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Posted: 12/4/2008
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Dubai Petroleum Establishment Dubai Offshore Operator Uses High-Performance Computing for Mapping

Offshore oil and gas operator, Dubai Petroleum Establishment (DPE), requested a fast and cost-effective solution for running its reservoir simulations to reduce the uncertainty in its drilling and production operations. The combination of Windows® HPC Server 2008 with proprietary reservoir software will give DPE use of 3-D modelling with high-performance computing speed. The solution offers extraordinary and ongoing price advantages over similar open source offerings.

Business Needs

Established in 1963 and owned by the Government of Dubai, DPE is responsible for managing Dubai’s four offshore oil and gas fields—Fateh, Southwest Fateh, Rashid, and Falah.

To reduce the uncertainty inherent in the drilling and production of hydrocarbons, engineers use applications to generate 3-D models that simulate the fluid and soil properties in a defined area. However, simulating fluid propagation in large complex reservoirs can be time consuming and expensive and requires high-performance computing solutions.

The previous reservoir simulation software application used by DPE— Eclipse 100—was offered by Schlumberger on standalone machines, with each workstation running the application independently. In some cases, due to the complexity of the reservoir model, it took up to 10 hours or more to run a model using the current system in single processing mode. It also proved difficult to scale the solution. Workstations were Windows based with high-performance computing power, but were not consolidated.

Michael Skairjeh, Director, Infrastructure Services, DPE, says: “We wanted to start using an upgraded system called Parallel Eclipse from Schlumberger, but we needed high-performance computing servers—the use of parallel processing to run advanced applications faster and more efficiently.”

Yassar Goraya, Geoscience Solutions Analyst, DPE says: “We had briefly tested Eclipse 100 on Linux in the past, but found it difficult to submit jobs in Linux whereas Windows allowed us to submit jobs more easily and visualise the test results as well.” However, Saeed Ahmed, Senior Solution Analyst, DPE, adds: “In the end, our choice revolved around having a standalone environment or a cluster. It was not a case of which operating system to adopt.”


In May 2008, DPE, advised by Schlumberger, decided that Parallel Eclipse on Windows HPC Server 2008 was the best solution for reducing time and costs and boosting productivity.

Reza Makhdoomi, Account Manager, Schlumberger Information Solutions, says: “Windows HPC Server 2008 offers several technical advantages over traditional computing environments, including high availability. Failure of one node does not stop a model run—instead, the work from the failed node is simply rolled over to the others. Windows HPC Server 2008 and Eclipse reservoir simulation software have the power to help DPE become more successful and work faster.”

For oil and gas companies such as DPE seeking a competitive advantage, the combination of Parallel Eclipse software and Windows HPC Server 2008 was a powerful choice. Makhdoomi adds: “The ability to remain within the Windows environment, and the security features of the Active Directory service integration makes cluster technology accessible to all—truly a case of “super computing for everyone.”

DPE had support from a Schlumberger engineer to install and configure the Parallel Eclipse application on the cluster infrastructure, plus technical support from a Microsoft engineer. Microsoft also implemented Microsoft® System Center Operations Manager 2007 for infrastructure support, which Makhdoomi says is already making a difference at DPE.

Starting in July 2008, DPE tested the clusters for three months in the production environment for real-time testing. Skairjeh says: “We saw that the solution fulfilled all our requirements. We’ve already bought software licences and plan to take the new system live by the end of 2008. The job scheduler in Windows HPC Server 2008 helps schedule the work—jobs are submitted and completed automatically.”


Cherif Bakhoukhe, Senior Reservoir Engineer for DPE, says: “DPE now has a highly cost effective set of tools for reservoir simulation, which will overcome the previous difficulties in running sensitivity cases in shorter central processing unit (CPU) time. Building and simulating detailed sub-surface models helps to reduce reservoir uncertainties and make critical decisions. This will be reflected in more successful drilling, resulting in additional reserves. Skairjeh says: “As soon as we tested the Microsoft solution, we were satisfied with its performance and reliability. Ease of use and administration led to the choice of Windows high-performance computing.”

  • Convergence of petro-technical and business desktop. The 10 users have all the specialist tools available to them for reservoir modelling together with line-of-business applications from Microsoft, including spreadsheet software and unified communications.
  • Value for money. “The solution is extraordinary. We get ongoing price performance with a 16-node machine and 2 terabytes of memory for less than U.S.$100,000,” says Makhdoomi.
  • Remote installation, fast to deploy. After building the first node, DPE set up 10 other nodes within a few hours compared to the several days it would have taken with standalone workstations.
  • High performance, high availability. DPE is able to make more enlightened business decisions as a result of having faster turnaround times on running multiple scenario simulations.
  • Simplified storage. Simulation generates huge files but with cluster storage they are consolidated and improved because data is no longer stored in multiple drives.
  • Lower operating costs. The cluster system is used for high-end work while normal work can use a low-cost computer. Faster processing is forecast to result in cost savings of 43 per cent a year.
  • Easy to use for engineers. “Any Windows administrator can easily handle the Microsoft system at DPE,” says Goraya.
  • Fast time to market. “With great support from Microsoft and Schlumberger, as well as the data security assured through Active Directory, DPE can build a new cluster server node and take users live within a few hours,” says Ahmed.

For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit: www.microsoft.com/resources/casestudies

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 700 employees

Organization Profile

Dubai Petroleum Establishment, which was founded in 1963, is responsible for managing Dubai’s offshore petroleum assets.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007
  • Windows HPC Server 2008

Vertical Industries
Process Manufacturing & Resources

United Arab Emirates