The automation of the high-production Ramos gas field, located in the northern region of Argentina, has enhanced field production and well safety and also improved operations by centralizing control of the gas production. A field supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) computer located in a gas treatment plant automates the gas production throughout the field by means of a radio telemetry link to a well control unit (WCU) that is located at each automated well site. From the plant, operations personnel can change the production rate or monitor production variables at any wellsite, view real-time or historical trends of those variables, or change alarm setpoints in a WCU from graphical screens on a computer console. The computer archives the production data onto a hard disk for further processing and analysis.

A solar-powered WCU located at each site controls well production by means of an electrically activated choke mounted on the wellhead. The WCU, a microprocessor-based controller, monitors operating pressures, temperatures and tank levels, and it ensures well and flow-line safety by controlling the operation of the surface safety valve (SSV) and the sub-surface safety valve (SSSV).

Currently, the automation system involves nine wells. Early in 2000, three additional wells will be automated.

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