Oil, Gas and Chemicals Business Group Charter

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The mission of the Oil, Gas and Chemicals Business Group (OilGasChem BG) is to develop, advocate for, and support the use of Semantic Web technologies to business issues in those industries. The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. These industries stand to benefit from intra- and inter-company applications of these technologies both to cross information domain boundaries (e.g. facilities, maintenance and production) and company boundaries (e.g. vendor/customer or joint venture relationships).

See Why Work in This Venue for comments on how the W3C Business Group environment differs from others in which this kind of work might be done.

Join the Oil, Gas and Chemicals Business Group. You must have a W3C ID to join; Request an ID.

Start Date November, 2011
Confidentiality Proceedings are limited to group members
Initial Chairs Frank Chum - Chevron
Roger Cutler - unaffiliated
Usual Meeting Schedule Every Other Thursday, 10:00 AM EST


The scope of the Oil, Gas and Chemicals Business Group is limited only by:

  • Technology Focus: Semantic Web. Note that the Semantic Web is an enabling technology for a number of other technologies (e.g. text analytics, search, etc), and these could become part of the use cases considered.
  • Industry Focus: Oil & Gas and Chemicals industry. Note that facilities are a common thread throughout all these industries, but there is no intention to limit the activities of the group to subjects that are common to all potential members. For example, oil and gas companies might be interested in use cases involving geology and geophysics, which is probably not of much interest to a chemicals company.
  • Business Focus: The intention is to pursue business applications of the technology as opposed to the technology itself. That is, although it is possible that the group might discover technical areas that need standardization or problems with respect to existing standards, such issues would be handed off to appropriate W3C working groups or other organizations. Documenting use cases that are drivers for further standards work, however, could be a useful deliverable of the group.

Here are some examples of the topics the Business Group could focus on:

  • Information describing the equipment used in major capital projects.
    • Integration of equipment information with other major parts of the value chain such as production, maintenance and facilities engineering information systems.
    • Correctly representing data and metadata about equipment so that it is possible to track what happened to the equipment, why it happened, and thus draw the right conclusions based on the data.
    • Establish rules for metadata required for each type of equipment (e.g. documents and manufacturers specifications) that can be used to validate new data records in the equipment repositories
  • Open publishing of catalog or metadata records according to published ontologies so that the published records can be queried, aggregated and analyzed in order to improve the efficiency and intelligence of searching for relevant resources.
  • Linking of oil, gas and chemical industry domain ontologies for knowledge management, unstructured text processing and analytics (e.g. the daily drilling and production reporting-hub project in Norway (EPIM)).
  • Ontologies and reasoning to assist in exploration (e.g. oil sands), perhaps linking to a Sensor Network and/or Basin ontology.
  • Requirements or demonstrations related to the security and access control requirements for using Semantic Web technology in an industrial setting.

Unlike many industry consortia, we do not expect the primary focus of this group to be on developing an industry consensus on data definitions or standard ontologies. Although it is certainly possible that some agreement on standards of this sort might appear in the work of this group, the W3C is not an appropriate organization to take on the enhancement and maintenance of such industry-specific standards. So it would presumably be necessary to find an appropriate industry consortium to carry forward any such work.

We expect the focus of this group to be on techniques, not data definitions per se.


Here are some of the possible deliverables for this group:

  • Reports - these would be public once completed. These could describe:
    • Use cases and requirements for business applications
    • Solutions to business problems
    • Documentation of best practices in the context of this industry setting.
    • Documentation of problems with existing standards or new standardization that would be useful, including use cases that illustrate the need
  • Proofs of Concept - It's possible that an actual solution could be demonstrated, possibly using a server environment provided by a member company. In this case it is possible that the technical specifics of the actual solution might involve interaction with a proprietary environment, in which case it might not be possible to make public the specifics (e.g. code) of the solution. In this case the public deliverable would be a report that describes the solution in enough detail for a different organization to construct a similar application in their environment. It is beyond the scope of this charter to specify the legal framework under which such a collaboration would occur.
  • Solution Metamodels - This is more specific than documentation of a use case and general solution strategy and less detailed than an actual solution demonstration. It is a vendor-neutral metamodel for the components necessary for a solution to the use case.
  • Ontologies - public once completed. Possibly contributed to a different organization for further maintenance and updates, in which case policy related to modifications of the ontology would be the responsibility of the receiving organization.
  • Service Definitions - Standards for Web Services that expose industry-specific Semantic Web capabilities.

Value Proposition

Although the details of the value proposition for this work depends on the specifics of the use cases, we see two general areas of potential benefit. The first is in recognizing use cases and demonstrating the techniques by which Semantic Web technology can provide business value in the oil, gas and chemicals industry. It is quite possible that such demonstrations could involve actual proofs of concept or pilot projects, in which case the demonstrations would probably be on specific technical platforms. Such demonstrations might be directly implemented in business settings or replicated on different technical platforms as appropriate for the given industrial setting. Or the demonstrations could involve the development of less platform specific, vendor neutral metamodels for the solution architecture which could potentially be implemented on a number of different vendor platforms. Such demonstrations might, for example, involve integration of information between systems commonly used within the enterprise in the industry, communication of information between different companies, or semantic enhancement of search capabilities on structured and semi-structured data.

The second general area of expected value is more focused on technology vendors. Given an understanding of the use cases in this industry, and based on a premise that semantic web technology uses in those Oil, Gas and Chemicals use cases are different from its application in other industries, then what could vendors provide to enable industry-specific scenarios? There may be some hints that the "sweet spot" for this technology may be a bit different in the Oil, Gas and Chemicals industry than in those in which Semantic Web technology is currently gaining the most traction because the information and application landscape is different. If this is so, then exploring how the use cases with real business value work in this industry may provide a useful understanding of how the vendors can best service the needs of this industry for technology related to the Semantic Web. In other words, the work of this group could help define the industry market for this technology. More specifically, we think it is very highly probable that it will be possible to makes statements like, "We have demonstrated that Semantic Web technology can achieve X which has value Y, but we have found that in order to implement this technique in a practical production environment we need supported tools (or standards) that do Z and these tools (or standards) do not appear to exist at this time".

Dependencies and Liaisons

Specific dependencies and liaisons will depend on the areas in which the group participants decide to proceed and those organizations with which it is appropriate for the group to coordinate.

For any deliverables the group develops, it will create and maintain on the group site a list of appropriate dependencies and liaisons.


Participation in the Oil, Gas and Chemicals Business Group is open to any organization or individual, subject to the requirements of Contributor License Agreement (CLA). Note that unlike a Community Group, there are fees for participation by organizations that are not W3C members. It is necessary to have at least five organizations as members of the groups in order for the group to become and remain fully operational.

Although participation is open to all, the primary targeted organizations are those directly involved with implementing technology solutions in this industry. That is [Note in draft - the intention below is to use as examples organizations participating in the group. At this time the examples are drawn from companies that have shown significant interest in participating]:

  • Oil, Gas and Chemical Companies (e.g. Chevron, Statoil)
  • Industry Service Vendors (e.g. Halliburton, Schlumberger)
  • Software Product Vendors (e.g. Oracle, IBM, TopQuadrant)

There are no minimum requirements for participation in the group. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend teleconferences and face-to-face meetings. It is anticipated that there will be weekly or bi-weekly teleconferences and perhaps one or two face-to-face meetings per year.


Discussion Groups

The public discussion group, public-oilgaschem, will be used for public interaction and discussion, including discussion of this charter. This group is readable and writable by anyone with a W3C account.

The public-readable group, public-oilgaschem-contrib will be used for materials the group wishes to make available to the public, possibly including submissions from group members that they wish to make public.

The internal discussion group, internal-oilgaschem, which is restricted to members of the group, will be used for the actual work of the group as well as administrative matters. Note that this is different from a Community Group, in which the work of the group is expected to be public.

There is another group, internal-oilgaschem-contrib, the intended purpose of which is a bit obscure for business groups. Perhaps we can use it for staging contributions to public-oilgas-contrib.

The characterization of the four discussion groups above is intended to be consistent with the W3C documentation on Tools and Infrastructure, but there has not been a lot of experience with either Community and Business groups and it is not entirely clear that these expectations will prove to be practical. The group may decide to use these discussion groups for different purposes, and if so will document in this charter how they are being used.


Contributions (e.g. ontologies, use cases, proof of concept demonstrations) may be submitted by group members, but the group may decide not to accept the contribution. If the contribution is accepted it will be treated in accordance with the CLA and will be made public if it is not already so. If the group chooses to work on a submission and develops a deliverable from it that deliverable, including the submission possibly modified by the group work process, will be made public as discussed above in the section on Deliverables.

Web Site

It appears from the Community and Business Group Process document that documents may either be published in this Wiki or as "Business Group Documents". At this time the Wiki is editable by any group member and all group members are encouraged to contribute directly to these documents, including the charter. At a future time the group may decide to define an editor function, particularly for documents involved with deliverables or the charter, and request that group members work through the editor to modify the documents. This process is consistent with the practices of most W3C working groups and interest groups.

It is unclear at this time exactly what the format of Business Group Documents will be or where they will be published, but one might assume that the process will be similar to the one for W3C Notes. (Note that the link here to the process for Notes goes to an "interim process document". We have been unable to find a more recent definition of Notes, although the publishing of W3C Notes has been going on for quite a while.)

Decision Policy

As far as we know there are no explicit requirements for a decision policy for a Business Group. However, this group will adhere as much as practical with the W3C Process Document section 3.3 and with W3C tradition by seeking to make decisions that reflect a consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

Intellectual Property Policy

Policy with respect to patents and other intellectual property are covered by the Contributor License Agreement (CLA) and the Final Specification Agreement(FSA). Note that the FSA is voluntary but the CLA sets expectations as to its use. The Community and Business Group FAQ also contains a useful discussion of the differences between the IPR polices of working groups and Business Groups.

About this Charter

As far as we know there is no formal requirement for a Business Group to have a charter, so there are no specific requirements for the contents of this charter. However, this charter is patterned as much as practical to conform with Section 6.2.6 of the W3C Process Document. In addition, since this is the first Business Group we have made some effort to include informational items intended to be helpful to those who are asking, "What the heck is this about?"

Notes on difference between this charter and a W3C WG Charter

  • There is no patent policy section; that is covered by the CLA. However, for convenience we have included a section on intellectual property policy
  • There is no section on voting since there are no process document requirements on voting in a Business Group.
  • A WG charter is voted on by the Advisory Committee, approved by the Director and frozen until it is time to re-charter. Since there is no such process for a Business Group, this charter is kept in a Wiki and can be changed as needed. It is probably desirable, however, to note major changes in the Change Log below.

Change Log

  • 12/2011 - Draft charter edited by Roger Cutler.
  • 1/27/2012 - Drafted Value Proposition section and a new potential deliverable based on input from telcon.
  • 2/7/2012 - Modified Value Proposition, Scope and Participation sections based on several comments.