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CML Exploration relies on ZoneVu during the recent storm that brought Texas to a halt 

By March 16, 2021 No Comments
Post by Mark Millard, Senior Business Development Geologist at Ubiterra. Special Thanks to CML Exploration. 

Having grown up in Texas, I was used to riding my new bike on Christmas day in 75-degree weather. At the same time, I grew accustomed to the unexpected snowstorm every couple of years bringing the entire state to a standstill. The massive storm that hit Texas in February 2021 was no exception. Here in Denver, we were saddened to see the toll that the storm was taking on individuals and companies who lost power.  

Image from a NASA satellite showing partial blackouts across portions of Houston during the February 2021 snowstorm. Credit: NASA 

While many of the major energy providers were figuratively frozen in place, drilling in Texas continued, rain, shine, or blizzard for that matter. For one of our clients, CML Exploration, that was exactly what happened. While drilling one of their wells, their office in San Antonio lost power. No lights, no elevator, and more importantly, no servers. As an industry, we use very complex software platforms, which, by nature typically require large servers to store massive amounts of data. Unfortunately, the storm in Texas exposed this critical weakness of the industry. CML Exploration was unable to access any of their geologic or engineering software and data while drilling through a critical portion of their horizontal well.   

Microsoft Azure Cloud to the Rescue 

ZoneVu is a native cloud app that runs in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. What does this mean? It means that ZoneVu is protected 24/7 by one of the most reliable and secure IT Infrastructures in the world. Azure is the only cloud service that offers continuous security-health monitoring through their Azure Security Center. What happens when an Azure datacenter loses power? Microsoft has a backup built in with each of its data centers. In addition, all the data for ZoneVu is stored in the San Antonio data center, but also twinned in the Chicago data center.

CML Exploration 

Thanks to the reliability of the Azure cloud and the fact that ZoneVu can be used from any web browser, the Geologists and Engineers at CML were able to continue drilling their horizontal well with zero interruptions, despite their normal geologic/engineering workstations and servers being out of commission. Thanks to our RigStream service, they continued to receive real-time drilling data sent automatically to ZoneVu during the continued blackout. This allowed them to keep the bit exactly where they wanted while maintaining high ROPs (rates of penetration). 

Screenshot from ZoneVu 3D viewer showing a “Seismic Curtain” that adjusts in real-time based on the wellbore path.

What about your Seismic/Structural Data? 

In addition to real-time access to the drilling and geosteering data, the Geologists at CML also had full access to their seismic volumes and interpretations. Long gone are the days of stretching and squeezing screenshots of seismic lines, or “waiting till Monday morning” to get an updated seismic backdrop.  In ZoneVu, seismic volumes and interpretations are also stored on the cloud. That means that if you decide to change your well trajectory midways through the lateral, the software will automatically update your seismic backdrop, regardless of the torrential weather outside, or the power outage at your corporate office. 

Many companies in the industry, both small and large, are making the transition from internal server storage to cloud-based systems. The Microsoft Azure cloud not only allowed CML Exploration to continue their drilling program exactly as planned, but it was also another firm testament of the dependability of cloud-based browser geosteering software in the 21st century.

Reach out to sales@ubiterra.com to learn how you can improve your workflow stability using ZoneVu, by Ubiterra.