax data. Again, this layer was built as                        integration and reporting was the desire of Pioneer’s
an open, text-based, file.                                                     management to be able to drill down into the details.
   Finally, a suite of reports was designed for users                          Over time, data analysis at Pioneer has progressed
whose focus is on economic data as well as those                               through various data entity/time unit combinations. For
interested in financials.                                                      example, analysis has moved from the company/year
                                                                               intersection, to the company/quarter, to the field/month
 The Benefits of the Solution
  The benefits realized from the petroLook financial
model have exceeded Chevron's expectations.                                       Now the company is striving to analyze data at the
                                                                               field/day intersection, and they needed a system to
   Users are now able to directly access the data online.
                                                                               support this. After achieving the desired level of
The ease of navigation, flexible attribute-driven                              granularity and integration, Pioneer wanted to focus on
hierarchy, enhanced filtering capability and friendly
                                                                               variance at any of these entity/time intersections.
reporting module enable analysts and the senior managers
alike to generate reports, to drill down to details, to                           Pioneer is not a proponent of ERP systems or
perform ‘What if?’ simulations, etc. which were not                            integrated software suites. Rather they prefer best of
possible in the old system.                                                    breed systems. Pioneer believes in allowing the source
                                                                               systems to do what they do best, and then integrating
  Turnaround time on model changes and data updates
                                                                               select data to create an information base.
can be accomplished in hours rather than days.
                                                                                 Reporting and graphing were considered key
   The data is now more reliable, the audit trail of source                    components of the solution. Management not concerned
data strengthened, and adjustments systematically
                                                                               about the tools generating the data but they want to be
captured.     Also, the advanced petroLook system                              able to report and chart in the format that best
architecture eliminates the need for the multiple versions
                                                                               communicates their business operations. Excel® was the
of the source data, which furthered ensure data integrity.


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graphing standard against which all other reporting                               It is projected that production accounting and
solutions were compared.                                                       marketing systems will be mapped to petroLook in the
                                                                               future to allow access to that data through the system as
   Pioneer was not looking to replace their financial
reporting tools.
The Bridge
                                                                                  Pioneer has realized several key benefits from
   Pioneer utilizes an OLAP application as a financial
                                                                               implementing the petroLook system.    At Pioneer,
reporting tool. They reviewed some of the tools available
                                                                               petroLook has:
for reporting from that OLAP tool, but were not satisfied.
                                                                                          •   Provided a common interface to many source
  After viewing the system that had been developed with
                                                                                              systems. Pioneer needs their data to be
Chevron and aclaro, Pioneer decided to support the
                                                                                              accessible to all their users.
development of the tool.

   Initially, aclaro worked with Pioneer to build a bridge                                •   Eliminated several time-consuming manual
between the economic system and the financial reporting                                       processes.
tool. Prior to using petroLook’s loaders to move the data,                                •   Improved the speed of reporting           and
an analyst would transcribe economic report data into the                                     exporting for the reserves system
financial reporting tool.
                                                                                          •   Increased technical staff productivity through
   Next, Pioneer implemented the petroLook reporting                                          reduction of manual processes and faster
functionality to improve the native reporting from their                                      reporting. Engineers can focus on doing
reserves system.                                                                              engineering work rather than doing
   Pioneer’s field data capture system was the next data                                      accounting or compiling numbers doing
source to be integrated into petroLook. The system was                                        manual manipulations, etc.
modified to allow navigation, analysis, and consolidation                                 •   Peaked the data movement imagination. The
of mixed data objects (for instance allowing users to view                                    tool has given them the confidence that they
either the gas production at the plant inlet, or the sum of                                   can access any piece of data in any system.
the gathered gas feeding that inlet, or the difference
between the two). The system was also configured to tie                           The use of web technologies has longer-term benefits
actual production to forecasted production, showing the                        for the company, such as improving the data connectivity,
variance between the two. Finally, functionality was                           to allow headquarters to directly access subsidiary data
added which allowed users to create random groups of                           and visa-versa. It also provides an opportunity for field
data objects allowing them to consolidate any group of                         personnel to directly report data from the ‘office’
objects of interest (i.e. Multiple wells with the same                         systems.
stimulation treatment, but nothing else in common).                            Northrock Resources Ltd.
   Next, a bridge was built that allowed the movement of                       The Divide
field data into their decline analysis tool, allowing them                        Northrock had implemented a set of applications to
to use current daily production information when                               provide economics, planning, reserves, and budgeting.
performing decline analysis.                                                   They had an accounting system in place and were using
                                                                               spreadsheets for tracking their current operations. These
  Currently, petroLook is being tied to general ledger
                                                                               systems were all separate and were not sharing data. The
accounting information, both to allow that data to be
                                                                               vision was to integrate these systems.
moved into the financial reporting system, and to provide
accessible reporting for that data.                                               The first step was to integrate the operational side of
                                                                               the business. Northrock wanted to be able to push/pull


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data from the budgeting application, and to get more                             The second phase of the petroLook implementation
operational data from the reserves/economics/planning                          will be to provide reporting from the financial system.
system. The current level of reporting from these tools                        This phase will commence after Northrock implements
was not sufficient for their needs as Northrock needed to                      changes in their business processes.
be able to dissect this information better than could be
                                                                                  As the first phase of the project was implemented,
done with the native reporting functions within these
                                                                               Northrock found several additional opportunities to apply
systems.     Northrock was also seeking a standard
                                                                               petroLook, which were added to the implementation as
reporting tool to provide this reporting.
                                                                               they were conceived. One of these project additions was
    After approaching the vendors of the systems a third-                      to use petroLook to move data from Northrock’s
party solution was sought out as the vendors’ time frame                       economics system into a risk analysis tool to allow
and cost estimates for providing the required reporting                        Northrock to characterize the risk of their asset portfolio.
functionality were unacceptable.
   Northrock was looking for a phased implementation                              The data in the company’s budgeting, economics,
approach rather than implementing an all-encompassing                          reserves, and planning systems is integrated and available
system which would involve a substantial amount of re-                         to the appropriate users.
training and implementation work.
                                                                                  Northrock’s operations personnel are now directly
   An all-encompassing system was not a feasible answer                        inputting data and can immediately check the results by
for Northrock as it would be too costly, both financially                      looking at trends and results. In addition, the system has
and from a human resource standpoint, to license and                           been much more reliable, flexible and more responsive
implement. Instead, they looked to overlay the existing                        than prior tools. The overall result has been fewer errors
processes with a easy to implement reporting tool that                         and more timely results.
would provide the communication between the various
                                                                                  The operations personnel can now easily retrieve base
                                                                               production, incremental production and operating costs
The Bridge                                                                     so that they can do the necessary analysis on this key
   Northrock assessed available integration and reporting                      data. The application allows them to easily answer
packages and decided to pursue the petroLook option                            questions like: ‘How are we doing on production
based on the strengths of the application and the aclaro                       forecasts?’ ‘How does our operating cost/BOE look
team.                                                                          like?’ ‘How does this compare to last month? or last
                                                                               year?’ In addition, the tool allows them to drill down to
   Northrock’s petroLook implementation was separated
                                                                               individual items such as plant processing costs, downhole
into two main phases. The first phase involved mapping
                                                                               maintenance, salaries, and contract operating costs.
the economics, planning, reserves, and budgeting systems
to petroLook and creating a suite of reports and charts to                        Area managers can use the application to look at their
meet Northrock’s reporting needs.          This included                       reserves, both what’s been booked and pending reserve
generating upload files for Northrock’s financial system.                      additions, to get an idea of the current Northrock
   An important addition to the petroLook application
that was developed in conjunction with Northrock was                              Another key benefit from the project has been the
the variance analysis tool. This allows users to compare                       ability to pull out the data that Northrock needed to
data for different time increments (this quarter versus last                   characterize the risk of their portfolio. A tool developed
quarter), different versions of the data (S.E.C. pricing                       during the implementation allows the scenarios and
versus corporate forecast, or auditor reserves versus                          attendant risks to be captured. This range of potential
corporate reserves), or data from different systems                            outcomes can easily be simulated through the use of
(budget production figures versus daily actuals).                              common tools to do Monte Carlo analysis.

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   PetroLook allows Northrock to load both their internal
reserves data and the data provided by their auditor.
Reporting is then possible from either set of data,
allowing comparisons between the two versions of the

  An additional benefit realized from implementing
petroLook is that it will allow Northrock to audit the data
quality and help focus on improving processes to improve
and preserve the quality of their data.

  Chevron, Pioneer, Northrock, and aclaro softworks
have worked together to create a flexible web-based
business intelligence package that provides a new way to
access, integrate, and analyze the data of oil and gas

   Designed to meet the integration, analysis, and
reporting needs of oil and gas personnel, this application
bridges the data divide between source systems and end-
user needs.

  With the base functionality in place, petroLook is
available to bridge the data divide for any oil and
company. As illustrated by the case studies, the
application can be configured to meet virtually any data
analysis, integration or reporting objectives that any
company may have.

   The authors would like to acknowledge Marlon
McDougall, Brad Nielsen and Heather Watmough for
their valued contributions. Also thanks to Alisen Dopf
and Steve Boyd for editing the paper and greatly
improving its readability and flow. The authors would
also like to thank Chevron Canada Resources, Northrock
Resources, Ltd., Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc.,
and aclaro softworks, inc. for their permission to publish
the information contained in this paper.

     Figure 1. – the petroLook User Interface

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