Enabling New Geoscience Workflows in an Evolving Digital Landscape
Julian Chenin, Geophysical Data Scientist
Joe Dischinger, Global Exploration and Drilling and Completions Partner Lead with Amazon Web Services Strategic Partnerships and Solutions Energy and Utilities
Julian Chenin, Geophysical Data Scientist at Bluware and Bluverse host, interviews Joe Dischinger, Partner Lead with Amazon Web Services.
Joe can you tell us a little about your background and what you do at AWS?
Joe: Hi Julian, thanks for having me. I am a geoscientist by education, I have a Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Geology from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner, Julian!
For the last 20 years or so I ‘ve worked in the upstream as a geoscientist interpreting seismic, drilling wells, and managing geoscience teams across exploration, development and production assets. For most of that time, I was at ExxonMobil.
Early in my career I researched and taught the use of modern technologies for 3D visualization, integration and interpretation which led, later in my career, to managing the upstream Geoscience Technology Portfolio and investigating disruptive technologies to the upstream workflows.
At AWS I am a global segment lead for our partner network where I focus on recruiting and building partnerships in exploration and drilling and completions workflows, so we can provide the best-in-class solutions for our customers.
So, let’s start off with the big picture view of the energy industry over the last 5 years?
Joe: We should really start in 2014, with the price of oil falling more than 50% from over $100 a barrel to less than $45 a barrel. That, and more recent world events like the pandemic, have required operators to seek out solutions that can reduce time to discovery and can optimize their production. Those are workflows that have a significant impact on their bottom line.
On the partner side, there is a huge opportunity to deliver cloud solutions to help operators take advantage of next generation applications and data analytics. The oil and gas industry is still lagging a bit compared to other sectors when it comes to cloud adoption. Multiple downturns in price over the years originally stifled investment in new technologies with less than 5% of nearly $60 billion spent annually on cloud services coming from the upstream energy business.
So, what is AWS developing to solve the challenges the industry is facing now and into the future?
Joe: As always, we start with the customer and work backwards, so we are focusing on integrated upstream workflows that have large data requirements and that are compute intensive. Our industry has unique requirements for High Performance Computing (HPC). For example, we are collaborating closely with operators, national oil companies (NOCs) and service companies to gather data to co-design the right cloud infrastructure for these requirements. By enabling the convergence of technologies onto a common architecture, all the internet service providers (ISVs) can benefit to better support the integration of their customers’ workflows.
We are also enabling our partners by developing a robust Partner Network with many programs to help partners to build, market, and sell their solutions to the industry. AWS Marketplace for example, is a place where our partners can list their solutions in a curated digital catalog that makes it easy for customers to find and procure solutions. We also have the SaaS Factory that helps partners and customers migrate legacy solutions to a SaaS offering, simplifying the procurement process.
From the many years of experience in the industry, how are these projects and initiatives revolutionizing the way we do geoscience?
Joe: You know there is an estimated 60% of the overall subsurface workflow time is spent moving or converting seismic data which is typically in SEG-Y format. We have services like AWS DataSync, AWS Snowball Data Migration, and AWS Direct Connect that can help with this. The data can be pre-converted to OpenVDS™, developed by Bluware, before transferring it to the cloud or it can be converted once it arrives in the cloud leveraging The Open Group OSDUTM Data Platform OpenVDS conversion or the Bluware Teleport tools.
Another example is how a midsized operator in the AsiaPac region is using Bluware FAST™ to stream subsurface data from Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud and powering seismic deep learning workflows using Bluware InteractivAI to improve decision making and produce more accurate interpretation results in hours versus weeks or months. This can be transformative for seismic where the data may be too poor for traditional auto-tracking, like levees or reefs. Some of these resources were out of reach for the workroom but are now available using graphic processing units (GPUs) in the cloud and being delivered through AWS Marketplace.
What opportunities does The Open Group OSDU Forum create for companies?
Joe: The OSDU Data Platform standardizes and secures data that is currently spread across applications in different data formats. Historically, these silos have limited the integration of workflows for customers. The OSDU data platform architecture enables collaboration across workflows in the long-term enabling customers to focus on the business value and not the mechanics of managing their data.
The integration of these data can then lead to new methods of investigation which can in turn lead to new insights and new opportunities. By having a common standard, customers can use emerging tools to mine data and to use machine learning and/or data analytics to help technical experts gain a faster, more accurate understanding of the subsurface.
This will help operators to accelerate generating value from the data by increasing collaboration, facilitating integration of workflows and stimulating innovation. OSDU has the potential to shorten exploration and development cycle times, increase efficiency and reduce portfolio risk by establishing a single repository for all subsurface data.
Any advice for geoscientists entering this new and evolving digital and energy landscape?
Joe: Learn and be curious! That is one of the 16 Leadership Principles at AWS. Geoscientists and engineers are already extremely proficient with diverse data sets but have expressed frustration with the amount of effort that is required to get their data in a state for robust analysis. That takes time away from more accurate and complete work. There is a lot of online training available through AWS Training and Certification and through Bluware online resources that can help you. Take advantage of this virtual learning.
I also recommend reading about the many use cases that are now being published on AWS Energy and through Bluware’s online resources. Sometimes it can be difficult to translate the use of the many services available into tangible practices. You can learn about how companies are using the cloud to transform their workflows. I’d say embrace this digital transformation to develop your own tool set!