In the O&G industry the nature of well and reservoir operations are slowly, but relentlessly changing. The traditional operations sequence of events is to drill, complete, and then flow wells to production at a "reasonable rate," and the process will yield what Mother Nature delivers.

This is what we refer to "harvest mode." The problem with this approach is that the production is invariably sub-optimal, resulting in lost revenue for the field operator and potentially damaging the reservoir.

Tools exist to look at the operation as an integrated process whereby the reservoir, well, and the entire surface facilities are modeled/monitored to optimize production from each well and the field/reservoir as a whole. This is what we refer to "process mode."

Traditionally operators endeavor to minimize reservoir damage and maximize production by performing infrequent, manual production tests, and occasional in-well pressure tests, to determine optimal well conditions. Ironically when instrumentation/automation is added to an oil or gas well it is almost always for safety or operational reasons. For example the use of rod pump controllers so that pumps are not damaged when they run dry, or to control the pump to minimize energy consumption when the pump is not filling completely. Automation, in the form of instrumentation and control systems, is rarely installed on a well to optimize the production of the well.

This paper will discuss underlying problems, experiences and plans that operators and service companies have in this area of production operations. The key to moving to aforementioned "process" mode is to properly monitor and or measure the production from the wells. Some operators developed simple pressure and pressure drop monitoring system to help detect when well tests must be re-run, as opposed to routine testing. Many other operators have used Individual Well Monitoring or Individual Well Testing. Finally, in one case an operator is looking at using well monitoring and updating the surface and reservoir models to continuously optimize the overall operation.

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