Enhancements in the latest version of the WITSML data-exchange standard help improve vendor/software interoperability, real-time work flows, and asset data management. These enhancements include: a significant tightening of the standard, with a more prescriptive schema and better definition of application program interface (API) behavior; new data-objects that help better manage complex, multi-channel log data and change history; and support for data compression and query optimization.

Additionally, WITSML now has its first truly tested certification program. And a new high-frequency, low-latency transfer protocol for use with WITSML and other Energistics standards will allow data to be streamed from producer applications/devices to receiving applications without the need for the current polling mechanism, automating the delivery of new data as soon as it is available. This paper, presented on behalf of the Energistics WITSML special interest group (SIG), describes these improvements and the benefits they provide.

To date, WITSML deployments have primarily focused on the transfer of data from the rig-site to real-time solutions. Companies recognize that this data has a life-cycle that extends from real-time operations to asset teams and other systems used for the life of a well. WITSML is a data transfer standard, but with future development it will also increase the data footprint to allow transfer of parameters needed to allow vendors to build solutions for using WITSML data together with data management solutions, thus supporting life cycle management of well-related data. Earlier versions of the standard suffered from implementation variability across the vendor community, resulting in what were commonly termed “dialect issues.”

Tightening the standard itself was a key piece to improving interoperability; the other important piece is ensuring conformance to the standard through testing. The new certification program is behavior-based, automated, and repeatable. It uses an open-source testing tool to run a suite of scripts that use WITSML standard queries to test behavior and evaluate compliance with the standard. The test suite is automatically tailored to the published capabilities of the server being tested and will ensure that certified servers can transfer data accurately and effectively.

Developed alongside the current version of WITSML, but focused on the future, the new Energistics Transfer Protocol (ETP) will be available initially as a community technology preview. ETP uses the WebSocket protocol for asynchronous message passing, allowing data to be streamed from producers to receivers. It has been designed specifically to deal with the challenges of rig connectivity and the security requirements of corporate networks.

In combination, these enhancements result in a more robust standard that enables easier cross-vendor interoperability and significantly faster, more reliable data transfer. Being WITSML certified will be seen as a competitive advantage for vendors and allows the development of more effective software solutions, enhancing the value and usability of real-time data.

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