Intelligent digital oilfield (iDOF) operations include the transfer, monitoring, visualization, analysis, and interpretation of realtime data. Enabling this process requires a significant investment in surface, subsurface, and well instrumentation and a sophisticated infrastructure for data transmission and visualization. This upgraded system can then transfer massive quantities of data. Automated intelligent workflows, referred to here as "smart flows", convert this raw data into real information at the right time.

To increase efficiency and decrease downtime in operations, oil companies have invested heavily in digital oilfield infrastructure. An important part of the puzzle is transferring data from the wellsite to the office in real time and using that data to optimize production systems. The challenge is to extract real-time information from raw data at the right time to affect the management of the fields, which is the primary goal.

North Kuwait’s Sabriyah field is operated using an intelligent digital oilfield operation by a major Middle Eastern oil company. Part of the intelligent digital oilfield project is a smart flow dedicated to monitoring, diagnostics, and optimization of gas lift (GL) wells. Leading-edge technologies—such as subsurface equipment and sensors, advanced diagnostics based on artificial intelligent agents, analysis of sensors signals, and automatically identifying GL optimum operating-conditions—are used to accomplish this goal.

Using a steady-state nodal-analysis model combined with an artificial intelligent technique, the smart flow is designed to provide rapid diagnostics and optimization in real time, generating actions, such as decreasing and increasing the gas lift injection rate and choke setting. The ultimate benefit is timely detection of those signals that foretell unexpected well downtime or equipment failure. The paper describes the main functionalities of the GL smart flow as a powerful optimization tool capable of providing an interactive monitoring system to assist the company in managing its GL-operated wells.

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