Advanced seismic interpretation and supporting local R&D in Brazil
Friso Brouwer, COO-Americas of dGB Earth Sciences, the company behind the OpendTect open-source seismic interpretation package and Igor Braga, Executive Director of Invision Geophysics, the Brazilian representative for dGB and OpendTect, tell us about their recent activities of supporting local R&D activities, through an open-source seismic interpretation software.
How did this commercial relation between Invision and dGB start?
Igor Braga - Invision is a technology company that develops its own solutions and software for high resolution inversion and reservoir characterization. Acting as commercial representative of other companies is not part of our main business strategy. However, we were attracted by dGB model of free software and in the beginning we started using OpendTect as our seismic data visualization platform. As we got familiar to the software's architecture and dGB working philosophy, we identified ourselves a great deal. We then decided to represent dGB in Brazil. Actually we see this link as a partnership between both companies, and we plan to invest strongly in OpendTect development.
OpendTect is known as the first open-source seismic interpretation package. Can you tell a bit more about the concept behind OpendTect?
Friso Brouwer - OpendTect is a complete seismic interpretation package, which is available at no cost via our website www.opendtect.org. OpendTect includes all basic interpretation workflows and can be extended by plugins. These plugins add unique and advanced functionalities, and can also be downloaded from our website. While OpendTect is open source and available for free, some of the plugins are closed source and require paying a license fee or rental fee.
dGB Earth Sciences -a Dutch technology spinoff from TNO- is the major company behind OpendTect, but a large part of the plugins are developed by third parties, such as ARK CLS, Earthworks, Geokinetics, and Geoinfo.
OpendTect and the plugins are developed in close collaboration with our customer community. And the development cycle from idea to stable implementation is quite quick as we are a group of small and agile companies. Therefore OpendTect meets many of the new needs of geoscientist as the "easy oil" mostly has been found and their exploration and development efforts become increasingly reliant on the kind of high-tech workflows that we have available. Depending on the geoscientific problem, our customers use OpendTect and a combination of the plugins to arrive at the best solution. Our technologies already have contributed to solving important exploration and field development questions in the Brazilian offshore.
Why have you chosen for the open-source model?
Friso Brouwer - We start from two of our core values: Openness and Collaboration. Meaning, we are a technology firm, so implementing high-end scientific concepts into practical software solutions is our job. But we are also dependent on the scientific community and other technology firms to generate even more ideas then we could on our own. And providing these communities with a transparent, easy to work with open-source model is a good start to work together and advance technology together.
Can you give us some examples of what you have done for the research community?
Friso Brouwer - First, of course, we made a major part of our software freely available under GPL - General Public License. This allows people anywhere in the world -especially students, researchers and small companies - to acquire a complete seismic interpretation system and start working without any financial obligations. As we especially like to support education and research done in the academic community we provide all our software - even the commercial extensions- for free to universities and other academic institutions. Currently 17 universities in Brazil have academic licenses for the complete suite of OpendTect software and dGB plugins. And we are proud that we can help the R&D community in Brazil.
And no research without data ... Taking the concept of openness and collaboration a step further, we also have some excellent public datasets that can be accessed via the OpendTect website. These are not our own datasets, but are from partners who think alike and also want to support R&D via openness and collaboration. The datasets have been downloaded thousands of times now. So, if you need a good public dataset to work with, visit our website.
What is done with OpendTect in Brazil?
Friso Brouwer - OpendTect is used by the major oil companies in Brazil. And we work with Invision Geophysics who represents us in Brazil. Invision has a strategy of implementing scientific research into software products and services and thus is very similar to our company, we understand each other well and we have a very productive collaboration. Invision has included some of our products in their service workflows for seismic inversion and reservoir mapping using DHI attributes. Combining our technologies together we have been able to produce superior results compared to the conventional workflows we used as benchmarks. An example of improved mapping of reservoir using a DHI derived from inversion volumes in a Brazilian offshore basin was published during the 12th International Congress of the Brazilian Geophysical Society in Rio de Janeiro last year.
Brazil has an estimated value of 1 Bi U$ designated for R&D this year due to the Petroleum Law. How do you think an open platform like OpendTect can aid the development of new technology?
Igor Braga - Brazil has a very active scientific community, especially in the area of geoscience. When you use the structure behind OpendTect to develop new technology, most of the peripheral functionalities that would be time consuming to implement are already there, so you gain productivity in the development cycle. That way, researchers can focus on the core scientific innovation and not on data management and visualization . This model helps to shorten the development time and cost, in other words, you can develop more with less investment.
Any final words you would like to share?
Friso Brouwer - One of the main objectives of OpendTect is to help small companies to plugin their functionality in a broader system without having to worry about overhead as visualization, data loading and other low value software functionalities.
The five companies that are the main contributors now have developed a very broad spectrum of high-end functionality in OpendTect, including leading edge algorithms for data conditioning, seismic attribute analysis, seismic inversion and rock property prediction.
The latest addition is a petrophysics plugin developed by an Argentinian company called Geoinfo. This shows both the completeness of our functionality, as well as how we help other companies anywhere on the world to develop their plugin software in a quick and efficient manner. Especially small companies who are agile and creative, small companies with big ideas, and these are the companies that most often help the industry take another step forward.
Igor Braga - For example Invision Geophysics is developing their first plugin based on their superior data conditioning algorithm. And we hope that together, dGB and Invision, we will be able to contribute to the Brazilian geoscientific community, both by supporting education and research and by providing the local companies who are exploring and developing the Brazilian resources with the latest technologies, so they can do their job as good as possible.
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