Better Access to High-Performance Computing Could Increase Oil and Gas Production, Reports Microsoft Survey

HOUSTON — March 7, 2007 — Empowering geoscientists with more deskside high-performance computing power could increase oil and gas production overall, reports a new survey released today by Microsoft Corp. at the Microsoft® 2007 Global Energy Forum.

The Microsoft High-Performance Computing Oil and Gas Industry Survey 2007, sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Houston-based Gelb Consulting Group Inc., shows a trend toward geoscientists in the oil and gas industry taking more personal control of their technical computing environments.

“Clearly, this research shows that oil and gas experts know the impact their work has on their companies’ success,” said Craig Hodges, director of the U.S. Energy Industry Unit at Microsoft. “They appreciate having computing power at their fingertips and also require smoother integration with the applications they use in analyzing and reporting the information on which they make critical decisions.”

The online survey was conducted in February 2007 and includes responses from more than 100 qualified oil and gas industry experts worldwide. Significant findings include these:

  • Eighty-one percent report that more ready access to high-performance computing capability could increase oil and gas production.

  • Eighty-six percent have computing power at their deskside, and 69 percent prefer computing power at their desktops.

  • Sixty-one percent believe that having the capability to run additional tasks and iterations will reduce project risk.

  • Fifty-six percent prefer to schedule their own jobs to a technical computing or HPC cluster rather than refer to a cluster administrator to manage the job queue.

  • Forty-seven percent say their computing-intensive scientific applications require multiple iterations.

  • Twenty-five percent of computing-intensive scientific applications still take from overnight to more than a week to run.

Recent hardware and software advances, such as more powerful, lower-cost processors and the launch of Microsoft Windows® Compute Cluster Server 2003, have made it easier for geoscientists to complete deskside high-performance computing. As a result, geoscientists now have the ability to make better decisions regarding prospect generation, lowering the probability of dry holes and speeding up the time to first oil.

“Since the mid-1990s, the upstream oil and gas industry has had the goal of achieving dramatic cost savings in the area of technical computing,” said John Elmer, president of Gelb Consulting Group. “This goal is being achieved today. For example, it used to be the case that geosciences applications managers would not let go of their UNIX machines for mission-critical applications. The tide has now turned with smart-client PCs and applications reaching a level of maturity, reliability and stability that has caused even the skeptics to trust a move to Microsoft Windows.”

“This new approach to high-performance computing doesn’t replace supercomputers in oil and gas. Instead, it makes technical computing more available to more people at a lower cost,” said John Fikany, vice president of the U.S. Manufacturing Group at Microsoft, which includes the Oil and Gas Industry Unit. “By using Windows Compute Cluster Server, geoscientists are empowered to more easily access, analyze and garner deeper insights from complex data and information — ultimately getting oil and gas from the subsurface to the pump faster, more efficiently.”

About the Microsoft High-Performance Computing Oil and Gas Industry Survey 2007

Gelb Consulting Group conducted the Microsoft High-Performance Computing Oil and Gas Industry Survey 2007 in February and garnered responses from more than 100 qualified oil and gas industry experts worldwide. Survey respondents work for oil and gas companies, oilfield service or supply companies, academia, engineering, consulting, or construction firms, or are drilling contractors. Each respondent is a user, application manager, developer, technical support staffer, evaluator, recommender or authorizer of purchase decisions for hardware and software related to technical computing. Full survey results are available at

About Gelb Consulting Group

Gelb Consulting Group is a marketing research and consulting firm that helps companies grow revenues and increase marketing effectiveness. Gelb serves clients in a variety of industries to identify market opportunities, deliver exceptional experiences, build trusted brands, create valued products and protect trademarks.

About Microsoft in Oil and Gas

Those interested in more information about high-performance computing in the oil and gas industry can download a two-part paper titled “High-Performance Computing Goes Mainstream” at

More information about Microsoft in the oil and gas industry is available at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

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