The prevailing business environments aimed at replacing existing oil reserves and achieving profitable production levels has become tough for most upstream oil and gas companies. A good number of them have fallen back on their existing asset base while others are making a notable investment to improve production and recovery of their oil fields. Companies with big enough assets only need a small improvement on expected recovery which will lead millions of barrels being added to their reserve base. If successful, such efforts can increase recovery and overall returns.
Since the amount of hydrocarbons in any given oil field are limited, it is important to regularly and vigilantly check on the assets at hand. This requires proper decision-making process in factoring out and addressing possible causes of threats in production and recovery of oil fields life-cycle.
One of the widely used ways is Digital Oil Fields (DOF), which looks at optimal production and recovery. DOF involves collaborations, improved information management, streamlined workflows, and using the right tools. What a DOF project needs is a strong framing methodology to get the best value. Technology and data will fuel oil management in the next few decades.
Most upstream companies use the traditional departmental/discipline silos such as petroleum engineering, subsurface, and operations, all of which have inadequate and ad-hoc relations between them. What these organizations need is a shift to asset-based management. These traditional departments pose a cultural, information and process challenge that affects the quality and speed of decision making. They look at specific production parts from a departmental perspective instead of an integrated production perspective.
Suppose we have an oil field with a high production well showing high water-cut. This means that production from the given well will be reduced. If decisions are to be permitted on departmental goals, there will be a lot of complications since some solutions will be availed for the same problem. What it means is that short-term decisions needed to avoid production loss will take longer hence a significant loss. This is because different disciplines will take longer to develop accurate information about the problem.
When an organization does not have sophisticated equipment and tools, it becomes hard to identify right and long-term economic decision as well as the recovery effects of financial decisions. This can lead to a high-cost solution, deferred high productivity, or suboptimal recovery.
DOF enhances efficient and structural collaborations between different departments, as well as well specified and streamline workflows. Moreover, it helps in coming up with standard tools for decision support and visualization systems. DOF helps in data management by enhancing quality, relevant and real-time data that is easily accessible. What organizations need is the right DOF strategy that aligns well with their scope, opportunities, and capabilities.
DOF uses technology-based solutions to manage limited oil assets having processes and tool for data management across the entire organization. What DOF does is allowing a company to have more data from the whole oil and gas value chain in real time or near real time with improved frequency. This ensures optimal well, reservoir, and facility performance. Since these technologies can have negative impacts on the efficiency of human capital, it is crucial to monitor and plan well on how and wherein an organization they will be introduced.
4-D Visualization and Modelling
This enabled tracking of fluid movements using repeated 3-D seismic surveys which can be a useful source of redirecting improved recovery mechanisms and production.
Remote Real-Time Facility Monitoring and Control is among such DOF technologies. This involves off-site facility process control of systems via systems control and data analysis (SCADA) networking. The data is then transferred to onshore control rooms. This makes it easy to set point control, the capture of field data and pump/valve manipulation.
Real-Time Production Surveillance
Here, advanced alarm systems are used to start analysis the integrity of a production trend for enhanced predetermined capacity levels.
Real-Time Drilling involves integration and collection of drilling data in real-time. Aspects such as circulation solids, down-hole pressure recorded using measurement-while-drilling (MWD), RPM, and remotely steerable down-hole tools help in getting more data for oil fields levels management.
Other DOF technologies include
- Intelligent Wells
- Production Volume Management Analysis
- Remote Communications Technology
- Workflow and Knowledge Management Systems
Integrated Asset Models
Companies have reported up to 25% improved net present value by using DOF-related technologies. Digital oil field helps identify opportunities, especially those that need direct determent, and automates data updates and reports avoiding routine data collection and analysis from a limited engineering talent.