A rugged, very compact microcomputer, with a co-processor, has been developed for real-time, high-speed monitoring and simulation of field operations. The development of the computer was funded by the Gas Research Institute for supervision of hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells. The system handles data acquisition, data basing, running of process simulator codes, and extensive operator Interface.
The computer is a fully compatible PC clone and uses a passive backplane architecture for easy repair and maintenance. Two Independent processors are used: a 4.77-MHz Intel 8088- and a 25-MHz Motorola 68020 32-bit Microprocessor. This reliable low cost, high performance system brings the power of large minicomputers such as a VAX 11/780 into the field.
Data acquisition is performed by a built-in board which enables sampling 16 (expandable to 256) channels of analog data directly from standard field Instrumentation. Alternatively, connection can be made to most service company vans, with isolation filters preventing intrusion into their electronics. Serial data can also be transferred from an independent data acquisition computer. Acquired data is stored in the data base where it is accessible to process simulation codes during the current Job and for comparison on future jobs.
The Integrated 3-Dimensional Fracture Models running on the system are the most comprehensive simulations developed for real-time operation. Rapid, repeated running of the process models during the early stages of the job permits best estimates of uncertain reservoir parameters to be obtained. This real-time "history matching" is facilitated by extensive on-line help facilities, a totally menu-driven user interface, and high-resolution, high-speed dynamic graphics capabilities. These features also improve operator awareness of current Job status and add significantly to the quality control.
The system has been tested on dozens of field operations. It has been selected for use by a major oil company and is under consideration by several other majors.