DSO/Upstream: Frequently Asked Questions

DSO/Upstream: Frequently Asked Questions


Click any question in the list below to read the answer.

What is DSO/Upstream?

DSO/Upstream is a configurable, interactive software application that's designed for rapid and reliable scheduling and optimizing oil and gas upstream activities. It incorporates a drag-and-drop Gantt chart interface, together with data management capabilities, making it easy to develop and manage complex operational schedules that are aligned with your business objectives.

DSO/Upstream may be used for scheduling onshore or offshore upstream operations, where resources—such as rigs, cranes, barges, trucks, and crews—must be assigned to activities—including construction, drilling, fracturing/completions, workovers, tie-ins, logging, and maintenance—according to various constraints.

DSO/Upstream incorporates a comprehensive model of the upstream operational environment, together with the fastest optimization engine in the industry. This enables you to:

  • Automatically assign rigs, other equipment, and crews to exploration and production activities in an optimal sequence, rapidly and reliably
  • Interactively adjust schedules to reflect operational changes and disruptions, using the drag-and-drop Gantt-based interface
  • Optimize your results so that they are always aligned with important objectives, such as cost, production output, and equipment utilization
  • Collaborate effectively with your colleagues, using a consolidated operational model that’s focused on corporate objectives
  • Create and evaluate multiple plan/schedule scenarios very rapidly, so that you can select the optimal alternative

Who uses DSO/Upstream?

DSO/Upstream users range from the largest oil & gas companies in the world to smaller independent operators. Some use DSO/Upstream for scheduling only drilling operations, while many conducting unconventional operations use it to manage all aspects of the well delivery process: permitting, leases, milestones, pad and facility construction, spud/drill sequences, fracturing/completions, and tie-ins.

What are the benefits of using DSO/Upstream, compared to tools like MS-Excel and MS-Project?

DSO/Upstream eliminates the need for error-prone manual data entry and un-auditable collections of spreadsheets and project files. Instead, your equipment and well activity information is centralized in DSO/Upstream’s database, which is designed to handle all upstream activities, and which makes information available to your other team members through Actenum’s companion web-based application, DSO/CX.

By coupling Actenum’s advanced optimization software to DSO/Upstream’s internal operations model and sophisticated GUI, scheduling is rapid and automatic (for example, to assign appropriate resources to specific activities while satisfying all operational and technical constraints), while errors and inconsistencies are eliminated.

  • Easier management of operational complexity (hundreds or thousands of wells, rig fleet growing in size)
  • Increased confidence in ability to achieve business objectives, such as production output and cost targets
  • Improved ability to rapidly respond to budget constraints, equipment breakdowns, or crew availability limitations
  • Reduction in risk of non-compliance with lease obligations
  • Increased drilling performance and efficiency through insight into critical milestone dates
  • Reduction in costs associated with rig movement or idle time
  • Immediate clarity on the impact and risks resulting from schedule changes
  • Improved team alignment and collaboration around the well delivery process

Will DSO/Upstream work with my company’s workflow and business process?

DSO/Upstream has been designed as a flexible application with an open architecture for ease of adaptation and integration. It may be used as a stand-alone application for management of schedules (replacing other tools such as MS-Excel or MS-Project), or it may be integrated into an existing business process through the available data interchange facilities. You can rapidly and effectively configure the software to meet your operational needs, and take advantage of available data.

What data is needed to use DSO/Upstream?

DSO/Upstream’s operations model accommodates a wide range of data about your upstream operations, and it uses this data in the scheduling process. The minimum data needed to use DSO/Upstream effectively is:

  • The types of activities that you wish to schedule, and their approximate durations
  • Information about the equipment or crew resources that you use, together with working calendars, environmental restrictions, and precedences
  • A way to determine what resources are compatible with an activity (for example, what type of rig may be used on a particular well, or in a specific area)
  • A way to approximate the travel time between activities (only if this is of interest)
  • A way to measure the quality or value of the resulting schedule; this might include measures of cost, resource use, production targets, priorities, dead-line violations, and so on

How do I load data into DSO/Upstream?

You can load data into DSO/Upstream manually, or automatically.

Most electronic forms of data are loaded automatically: DSO/Upstream can load MS-Excel and MS-Project files directly, for example. For data that’s stored in external relational databases, Actenum provides integration capabilities for import and export.

Can I share a DSO/Upstream schedule with other team members?

A companion application, DSO/CX (Collaboration eXchange), provides all team members with web-based access to schedules and related information, via a workstation, tablet, or smart phone. DSO/CX enables users to view schedule Gantt charts, track activities on a map, create reporting dashboards, and focus on the aspects of a schedule in which they are most interested.

As well, for each schedule, DSO/Upstream will also generate a Gantt chart representation as a customizable PDF file. You can email this, or publish it on a corporate intranet. You can also export DSO/Upstream data to MS-Excel, and integrate it with external databases, using a connector provided by Actenum.

What reporting capability does DSO/Upstream provide?

DSO/Upstream enables you to build custom reports for specific requirements, and supports the use of other common reporting tools, such as Spotfire and Business Objects. As well, data may be exported to other applications, such as MS-Project and MS-Excel, for reporting purposes.

How is DSO/Upstream deployed?

DSO/Upstream is usually deployed as a standalone application on a user’s workstation.

The DSO/Upstream schedule database may be installed locally or on a server where it is accessible by other users, using Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. DSO/Upstream may also be deployed as a cloud-based application, and may be implemented in Citrix environments.

How do I get started with DSO/Upstream?

Prior to deployment, Actenum typically conducts a two day Configuration/Integration (CI) Workshop with you to determine specific configuration and customization requirements that you may have, as well as to explore integration with external applications for data import and export purposes.

Following the CI Workshop, Actenum then prepares DSO/Upstream for initial use, and deploys the software to users. During the initial use period, Actenum works with you to ensure that your data is imported successfully, and to conduct user and administrator training.

What training is needed to use DSO/Upstream?

Getting started with DSO/Upstream is intuitive for most users who are familiar with other scheduling applications. Actenum provides an initial 2 day user training program at the time of initial software deployment. At the same time, a short training class for application administrators is usually scheduled.

How often are updates to DSO/Upstream released?

Usually there is one major DSO/Upstream release each year, providing new features and support for new operating systems and database platforms. Interim releases or patches are normally issued to address other issues as they arise.

Does Actenum provide technical support?

Technical support is available 7 days a week by telephone or email.

What hardware and software is needed to run DSO/Upstream?

Client Workstations

  • 2.5 GHz Pentium CPU
  • Minimum 8 GB RAM, 40+ GB hard drive
  • 100 Mb network connection to server
  • MS Windows 7/8/10 (64 bit preferred)

Database Server

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005,2008, 2012
  • Oracle 10G or higher

Contact us

General inquiries: info@actenum.com
Product support: support@actenum.com


Actenum Corporation
2700 Post Oak Boulevard
Galleria Tower 1, Suite 21
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: +1.832.481.7045


Actenum Corporation
2015 Main Street
Vancouver BC V5T 3C2
Telephone: +1.604.681.1262