As has already happened with most other industries in the past decade, the use of workflows in the E&P industry has only recently become increasingly prevalent. However, the way workflows are used in actual production operations is fundamentally different from other industries. The benefits of workflow in the E&P industry can lead to increased production and lower operating costs, and better use of scarce manpower resources, as discussed in the paper.
For workflows to be used in the E&P industry there are many important dependencies that must already be in place, based on the life of the asset as well as its maturity level. These range from process automation, data sources, and integration amongst others. In order to implementation a workflow within E&P, the steps needed to create and validate the workflow, taking an example such as production surveillance is covered.
In many other industries, workflows to manage and improve data and activities through specific business, scientific, or engineering processes have been in use for many years, and only recently have come into increasing use within the E&P industry. In other industries however, workflows are used for the flow of activities and tasks that are more in the office domain, and had no direct connection to the actual operations for that particular industry. For example, order management workflows started with the receipt of an order from a customer, checking of the inventory and work in process (WIP), shipment date decision, credit check, shipping of the item and ending with receipt of payment. The closest such traditional workflows got to actual production operations, was perhaps when the check for WIP was done from production systems. Even then, there was nothing in the order workflow that could possibly have any impact on the production system.
In E&P Production operations however, workflows relate to data about the actual stages of production flow for the product, with decision making steps which can affect the actual production of the product itself. Such E&P workflows relate to the operations, technical and engineering aspects of production and tend to deal with large data quantities, from various data sources, different applications, often crossing departmental boundaries, and usually across large geographic boundaries.
These workflows generally involve core production activities that result from or incorporate the use of real time operational data from sensors that come into technical applications, involve people from various engineering disciplines, the actions of who can result in changes to operational control hardware settings that in turn can have an effect on the outcome of very same workflow. As with other workflows, E&P workflows also require a robust technical workflow orchestration platform for their running. Such orchestration platforms however are generally of a more complex nature, and have to be far more reliable and dependable as they work with the actual production operations.