Wellsite Information Transfer Specification (WITS) for Digital Rig-Site Data
- R.E. Jantzen (BP Exploration Inc.) | R.D. Foreman (Amoco Production Co.) | L. Keltner (EPISTAT) | R.S. McCoy (RSM Assocs.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling Engineering
- Publication Date
- December 1989
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 291 - 299
- 1989. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 1.5 Drill Bits, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 1.12.3 Mud logging / Surface Measurements, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling
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Information of many kinds, including drilling and mud-logging parameters, is transmitted electronically from rigs to central sites. The format of the transmitted information depends, at present, on the business entities involved in the information-transfer transaction. Many different formats exist, decreasing the overall utility of information obtained at the rig site and increasing processing costs for the industry. Standardization of formats for information content and telecommunication requirements was attempted by the Information Transfer Committee (ITC), a subcommittee of the Int]. Assn. of Drilling Contractors' (IADC's) Rig Instrumentation and Measurement (RIM) Committee, which formulated a set of guidelines addressing the broad needs of the industry. This paper explains the rationale for the standardization effort; outlines the process by which the specification was established; and describes the requirements, concept, components, and benefits of the resulting WITS.
Different service and operating companies have proprietary formats for electronic data transmission-e.g., tape, direct line. microwave, commercial telephone service, or satellite-that are used depending on the companies involved and the agreements reached between them. Many digital formats were created and are maintained, each at substantial cost, by service companies and operators. When a new relationship is established between a service company and an operator, modifications and adaptations of formats often must be made to allow the data collection and analysis systems of the two entities to "talk" to each other, again at significant cost.
The result is that a great deal of rig data that might be useful to operators in evaluating rig performance and in monitoring and controlling drilling is often not collected or transmitted because of the cost and complexity of format matching and modification. Costs in dollars of this "failure to communicate" are difficult to measure, there is, however, no disagreement within the drilling industry that they are quite large.
A solution to the information-transfer format and telecommunication standard problem has thus been the overriding goal of the ITC. Creation of a standard that can be implemented easily by both operating and service companies should allow information transfer to be established quickly and economically between rig and central sites. The ITC's work was divided between the Software Standards Subcommittee (SSS), which was responsible for formatting of the digital data, and the Telecommunication Data Transmission Subcommittee (TDTS), which was responsible for file transfer, or telecommunication, of the data. Both subcommittees followed the guidelines of the Intl. Standards Organization (ISO) (Fig. 1). The ISO model creates a framework for defining standards for linking all communication and computing functions in an "open-architecture" fashion. "Open" refers to the ability of an end system of one company to connect with the end system of another company that conforms to the reference model and associated protocols. This is particularly important for the drilling industry),. which is composed of large numbers of diverse operating and service companies, each of which may need to exchange increasingly more data in the future. The model is partitioned into seven layers, each of which is composed of a group of logically connected functions.
The TDTS fundamentally addressed the physical and data link functions (layers 1 and 2, respectively, of Fig. 1), and the SSS addressed the session, presentation, and application functions (Layers 5 through 7, respectively, of Fig. 1 ). The ISO's open-system interconnection (OSI) standard, 1 which was used as a guideline to develop a standard for the particular requirements of the drilling environment, forms the underlying structure of the specifications discussed in this paper. The for-matting and content of data and data telecommunications are discussed separately.
The SSS was initially formed by a group of representatives of service and operating companies, primarily computer-software-system developers and drilling engineers, who had acute problems with the profusion and mismatch of rig-data formats. Most were involved in the process of either writing new formats or constructing systems to translate existing formats.
To ensure that any proposed standard was complete and acceptable to the industry as a whole, an extreme effort was made to involve representatives from as many operating and service companies as possible. A great majority of major operators and service companies, as well as many smaller specially service companies, were represented on the SSS. In addition, electronic-communication experts were recruited. The effort, which continued through the life of the SSS. extended to Europe, Australia, and Asia. Liaison was maintained with several European companies and organizations. and progress of the SSS was reported regularly to several Asian industry organizations.
The goal of the standardization effort was broad but concrete: To define the information content and format of the data stream transmitted from a rig to a central site either by telecommunications facilities or by hard media. To avoid omissions in the specifi-cation, we needed an inventory of parameters currently in use in the following areas: (1) geology and drilling, (2) operating, (3) measurement while drilling (MWD), (4) wireline, (5) rig, (6) cementation, (7) drillsteam testing, and (8) miscellaneous free-format forms and two-way message transmission. Companies providing data collection services in these areas were polled for descriptive lists of the parameters currently in use.
We also conducted a seminar to familiarize the industry representatives on the SSS with the major existing formats and data transmission systems. The seminar presented information on general methods of data transmission and formatting, different hard- ware/software systems currently in use, and the nature and content of several specific formats. The seminar also included site visits and presentations at the Amoco Production Co., Arco Oil and Gas Co., Mobil E and P Services, and Tenneco Oil and Gas Co. data centers.
After the inventory of data parameters was accumulated and representatives were familiar with the current status of formats, the SSS produced a set of requirements that, when implemented in the WITS. would satisfy the present and future needs of the service and operating companies. The requirements were used to construct a logical framework, or concept, for the specification. Once the concept for WITS was complete, special work groups of experts formulated the specific components of the specification.
The specification is now complete, and WITS will be published by the API as a recommended practice. This paper reviews and summarizes the key points of the WITS.
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