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OpenEarth: Technology Is the Future of the Industry

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Next year, Landmark Solutions will present their new technology platform, OpenEarth Community (OEC), in an effort to promote innovation in the oil and gas industry. The OEC is an open-worldwide group of engineers, scientists, and software designers that commit to creating and running a shared production and exploration platform to lessen costs and endorse new ideas within the industry.

Michael Jones, Landmark’s director of alliances, partnerships and strategy, spoke on a panel last Wednesday in Houston at his company’s Innovation Forum & Expo. “In the current climate, we have less resources, but we need to look in the mirror and think about what to do differently,” he said. Jones also expressed that the idea for the OEC came about after big thinkers at Landmark looked at the workflow of companies within the industry and decided that instead of thinking alone, companies should work together to solve problems.

Through a charter, the OEC will encourage members of the group to act as collective, said Jones. Big-name companies already included on the list of OEC members are Anadarko, Baker Hughes, CGG Veritas, Devon Energy, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Statoil ASA.

Hovey Cox, CGG Veritas’ senior VP of marketing and strategy, said an open platform such as the OEC can greatly lower costs in the industry by axing other similar platforms that were previously being developed for individual use by oil companies. Lex Mollinger, a strategy manager at Shell, remarked, “We are developing the same technology over and over,” he added, “That’s actually a waste of resources. Why can’t we do it once or twice and leave it at that?”

Senior vice president and chief information officer with Anadarko, Mario M. Coll, also pointed out the use of the OEC as a means of freeing up chances to share data, including information like the detection of an early kick in a well. Coll questioned the industry’s willingness to share information considering the impact of such information on the environment, company equipment, and human lives. “One of the struggles we have had as an industry is just the way we have been doing things and the lack of ability to draw in new talent,” Coll said.

Jones said the OEC is less about open source and more about what Landmark has coined open call. The OEC will deliver a platform largely constructed on open source code and while a great of amount of the open source code can be consumed, Jones says the industry just isn’t prepared for a divided open source atmosphere.

“The model that we’re looking for here is much more of a Red Hat/Linux model,” Jones said. He added, “At the point you want to consume the platform, you buy the platform as you would in any other space. The platform is simply a means to an end.”

Jones also remarked that the future of Landmark isn’t all about the OEC, but the tactics companies use to inspire new ideas and innovation. “The platform is the glue, and we need to provide a platform that everybody can and will contribute thinking to… that being said, it’s possible that, 10 years from now, the platform could be entirely an open source adventure.”

By Briana Steptoe.

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