This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper OTC 24078, ’Smart Fields Management in Deepwater Field: Experience and Perspectives,’ by Emmanuel Udofia, SPE, Olatunbosun Oni, Abdul Samad Chaker, and Ogbole Oghedegbe, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, prepared for the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 6-9 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

Smart Fields, Shell’s version of the digital oil field, aims to provide an operating field with the capabilities to optimize production in the short term and maximize lifecycle value in the long term. This paper describes field experiences and perspectives on a Smart Fields implementation for the Bonga deepwater field and uses the results of a post-implementation study to evaluate the business effects and lessons learned after 5 years.


The digital-oilfield process involves continuous production optimization of an asset or group of assets through integration of people, tools, and process.

Shell’s version of the digital-oilfield process is called Smart Fields. Smart Fields began with the installation and monitoring of control systems in wells. This has expanded to cover field management and has been formulated as a value loop, as shown in Fig. 1.

The value-loop concept describes how the respective components that make up the Smart Fields (technology, people, and process) are linked to meet business objectives. In the production and operation phase, Smart Fields covers diverse solutions. However, the standard solution comes in the form of the Smart Fields Foundation Mark 1, which forms the building blocks for smartness of the field for real-time well monitoring and optimization, data acquisition and model- based optimization, virtual metering, production allocation, and integrated-production-system modeling (IPSM).

The standard Smart Fields Foundation Mark 1 architecture (Fig. 2) gives a clear description of the structure that makes up this system. The architecture is divided into the process and office domains with the data-acquisition-and-control architecture (DACA), which is the cybersecurity system that provides the secure link between office and the field. Customized work flows guide the staff with the proper steps in executing the process and collaboration at the right moment and thereby assist the assets in obtaining the overall benefit of Smart Fields deployment.

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