Who’s Dat Baby?

One of the little things that people in our industry need to do is link data from a multitude of disparate sources.  When that data is related to wells the challenge is making sure that the data you have is associated with correct well.  One of the primary methods to tie these various data together is through some sort of Well Identifier.  But one of our industy’s biggest issues with this is that there are several candidates for identifying wells, and their usage within the industry is not consistent in application or method.  In practical terms, this means that 3 wells within a 10 mile radius could each have different and somewhat incompatable Well Identifier schemes.  In other words, we don’t always definitively know who the baby is.
Examples of Well ID Candidates
Over the past few years the PPDM Association has been looking at this problem and working towards a solution.

PPDM  and Well Identification Standards

How familiar are you with PPDM?

At geoLOGIC, we’ve been involved with PPDM for several years.  The gDC is our PPDM-compliant on-line database subscription product, and we use PPDM internally.  We also have a product we call PPDM in a Box which leverages the expertise we have developed over our years of working with the model to make it easier for someone not as familiar with the Data Model to be able to implement PPDM within their organization.  But we sometimes forget that not everyone is as deeply tied into some of the industry standards bodies.  Over the next couple of my posts I will discuss what the PPDM is and why the work that the PPDM membership performs is important.

What is the PPDM?

The Professional Petroleum Data Management Association (PPDM) is a not-for-profit standards organization headquartered here in Calgary that works with industry members “to create and publish data management standards for the resource industry”.  PPDM has been around since 1991, and began life as a group working on defining a “standard” data model for the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (E&P) industry.  Over the following 20 years a robust, complex and complete data model has been developed through a collaborative process within the PPDM membership.

The PPDM Association is made up of over 100 member companies from around the world who cover all aspects of the Oil and Gas industry including:

  • Large Integrated Producers
  • National Oil Companies
  • Intermediate and Small Operators
  • Data Vendors
  • Software Vendors
  • Service Companies


The key thing to understand about PPDM is that the Association is “member-driven”, in more ways than one.  Members propose what projects or standards the Association should pursue.  And members contribute their time and knowledge (through the act of supplying the services of domain experts from within their respective organizations) to Workgroups which do the actual work of defining the standards which have been identified.


Through the collaborative, member-driven Workgroup process, the PPDM Association has developed, and continues to develop, standards around the following subject areas within the E&P industry:

  • PPDM Data Model
  • Business Rules
  • Taxonomy and Classification
  • What is a Well
  • Well Status and Classification
  • Well Numbering

With the proper application of these standards, maybe we can figure who dat baby is!

I will cover the first 3 standards subject areas in this posting and tackle the others in a future post.

PPDM Data Model

The PPDM Data Model (currently in version 3.8) is vast.  With over 1700 tables with a total of over 43,000 columns it covers 53 subject areas within the E&P realm.  Based on the contributions in time of the various members, it has been estimated that the model encapsulates over $100,000,000.00 of industry knowledge!

The model is complete enough that it is considered ideal as the framework for a Master Data Management solution for the E&P industry.

Business Rules

As you can imagine when looking at a model with over 1700 tables, the E&P business is very complex.  The Business Rules workgroup was formed to determine and evaluate various methods, definitions and procedures “that will ensure that E&P data is trustworthy and consistent”.  This is an on-going Workgroup.

Taxonomy and Classification

As with any complex data-rich business environment, the E&P industry is at a point where we deal with ever-increasing volumes of information coming from a wide and growing number of disparate sources.  One of the challenges to the use of these data is the loss of context.  The use of taxonomies to help manage, index and catalog these data is seen as a valuable strategy in providing context.

What’s Next?

In my next post, I will look at what would, at first glance, seem to be two subjects so jaw-droppingly simple that it makes one wonder why PPDM even created not one but two Workgroups:

  • What is a Well
  • Well Status and Classification

As will be revealed, the problem was not as simple as it seemed

About Sean Udell

Sean does not like to write about himself in the 3rd-person. He’s been with geoLOGIC longer than almost everyone else in the company, and some of the new hires weren’t even a gleam in their parent’s eyes when he started.
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