Technical Paper: Automated Production Surveillance

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 96645
Presentation Date: 2006
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"Real time" is the new buzz in the upstream petroleum industry. So far, operators at the lease location have been the main users of real-time data measured at second or minute increments to manage wells and keep them on production. Engineers usually see only a subset of the data—the daily production volumes and rates, along with a few selected gauge-pressure and temperature readings. The engineers’ access to limited data means that they typically see only the result—the production volumes—and not the high-frequency data that may be the reason for a certain production parameter (e.g., choke size, pressures, and temperatures).

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is the system that connects to the production facilities’ controllers and data sources and collects the measured data and stores them in a database. Operators on the platform have direct access to these data and use this information to control the wells and the process equipment. If the engineers see these data at all, they usually get them through a Web-browser interface and in a format they cannot directly use for their analysis.

This paper will introduce a new concept of integrating high-frequency real-time data to the oil company’s business office, making those data available to engineering staff and operations management, including up to the senior management level. Each level of the organization sees as much of the high-frequency data as it needs or wants to see. The engineers and management have exactly the same view as the operators at the platform and at the same time. This might seem to be a problem at first, but in the long term, it is an empowerment of the operators and brings engineers and operators closer together by working as a team to manage the wells. The data also allow management to monitor the oil and gas production leaving the platform to see if the target business plan volumes are reached or if a well is shut in.

This paper will give insights on how the access to high-frequency data changed the way of doing the daily work and how it changed the way operators work together with engineers. (Note: All values in the figures within this paper are manipulated and do not necessarily represent reality).

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