New E&P data portal venture formed

UpstreamInfo.com, an internet business-to-business portal formed by EDS Corp., Raytheon Co., and the Information Store Inc., is putting together a management team to provide geophysical and other exploration and production data to the oil and gas industry. Chevron eBusiness Development Co., a Chevron Corp. subsidiary formed to invest in e-commerce companies, is the first of 8-10 equity partners that UpstreamInfo.com officials expect to recruit.


UpstreamInfo.com, an internet business-to-business (B2B) portal formed by EDS Corp., Raytheon Co., and the Information Store Inc., is putting together a management team to provide geophysical and other exploration and production data to the oil and gas industry.

Chevron eBusiness Development Co., a Chevron Corp. subsidiary formed to invest in e-commerce companies, is the first of 8-10 equity partners that UpstreamInfo.com officials expect to recruit among majors, independent producers, service companies, contractors, and other "data owners."

That's a key element in the company's goal to centralize technical and nontechnical public and private information into a comprehensive, convenient, and economic one-stop shop for anyone interested in buying, selling, sharing, or trading upstream data. The more participants, the better the system will work, officials say.

Data integration
The idea is to centralize a vast amount of field information�including seismic, drilling, logging, production, and other data�for easy access by equity partners faster and cheaper than ever before, said George Steel, a 30-year industry veteran who was named president and CEO of UpstreamInfo.com. He was chairman, president, and CEO of Scientific Software Intercomp Inc. prior to its acquisition by Baker Hughes Inc. in 1998. Steel has also served as vice-president of Snyder Oil Corp. and president of Halliburton Geophysical Services.

A lion's share of the $50 billion/year that the oil and gas industry spends on upstream geoscience and engineering is funneled into gathering and analyzing data. That already huge amount of information is rapidly increasing in both volume and complexity as more sophisticated technology is used to explore new frontiers.

By centralizing a wide mix of data and reducing duplications of efforts and systems among multiple users, UpstreamInfo.com officials figure they can improve customers' productivity by 25-30%, reduce their cycle time on projects 20-50%, and cut current costs up to 50% over 5 years.

"Our data will be stored once and accessed many times," on a pay-for-use basis, via internet connections to computer work stations and laptops around the world, Steel said.

That "will enable Chevron to reduce costs in our information management and improve our cycle time and productivity by capitalizing on the power of the internet," said Dave Clement, president of Chevron eBusiness Development.

UpstreamInfo.com is concentrating first on marketing data on US field operations in the lower 48 states and the Gulf of Mexico.

Under its system, a participant's proprietary data is assigned ownership and can be accessed only by those parties designated by the owner to receive particular information. The primary founders�EDS, Raytheon, and the Information Store�are disinterested third-parties, with no equity in upstream operations.

Partner qualifications
UpstreamInfo.com is registered in Delaware as a private corporation, but officials expect to make an initial public offering in 12-24 months.

The partners are uniquely qualified to handle and store large amounts of data. EDS provides e-business and information technology services to 9,000 business and government clients in 50 countries, including a pre-existing multimillion-dollar contract with Chevron. Based in Lexington, Mass., Raytheon provides products and services for commercial and defense electronics, plus special-mission aircraft, in more than 80 countries. In that role, it has already invested $800 million in capturing, managing, and distributing geoscience and other scientific information.

The amount of data that Raytheon already handles is equivalent to all the upstream petroleum information for the US Gulf of Mexico, said Steel. For NASA alone, he said, Raytheon daily collects, processes, and distributes the equivalent of 18,000 square miles of 3D post-stack data.

The Information Store was established in 1994 to provide e-business solutions for the upstream petroleum industry. Since then, it has invested $15 million in that business.

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