Thony Brito Cardier, regional sales manager, Digital Oilfields, Middle East, Rockwell Automation talks about how digital oilfields are developing and how Rockwell is adapting to the shifting landscape
What will oilfields of the future look like and how will Rockwell systems adapt to meet them?
End users have realised benefits of digital oilfield projects over the last few years in a number of areas ranging from reduced maintenance costs, optimised production costs, increased personnel and asset safety, and improved network security. This has been achieved by implementing sensing and remote monitoring and control systems in field facilities, powerful telecommunication backbones, SCADA software suites and video surveillance; however, the convergence of OT and IT and the development of processing capabilities in controllers for remote facilities, analytics and workflow software allow greater use of these technologies.
Working within an IIoT framework, suppliers of solutions and equipment for digital oilfield projects will continue the push to deploy intelligent assets.
At Rockwell Automation, we have the Optilift systems family, which provides solutions that utilise this technology in the operation of natural flowing wells and those operated with artificial lift systems, Well Test Control and Net Oil computation and Virtual Flow calculation for wellheads or well-pads. The intelligent application of this technology has been built on expertise gained by Rockwell Automation from working with many petroleum companies around the world and by the acquisition of market leading technology from vMonitor and ICS Triplex integrated into world-renowned AllenBradley controls technology.
How is digital technology developing?
Over the last few years the industry has realised that to be successful in the implementation of a Digital Oilfield project, it not only needs pervasive application of technology but also requires organisational alignment, change management plans to adapt the organisation to the new practices and ultimately strong commitment and a clear vision from the leadership about the goals of the program. At the end, it is a holistic process that affects all the organisation.
The benefits of the Digital Oilfield, Intelligent Fields or Integrated Operations as some other people called them, have been documented in a number of papers and works from entities ranging from operators, O&G services companies, industrial automation manufacturers to industry consultants; the main benefits of it have been identified in terms of increased production (averages in the range of 3 per cent to 8 per cent) by optimising well modelling, artificial lift systems performance, real time monitoring, remote control of facilities; increased recovery by applying advanced sub-surface monitoring and modelling tool; optimised drilling and well completions by applying advanced surveillance to the drilling process and rig control systems, by implementing intelligent wells to manage multiple production zones in a well without the need of rig intervention; cost reductions of up to 15 per cent in areas such as maintenance and operations by implementing automated predictive alarming and automated workflows; reduction of HSE exposure by rationalising the human resources used in the field and even monitoring their vital signs when deployed and assisting their work with remove video surveillance and personal communications, integrating asset safety systems within the surveillance networks and embedding network security as part of the DOF deployments has added numerous benefits to company operations.
Gulf operators have accelerated their initiatives during the last five years on a gradual manner. The main drive has been to deploy remote monitoring and control systems in many cases and in some particular cases the projects have been complemented using integration of real time data bases with advanced petroleum engineering optimisation tools.
What is Rockwell doing in regards to digital oilfields in the Middle East?
There’s no doubt that oil and gas will continue to have an important role to play, but it’s also clear that with new fracking methods, ever more stringent regulatory frameworks, and global commitments to more sustainable sources of energy, the Middle East’s traditional resource providers in oil and gas are under more pressure than ever before.
This has all led to a change in focus for oil and gas producers who are looking less towards investment in expansion and operational growth and turning instead to improving efficiency through optimisation.
The opportunities for improving existing plant in the data-driven age are extensive. The tools at the disposal of the most forward looking companies include, for example, process surveillance technologies, data analysis engines and applications, and workflow optimisation techniques.