In 2017, Schlumberger introduced the DELFI cognitive E&P environment, a secure, cloud-based technology for software and data that enables E&P teams to collaborate across the industry life cycle. Software as a service (SaaS) subscriptions of applications in the environment are currently hosted on Google and Microsoft Azure public clouds. While user adoption has grown steadily due to the numerous benefits the environment brings to E&P operations, including scalability, collaboration, and workflow optimization, oil and gas companies that can’t leverage the public cloud have been unable to realize these benefits.
To address this critical gap in the market, Schlumberger sought a partner to help align the cognitive E&P environment with our customers’ deployment requirements and preferences, announcing a hybrid cloud collaboration with IBM and RedHat in 2020.
This interview with Schlumberger Global Director of Digital Subsurface Solutions Trygve Randen, and IBM Global Managing Director for Energy, Resources and Manufacturing Manish Chawla, reveals the driving forces behind this collaboration and why Schlumberger and IBM are working together to deliver a hybrid cloud option that will enable more Schlumberger customers, suppliers and partners to use this open environment that was created specifically for the E&P industry.
What was Schlumberger’s primary goal in pursuing a hybrid cloud deployment option for its customers?
Every decision we make always begins by putting our customers’ needs front and center. Our main goal for pursuing a hybrid cloud deployment solution for the cognitive E&P environment was to expand customer access in areas where use of global public clouds is restricted, due to government/data sovereignty requirements to keep data in country. We also wanted to address problematic connectivity issues for our customers with a hybrid cloud deployment option. This is especially true for areas where the quality and reliability of telecoms networks between an office and a cloud data center, and in some cases, the distance between office and data center, can degrade software performance—significantly affecting user experience. Being able to offer an alternative to global public cloud deployment of the cognitive E&P environment in these locations such as with local/regional clouds was a key driver for us.
Why are Schlumberger and IBM and Red Hat working together?
When evaluating our partnerships, digital is a key consideration. We view digital in two ways: first, the acceleration of digital adoption among our customers and across their workflows and operations, and second, the impact of digital on our own operations. Having worked with IBM for several years on various projects, we already knew that we were similarly aligned on digital. We also knew that IBM had the hybrid cloud technology development and integration prowess at a global enterprise level that would be necessary to help us achieve our goals.
In addition to IBM’s leadership in enterprise technology innovation we also have a long history with clients in the energy industry. We have worked with Schlumberger for many years, supporting their digital transformation efforts to drive efficiency in their enterprise functions. When Schlumberger wanted to expand customer access to the DELFI environment, we knew that our enterprise expertise combined with our hybrid cloud technology, built on the Red Hat® OpenShift® container platform, were well matched to expand the DELFI environment to Schlumberger’s customers without being constrained by their location, especially in regions with a preference / need to use local or regional cloud providers.
What is the Red Hat OpenShift platform and how will it work with the DELFI environment?
The Red Hat OpenShift platform enables customers to containerize their applications and leverage a powerful orchestration engine—essentially encapsulating them and making them portable and scalable across cloud technologies and hardware infrastructure for a completely seamless user experience.
With OpenShift, customers can vastly accelerate application development, remove silos and increase collaboration. Instead of needing to rewrite software code for each cloud provider, the code can be written once and deployed across any technology set-up. That includes traditional data centers as well as public and private clouds and at the edge of networks.
The open architecture of the DELFI environment, combined with Red Hat OpenShift’s build once, deploy anywhere capability, creates more opportunities for operators, suppliers and industry partners, from all regions of the world, to build on the environment.
Many processes in the industry—even something like finding and analyzing a seismic image during well planning—require multiple professionals, often working for different organizations. They’re all using different applications, and if you must copy data from one application or database to the next, you can have distortions, errors, you can lose time. The cognitive E&P environment enables a single source of truth for all this data and a common, collaborative workspace for all stakeholders. By containerizing the environment’s applications, we will enable many more customers to harness the powerful and transformative capabilities of digital technologies, including artificial intelligence and high-performance compute. This translates to more efficient operations, driving down costs as well as enhancing safety and helping to reduce environmental impact through operations that have first been fully optimized digitally, before the physical extraction of oil and gas.
What is the deployment approach going to be for customers in various regions and when will the first deployment opportunities be available?
The portability of the OpenShift technology enables us to work with customers using local and regional third-party cloud providers to deploy the cognitive E&P environment anywhere in the world.
In various regions, including the Middle East, Russia and China, we’ve made some significant strides forward with IBM and Red Hat to deploy our digital solutions, paving the way for the DELFI environment deployments.
Additionally, we are working with IBM on the industry’s first commercial hybrid cloud Enterprise Data Management Solution for the OSDU™ Data Platform. The hybrid cloud offering is designed to expand access to customers globally—including those in locations where data residency requirements and local regulations may affect the use of global public cloud—and is engineered to reduce time for analysis and accelerate decision-making, with all workflow data available in one place. We are supporting both DELFI environment and OSDU Data Platform deployments with comprehensive services to enable customers to rapidly and efficiently adopt our technologies on hybrid cloud.