For thirty years the U.S. National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA) has focused much of its efforts on real-time surveillance systems for real-time command and control of space flight, including the space shuttle program and the International Space Station (ISS). During the last several years a new paradigm shift to Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) technology by NASA has led to more rapid system improvements while greatly reducing costs.

COTS real-time surveillance systems architecture is being brought to the upstream oil and gas industry, by a team of technical collaborators instrumental in developing NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. Working with major international operators, the team is developing and implementing COTS solutions for exploration and production Real-Time Operations Centers. By combining engineering and command and control systems integration expertise from the aerospace industry with reservoir, deepwater, drilling and production workflow skills and experience, cost effective smart solutions for situational awareness for the oil and gas industry can now be delivered.

Events in 2010 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico cast a bright spotlight on the need for better understanding and monitoring of reservoir conditions, drilling and production activity, and decision making. Partly in response to these events, this unique integrated alliance team of vendors and proven applications has been formed to offer events-based surveillance, and complex events processing in real-time drilling and production environments.

Inadequate Situational Awareness (SA) has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error, and is especially important in work domains where the information flow can be quite high and poor decisions may lead to serious consequences. Having complete, accurate and up-to-the-minute SA is essential where the burdens of technological and situational complexity on the human decision-maker are a concern.

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