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ABSTRACT: Out of Babel: Emerging Standards for Data Measurement in the Petroleum Industry

Laramie M. Winczewski

During the past decade, the petroleum industry undertook a conversion of paper data to countless digital files and databases. Early data, such as the API Well Number, arose in anticipation of the needs of a more disciplined digital environment. De facto standards arose around major vendors. The result is islands of digitized data, accessible only through costly customized programming.

Data dictionaries and data models were considered proprietary until the costs to exchange data were realized. The economic downturn of the industry and declining ability of in-house programming to compete with softward vendors contributed to a new cooperative spirit.

The petroleum industry, through subcommittees of the AAPG Committee on Applications to Geology and a recent openness of software and data vendors, is removing barriers to digital data. Although data content, like the content of a letter, can remain private, the "grammar and syntax" will evolve to public standards.

The industry benefits from these standards through higher velocity of data flow through interpreters and software applications. The integrity of the data is better preserved during transfer and use. As interfaces to data and users standardize, the costs of development and maintenance of softward are reduced. Training and adaptation are minimized, and productivity is maximized.

The most recent advances in this industry effort are summarized. Current and proposed activities are described.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990