This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 123147, "Anomaly-Driven Engineering Empowered by a Central Surveillance Center," by J.M. Brutz, SPE, Shell, prepared for the 2009 SPE Digital Energy Conference and Exhibition, Houston, 7–8 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

A central surveillance center, designed to conduct routine surveillance on reservoirs, wells, facilities, and subsea systems, has been installed. Surveillance engineers, control-room operators (CROs), and information-technology (IT) analysts staff the center. Centralizing routine surveillance enables cross-asset sharing of top surveillance techniques and develops staff's surveillance competence, and it allows asset-focused engineers to ensure project delivery.


Incorporating a central surveillance center enables dividing labor and accountability among staff by the event's time criticality. Events requiring reaction in minutes to seconds remain the responsibility of offshore-operations personnel who work 24 hr/D to maintain asset integrity and production stability. These operations use an independent alarm set that is focused on the need for immediate action.

Asset-focused surveillance engineers are responsible for long-term (i.e., months-to-years) production optimization, asset integrity, and project delivery. These engineers are accountable for the asset's production and integrity, and they set the operating envelope for asset equipment on the basis of models, simulations, and asset-specific knowledge. The asset-focused engineers own the asset's projects and work to ensure timely delivery.

The central surveillance center's staff bridges the surveillance gap between operations and asset-focused engineers, focusing on production optimization and asset-integrity events that are critical in the days-to-weeks time frame. The center's staff focuses on this portion of routine surveillance as their sole responsibility. Each service represents a logical collection of surveillance activities that can be conducted without being asset-specific knowledge. The services are supported by documented standard operating procedures (SOPs) and service information packages. These two documents contain all information necessary to conduct routine surveillance service.

The center's staff is enabled to conduct multiple-asset and multidiscipline-engineering surveillance by use of an exception-based-surveillance (EBS) tool kit. The EBS tool kit comprises an advanced alarm tool, an automated workflow tool, and a knowledge repository.


The business process for EBS work within the central surveillance center begins with an event that triggers an alarm by the advanced alarm tool. The CROs analyze the event by use of diagnostic tools and by collaborating with the asset. The CROs turn actionable events into surveillance services. The CROs describe the event and provide an operational context about why the event occurred and the recommended course of action to remedy the event or to prevent the event from occurring again. The CROs upload analysis information, including annotated trends of real-time data, into an electronic service folder embedded within the auto-mated workflow tool to support their recommendation. The CRO passes the electronic service folder to the surveillance engineer through the automated workflow tool.

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