It is increasingly recognised that good data management is essential to the petroleum industry. Relational databases are prevalent within the exploration and production industry and are increasingly applied to the storage of exploration data.

In this paper we argue that the need to describe and manage complex exploration data is better served by the object oriented database management system. The OODBMS provides richer data modelling facilities which are important for representing the objects which are common in petroleum exploration, e.g. three dimensional volumes, images, etc. The facilities of the OODBMS will be introduced and contrasted with the relational database management system.

An example of the use of databases in spatial data modelling will be given and the object and relational implementations contrasted. A benchmark figure for the relational database (ORACLE) and the object oriented database (ONTOS) will be given. We will show that the OODBMS is superior in speed, efficiency and data modelling capabilities.

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