WMU Home > About WMU > WMU News

WMU News

Petro-geology research aided by $1 million software gift

Aug. 20, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has received a donation of specialized software from Schlumberger, the world's leading oilfield service company.

The Schlumberger donation, valued at $1.1 million, includes the Petrel seismic-to-simulation software that oil and gas industry leaders use in exploration and production. Petrel is a suite of cutting-edge scientific modeling and 3-D visualization software.

Dr. G. Michael Grammer, director of the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education at WMU, secured the gift through professional contacts within the oil and gas industry. Grammer says Schlumberger's Petrel software package will be particularly valuable for MGRRE-affiliated faculty members and other WMU scientists conducting research in the fields of petroleum geology, hydrogeology and shallow geophysics. He says the software also has potential applications for the University's environmental and remote sensing specialists, who routinely work with satellite-generated data and maps to gain information about the Earth's surface.

"Although we can't see the geology underground directly, we've learned a lot about specific locations by collecting rock samples, seismic records and other data, many of which are archived at MGRRE," Grammer says. "But we still face challenges when we try to visualize and understand the distribution of the geology and zones that contain natural resources and make up the Earth."

Petrel will enable researchers and students across campus to overcome many of those challenges.

"We'll be able to do a better job of visualizing the geology underground in three dimensions and further model how oil, gas or water may be found and economically extracted for public consumption," Grammer explains. "The end result will be detailed 3D maps and models that provide a more accurate picture of where we're most likely to find oil, gas, water and other important resources."

The Petrel software applies a model-centric methodology to the prospecting-through-production process and enables integrated asset teams to collaborate on a unified-earth model for faster and better decisions. At the same time, it allows geosciences and petroleum engineering students to study subsurface geology and geophysics, focusing specifically on static-to-dynamic reservoir modeling and powerful visualization.

Schlumberger donated the software to WMU as part of an effort to increase industry-standard geology and geophysics software knowledge for students. According to the company, "This preparation will broaden the skill sets of university geosciences and petroleum engineering graduates, making them more attractive in the job market."

The donated software includes five modules, "Geophysics," "Geology," "Reservoir Engineering," "Well Engineering" and "Data and Results Viewer," and has the following key benefits:

All tools, from seismic interpretation to simulation, are integrated in one application, eliminating import and export problems and promoting collaboration between various disciplines.

The strong visualization capabilities give users instant quality control of all data in 3D.

Models can be updated instantly when new data arrives, resulting in quicker and more reliable decision-making.

All results can be copy-pasted to any Windows application, making it quick and easy to report and present current information.

The software has a familiar Windows-user interface, undo/redo functionality, and stores modeling history, making it easy to use and learn.

"Before Petrel, only high-end computer workstations could do the type of computer data manipulation and visualization we needed," Grammer says. "By donating the software to WMU, Schlumberger has provided a means to do state-of-the-art modeling on a Window's-based desktop computer, which is one reason the software is in such high demand by geological companies around the world."

For more information, contact Michael Grammer at michael.grammer@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3667.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400