The Wellsite of the Future, Today: Solutions for Cost and Complexity

by | Oct 13, 2021 | Measurement Instrumentation, Oil & Gas

Brandon Bromberek

Vice President Oil & Gas, Measurement Solutions

An image from the oil industry of two engineers using a computer at a pumpjack.

In the next installment of our series on the wellsite of the future, we will cover how costs and complexities can be mitigated by adopting the appropriate technologies and instrumentation. Complex conditions at the oilfield require the right solutions to continuously improve efficiencies and minimize expenditures as producers tackle more and more challenging reservoirs. Fortunately, the emergence of fit-for-purpose technologies have provided operators with more options to find solutions able to withstand the demanding and harsh conditions in oil and gas today. From large-scale software platforms that drive big picture optimization to physical devices that have been specially designed to reduce the need for spare parts and frequent maintenance, there are so many ways to enhance and expand profitability at the modern oilfield today.

 

Saving on the Personnel Side

Labor costs are one of the top lines of an operator’s P&L. When personnel can be trained more efficiently and spend their time on more value-added tasks, your bottom line will benefit. Digital transformation of the modern oilfield means being able to fully capitalize on your experienced workforce for more complex tasks without the need to constantly add additional personnel as your operation grows. This shift in logic helps balance your overall workforce needs and establishes consistency so you can pursue optimum production whether you are in a period of rapid growth or experiencing a period of reduced activity (that we all know will strike here and again in the oil patch!)

Automation technologies and remote connectivity significantly cut down on time spent driving to and from the well site. Diagnostic capabilities in measurement devices like in-situ Smart Meter Verification for flow meters and automated tank gauging systems ensure your operators aren’t wasting time physically performing equipment checks to verify calibration and prove accuracy. Cutting-edge instrumentation has been designed with the challenges of modern oilfields in mind to better withstand harsh conditions, reducing the need for frequent maintenance trips and replacement parts.

Standardization for Streamlined Production

Swapping out legacy equipment with solutions that are adaptable for the long term creates more opportunities for cost savings. With future-proofed solutions, producers can be more comfortable investing in standardized assets across the field. By doing so, you remove a level of complexity that could be holding back your ability to optimize and innovate. For example, utilizing a single advanced flow metering solution across the well site versus choosing different meters for various applications is one way to streamline your production.

Consider this case:  if you have a test separator, traditional “cost saving” methodology may prompt you to use a magnetic flow meter on your water leg, employ a Differential Pressure meter to measure gas, and save the Coriolis flow meter for measuring oil. This may seem like an effective way to limit costs, but if you need to keep spare parts and replacement meters on hand for each type of meter you use, costs multiply quickly. Add in the fact that your maintenance team needs training and experience for every type of flow meter you use in your operations, and you end up spending a lot more than you might realize—not to mention losing out on the insight that a Coriolis meter can provide, such as indication of two-phased flow/separator inefficiency.

Coriolis Flow Meters are incredibly reliable and rugged smart meters designed to manage every process application at the well site. If you were to depend on them for all your metering needs, operators only need to train on this technology. The need for multiple types of spare meters and parts goes away. Because this technology is built to last for the entire lifetime of your field, you’ll be able to set it and forget it, making your infrastructure easier to manage as well as more cost-efficient. And finally, wireless sensors mean all your Coriolis data is available remotely, in real-time, so you have all the insight you need into your entire production to make adjustments swiftly and maximize your output.

Less Space, Weight, and Infrastructure

At the wellsite, space is a big issue—and arguably even more so when operating offshore where weight becomes just as critical. Space-saving technology is critical to managing costs in these landscapes. Reduce the need for straight-run piping, flow conditioning, screens or filters by adopting measurement solutions that don’t require this extra hardware before or after the meter. Coriolis, and even Ultrasonic flow meters utilizing multiple measurement paths, decrease the infrastructure necessary to obtain accurate flow measurements because they do not require that straight length of piping upstream or downstream. They can function in a myriad of piping configurations and structures.

The latest multivariable transmitter solutions mean more data and insight with less instrumentation because you can tap into secondary measurements like temperature, density, and drive gain without any extra equipment.  WirelessHART technology now available on sensors and transmitters allows you to build a mesh network of readings without expensive, complicated hard-wired infrastructure.

These are a few of the ways sophisticated solutions on the market today are changing how gas and oil operators are managing costs and increasing profitability at the modern oilfield. In our next installment, we’ll be taking a deep dive into how these technologies are mitigating safety hazards and risk at the wellsite.

To learn more about our oil and gas solutions, please visit us at www.emerson.com/oilandgas.

 

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.