5 key ways digital oilfield technology is crucial to recovery

Oil and gas companies are increasingly turning to digital oilfield technology as the key to weathering the current oil price environment and allowing them to emerge with more efficient, streamlined operations.

BP recently announced at OTC that using big data could help the organisation pump another 85 600 barrels.

The following represent 5 key ways that operators are looking to harness big data and the digital oilfield to maximise their production and have safe, efficient operations.

1) Reliability and Maintenance - effectively monitoring the condition of equipment means operators are increasingly able to predict when it likely to fail, leading to more efficient maintenance scheduling and less unplanned shutdowns. BP claimed that using big data to monitor the health of its production equipment could cut down on unplanned downtime and boost output by 10%, resulting in 214 000 extra barrels of oil per year.

2) Production Optimisation - real-time production surveillance provides engineers with an understanding of how the field is performing. Automation in onshore means operators are able to view the entire field allowing them to make short-term changes which optimise the flow of oil from the reservoir.

3) Field development - Reservoir surveillance allows reservoir engineers to understand the behaviour of the reservoir as well as modelling certain scenarios using simulation software. This allows them to create long-term forecasting and to plan the placement of future wells or plan effective IOR and EOR strategies.

4) Collaboration - Real-time operations centres can allow effective collaboration between separate disciplines. Traditional engineering silos are broken down by allowing reservoir, production, completions and operations engineers are able to sit side by side and share their expertise, allowing more holistic life of field management. This is also facilitated by collaboration and knowledge management software, which can centralise and store all data and information relating to the field, meaning the right people have access to it at all times and are able to view a complete history of the life of the field.

5) Safety - mostly importantly of all, the digital oilfield can drastically improve safety in oil fields. By monitoring equipment in real-time, operators can be alerted in advance when a leak or event which may compromise the integrity of an asset is likely to occur and allow them to take action to prevent it. In the case of offshore production, real-time operations centres can reduce the headcount of staff needed on the rig, allowing them to monitor production from onshore.


Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

Published on 18/05/2015


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