Industrial zone, Steel pipelines and valves against blue sky

Product Development

Annually an engineering development plan is formalised with the user companies.  The user community actively influences this development plan.  The forum for this is during the yearly User Group Meeting which is normally held in June of each year.

The User Group Meeting has a primary objective of agreeing the development plan for each product in the suite.  User companies are invited to propose development and engineering enhancement. PE Limited initiates significant original engineering research internally.  This proprietary work, much of which is only published within the clients' community, has given additional models and solutions which are unmatched within the petroleum engineering industry.

With this approach PE Limited does not seek individual clients to fund and support developments or research projects.  All internally funded research is for the benefit of the whole user community. The lessons learnt from the past have helped us to develop an unconventional approach to software programming.  This approach has allowed us to produce high quality software faster than any other software in the industry.
We implemented the following rules:

The programming staff must clearly understand the objective of the program and must have a good knowledge of the science behind it. That is why all our programmers have a science degree as their first degree and at least ten years of experience in the development of commercial software.

Instead of starting the design with the screens and user interface, we first concentrate on the structure of the calculations, defining the flows and interactions between the different modules. We then write a prototype with basic input/output through ASCII data files to test the validity of the structure and the logic.  Then, and only then, a user interface is developed having a good understanding of all the input and outputs required. This method has cut down the development time by at least a factor of 3 and has considerably improved the solidity and ease of use of the products.

We do not over standardise. Standardisation is a necessary mean to ensure easy maintenance, it generally standardise on a lowest common denominator. We have decided to employ only first class staff and to let them innovate as long as they clearly document their approach. We are constantly looking for simpler ways of presenting complicated calculations.

We always try to separate calculation routines from the user interface routines. This allows us to test parts of the program separately, but also to easily include proprietary calculations. Under MS-Windows for example the PVT, IPR, Multiphase flow correlations are in Dynamic Link Libraries (i.e. they are not within the main program). They are user-installable in the same way printer drivers are within MS-Windows. This can be very attractive to companies with a strong internal research program that wish to implement their calculations into our programs. In conclusion, we produce comprehensive engineer's tools, but also development platforms for researchers who can test, compare and implement their own calculations without having to worry about the user interface.

All the programs are continuously maintained and enhanced. A new version of each software is supplied annually. Each new version will have major engineering developments to enhance the packages. The software was designed and structured from the beginning to facilitate the implementation of new features. New versions have not required any major re-writing.