This paper describes the efforts of Petrobras to design control strategies for artificial lift optimization. The work relies on several challenges starting with a process variable identification for each artificial lift method up to the implementation of control algorithms on wellhead. The target achieved is an artificial lift closed loop management.

Onshore and offshore cases will be presented showing the different sensibilities and importance that the same variable can represent depending on the artificial lift method and the well type completion. It will also be discussed an option of high level language tool to translate the experience of petroleum engineers into field algorithms.

Petrobras elected three values as the main target for fast loop design:

  • First, to develop tools to add operational flexibility and right time decision for the artificial lift methods. The objective is to assure the best economical production point for each well, even under flowrate change due to zone selectivity and secondary recovery management. Another focus is to enable real time analysis, fault diagnostic and permanent monitoring. Technologies behind these tools are based on heuristics and artificial intelligence.

  • Second, to develop a methodology that facilitates the translation of knowledge from a senior petroleum well analyst into field strategies. A photography of the oil industry professionals shows an advanced age profile. The expertise of those engineers applied in real time is one of the milestones to reach the profits that the Smart field development allows.

  • Third, field connectivity and data availability. The automation architecture is designed to be hardware and software independent. The objective is to assure data to reach the analyst with transparency of hardware and software implementation. Communication specifications represent the project data flow assurance. This communication directive is the key for integration between smart completion and artificial lift automation. The synchronized production data integrated with reservoir engineering analysis built Petrobras strategy for fast and slow loop management.

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