Recent advances in computer technology and the proliferation of computers in the workplace have had a big impact on technical decision making and on the day to day work of engineers. In petroleum engineering, we are faced with a variety of complex software, with different functionalities, prices and features. It is quite a challenge to review the options available and to select one which will be the optimum for a significant length of time and provide the company with best tools at the lowest price.

This paper presents the philosophy and the methodology involved in the evaluation of software. The compulsions on the part of the suppliers as well as the demands of the customers are discussed. Practical criteria for evaluating software for petroleum engineering applications, evolved through the last decade of experience in several operating companies and with discussions with international suppliers and experts, are presented.

The process of evaluation and the criteria and process of selection are described through two real examples, one for reservoir simulation software and the other for well test analysis software, undertaken recently at our company. Detailed tables and check-lists are presented for these two cases which enabled the engineers as well as the management to quickly review the available packages and to decide which one would best meet their needs. A desirable outcome of the process was the fact that we were able to provide the suppliers with a lot of sensible suggestions to improve their products for our benefit.

This paper seeks to provide an understanding of the software process lifecycle, from design to sales to usage, in order to allow engineers the necessary insight for evaluating their own given software.

The software industry is in such turmoil that these skills are now necessary on a frequent basis for continuous quality improvements which require that engineers find the best solutions to their problems at lowest cost.

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