This paper was also presented as SPE 117157 at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, 3–6 November 2008, Abu Dhabi, UAE.


This paper describes the current data architecture that Saudi Aramco has recently implemented for real-time drilling and completions (D&C) information. This new architecture enables us to make wider use of our monitoring and collaboration centers through a common approach. It also allows us to leverage the evolving WITSML standard more effectively in our drilling operations.

Saudi Aramco uses many different service organizations to deliver its global drilling and completions agenda. In the past, this has resulted in a lack of stability and standardization in real-time information flow. We have been unable to share data and expertise readily between different operating centers. Applying a common approach to information access on a global basis has enabled us to streamline our operations and make wider use of emerging analysis, monitoring and collaboration technologies.

Real-time technologies have been utilized to capture, monitor and analyze drilling data from rig sites so that critical decisions can be made real-time in order to help reduce and eliminate borehole problems, thus reducing non-productive time. That includes high-tech rigs, business continuity solutions for real-time information, collaboration tools and real-time data visualization systems.

Our aim has been to implement a standard D&C information architecture. Our adoption of WITSML was the vehicle which allowed this to happen. However, we still believe that over the next years it is likely that there will be much more of a challenge to support open connectivity between different vendors and services supporting the increasing drilling and completions functions.

1. Introduction

WITSML (Wellsite Information Transfer Standard Markup Language) is a continually developing industry standard for the transmission of real-time, historical and contextual drilling and completions information.

The development of this standard is unique in that it brings together specialists from across a broad spectrum of the upstream oil and gas industry, drawn from both from the operator and service company knowledge pools, thereby accelerating the evolution of a mechanism that will finally allow a true seamless exchange of data between data acquisition providers and energy company consumers.

The WITSML standard is managed by Energistics ( on behalf of the members.

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