OPC-UA Information Models: Drilling and Producing


In the upstream oil and gas industry the operating companies need to losslessly exchange technical information with the oil & gas service companies who take measurements for them and drill their wells, with the government agencies who regulate them, with academia, and with each other. Each of these industry actors and the systems integrators who build their applications and analytical algorithms has their own unique requirements and rules when it comes to their software and hardware systems.

In 1990, the operators and service companies created a non-profit consortium whose objective is easing the transmission and long-term management of technical data for analysis and visualization. In 1999 a group began defining these processes for the drilling industry, resulting on the WITSML standard. A similar group began defining oil&gas-specific standards for production operations as well. All these standards have been in the marketplace for years, creating value for the companies who adopted them.

As the years have progressed, oil & gas production operations have become more sophisticated and better integrated with the IT operations of the operators and the downstream refining aspects of their business. In parallel, the risky process of drilling for oil and gas has become more automated, with the vision of eventually becoming totally autonomous. These trends – drilling system automation and integration with refining assets – have driven the upstream oil & gas industry to seek a tighter integration with the process control world, which is the province of the OPC Foundation.

The industry players selected OPC UA as their future-looking technology for closed loop process control and have begun putting it in more and more systems on the rig and in the field. Thus a need appeared for OPC UA to work in harmony with the existing WITSML and PRODML sources and destinations of data.

Technical Content

This project will produce three companion standards which describe how OPC UA should consume and produce PRODML and WITSML data in a standard way, potentially using ETP: one for PRODML v2.0 and standards for the latest two versions of WITSML v1.4.1.1 and v2.0. The first of these to be produced is the companion standard for WITSML v2.0 together with ETP.

These specifications include:
• A description of common terminology
• Supported architectures
• Information models representing the structure of the Energistics ML
• Methods used in the flow of Information.

Companies Behind

Energistics has over a hundred members, which are not listed here. There are certain Energistics and OPC Foundation members who have been particularly active in supporting this effort, especially
• Baker Hughes – a GE company
• Infosys
• Kongsberg
• Statoil
• Total
• Yokogawa

Plus members of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section.

More Information


  • All Energistics related questions about WITSML or PRODML or to ask about the project in general, contact Energistics CTO Jay Hollingsworth at jay.hollingsworth[at]energistics,org
  • For all OPC UA related questions contact Paul Hunkar, DS Interoperability, OPC Consultant for Energistics Companion Specs. You can reach Paul under paul.hunkar[at]dsinteroperability.com

About Energistics
Energistics is a global, non-profit, membership organization that serves as the facilitator, custodian and advocate for the development and adoption of open technical data exchange standards in the upstream oil and gas industry. It is uniquely designed to unite upstream industry professionals in a neutral and collaborative facilitation environment. Energistics membership consists of integrated, independent and national oil companies, oilfield service companies, hardware and software vendors, system integrators, regulatory agencies and the global standards user community.

The WITSML standard provides consistent high-quality transfer of wellbore and drilling-related data. The commercial uses of WITSML include data transfer from well sites to real-time operations centers, movement of well-related data between applications, real-time availability of drilling operations and an archival history of drilling operations.

The PRODML standard allows consistent high-quality transfer of production-related data from producing wells. This includes data transfer to production surveillance centers, moving production-related data among databases and applications and archiving of production operations. The data types moved by PRODML standards are the most varied – including static descriptions of fluid piping networks, normal reporting of produced volumes to partners and regulators, and petabyte-scale high density technical data from distributed fiber sensing.