Abstract

This paper describes the cash flow enhancement benefits of using automation software for gas production optimization. Efficiently monitoring well and facility operations, analyzing well performance, and accurately predicting problems with software optimization tools has resulted in significantly decreased failure rates and increased production per well.

The automation software allows producers to move from a reactive mode to a proactive mode. Wells become more stable, and analysts can spend more time fine tuning operations for maximum production rather than fixing emergencies. In short, the networked automation software system calls on computers and other devices to handle the manual and repetitive work of monitoring wells and facilities, as well as collecting and crunching numbers.

The optimization process goes beyond basic operations, but extends into production optimization involving well testing, facilities monitoring and alarming, production monitoring, and gas injection. The net effect is increased runtime and arrested decline curves, resulting in more reserves.

Introduction

The optimization software and automation principles discussed in this paper have been implemented in gas fields with as few as 10 wells to fields with well over 500 wells. These installations have been made in primary recovery fields to optimize both gas production and gas reservoir depletion. These systems have been installed in new fields with no automation in place and in mature fields that have been automated for over a decade. Over the history of all these installations, several of the resulting benefits have been documented from the implementation of these types of systems.

The paper describes the cash flow enhancement benefits of implementing a comprehensive production automation optimization system in the following different categories:

  • Increased Production

  • Reduced Operating Costs

  • Individual Well Management

  • Efficiency in Field Operations

  • Efficiency in Computer Operations and Automation

  • Conclusion

Increased Production
Fine-Tuning Wells As Well Behavior Changes.

The analytical features of the automation software system allow the user to make changes to the operational parameters of the wells. Changing the well testing schedule is an example of a parameter change that can be used to fine tune production. By monitoring the performance of the well on a daily basis, the operator can make changes to the well testing schedule that can increase gas production by shifting a high pressure, low volume well into a low pressure header to relieve back pressure on the wellhead, thereby increasing productivity.

Increased Runtime / Decreased Downtime.

The concept of managing wells by "exception" promotes the ability to keep downtime to a minimum in two ways. First, when a well does go down, the operator can be notified immediately - even if the operator is off the operating property. Second, these automation tools provide indications that a well may be heading toward a shut-in of one type or another. With the second case, the user can prevent downtime by correcting the factors that are leading the well into a potential shut-in condition rather than just react to it.

Early Detection Of Production-Robbing Problems.

Problems that reduce the production of a well can be seen through trends and displays of historical data. By examining the line pressure buildup of a gas well, a user of the system can identify problems, for example; poor compressor performance, liquid buildup in the line, hydrates in the system, deteriorating fail-closed valves, and malfunctioning relief valves or wellhead shut-in valves.

Fine-Tuning Wells As Well Behavior Changes.

The analytical features of the automation software system allow the user to make changes to the operational parameters of the wells. Changing the well testing schedule is an example of a parameter change that can be used to fine tune production. By monitoring the performance of the well on a daily basis, the operator can make changes to the well testing schedule that can increase gas production by shifting a high pressure, low volume well into a low pressure header to relieve back pressure on the wellhead, thereby increasing productivity.

Increased Runtime / Decreased Downtime.

The concept of managing wells by "exception" promotes the ability to keep downtime to a minimum in two ways. First, when a well does go down, the operator can be notified immediately - even if the operator is off the operating property. Second, these automation tools provide indications that a well may be heading toward a shut-in of one type or another. With the second case, the user can prevent downtime by correcting the factors that are leading the well into a potential shut-in condition rather than just react to it.

Early Detection Of Production-Robbing Problems.

Problems that reduce the production of a well can be seen through trends and displays of historical data. By examining the line pressure buildup of a gas well, a user of the system can identify problems, for example; poor compressor performance, liquid buildup in the line, hydrates in the system, deteriorating fail-closed valves, and malfunctioning relief valves or wellhead shut-in valves.

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