Intelligent wells and Smart Fields concept have recently been applied in some assets Shell as a solution to increase production, reduce deferment and increase recovery. Smart Field can however only be fully utilized if the three main elements fully integrate, technology, process and resources.
However Smart Fields is not only about automation. It is about making available the three key ingredients needed to efficiently operate any piece of equipment: reliable performance data, an integrated suite of tools to turn these data to information and operational advisories and a cadre of appropriately skilled professionals that use the information to make the right decisions.
All smart projects strive towards the implementation of actions on, or changes in the asset to be constantly measured and evaluated to support better decision-making. This constant flow of real time data also serves to calibrate the subsurface and production system models that are critical to EP asset management.
Evaluation of the business impact of Smart Fields concepts and technologies has demonstrated value in several areas:
8% Ultimate recovery increase (5% gas and 10% oil);
10% Increased production;
Reduced development risk and uncertainty;
Other important benefits include improved HSE.
Ultimately Shell is aiming for Smart Fields to contribute to bottom line benefits of some $350 mln per year. Benefits vary with the character of the asset or type of project. In selected deepwater fields the value of a smart well can be a combination of better recovery and avoidance of re-entry costs.
The Smart Fields concepts grew out of the thinking that guided the development and success of Smart Wells. Figure 1 illustrates the essence of the Smart Field vision. Value is created through execution of the ‘value loop’, repeating the cycle of measuring, modeling, decision-making and controlling to get the maximum amount of hydrocarbons out of the reservoirs in the most cost- effective way.
The concept of ‘Smartness’ is not just about introducing new technology, but focuses on inventive ways of using and integrating existing technologies. Smart Fields now use downhole wireless communication, advanced modeling software, remote sensing and control devices and telemetry to transmit the huge amount of data gathered.
For example Production Universe, Shell proprietary software, is capable of continuously monitoring well production behavior and fine-tuning large dynamic production systems in real time.
Production Universe has proven that it can instantaneously identify problems in a well, increase production and improve well test frequency. It is self-learning system, updating the calibration models using well test and real-time data as they are generated.
Shell is currently running 12 asset programmes in all regions of the world. Beyond technology, introduction of Smart Fields also requires a dramatic shift in work processes and people.