This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Judy Feder, contains highlights of paper SPE 203461, “Digitalization in the Oil and Gas Industry—A Case Study of a Fully Smart Field in the United Arab Emirates,” by Muhammad Arif and Abdulla Mohammed Al Senani, ADNOC, prepared for the 2020 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, held virtually from 9–12 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

One of the first oil fields in the UAE to be fully operated remotely is in the southeast region, 250 km from Abu Dhabi. The complete paper discusses the development and commissioning of the field, which is the first smart field for ADNOC Onshore. The designed and applied technology facilitated unmanned operation of the field from downhole to export.


Oilfield digitalization encompasses gathering real-time and non-real-time data from wells, flow lines, manifolds, stations, and water injection facilities; analysis of the data using algorithms, flowcharts, plots, and reports; and user access to this data on user-friendly screens. This allows engineers to focus on interpretation of data vs. searching, organizing, and formatting the data. In the bigger picture, the data collected will lead to conclusions and set bases for important decisions for similar projects in the future, enabling a lesson-learning approach to design new oil fields.

The accumulated theoretical and practical research results of smart-field implementation require analysis and synthesis to maintain perspective of the entire project. Both were applied in the Mender field, which is the subject of the complete paper.

Problem Statement

The Mender parent field has been producing since 2013 with minimal digitalization for wellheads. Wells are not fit-ted with remote sensors, and operators have been visiting the wells to collect data using analog gauges. Collected data are stored in computers or as hard copies. Some critical data is lost, which affects decision-making.

The new Mender field is 50 km from the parent field and is in a sensitive area close to international borders. The field area is a wildlife reserve for various endangered animals. The nature of operations is highly critical because of concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) that could jeopardize employees’ health and safety.

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