About the Client
The client has provided reservoir simulation software products to oil & gas companies across the globe for over 15 years. The company also provides comprehensive engineering services covering evaluation, development, and management of oil and gas reservoirs.
The client has a reservoir simulation software product for the oil & gas industry that builds models of underground rock formations to predict the flow of oil. The simulation is used for the purpose of drilling new oil wells and making production forecasts.
The current product had served its customers well for a number of years but was in critical need of an update. In recent years, competitors had entered the market with more sophisticated reservoir simulation systems with added features and improved technology.
Because the current system was developed using older technologies, the software had technical limitations and was unable to support new features. The user interface, built on VB 6.0, had become outdated with multiple windows and popups overlapping one another, making it cumbersome for end users.
The existing software divided the rock formation into thousands of rectangular cells forming a grid, and then simulated the flow of oil – based on the pressure gradients created by wells drilled into the formation. Engineers needed to input several properties using the GUI to describe the size and shape of the formation, rock properties, fluid properties, positioning of the wells and behavior of the wells over time.
The data had to be entered for each cell manually through separate tabs without any option for editing or manipulating the data. The software was not able to read large text files generated by the simulation engine or load large arrays of data into memory. Poor data validation meant that errors from badly entered data were not handled properly, which led to frequent system crashes. Another issue resulted from the software’s inability to handle the large number of files generated by the software to store input and output data for each simulation model. This made it difficult to export and import models.
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The client chose Silicus based on its extensive .NET platform experience, to design and develop the system from scratch using the Microsoft VB.NET development platform and tools. The solution uses cutting-edge Microsoft technologies and third-party integrations to build the reservoir simulation system. This new modern platform removes all difficulties associated with the current system while adding new features desired by the client.
Controls and libraries built into the .NET platform automatically resolve technical limitations of the old system, including file and array sizes, error handling and data validation.
The new software is a single document interface which minimizes popup windows.
Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) libraries were used to design a simple, yet powerful user interface for the application. This is now a neat, three-panel design showing the navigation, spreadsheet and graphs – each panel can be resized and collapsed.
The newly designed spreadsheet panel enables users to easily edit the values of the scientific data. Users may also now import data directly from external sources, like MS-Excel, into the application.
The Graph panel is able to display either a series of graphs rendered using a third-party tool or 2D drawings generated using WPF native tools. The power of these tools helps to quickly render the oil reservoir model being simulated.
New zooming & panning support for graphs and charts makes it easy for users to visually explore the model.
The software generates a new packaged file format using XML for storing the models in a single, compressed file format. The new solution also supports files generated by the old application and can convert these into the new file format.
A new fracture simulation feature models the flow of oil when fractures are made in the rock formation.
3rd Party Integration
Clear Office Spreadsheet, Visifire Charts
Tools / Libraries
MS Visio, MS Enterprise Library 5.0 for error handling, Avalon Dock for panels, Zoom & Pan
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows-7, Windows - 8
Visual Studio 2010
Builds & Releases
Team Foundation Server
Silicus designed the new software from scratch using Microsoft .NET technology. This ensured that the client’s new product had the usability and features that enable it to compete for a large share of the oil reservoir simulation market.
Accelerated Product Development
Silicus' proven development methodologies, strong coding standards and comprehensive documentation achieved a high-quality product delivered at an accelerated rate. This also ensured that future updates and features could be easily added.
Low Cost Development
Silicus used its proven offshore software development model to achieve large cost savings not possible with other models of development.