Preparation of Northern Mid-Continent Petroleum Atlas
Reporting Period: April 1, 1998 - June 30, 1998

Cooperative Agreement No.: DE-FG22-97BC15008
Contractor Name and Address: The University of Kansas Center for Research Inc.
Date of Report: June 1, 2000
Award Date: August 12, 1997
Government Award for Current Fiscal Year: $ 250,000
Principal Investigators
  Lee C Gerhard (Principal Investigator
  Timothy R. Carr (Program Manager)
  W. Lynn Watney
Project Manager: Chandra Nautiyal, NPTO, Tulsa


As proposed, the third year program will continue and expand upon the Kansas elements of the original program, and provide improved on-line access to the prototype atlas. The third year of the program will result in a digital atlas sufficient to provide a permanent improvement in data access to Kansas operators. The ultimate goal of providing an interactive history-matching interface with a regional database will be demonstrated as the program covers more geographic territory and the database expands. The atlas will expand to include significant reservoirs representing the major plays in Kansas, and North Dakota.

Primary products of the third year prototype atlas will be on-line accessible digital databases and technical publications covering two additional petroleum plays in Kansas and one in North Dakota. Regional databases will be supplemented with geological field studies of selected fields in each play. Digital imagery, digital mapping, relational data queries, and geographical information systems will be integral to the field studies and regional data sets. Data sets will have relational links to provide opportunity for history-matching, feasibility, and risk analysis tests on contemplated exploration and development projects. The flexible "web-like" design of the atlas provides ready access to data, and technology at a variety of scales from regional, to field, to lease, and finally to the individual well bore. The digital structure of the atlas permits the operator to access comprehensive reservoir data and customize the interpretative products (e.g., maps and cross-sections) to their needs. The atlas will be accessible in digital form on-line using a World-Wide-Web browser as the graphical user interface.

Regional data sets and field studies will be freestanding entities that will be made available on-line through the Internet to users as they are completed. Technology transfer activities will be ongoing from the earliest part of this project, providing data information sets to operators prior to the full digital atlas compilation.

Summary of Technical Progress

As part of the first two years of the project "Pages" and data schema for the atlas overview and field studies were developed and made accessible through the world-wide-web. The atlas structure includes access to geologic, geophysical and production information at levels from the national, to the regional, to the field to the individual well. Several approaches have been developed that provide efficient and flexible screening and search procedures. Database queries are now routed through a improved database design that provides the individual access to production, well-log, core and other databases. This flexible access will be expanded to include access to user-defined maps, cross-sections and other technical products. The continually evolving digital atlas is accessible through the Kansas Geological Survey Petroleum Research Section (PRS) HomePage (The Universal Resource Locator [URL] is ). The Digital Petroleum Atlas (DPA) HomePage is available directly at

Improved Database Management

At the present time, the Digital Petroleum Atlas currently contains over 6,000 static web pages covering 8 counties, 7 fields and two regions of Kansas. "Static" pages are actual HTML text files on the DPA web server showing information to visitors. Most of DPA pages are very similar--that is, a template can be made and multiple pages extracted from that template. For example, for a set of county geology pages, the only differences are the names of the files and the window titles. The navigation is adjusted for each page (assigning a "Previous" page and assigning a "Next" page). As a result, a new set of geologic maps, core photos, etc., for a new play or field can be integrated into the DPA efficiently as a new set of static web pages.

However, the method of creating static web pages has two problems. The first problem is maintenance of pages containing variable data. Data such as oil and gas production changes monthly, and the pages must be updated periodically. With more and more fields added, the work of creating all the new pages and updating all the previously created pages can take up all available time. The second problem is one of scale. For any small field (25-100 wells), it is easy to create pages for each well and attach scanned well completion forms, digital well logs, and other information. But with larger fields, such as the Chase-Silica field with 10,378 wells, assembling the data is in itself a major task and pages can not be created by hand. By creating pages with a relational data base management system (e.g., Oracle), whatever data is available can be displayed to the visitor. New production data is available immediately. Plus, the database can create lists of wells for the user based on location information, and pages for the wells can be created only if the user wants to see detailed information.

Creating pages for smaller fields

The first field added to the DPA was Arroyo, a field with 36 wells needing web pages. These pages were created by hand and links were made from the field map and the web pages (Figure 1). After the well pages were created, pages for completion forms, production, petrophysical analysis, etc. were created as needed and attached by hand to the well pages. Updating the production pages would take only a few hours of student time.

Big Bow was handled the same way, but Gentzler and Schaben fields added a new challenge. While the number of wells in Gentzler and Schaben fields was reasonable, the geographic scale of these new fields meant that the visitor could not select an individual well of interest because the well spots were too small to resolve on the user's screen. For fields with a larger geographic area, clicking on the main map brings up a map with more detail on the particular quarter of interest (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Sample field map from the DPA for a small field (Arroyo Field, Stanton, County). Because of the small size of the field and small number of wells the field map was easily linked to the well pages using ImageMap HTML command. Page is available online at

Figure 2. Zoom maps allow user to select from larger number of wells across a larger geographic area. Large map shows only selected wells. Field map is available online at

Creating Pages for Very Large Fields

For Chase-Silica Field (Rice County), simple zooming does not allow a clear picture of all wells without creating several levels of zoom. In addition, the resulting maps and individual well pages would require the creation and maintenance of 10,378 additional web pages. The map of Chase-Silica Field (Figure 3) covers eight townships (288 square miles). At this scale it is impossible to resolve and select all wells, and only currently producing well are shown. Clicking on selected parts of the field scale map accesses eight pages, created at the township scale to show the detailed well spots (Figure 4). Discussion of the ImageMap command of HTML is provided under a later section (Linking maps with HTML).

The township scale maps of Chase-Silica Field are also active maps that use the ImageMap command of HTML (Figure 4). However, clicking on an individual section does not access a web page, but generates a query to several relational database tables. The result returned to the user is a web page that contains an annotated list of all wells for which production and geologic data is available (Figure 5). Clicking on the "Well_ID", normally the API number, generates additional queries for detailed well, wireline log and production data and returns a web page to the user (Figure 6).

The web pages at Chase-Silica Field are not static. They are generated as requested by the user and contain the latest geologic, production and other data loaded into the various relational databases. Using relational databases significantly improves the efficiency of undertaking and maintaining large-scale field studies. The thousands of potential web pages are reduced to small number of programs operating on a manageable number of relational data tables. Updates to the various data tables are immediately accessible to the user. Procedures for constructing and providing web access to relational database tables are discussed in a later section.

Figure 3. Clicking on any township-range block brings up a more detailed figure of the wells in that block (Figure 4). Page is available online at

Figure 4. Township-range block showing a more detailed picture of the wells. Clicking on any section generates a query to the database and creates a list of the wells in that section (Figure 5). Page is available online at

Figure 5. A portion of well list generated by clicking on section to generate query to database. Clicking on individual well generates another query to generate detailed well report from well and production databases (Figure 6). Query is in the form of

Figure 6. A sample of detailed well report generated from a query to well and production databases. Results are arranged into a web page. Query is in the form of

Linking maps with HTML

Navigation by clicking on areas of map images to access web pages is provided by the "Imagemap" command of HTML. The creator of the web page can assign web Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) to geometric shapes (rectangles, polygons, and circles). The figure below shows a part of a larger map and the shapes defined for the map. Finney County is defined by a polygon of 7 points. If the user clicks in the polygon, the page at "/DPA/County/def/finney.html" is displayed.

<area shape="poly" coords="105,259, 105,203, 178,205, 177,233, 141,232, 141,260, 105,259"


<area shape="rect" coords="141,231, 177,287"


<area shape="rect" coords="104,258, 142,294"


Haskell and Gray counties use rectangles for ease of creation, even though technically they would be better modeled by polygons. The coordinates of the user’s browser determine access to one of several static web pages (Figure 7).

Figure 7. With an imagemap, the user's browser decides what web page will be asked for based on the coordinates of the mouse click.

Relational database tables and procedures

The ImageMap command of HTML can also be used to ask a question of a database. Here is an ImageMap syntax fragment for the map of a portion of Chase-Silica Field (Figure 4):

The link shows that the computer called "" is asked for a web page. On that computer, the words " abyss/public/" mean that the Oracle database called "abyss" will be called with a publicly available question. The program that will run the database query is "" Finally, the program needs township, range, and section values ("twn=18&rge=10&sct=36"). Even though 36 sections are "imagemapped" for each township scale map, the process uses search and replace functions that are very efficient.

Software provided with relational database management systems, such as Oracle, is used to connect the web pages to the database. This "middleware" receives the parameters from the web browser, formats them, and sends them to the programs stored in the relational database (Figure 8). After each query is executed, the database sends the data back through the middleware. The results appear to the user with a web browser just like any static web page (Figure 8).

A number of separate tables in the relational database are used to support the DPA web pages. The main table is a list of wells located in the Chase-Silica field. Technically, this table is not needed, since a table containing all wells in Kansas could be used as the source with Chase-Silica wells extracted as needed. However, pre-creating a smaller file of wells improves performance. The relational database uses the main table of 10,378 records in the well list and additional subsidiary tables (e.g., lease production) to create well pages as needed for any well in the field. To the user the pages generated from the query to the database appears and acts exactly as the static, hand-created pages.

The subsidiary data files accessed by the DPA are often not maintained by project personnel. Kansas Geological Survey personnel, and even other state agencies, provide update the information in the tables as part of other projects (Figure 9). An example would be monthly oil and gas production data obtained from the Kansas Department of Revenue. The DPA structure is used to extract up-to-date data from those external tables and present to the user web pages that look and act just like normal DPA pages. The result is that parts of the DPA are automatically maintained and updated and will continue to be maintained after the project has ended ("a living publication").

While the static pages already built for Arroyo, Big Bow, and the other small fields in the DPA will not be completely replaced by pages from relational databases, links to selected data are being changed from static pages to database-created pages (e.g., production).

Figure 8. Instead of presenting an existing web page, the imagemap can call a database. The database can be used to create a web page based on the parameters sent and the data currently stored in the database. By clicking on section 36 in Figure 4 the user were generate the following commands and parameters:

    <area shape=rect coords="408,54,478,124" href="">, and would produce the output shown in Figure 5.

Figure 9. A well query in the Chase-Silica Field accesses numerous relational databases. The DPA personnel only maintain the main well list for Chase-Silica Field, but other staff maintain and update the other tables. The result is that updated data is automatically available to the user and overhead of maintaining the DPA is significantly reduced.

Technology Transfer

The world-wide-web and publish as-you-go design of the Digital Petroleum Atlas Project provides immediate and ongoing technology transfer activities. Based on increased usage statistics and informal industry feedback, the DPA model appears to provide an efficient method of technology transfer to the geographically dispersed high technology petroleum industry. The pages that comprise the DPA are among the most visited on the Kansas Geological Survey web site and usage continues to grow. Periodic email updates provided to interested operators and individuals have been well received. As part of technology transfer efforts, a formal talk and paper were prepared and presented to local and national meetings (Table 1; Buatois, et. al. 1998; Carr, et al. 1998; Buchanan and Carr, 1998). In addition, the Digital Petroleum Atlas Project has been integrated into the Internet for the Petroleum Professional Course. This is a popular course for oil and gas producers and is taught as part of the North Midcontinent part of Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (For example see online version of the Internet course at

Table 1. Presentations undertaken during the period 1 April to 30 June of the Digital Petroleum Atlas Project.

References Cited

Buchanan, Rex C. and Timothy R. Carr, 1998, The Impact of electronic dissemination: The experience of a state geological survey: Geoscience Information Society Proceedings, 28:19-24.

Buatois, L.A., M. G. Mángano and T. R. Carr, 1998, Comparative ichnological analysis of marine shoreface and estuarine valley-fill sandstones from the Lower Pennsylvanian Morrow Sandstone, Gentzler oil field, Southwest Kansas, USA. Program with Abstracts, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists - Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Joint Convention, Calgary, p. 49. Abstract.

Carr, T. R., Dana Adkins-Heljeson, and Ken Stalder, 1998, Internet for the Petroleum Professional, Petroleum Technology Transfer Council Workshop Manual, 110p.

Updated June 2000
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