November 2016 
StratoChem Resolution Suite 

Ten years ago, we started building our analytical database system and a few software programs for internal use. As we improved the software based on suggestions from our scientific team, it became stronger and stronger until in 2016, we decided it was time to share it with the world, allowing scientists to interpret data easily, quickly, accurately, and inexpensively.

The Resolution  software suite offers users an unparalleled capacity to interpret, correlate and analyze large amounts of data. Resolution includes seven different individual software programs, each built to generate geochemical solutions through more efficient data management.

ORFA , kinetics software created in collaboration with Dr. Douglas Waples, is designed to provide accurate fits to pyrolysis curves, allow variation in spacing of activation energy values, predict gas-oil ratios, deliver distinct kinetics for oil and gas generation as desired, and more.

If your team is dealing with a compartmentalized reservoir or running a commingled production well, StratoChem now offers Resolve , a program designed to analyze and assess your reservoir production efficiency through automated correlations between samples, reservoir continuity assessment, allocation of commingled production for up to 8 zones, and comparisons between samples to better pinpoint oil families.   

OilPrints and OilView together process, check, and display gas chromatograms to identify and describe characteristic peaks from any type of gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry instrument. Once peaks are generated the necessary geochemical data has been extracted, our software HORUS has over 70 built-in plots to help you better and more accurately interpret results.

Hand-in-hand with HORUS, StratoChem offers the mapping software Sweet Spot , providing users with the freedom to map plot ratios, sample parameters, and wells on a global scale.

The StratoChem logging software Payzone seamlessly displays well logs with different depths and various lithological patterns, while also incorporating Rockwash images with corresponding depths. With Payzone, users are able to import .LAS files and generate geochemical logs effectively.

Resolution provides you with a complete set of software to help you create visual deliverables quickly and accurately for your team. Constantly under regular updates, Resolution has already generated interest among some of the most respected companies in the industry. Check our website for more information on Resolution, and contact us to set up a free trial.

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BP orders more umbiliclicals from Nexans for West Nile Delta offshore Egypt

Mesopotamia Part II: From Sumeria to Islam
by Hunter Eden
This Enkidu was innocent of mankind.
He knew not the cultivated land.
Enkidu was in the hills with the gazelles--
They jostled each other.
With all the herds
He too loved the water-hole.
Thus the Epic of Gilgamesh, the first written story in human history, describes the wild man Enkidu, friend of King Gilgamesh of Uruk, who lived beyond the civilization Gilgamesh's Sumerian people built in the southernmost part of Mesopotamia.  For most of the 100,000 years since anatomically modern humanity appeared on the savannahs of Africa, we lived in small hunter-gatherer bands--a life not dissimilar from that which the Epic ascribes to Enkidu. Sometimes nomadic, sometimes settled in small villages, humanity depended purely on the natural resources immediately available: wild game, fruit, and those cereals which could be easily gathered.  During these tens of millennia, our ancestors spread across all the continents except Antarctica.

Enkidu, the mythical wild man who befriended Gilgamesh (photo by TangLung)

Then, about 11,000 years ago, a change occurred in the human approach to resource management that would forever alter the history of our planet: agriculture.  It was not an instantaneous event, but a slow transition culminating in the domestication of the so-called Neolithic founder crops: barley, peas, wheat, emmer, bitter vetch, flax, lentils, and chickpeas. These crops first appeared in the region we now call the Fertile Crescent.
In the past, the agricultural revolution was viewed as a noble sign of human advancement.  Agricultural civilizations were clearly "superior" to non-agricultural hunter-gatherers and pastoralists.  Modern anthropology disputes this.  Noting that early farmers' remains showed significantly poorer health than those of hunter-gatherers, archaeologist Lewis Binford of Southern Methodist University proposed that agriculture was a last-ditch effort to prevent mass starvation. Physically grueling, the life of a farmer required much more time and entailed much worse conditions than that of a hunter-gatherer, who could afford to work less than fifteen hours a week.  Lack of food, not human advancement, spurred the adoption of agriculture and everything that followed.
Agriculture--and the civilizations it produced--developed in multiple regions at different times, but the first large-scale, permanent settlements were undoubtedly those of Sumeria.  In about 4000 BC, Sumerian cities centered around religious institutions first appeared.  These were small by modern standards, holding 10,000 or fewer residents, but ultimately giving way to complex hierarchical societies based on the rule of hereditary kings like the mythological Gilgamesh.

A tablet with part of the Epic of Gilgamesh written in cuneiform (photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP)

We know something of the culture of Sumer from the archaeological evidence found in cities like Uruk, but also from another invention as revolutionary as agriculture: writing.  Sumerian Cuneiform, with its distinctive jagged letters, was used for thousands of years in the region, recording information about the stories the Sumerians (and later groups) told, the gods they worshiped, including such figures as the fertility goddess Inana, the sky god An, and Enki, a generous god of freshwater like the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates that sustained all Mesopotamian civilizations to come.
The language spoken by the Sumerians has no living relatives, but about 2000 years after the rise of the Sumerian city-states, the Akkadians, a Semitic-speaking people (from the language family including Hebrew, Arabic, Ethiopian Amharic, and Aramaic), settled in the southern part of Mesopotamia, intermingling with the Sumerians.  From this point on, as Sumerian civilization came to be eclipsed by that of Babylon, a city-state in the Euphrates delta north of the Sumerian heartland.
Due to the influence of Christian and Jewish writers, "Babylon" has come to be seen as a symbol of evil and idolatry, but the society that first came to prominence under the rule of King Hammurabi (d. 1750 BC) was one founded upon the first known code of written laws, said to be given to the king by the sun god Shamash.  Draconian by our standards, Hammurabi's severe code nonetheless helped to order a growing society in a chaotic world of warfare and potential famine.  Babylon, like Sumeria before it, was intimately connected to the rich Mesopotamian land that made its civilization possible, a fact reflected frequently in Hammurabi's Code.

Hammurabi receives his code of laws from the sun god Shamash.

If a man rent his field to a tenant for crop-rent and receive the crop-rent of his field and later Adad [the Babylonian god of storms] inundate the field and carry away the produce, the loss falls on the tenant.
If a man neglect to strengthen his dyke and do not strengthen it, and a break be made in his dyke and the water carry away the farm-land, the man in whose dyke the break has been made shall restore the grain which he has damaged.
If the gardener do not plant the whole field, but leave a space waste, they shall assign the waste space to his portion.
                                                                             (Translated by Robert Francis Harper, 1904)
Keenly aware that the responsible use of arable land and management of the flooding of the Euphrates was key to the survival of Babylon, Hammurabi sought to control human relations not merely with other humans, but to the land itself and the twin rivers that made Mesopotamian civilization possible. 
Babylon saw numerous conquests by other local empires: the Hittites, Assyrians, and native Babylonians all fought for control and influence over the valuable farmlands of the region.  But in 539 BC, Mesopotamia came under the dominion of a new empire, Persia, which dominated the region by striking at its great weakness: the river environment that gave Babylon life.
The Persian Shahanshah ("King of Kings") Cyrus the Great conquered Mesopotamia when it was under the rule of the Chaldeans, a later Babylonian people who had fortified the city's walls until legend said they were impregnable.  Only the sluices on the Euphrates and city gates admitted entry, and the sluices had metal grates to prevent entry by boat.  So Cyrus diverted the river, his armies entering the city by boat on much lower waters.  Babylon--and Mesopotamia as a whole--belonged to the Persian Empire, a victim less of force of arms than the very geography that allowed Babylon prominence in the first place.

A bas relief depicting Cyrus the Great with divine characteristics (photo by Siamax).

Cyrus ruled justly, allowing his subjects to worship as they saw fit, and sending displaced tribes like the Hebrews back to their homelands.  Cyrus's Achaemenid dynasty established a long and enduring relationship between Mesopotamia and the Iranian cultures to the east--a complicated relationship that persists to this day.  Another introduction by the Persians was the first world's first widely followed monotheistic religion: Zoroastrianism.  Zoroastrians, unlike the polytheistic cultures that came before them, worship only one god, Ahura Mazda.  Ahura Mazda, a highly abstract deity representing ultimate good, is opposed by Ahriman, the embodiment of all evil.  With its vivid opposition between good and evil and its belief in a final battle between the forces of darkness and light, Zoroastrianism came to influence the later beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The conquests of Alexander the Great brought turmoil to the region, unseating the Achaemenid Persians.  Upon his death in Babylon in 323 BC, Mesopotamia was given to his general, Seleucus, but less than a century later the region had returned to Persian hands, this time under the Parthians, skilled horsemen who presided for 400 years over an empire that mixed Greek and Iranian influence.

Parthian art shows both Greek and Persian influence.

With the rise of the Sassanids in the 200s BC, the Persian dominance of Mesopotamia continued, though now the region had begun to look west, engaging in multiple wars with the Romans.  By the early 600s, the Sassanids dominated an empire stretching from western India to Egypt, and left an enduring mark on the culture of Mesopotamia.  But a new idea was about to change the entire region: Islam.
In our next issue of the White Paper we will conclude our examination of Mesopotamia and the unique cultures it fostered with a look at the region from the dawn of Islam to the modern day.