HOUSTON, April 14, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. announced today at the Windows® in Energy Conference that use of the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system is surging in the oil and gas industry and that Windows NT will soon become the global common operating environment among energy companies. According to independent analyst firm Pohlman International Inc.’s 1999 study “Microsoft Windows NT in Petroleum Computing,” Windows NT-based applications in the oil and gas industry are expected to outnumber UNIX applications by a total of 2 to 1 or better by 2000. The study also found that literally all oil and gas companies, regardless of size or area of operation, currently use Windows NT in some form.
“Windows NT has the potential to replace 70 percent to 80 percent of the current UNIX applications in use in the exploration and production sector of the petroleum industry over the next two to three years,” said John Pohlman, president and principal scientist for Pohlman International. “With a current asset value of over $20 billion for this sector, the transition to Windows NT has the potential of generating more than $3 billion in new opportunities for vendors and developers ready with Windows NT-based offerings.”
The study indicates that cost considerations have risen to be the most significant single factor mandating the transition to Microsoft Windows NT in the petroleum industry. Other driving forces behind the ever-growing popularity of Windows NT are its improved performance and reliability, ease of use and maintenance, and the magnitude of robust applications spanning the energy industry value chain.
This past February, while the industry was embarking on an information technology transformation, Microsoft and leading energy software and service providers Landmark Graphics Corp., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, SAP AG and Schlumberger GeoQuest launched “COM for Energy” ( http://www.com4energy.com/ ). This nonprofit industry initiative is tasked with improving exploration and production business performance on an enterprise scale by accelerating technical and business process integration. These open business-object specifications will be based on Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM) architecture and will be tuned for the Windows NT operating system.
“The prevalence of Windows NT in the oil and gas industry, combined with integration technologies such as the ones being developed through the COM for Energy initiative, will enable energy companies of all sizes to streamline their information systems,” said Scott Fawcett, energy industry manager at Microsoft. “The ability to utilize information up and down the energy value chain, from the oil field through corporate ERP systems, can dramatically lower costs and allow oil and gas enterprises to become significantly more efficient.”
Driven by intense economic pressure in the energy industry, COM for Energy is gaining the attention of many industry-leading software providers in an effort to develop software interface specifications for interoperability of technical and business applications to support oil and gas exploration and production.
“We are expecting the desktop of the future to be driven mainly by COM-built applications running on Windows NT,” said Geoff Wade, manager of the petroleum industry for ESRI. “At ESRI we are beginning to redeploy all of our professional geographical information
system (GIS) products under the COM architecture and are working with several of the founding members of COM for Energy as they develop their next-generation products based on COM.”
At Breakthrough ’99, a separate event sponsored by Microsoft that preceded the Windows in Energy Conference, Bill Gates addressed an audience of over 3,000. His keynote presentation focused on the explosive IT transformation happening among a number of industries to enhance business competitiveness in the next century.
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