Flow stations have the specific function of receiving, separating, temporarily storing and pumping the fluids coming from the nearby wells. It is the key element of oil production because the productivity of the wells depend on the correct operation of the flow station. When an automatic shutdown occurs, the automatic income valves of crude at the separators close. As a consequence, the oil production stays trapped in the general production manifold. The time the station stays closed represents the deferred oil production of the station.
When a shutdown occurs, the first step to be taken is to make a diagnosis of the problem to determine the cause. It should be emphasized that the operation requires highly trained staff who are well aware of the importance of making a rapid diagnosis so the stations remains closed only for a short time.
To increase the quality of the processes, the oil industry has automated the management and processing of information. To accomplish this objective, the Training Center of Petróleos de Venezuela (CEPET) had to design training systems based on the computer to improve the training quality of the staff. These new training systems are directed at diagnosing failures that cause automatic shutdowns in a flow station. This is done because there are no specific instructions for operators, intrumentalists and foremen in this particular area. This training system is to supplement the normal training received in the field.