Covering Drilling, Completions and Interventions, WITSML is the industry reference for the transmission of data from rig-site to the offices of oilfield service companies, integrators and operators. It is also used to share information among partners, vendors and government agencies.
The current inventory of WITSML standard capabilities includes: wellsite-to-office data transfers, completions (equipment, events and flows), wireline and LWD well logs, as well as calculated and planned well trajectories. Data Assurance Metadata is part of the standard. The Energistics Transfer Protocol (ETP) is the recommended method to ensure near-real-time continuous data transfers.
WITSML is under the management of a dedicated Special Interest Group (SIG), bringing together specialists from numerous member companies and organizations to chart the future of the standard.
The Problem that WITSML Solves
“Digital oilfield of the future”, “iFields”, “eFields”, “Smart fields”. These are all names for the industry efforts to use instrumentation and software to optimize operations in all domains for oil and gas exploration and production (E&P). To achieve this goal, all of these technologies must work together—but often don’t because of incompatible data structures and designs.
WITSML™ is an industry initiative to provide open, non-proprietary, standard interfaces for systems transmitting, exchanging or receiving data. These standards make the seamless integration of drilling technologies possible, enabling near-real-time drilling optimization and moving closer to realizing the benefits of the digital oilfield. The standards also provide a low-cost, low-risk, and highly innovative environment for the configuration and running of advanced optimization processes.
WITS ≠ WITSML
While the goal of each of these standards is essentially the same—the ability to easily transfer drilling data—the technology is not.
- Wellsite Information Transfer Specification (WITS) is an industry standard from the mid 1980s that uses a binary file format for transferring wellsite drilling data.
- WITSML is Web-based and built on XML technology, which is both platform- and language-independent.
Some implementations of WITS may still exist, but all new development should be done using WITSML.
ENERGISTICS TRANSFER PROTOCOL (ETP)
The Energistics Transfer Protocol (ETP) data exchange specification enables efficient transfer of data between applications. The initial use case is for real-time data; however, it is anticipated that ETP will be expanded to include functionality for historical data queries. ETP has been specifically envisioned and designed to meet the unique needs of the upstream oil and gas industry and especially to facilitate the exchange of data across the Energistics family of data standards, which includes WITSML, PRODML and RESQML.
One of the goals of ETP is to replace TCP/IP WITS level 0 data transfers with a more efficient and simple-to-implement alternative. The three main initial use cases for ETP are to move real-time data between applications, including:
- Transfer from a wellsite provider to a WITSML store (server)
- Transfer of data from WITSML store to WITSML store (replication)
- Transfer of data from WITSML store to client applications
ETP can be used for PRODML data streaming as well, thanks to the Common Data Architecture that underlies all the v2.x versions of the standards.
ETP defines a discovery mechanism so data receivers do not have to poll for data and can receive new data as soon as they are available from a data provider.