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17th World Petroleum Congress Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 1-5, 2002 E-Business within E&P

Donnie Needham; Ken Hartman; Steve Hodges; Robbie Lockhart, Baker Oil Tools, Houston, Texas Abstract
E-business this, e-business that, brick and mortar, click and mortar. What does it all mean? With the explosion of the Internet, business portals and B2B online exchanges, it was just a matter of time before the oil and gas companies and service companies began using this new tool. Looking beyond fundamental implementations such as setting up a web site to market products, this paper outlines an e-business working model for launching far-reaching initiatives that incorporate many or all divisions that deliver products and services to the E&P arena via the Internet. Some case studies will be examined as well.

Presently, there are many in the general business populous that view e-business as a passing fad or only as an experiment that has gone down in flames. Some others view e-business as companies such as,, or, and believe the new technology does not apply to brick and mortar companies. So, does this mean e-business is history for older, established companies? Absolutely not! Applied in the right business models, the Internet is already proving to be an important tool in many old economy and new economy companies. Although, through the entire dot com fall-out, we have to be mindful about the importance of business fundamentals. Many of us became overly enthused by the wonderful possibilities of e-business. Certainly there have been many ideas that didn't make business sense. On the other hand, there are many e-business models that are being implemented today, with the overall business structure and process in mind going forward. While organizations are not yet buying a large portion of their goods online, there's a significant momentum to use the Internet for information gathering and collaborating with suppliers. Basically, in the short-term, the most significant benefit boils down to communication and collaboration. For the petroleum industry, particularly the E&P side, this is where we also believe the most substantial short-term benefit lies. This paper will discuss the rationale and benefits from online communication and collaboration via Internet implementation. We will also discuss some of the latest developments and trends going forward and what the future holds for e-business in the oil industry.

Where Did it All Start?

Before the Internet boom, e-business started with EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Many businesses and the government have been involved in e-business for years. Basically, these organizations used expensive, private networks, which applied standard procedures and formats to process their data exchange. EDI worked well for order exchange and payment exchange, but offered nothing to support product selection queries, or much benefit with Just InTime, Customer Relationship Management, and Maintenance Resource Operation systems. Also, because of the expense involved, smaller companies could not participate in business transactions where EDI was a requirement. EDI was supposed to help collaboration between companies. However, file transfers through several different communications protocols inevitably led to a Tower of Babel for connectivity.

The open standards of Internet technology have made the creation and adoption of Extranets one of the most promising concepts for collaborative business today. An ideal extranet scenario calls for seamless deployment across Intranet, Internet, and extranet environments. In this way, a group of linked businesses can collaborate using standard Internet technologies while enjoying the privacy and autonomy of an Intranet environment. Extranets and private links are emerging as the main conduit for a company's most important deals and most sensitive data. In fact, the Gartner Group Inc. predicts that Extranets will be the platform of choice for more than 80% of B2B electronic commerce by 2001-2002.* [* CommunicationsWeek, June 23,

The extension of Extranets through the Internet offers the greatest potential for usage expansion and savings. The Internet offers a cheaper alternative by utilizing Extranets and allowing private-exchange traffic to run over public networks, yet still allowing companies restrict access to authorized partners. Connectivity to an extranet can be accomplished two ways: through a direct lease line from Intranet to Intranet, or via a secure link over the Internet. An extranet is an Intranet that allows controlled access by authenticated outside parties. Extranets take Intranets and extend them via "virtual fire-walls", to enable collaborative business applications across multiple organizations. Extranets are, therefore, more private than the Internet, yet more permeable than an Intranet because they allow access to third parties through authentication. Going forward, internet-based solutions that accelerate the delivery of revenue, cost and production data, enable companies to effectively manage their day-to-day operations and strategic decisionmaking. More importantly, utilizing a secure Internet-based connection with the service companies also allows the smaller independent oil companies to participate in e-business without huge outlays of capital. This tool also increases the communication and collaboration between the companies.

Why Go to E-business?
Many people think of e-business as just buying something on the Internet. With E&P companies, executing business on the Internet, whether buying, selling, trading, or collaborating, is not the same thing as just ordering on or e-Bay. The simple answer is to reduce costs and improve efficiencies for both the buyer and seller. However, the benefits derived are more complex than just adopting an e-business strategy. E-business is more than a replacement for catalogs with static web pages. Many of the benefits will be: Better access to product information Improved communications and thus fewer misunderstandings Better and more timely access to information Enhanced levels of support Improvement in the overall business process. Virtual 24/7 remote access and availability anywhere in the world Personalization of services and information Integrated data sharing Secure collaboration Given this list of benefits, the decision to move to e-business looks like a no-brainer. However, it is not so easy to just grab a software package off the shelf and start putting your company out in the ebusiness arena. Also, despite the promise of e-business, almost everyone agrees that the oil and gas business may be slow to embrace it fully.

Paradigm Shift
Industry experts have shown that we are currently in an era of disillusionment where the visibility of B2B far exceeds applicability. [The e-Commerce Oilfield, Spears & Associate, Inc., July 11, 2000] It is expected that as more and more B2B ventures are applied and once visibility and applicability are reconciled, the oil industry will be more receptive to e-business. As the chart in Figure 1 shows, from the current period, the visibility (hype) of B2B e-business will diminish until visibility meets applicability, and then there will be satisfaction with e-business.

Figure 1. E-business adoption cycle As we can see from Figure 1., e-business is not expected to be adopted quickly. Some of this slow adoption can be explained by the disillusionment with anything to do with in its name. However, for many, it's the change to something unfamiliar, a paradigm shift in the way of doing business. Some of the disillusionment that abounds can also be attributed to a lack of understanding or realizing all the applicable benefits of B2B e-business. This is where education and information dissemination about B2B e-business would be very beneficial. Eventually, the disillusionment will diminish and the applicability of e-business will be viewed in a favorable light. In the oil industry, e-business solutions are more dependent on the service and equipment companies than in other industries because some level of service or engineering accompanies nearly every product in the oilfield. So, it was not surprising to see the results of a Spears and Associates survey (Figure 2) [The e-Commerce Oilfield, July 11, 2000], in which purchasing departments and engineers with a number of oil companies were asked to rate B2B e-business for interest, understanding, and usefulness. For the most part, interest is fairly high, with understanding of B2B starting to fall off [Figure 2]. As we can see, usefulness was rated exceedingly low by both purchasing departments and engineers. This could be as much to do with a lack of knowledge of what can be accomplished utilizing the Internet, as it could be a resistance to change.

Figure 2. Rating of B2B e-business by oil industry professions Typically, the oil and gas industry is highly risk adverse. A case in point would be the entry of horizontal drilling and how long it took for the technology to become commonplace. To gain a wider acceptance of B2B e-business in the E&P arena, education is needed as well as some myths and misconceptions must be overcome. According to Ron Nichol, managing partner at Boston Consulting Group, there are six common myths about e-business: Myth 1. The Internet is only applicable for some products - Early misconceptions about ebusiness have some people believing that only products that are very standardized and familiar would be applicable for e-business. Myth 2. E-Business is a "zero-sum" game - The idea that e-business just involves redistributing existing business functions, implying that little additional value is added. In actuality, existing business functions will become more vertical and add real value by more effectively connecting everyone along the supply and distribution chain. Myth 3. The Internet will "commoditize" all businesses - In the oil industry, this would be very difficult to achieve, due to the high level of service or engineering that is associated with nearly every product. Myth 4. Portals will capture most of the value - To add value, portals must have customizable content and be easy to use. Nichol suggests that portals may capture a declining share of Internet business as users become more familiar with surfing the web. We believe that portals will also decline somewhat with the advent of enterprise applications integration (EAI) between companies. Myth 5. Online and offline businesses will be separate worlds - This is how a brick and mortar company becomes a click and mortar company. Collaboration will make its biggest impact by the integration of online and offline business processes. Myth 6. Intermediaries will disappear on the Internet - These misconceptions imply that two businesses being connected by an intermediary will eventually cut out the intermediary and just do business directly. E-businesses TradeRanger and Wellogix are two examples of why this is also a misconception.

Adoption to a New Business Process

Basically, it comes down to human behavior. New business processes requires fundamental changes in the way organizations and people behave, essentially a paradigm shift. Expecting an organization to abandon long-standing relationships with trusted suppliers and to eliminate direct customer contact in favor of anonymous Internet interaction is not realistic. Uncertainties over privacy and security provide further reason for many organizations and individuals to take a "wait and see" approach. Many new ways of doing business enabled by e-business technology are difficult to implement, slow to develop, and are just not critical enough to most enterprises in the short-term to motivate them to spend the requisite time and management effort. This does not mean that e-business in the oil industry is invalid or will not produce benefits. Like most technology-based change, e-business is more difficult and will take far longer than expected. We are all realizing that it is not really about technology, but about behavioral and corporate cultural change. This is a far more difficult proposition In his book "Crossing the Chasm", Geoffrey Moore, describes how new technology is adopted, aptly called the "Technology Adoption Life Cycle" and the Revised Technology Adoption Life Cycle. In the petroleum Industry, bringing people to the Internet and utilizing many of the benefits and attributes that are available falls under this type of adoption cycle (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Technology Adoption Life Cycle As represented in the Figure 3, we have what Moore describes as several distinct and unique psychographic profiles (psychographic - a combination of psychology and demographics that makes its marketing responses different from those of the other groups). First we have the Innovators. They pursue new technology purely for the sake of the technology itself. Next are the Early Adopters. They basically buy into new product concepts very early in their life cycle, but they are not technologists. Rather they are people who find they relate to the potential benefit the technology brings. Following the Early Adopters is the Early Majority. The Early Majority may share some of the early adopter's ability to relate to technology, but they see more of the value to themselves, and have the luxury of waiting to see how the product and/or technology holds up before entering into the fray. The Late Majority usually shares all the concerns that the Early Majority has, plus a major one: they generally are not comfortable with technology itself. They are the group that waits until they absolutely have to utilize the technology because it has become an established standard. Finally, there are the Laggards. They are the ones that do not want to have anything to do with new technology for numerous reasons. This adoption cycle, accurately describes what the petroleum industry is going through to embrace the new paradigm with B2B connectivity. However, Moore's Revised Technology Adoption Life Cycle (Figure 4) more precisely describes how the oil and service companies are implementing a B2B strategy and infrastructure.

Figure 4. Revised Technology Adoption Life Cycle The difference between the two graphs is the introduction of the gap or chasm, between any two psychographic groups. This symbolizes the dissociation between the two adjacent groups. Each of these gaps represents areas where a company could lose the enthusiasm and drive to implement a B2B strategy. Many times a company assumes that there will be a smooth and continuous progression across the segments over the life of the implementation, although it generally is just the opposite.

Technology at its Finest - How to Connect

Now that we have examined some of the cultural (human) roadblocks to adopting and implementing an e-business strategy, we will look at some of the technological issues involved with getting companies connected to each other. Differentiating e-business solutions on technology criteria is becoming increasingly difficult; especially when getting beyond technology hype, not all systems and languages are compatible. As we discussed earlier, one of the more efficient ways, not to mention cheaper, to implement an ebusiness strategy is with an Extranet. Utilizing the Internet and a secure connection through an extranet offers a way to reach thousands of users worldwide who have nothing but an Internet connection and a web browser. With an Extranet a company can use the Internet to coordinate the entire purchasing cycle; from product information to customer support, as well as perform everyday transactions such as purchase orders and request for quote. An extranet also enables businesses to link their Intranets for supply chain trading, so they can work closely together to automate and streamline the supply of goods for production and distribution. E-business conducted through Extranets can be performed and managed more effectively, efficiently and profitably than with traditional business methods. First, overall accuracy is improved, because the user only has to enter data only once, instead of filling out several forms and corresponding paperwork. Second, it is more efficient because conducting merchant activities through an Extranet transfers more of the selling function to the customer, bringing transactions to a more timely conclusion. In other words, it speeds up the process. The Legacy Challenge Setting up an Extranet is fine; however, much less attention has been paid to the complex data integration issues that arise once integration to the Internet actually materializes. The biggest obstacle, in many cases, is interfacing new e-business applications with the many mission-critical legacy applications that most large firms use to run their businesses. The challenge most of the time is that many classes of applications were not designed to mesh with others. Many companies have spent millions of funds on systems seeking to improve their MRO, CRM and supply chain

management systems. Unfortunately, the capabilities of many existing information systems are not compatible to today's electronic business systems. The ideal business model for the majority of companies is to have their customers place orders or communicate through the Internet or independent real-time exchanges and have the information immediately transmitted throughout their own and their suppliers' organizations. But this ideal goal is easier said than done. Typically, the order must pass through a multitude of disconnected systems, such as order entry, inventory, production, purchasing, invoicing, shipping and financial accounting. Some of the systems are leading edge e-business applications that were just recently developed or perhaps are only in the conceptual stage. The others are legacy applications, running on mainframes or midrange computers that may have been developed decades ago and have been continually refined and upgraded over the years. There are a number of technical solutions that exist to address these challenges, with enterprise application integration* (EAI) solutions being at the heart of them. EAI solutions create a middle-tier layer between the legacy application and the user interface. This layer makes it possible to link multiple e-business and legacy systems allowing a sharing of information without changing the participating applications or data. * EAI Acronym for enterprise application integration. EAI is the unrestricted sharing of data and business processes throughout the networked applications or data sources in an organization. Early software programs in areas such as inventory control, human resources, sales automation and database management were designed to run independently, with no interaction between the systems. They were custom built in the technology of the day for a specific need being addressed and were often proprietary systems. As enterprises grow and recognize the need for their information and applications to have the ability to be transferred across and shared between systems, companies are investing in EAI in order to streamline processes and keep all the elements of the enterprise interconnected. {} Making use of the latest EAI tools makes it possible to implement leading edge Web applications while sharing information seamlessly with existing legacy systems. This approach provides the best opportunity to take full advantage of the potential of e-business technology. While the market for integration solutions converges and the distinction between internally and externally focused integration disappears, the distinction between message-based, asynchronous platforms for application and data integration and transaction-oriented application-server-based ecommerce solutions is expected to effectively disappear. Requirements to link back-office, crossapplication business processes with buy-side and sell-side processes are the key drivers of this convergence. Connecting the Dots So, how do we sort it all out? This is where the American Petroleum Institute (API) is coming to our aid. The API eCommerce Committee, Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX), has begun creating e-business standards for complex products and services. The Electronic Commerce Committee of the American Petroleum Institute, the PIDX was formed in 1987 to develop and promote implementation of electronic standards for the oil and natural gas industry. The PIDX mission is to one, influence the architecture and facilitate the implementation of effective standards and processes for electronic business communications within the petroleum industry, and second, leverage the inherent value in existing EDI standards as well as actively pursue the benefits of the emerging e-business technologies. The standard that provides {the easiest} integration with transaction exchange in existing legacy systems is eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML). Although EDI is used extensively today by many industries to exchange e-business documents, XML is a language that has the potential to reach those e-businesses that find traditional EDI too challenging. XML is a subset dialect of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which was developed to interchange technical documentation and other forms of publishable data. XML documents today generally contain data for a particular domain, e.g., a purchase order, a well log, a production report, etc. These are application-level specifications for various kinds of data. In the near future, however,

many XML documents will begin incorporating processing framework for the domain information within the document. XML is a new opportunity for companies to build on their EDI successes by utilizing this technology to increase their trading partner community, reduce total system costs, and provide flexibility with data content based on a company's business need. Within a few years, XML and e-business frameworks built on XML may create a new form of EDI. Traditional EDI is not endangered, but it will become a more specialized technology as XML-based EDI (XML/EDI) will gain acceptance for activities that involve human interaction or limited capital. Will XML displace the need for EAI technologies? The answer is clearly no. XML and integration brokers are complementary technologies that enable better integration within the enterprise and a means for transacting business between enterprises. XML is the lingua franca of the B2B transactions where interactions are direct point-to-point and require less formatting since many of the document formats are predetermined. However, EAI occurs within the enterprise where critical systems are integrated as part of the internal end-to-end transaction. In this environment, the need for rules and transformations is imperative, and the role of XML-enabled integration brokers is critical.

Security Concerns
As the barriers between people, departments, enterprises and eventually countries come down, the need for multiple levels of security of information and privacy of individuals and organizations becomes increasingly apparent. When the topic of security comes up, most people envision a group of adolescent hackers sitting around a home computer trying to break into the Pentagon, or at the very least into their high school's transcript database. The truth is, the largest threat to online security is not from someone outside your company, but from within. Anytime you give someone access to your Extranet or Web site you put three things at risk: your data, your reputation, and your resources. Security must be assured, as all businesses utilizing the Internet become increasingly vulnerable to electronic attack. Data security must be a key strategic concern throughout an organization, as it is an issue that impacts every department of the enterprise. The immediate goals for an e-business Web site or Extranet would be to first find out how vulnerable your Extranet is to security breaches. Next, become fully aware of the weaknesses and be able to trace the source of a security breach at any time. Finally, make sure that the security deficits are corrected and that a strong security stance is maintained. To list these goals is easy; to carry out and implement these actions is very complicated and fluid. Basically, there are three overarching requirements that must be met to assure that the information on your Web site is secure: 1. Confidentiality - Assuring that the data you place on the Extranet is only seen by those authorized to see it. 2. Integrity - Assuring that the information on the extranet is accurate and that people are prevented from changing it deliberately or accidentally. 3. Availability - Ensuring access to the information on the Extranet is available immediately and continuously, in other words, at any time or 24/7 (24 hours per day, seven days per week). For a more comprehensive look at Security and Privacy policies, these policies should include: Intrusion immunity, which includes detection and prevention mechanisms such as virus detection and protection. Boundary servers such as proxies and firewalls that prevent unauthorized access. Information Integrity through the use of encryption technologies. The non-repudiation services that are needed to make the electronic data and documents hold up in a court of law. Authentication services to authenticate users and sessions. This includes password protection, user profiles, digital certificates etc.

E-business security is extremely important. Attacks can disclose proprietary information or manipulate it. Any e-business security policy has to address secrecy, integrity, necessity, and intellectual property rights. Threats to e-business can occur anywhere in the electronic chain, beginning with a client computer and ending with the e-business and back office servers. Several techniques are available and are being developed to protect intellectual property. Obviously, the three main general assets to protect are client computers, e-business channels, and the e-business servers. Key security provisions in each of these parts are secrecy, integrity, and available service. Encryption provides secrecy, and several forms of encryption are available. They are either private-key or public-key techniques. Integrity protections ensure that transactions, messages and e-business transactions are not altered. Digital certificates provide both integrity controls and user authentication. Several Internet protocols, including Secure Sockets Layer and Secure HTTP, provide secure Internet transmission capabilities. Finally, the commerce server, like the client computer, must be protected. Protections for the server include access control and authentication provided by username and password login procedures and client certificates. Firewalls provide a hardware solution that separates the trusted inside computer networks and clients from the untrusted outside networks, including other divisions of a company's enterprise network system and the Internet.

Where to Begin
We know most companies in the petroleum industry do not implement new technology for its own sake. E-business is not a more complex way of doing business; it's a new, more effective way of doing business as usual. Even with the advent of new technologies and processes, one driving force remains unchanged: the industry's dependence on knowledge, whether it is hard geologic data, logging data, or the inferences that can be obtained from available information. Strategic use of the Internet and e-business can give the industry another leap forward in knowledge management. To date the most prominent implementations of e-business involve large companies. Although, ebusiness offers small and medium-sized companies the same potential rewards and can help them level the playing field with larger organizations. E-business integrates and extends conventional business process strategies through the convergence of computing, networking, and communications technologies. It enables new and more efficient models of business interaction and streamlined enterprise operations. Ultimately, the goal of any technological enhancement must be to improve business processes for a benefit to the bottom line. So where does a company begin? Successful e-business initiatives require more than just technology solutions. Business processes must be documented, mapped, and analyzed to determine the best possible application and management of electronic data relationships both within the organization and between it and its trading partners. Often, these new electronic relationships require modifying the conventional sales, marketing, customer service, and business operations models. Make no mistake; e-business is a disruptive technology. For example, adding typical business processes to the e-business channel requires fundamental changes in the way existing processes are executed. These new processes are not totally different from previous ones, but they do represent a new way of doing things. In addition, some processes may be eliminated through channel enhancement, freeing up resources to focus on more value-added activities. Adding these channel enhancements requires businesses to develop processes in new areas. Specifically, management of e-business related content is critical for successful marketing, buying, and selling over the Internet. Not only must businesses create processes in this area, but also they must assign ownership of these processes and train their employees to execute activities within them. This is where it is extremely important to get input and buy-in by all the internal users before the external customers, otherwise cultural change will not happen. The key to maximizing participation is to make the e-business process as accessible and easy to as many partners as possible, regardless of their technical adeptness.

This being stated, the first step to establishing an e-business venture is setting solid objectives. Specific objectives are derived from the initiative's overall goals and include planned benefits and planned costs. Next, the company must decide if any and how much of the e-business project should be outsourced. To begin the process of determining an outsourcing strategy is to form an internal team that includes knowledgeable individuals from within the company. The internal team develops the specific project objectives and is held responsible for meeting those objectives. The internal team designs an outsourcing strategy, selects a hosting service (or can decide to host their own Web server), and supervise the staffing of the project. Staffing the e-business initiative must be done regardless of whether portions of the project are outsourced. Critical staffing areas include business management, application specialists, customer service staff, systems administration, network operations staff, and database administration. Once the staffing needs are satisfied this group can lay out the steps to achieve their e-business goals. For a company to start putting a plan in action it is hoped that there is an enterprise system already in place to provide the backbone for the e-business system. When building out the initial system it is generally preferable to start in small stages. This way, a huge outlay of time and capital won't be wasted if it is found that the process is not the most effective and a more efficient path needs to be taken. The first steps that should be implemented would be to set up a static Web site for posting information. Moving forward, the site should become more interactive and start to be more of a platform for communication and information. After which, the integration of the back-end system to the e-business system should be planned and implemented. In this time also, the implementation of transaction execution should be integrated into the system. Eventually, the relationship of the customers utilizing the e-business site would evolve to a full collaborative process. This would include the real-time data exchange between the two companies. Companies will continue to progress through the various stages of e-business, moving beyond simple Web-based self-service applications to e-business initiatives and to participation in true collaborative commerce. This electronic collaboration between companies represents the next evolution of electronic interaction and relationships with customers and suppliers. To collaborate successfully, each company will need up-to-date, functioning systems to serve up whatever data you plan to share, and a way to deliver that information electronically.

What the Future Brings

Depending on which research you subscribe to, the consensus is that B2B e-business transactions are going to explode over the next few years. Forrester Research predicts $2.7 trillion in the U.S. by 2003. GartnerGroup expects to see $3.7 trillion for 2004, while the Boston Consulting Group, the most bullish, anticipates $7 trillion worth of B2B transactions for the same year.
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Basically, technology is moving faster than a company's ability to get a grasp on how it will benefit them. Aside from technology adoption, trust among trading partners must be pervasive in order for systems integration and robust collaboration to occur. Mobil Internet It might be some years, as wireless technologies expand and the infrastructure grows, eventually 'mobile' commerce will be the medium of choice. A future scenario: A Driller might be standing on the rig floor and reach into his pocket, pull out his PDA/wireless device and check on the delivery of his next drill bit, and place an order for more drilling mud. As he placed his order, the information goes immediately to the connected company's front-end and back-end systems to complete the order and issue the invoice. For the Production Engineer, instead of travelling from one well site to the next, he would be able to open up his PDA/wireless device and check on the parameters of his wells, i.e., production, flow, downhole pressure and temperature. From this information he could decide that he needs to close a zone or open a zone. He could then punch in a code that would enable him to remotely close or open a sliding sleeve. In the future the best businesses will employ enterprise resource planning systems that efficiently integrate their sales, production, procurement, manufacturing, delivery, and support systems into their e-business systems.

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