When David Armitage talks about his company's
newest project, his zeal comes through the telephone line like an
The A2D CEO says the "Log Preservation Initiative"
is more than a commercial effort. It's an attempt to create a nationwide
database that preserves a strategic national asset.
The initiative seeks to digitize logs from the original
Mylar film. A2D offers to scan and digitize the logs, giving the
owners free online access to the data. The company then offers depth-corrected
raster images for a fee from its database to interested clients.
Armitage likens the project to efforts by the movie
industry to preserve deteriorating classic films.
While several companies provide digitizing and related
services, A2D's mission is to "create the world's first and largest
repository of irreplaceable log data," Armitage said. He said the
company's vision is to see every paper log in the United States
It's a worthy goal, according to AAPG's Robert Merrill,
chairman of the AGI National Geoscience Data Repository Committee,
which is charged with finding ways to preserve geoscience data.
Digitizing solves a major issue in preserving the
data, Merrill said: physical storage costs.
"As an exploration geologist, I see no reason to
preserve the film" once it is digitized, Merrill said, adding that
the digital data is backed up in computer systems, usable with today's
technology and readily available.
While states have an interest in encouraging drilling,
preservation efforts have been haphazard in the past, Armitage said,
and mergers and acquisitions have often led to huge non-indexed
collections of logs in central or disparate locations.
Merrill concurs that the Mylar logs are the most
accurate source for digitizing. Subsequent paper copies can be stretched,
creased or otherwise distorted and corrupted, he said.
"The operator's original film is the most pristine
copy of a log," said Dave Kotowych, A2D president. "This is what
we are endeavoring to capture and preserve. It is in everyone's
interest to preserve the integrity of one of the largest and most
valuable data assets in the oil and gas industry.
"In the end," he said, "exploration geologists will
have access to first generation data, better than any other that
exists at present."
Digitizing also helps avoid damage that can occur
to the film over time, including creasing, cracking and image deterioration
from temperature and humidity fluctuations, he said.
Step by Step
Armitage, who joined A2D as a consultant in October
and became CEO two months later, said the nine-year-old, Houston-based
company has become a manufacturer, producing "digits instead of
The company processes about six gigabytes of data
daily, or about 80,000 logs per month, he said, and tasks that once
took 18 months have been trimmed to one month.
The process involves three major steps:
- Teams are dispatched to scan the original film, a job that
can take hours or weeks, depending on the size of the archive.
- The scanned data is transmitted via the Internet to one of
two A2D facilities in India for the most labor-intensive phase
of the work — indexing, depth-calibrating and digitizing.
- The information is transmitted back to Houston, where it is
verified and put through the company's quality control processes.
Armitage said the company's proprietary processes
are involved in four major areas:
- Software used to scan the data.
- Quality control, where errors as small as 1.5 to 2 millimeters
can be spotted.
- Online availability and distribution through one of the industry's
largest e-commerce sites.
- Software tools to enhance the customers' ability to use the
Stories abound in the industry of companies improving
their productivity as they move to raster and vector data and away
In the "good old days," finding well information
could involve a trip to wherever the needed logs were stored and
copying 20 or 30 feet of logs, Armitage said. Current technology
allows the geologist to locate the needed well or wells on the computer
screen and simply click to pull up a view of the log and related
Industry response is an acknowledgement of "how precious
this data is," he said, adding that if an original log should be
lost or destroyed, "it's like the well was never drilled."