Scientific workstations are increasingly finding their way on to the desktops of petroleum professionals, resulting in the widespread use of a range of complex applications for tasks such as basin modelling, seismic interpretation and reservoir modelling. The increasing complexity of these programs raises serious issues of how effective on-line user support can best be provided. One emerging approach which is generating enthusiasm is the use of hypertext technology to assist the user.

In this paper, we describe the design and development of a hypertext-based intelligent help facility for a complex petroleum exploration application. We describe what hypertext is, and discuss its applicability for applications in the petroleum exploration and production (PE&P) industry, giving examples to illustrate where appropriate.

The system has been developed as part of an intervention strategy for the Hedera application. It is able to inform the user of erroneous data and inconsistent actions, as well as offering appropriate help and advice when required. As well as offering help on the application, hypertext technology can be applied to tasks such as annotation of work, and generation of reports of work undertaken during a modelling session.

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