We have Petrel which is used to produce a surface of a geological horizon below the earth's surface. In Petrel we have contours (vectors) and a raster image of the same area, also visualising elevation of the surface.

Has anyone got any experience in ways to convert this vector dataset and raster dataset in Petrel to a format suitable for ArcGIS?

A previous employee sent it to Petrosys from Petrel, which could then output shapefiles of the contours and a .BIL raster, which I can display in Arc.

This, however, is something no current employee has experience with. FME does not handle the regular Petrel output file types of

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The Petrosys plug-in for Petrel is able to directly export vector data including contours and fault information into a variety of GIS formats through the spatial data translator. One easy workflow is to create a quick map of the Petrel model surface and faults directly from Petrel project, right click on them and elect to export. The export support outputs in different coordinate reference systems (CRS) and can be applied to other vector data (such as seismic lines).

See: http://www.petrosys.com.au/products-services/direct-connectivity/petrosys-plug-in-for-petrel/


According to your question there is one tool called "frog tech tool". It will convert your data to ArcGIS format

Click for more details on ESRI forum link

frog tech tool for ArcGIS Desktop (not sure for version 10.0)


  • the last link is frog tech's snapshot tool. the link to the forum has a link to frogtech in the last post. this, however, is now broken. i don't know where the tool is they speak of, i'll keep looking. – ndthl Feb 13 '13 at 11:16
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    Thanks for the reply..I am also researching on my side..If you have global mapper software then try on that also..here are few network restrictions I cant download..I will check this @ home.. – Sunil Feb 13 '13 at 11:18
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    I've been in touch with Phil Henley from Frog Tech who advised that their Section Sketch software can do the .zmap to .img raster conversion, no need to worry about the old Frog Tech toolbox. I did, however, get an Arc 9.3 install up this morning and used the old toolbox successfully to do the conversion. What's left, however, is to find a converter for Petrel's contours so Arc can understand them. – ndthl Feb 14 '13 at 2:02
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    Another useful converter he mentioned was oasis-montaj-viewerhttp://www.geosoft.com/support/downloads/viewers/oasis-montaj-viewer – ndthl Feb 14 '13 at 3:05

You could take a look at Exprodat's Data Assistant software:

It supports CPS-3 and Zmap, both raster and vector formats. So it should support the import (to ArcGIS) of contours that you are looking for.

It also allows you to export and import various culture, interpretation, seismic and well data formats to and from ArcGIS, notably for Petrel, Landmark and KINGDOM.


We are working with PETREL and QGIS.

I managed to load PETREL surfaces, that our Geoscientists exported as Shape files, into QGIS using OGR VRT files:

<!-- surface.ovf -->
      <OGRVRTLayer name="surface">
            <SrcDataSource relativeToVRT="1">surface.shp</SrcDataSource>
            <SrcSQL dialect="SQLITE">
            SELECT CAST(ROUND(X(geometry),2) AS REAL) as x, CAST(ROUND(Y(geometry),2) AS REAL) as y, CAST(COALESCE(Z(geometry), -9999) AS REAL) as z FROM surface
            ORDER BY y,x
            <Field name="x" type="REAL"/>
            <Field name="y" type="REAL"/>
            <Field name="z" type="REAL"/>

which I convert to CSV:

ogr2ogr -of CSV surface.csv surface.ovf

and afterwards to compressed TIF, using the lossless DEFLATE method:

gdal_translate -a_srs EPSG:31255 -a_nodata -9999 surface.csv surface.tif --config GDAL_CACHEMAX 1024 -co NUM_THREADS=ALL_CPUS -co COMPRESS=DEFLATE -co ZLEVEL=9 -co PREDICTOR=2 -co TILED=YES

The key to success is: you have to order the points in your source SHP by Y and X. Otherwise you get an error.

If you only need the contours in ArcGIS you could export it from PETREL into Shape format and load it via OGR VRT as 2D lines with an "elev" attribute:

        <OGRVRTLayer name="contours">
            <SrcDataSource relativeToVRT="1">contours.shp</SrcDataSource>
            <SrcSQL dialect="SQLITE">SELECT CastToXY(geometry), cast(st_z(st_startpoint(geometry)) as integer) as elev FROM contours</SrcSQL>

Take care of entering the right EPSG code into your files (EPSG:31255 might not be your choice).

BTW: we are really happy with QGIS and PETREL. We are streaming our horizon/reservoir maps with QGIS Server WMS into PETREL, so that the editor can immediately see the results in PETREL. And we save a lot of $$$$ as well :-)

  • OOps ... seems like we have a newer release of PETREL that can export surfaces into Point Shape files. But it shouldn't be a big deal to convert one of the ASCII grid files into a XYZ ASCII grid. – christoph Mar 21 '20 at 15:41

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