Many companies are actively seeking alternative ways to develop a new field and/ or extend the production of mature fields at lower cost during the current downturn in the oil and gas industry. Numbers of advanced technologies are considered to change the conventional way of developing fields such that Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operational Expenditure (OPEX) can be minimized. One area of improvement is flow metering. Having the ability to monitor individual well flow rates continuously allows the operator to optimize the production and maximize the uptime. Traditionally this has been achieved by installing a multiphase flow meter on each well. For some fields, this option is not feasible mainly due to the initial cost.
Combining the simplicities, robustness, and low cost, Virtual Flow Metering Systems (VFMS) address those needs to provide operators an alternative flow metering solution. VFMS have been known as an alternative low cost flow metering solution that is being implemented and the benefits realized in the global oil and gas industry. Notwithstanding the technology has been in operations for more than 20 years in some regions, mainly in subsea production system, the capabilities and dependencies of this technology remains unfamiliar to many, particularly in Asia Pacific region.
Case studies have been performed to assess the benefit of implementing VFMS at both subsea and surface production systems at different phases of field life. Potential saving on CAPEX is observed to be the highest when the flow metering solution has been considered since the early stage of engineering phase in green field subsea project (numbers of area for optimization is foreseen along with the estimated cost-saving). Implementation of a VFMS in brown field project can be done seamlessly and therefore eliminates the need of piping work and production shutdown.