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Oil Industry, POSC and Government Collaborate On Well Data Standards Using XML

Houston, TX, USA. July 24, 2001.

POSC, an international member consortium focused on leveraging eBusiness and Internet technology for the energy industry, recently announced that a number of key players from the European oil industry agreed to collaborate on implementing standards using XML for exchanging basic well data over the Internet.

A meeting was held in Aberdeen, Scotland, supported by senior representatives from BP, Shell, Esso, Conoco, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Paradigm, CDA, DTI and POSC. They agreed to collaborate in a project to develop and implement within three months an XML standard for well data in the North Sea.

"This is a challenging target but if successful should pave the way for a number of similar projects across a wide range of business processes," Paul Maton, European Director of POSC, said "This is, on the face of it, a simple thing but the frustration across the oil industry of not being able to easily and unambiguously identify wells hides a consequential large cost. The global oil industry, from oil and service companies to data vendors, needs standards in these areas to realize the full potential of eBusiness."

Supporting the initiative Malcolm Fleming, CEO of CDA, said, "This initiative fits neatly into CDA's key targets. A key objective of CDA is to be recognized as the definitive source for basic well data on the North Sea and we fully support this standard as a key component of that goal."

Welcoming this initiative Stewart Robinson, Director of IT and Data services at the DTI Oil and Gas Directorate, stressed, "This is not an attempt to railroad the industry to adopt UK standards. The close-knit nature of the UK oil community and the desire of the UK government to fully exploit the resources of the UKCS make the UK an ideal test bed for these emerging standards. We are working with POSC to globalise the solution and I am in contact with many other interested governments around the world."

A major challenge in the oil industry is the process of dealing with governments; obtaining consents, reporting activity and delivering information. The web is becoming a basic tool worldwide in the oil industry for data exchange amongst companies but the lack of standards is seen as a major problem. POSC have identified the need to establish easy to use web standards between oil companies and governments worldwide as a key challenge for the next few years. The business processes that have been identified that would benefit from global standards for web delivery are:

  • Allocation of licences for acreage
  • Transfer of assets
  • Well and drilling consents
  • Well operations notifications
  • Environmental consents
  • Use of dangerous chemicals
  • Dispersal of produced water
  • Field approvals
  • Oil production returns
  • Pipeline consents
  • Decommissioning consents
  • Release of data

POSC is an international membership organization focused on the rapid development, implementation and use of Energy eStandards -- information exchange and interoperability standards in support of eBusiness for the energy industry. Founded by five major oil companies in 1990, and with a membership of over 50 energy-related companies, POSC has headquarters in Houston with an office in London.

Current activities, which leverage the industry's significant investment in information standards over the past decade, include XML-based eStandards for representing and exchanging technical information -- in particular, global standards for well header information and transportable exchange standards for well logs.

For more information please visit or contact POSC at

Common Data Access Limited (CDA) is a non-profit industry regulated information utility owned by its members. Membership is open to any oil and gas company or service company owning exploration or production data obtained in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. Currently 21 oil companies and 8 service companies have joined CDA.

CDA has two principal objectives, to reduce the cost of storing and retrieving data and to improve efficiency and accessibility to data. These objectives are met by coordinating a single source of data from which all parties who have legitimate rights of access can obtain data either electronically or by conventional means. CDA has been implemented in phases beginning with the digital wireline log data followed by hard-copy well information and seismic navigation data. Further phases will be implemented as required.

The CEO is Malcolm Fleming, +44 (020) 7802 2434, and CDA maintain their website at (

The DTI Oil and Gas Directorate has had its own website ( since 1995, and uses it to publish and exchange information of interest to the industry in line with the Government's policy of increasing the amount of communication with business conducted electronically.

The DTI have plans to establish a UK oil portal on the World Wide Web to enable all business processes associated with granting consents, approvals and regulatory reporting across all Government Departments to be undertaken electronically in a secure environment. Stewart Robinson +44 (020) 7215 5165 is the project officer for this.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See: "Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC) XML Related Projects."

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