Upstream IT Reference Architecture and RUP Software Development

Today’s oil and gas industry needs a common IT reference architecture for use by upstream organizations, system integrators (Sis), solution providers and software development companies.

A single architectural approach will encourage simplification and unification in the upstream sector. It will also give Sis, solution providers and software development companies an established environment within which to design and build solutions, while allowing upstream operators to design architectures as a requirement for potential vendors.

The oil and gas IT community is now adopting Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) as a more flexible and responsive alternative to traditional hard connections between applications and source data.

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Oil and Gas Reference Architecture
Figure 1. Oil & Gas Reference Architecture

To build a complete IT architecture it’s needed to develop custom applications because of using different protocols and APIs, different data types and structures. Other applications should be customized for integration with the company’s business process or custom developed for specific needs. A lot of products on a market are huge and overfunctional. Some times business and cost effective to develop custom software.

For reference IT architecture for Oil and Gas industry could be used Rational Unified Process development model because of prototype developing needed, architectural specifications and some other artifacts described below:

RUP Software Development in Oil & Gas Infrastructure

Some of the artifacts that could be produced after each RUP phase and are specific for Oil and Gas industry. Full list of the artifacts that could be produced after each phase.

Inception Phase

  • A vision. This document should describe which parts should be integrated, general interfaces and main constraints.
  • A glossary. This document provides definitions and descriptions of the problem area specific terms, reducing possibilities of the requirements misunderstanding.
  • A use case model (main or critical parts; approximately 10-20% complete). This could be major requirements to system performance, data actuality, backups.
  • A prototype. Prototype or prototypes should be developed to answer critical questions, for example, is it possible to get target performance and actuality using existing communication channels; or could different part (or software from different vendors) communicate in real-time.

Elaboration Phase

  • A use-case model (at least 80% complete). General use cases and specific for technological process, drilling, exploration, geophysics, etc.
  • A test plan. It can be created and elaborated in parallel with the use-case model and development plan, ensuring that all requirements are clearly, unambiguously and non-contradictory defined and their implementation could be verified.
  • A software (integration) architecture description. Detailed description inc. communication protocols, Web services, data storing process, etc.
  • An executable architectural prototype. Prototype based on artifacts from inception phase.
  • An integration \ development plan for the overall project. Should be adopted to geographical locations and seasons changes.

There are examples of specific artifact produced after each phase. Every project has it own list of artifacts.

Construction Phase

  • The software product integrated on the adequate platforms.
  • A description of the current release, documentation.
  • Usually the Construction Phase is broken into several iterations, 1-3 weeks per iteration, and sometimes (in case of large projects) into Stages, 2-6 Iterations per Stage. On the beginning of each stage and iteration are provided:
    • a list of the features and fixes implemented on the prior Stage/Iteration;
    • a list of the features planned for implementation for the next Stage/Iteration, with the resources estimate;
    • intermediate software product deployment on a staging platform for review and feedback.
  • As the requirements are usually changed and the specifications corrected and clarified during the development, the use cases, vision, development and test plans are adjusted during the Construction Phase as needed.

Transition Phase

  • Achieving final product baseline.
    There is a general list of artifacts of the RUP based development process.

The Oilfield connectivity solution Framework

The Oilfield Connectivity Solution Framework can be used in software development process based on Rational Unified Process. It provides E&P operators with the foundation of Web services that easily connects software, data, field and office information, systems and people. It transforms the organization by integrating real-time oilfield process control with the enterprise’s need to optimize the asset portfolio in changing market conditions. Measurable benefits include:

  • Remote Monitoring – Continuous monitoring of wells allowing employees to catch hazards like gumming up or coning water before they become a problem and allow easier predictive/preventative maintenance.
  • Optimized Production – Acquiring data, putting systems in place that act on that data, pushing more automation into routine operations, and freeing up high-value staff for the highest value-add work.
  • Real-time Technology – Integrating real-time technology with predictive models to give companies the ability to better optimize reservoir recovery.


Oilfield automation is a fact. Further enhancements are evolving quickly, capitalizing on the engineering and scientific character of the industry. Firms that understand and adopt digital models are well positioned to capture and increase shareholder value.

Using Oilfield Connectivity .NET Framework and RUP software development methodology in IT Reference Architecture could be an advantage for companies in Oil and Gas industry. The synergy of network interaction drives a higher level of performance than would statistically be realized otherwise. The end result can be distinctive competitive advantage.


[1] Project Management with the IBM Rational Unified Process: Lessons from the Trenches. By R. Dennis Gibbs.

[2] Rational Unified Process: Best practices for software development teams.

[3] Microsoft Oil and Gas. Upstream IT Reference Architecture.

[4] Oil and Gas Overview. An official Microsoft oil and gas industry overview solution sheet.

[5] A Microsoft Corporation White Paper “Oilfield Connectivity – Capturingthe Value of the Digital Era”.

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