Expanding DELFI Reach Portability

Enabling digitalization of the E&P workspace, providing access to AI-enhanced workflows, accessible data, and digital solutions in multi-cloud environments.

‘Technology Delivery’, ‘Technology Availability’ and ‘Technology Consumption’ have been hot topics for many exploration and production (E&P) companies from the C-Suite (CEO, CIO, CTO, CFO, CDO) to the engineers on the ground or in the field in recent years. Many technology providers across industries address technology delivery through cloud or some level of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) system, or as some may understand it better, remote working. The need to address these topics has been heightened during the global pandemic and has led to acceleration of digital technology adoption. Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as other platforms, have become household names as examples of communication technology that has seen fast adoption across all industries and even into homes through schools via home schooling initiatives.

In E&P we have a somewhat unique challenge. The industry deals with large data volumes, an increasing number of small project files, multiple software packages, multiple databases and an ever-growing storage need to accommodate all of the above and everything in between. For many geographies the challenge is further heightened with data residency restrictions, poor networking and telecommunications, and poor or non-existent connections to public cloud regions, preventing the migration of workloads to the cloud.

These challenges, and the drive for technology advancement and adoption, are just some of the factors that have led Schlumberger to explore new ways of delivering technology to E&P companies focused on customers achieving value from digital transformation.

Schlumberger released the DELFI cognitive E&P environment in 2017, addressing challenges from customers and opening the door for partnerships to flourish through the integration into the DELFI environment, as well as creating new technology partnerships to deliver the new and evolving solutions. This brought incredible advancements in workflows that were previously not possible, leveraging technology from companies such as Dataiku, Tibco , elastic-search; MapLarge and many others creating an ecosystem of technology partners that truly enable transformative workflows.

An example is Agile Reservoir Modeling (ARM) that leverages the scale of the cloud to make decisions faster and reduce uncertainty.

The DELFI environment is opening the minds of the geoscientists and engineers, enabling them to re-invent workflows and push the boundaries of what used to be possible; reimagining the impossible.


The Schlumberger and IBM partnership

But still we faced the challenge in some geographies where workflow advances and technology access could not be made available. In 2020 Schlumberger, IBM and Red Hat announced a new alliance to bring hybrid cloud capability and with it all the digital solutions enabled by the DELFI environment to the remaining geographies where, although requested, were constrained by outside forces from accessing it.


Enabling Multiple Geographies through partnership
Enabling Multiple Geographies through partnership

The hybrid cloud provides E&P organizations with access to DELFI environment integrated apps, with the openness to expand technologies and use new and advancing workflows that the scale of cloud computing enables. The adoption of the OpenShift Container Platform is a key to delivering these.

OpenShift is an enterprise scale Kubernetes containerization platform that enables apps and technology the freedom to be deployed almost anywhere. OpenShift was chosen over other Kubernetes variants as it provides a number of important layers allowing us to build with speed and deploy at scale, some of these layers include:

  • Security—container host multitenancy; container content; container registries; network isolation; APIs; federated clusters and more
  • Support—Red Hat provide global support, ensuring fast resolution to any technical issues that may arise
  • CI / CD pipeline—fast deployment of fixes; patches; updates deployed everywhere with full automation
OpenShift Overview
OpenShift Overview

Currently there is a significant volume of work and investment ongoing to drive the porting of all these apps and technology into the Openshift platform. This work is being completed by a joint team of Red Hat, IBM and Schlumberger developers. The work is challenging, as no-one has moved this level of E&P applications to a supported and scalable platform like this before. When complete, we will have the ability to deliver the DELFI environment to customers in geographies such as China, Russia, and the Middle East.

When Schlumberger open sourced and contributed services from our data ecosystem, the data platform that underpins the DELFI environment, to the Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU™) in 2019, a real step change in the possibilities for the industry became apparent. The ability to liberate the data from the traditional silos of the E&P world and provide access to well governed and trusted data was made reality.

This step forward is something the industry has been striving towards for years in some form or another. So, all E&P companies can benefit from the OSDU Data Platform (it was made available on March 24, 2021, through the OSDU community).

Schlumberger is now further expanding on the work we have been doing with IBM & Red Hat and bringing the OSDU Data Platform to customers to further complement the domain knowledge being consumed in the DELFI environment. We are now offering a joint IBM / Schlumberger Enterprise Data Management Solution for the OSDU Data Platform with the benefits of OpenShift, as described previously, allowing us to deploy anywhere. This includes within the customers environment in situations where they still wish to retain the ultimate control of the data by hosting it on hardware that they either already own (making good on hardware investments to end of life) or where concerns are still high with potential future global sanctions that may be applied by governments outside of the control of the E&P industry.

The solution offering brings together the Schlumberger specific domain data stores that are not available in the community space, as well as the data management toolkit that provides increased data management competencies, making it easier for the data management end user to deal with an organizations’ increasing data demands. IBM brings the work it has completed to create the IBM Open Data for Industries (ODI) giving a unique control plane to the OSDU joint solution.

This solution is ready immediately, allowing customers to start the data migration and ingestion now and connect to the DELFI environment as it becomes available, making good use of time to organize data prior to users’ experiencing the new workflows.

All in all, myself and many others are looking forward to seeing what possibilities are made reality when the first deployment to a DELFI environment integrated with the OSDU Data Platform running in OpenShift is made.

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Author information: Ian Ambler is a technology professional with over 21 years in the oil and gas industry, working with many operators and national oil companies globally. Ian has run highly successful service contracts, operations, business and technical programs and cloud technology solutions. From 2014 he has been heavily involved with cloud technology and has worked on the design and delivery of the Schlumberger DELFI cognitive E&P environment, most recently delivering digital technology with customers across Australia and Asia. In his current role he heads the program to deliver the DELFI environment in China, the Middle East and Russia, enabling technologies in those regions that enhance workflows and create new innovation for our customers.