Use of Advanced Process Control for Automating Conventional Oilfield Operations
- K. Patel (Saudi Aramco) | A. Bakhurji | H. Salloum | H. Kim | M. Winarno | S. Mubarak
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition, 23-26 April, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 97 since 2007
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With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and IR4.0, digital information is becoming more integrated into our daily operations. Such a modality of operation allows all disciplines in an organization to collaboratively manage and operate their assets to achieve the maximum value of their assets. In this paper we describe one of the initiatives under the company's digital transformation strategy. It is a simple yet innovative application of Advanced Process Control (APC) that facilitates continuous optimization of the performance of Electric Submersible Pumps (ESP), to not only comply with the assigned production targets, but also to automatically meet the operational constraints. The successful implementation of this technology on multiple oil wells in an onshore oilfield has demonstrated significant power saving, and is expected to minimize premature failures and extend pump life.
ESPs is among the most widely used artificial lift technologies in the oil and gas industry to sustain, increase or accelerate production even in naturally flowing wells. ESPs are expensive, consume a lot of power, and are very costly to replace, due to lost production as well as rig related costs. Thus it is very important to operate ESPs not only within their operating envelope, but as efficiently as possible while achieving the intended production targets. The process is complex and involves monitoring and manipulating multiple variables for every well. For instance, the monitored variables for an oil well, either measured or calculated, may include downhole pressures, temperatures, ESP motor current, voltages, surface pressures, flow, water cut, etc. The manipulated variables for an oil well may include surface choke valve, ESP speed and ESP volt to speed ratio. Based on the oil well configuration, the total number of monitored and manipulated variables can range from 15 to 25. This makes the task of achieving desired production target flow from an oil well, while operating the ESP efficiently, non-trivial. Considering the fact that there could be hundreds of similar oil wells in an oil field, it is certainly a very difficult, if not impossible task, to achieve the control objective of meeting production targets and the optimization objective of operating ESPs efficiently throughout the oil field.
APC, also referred to as Model Predictive Control (MPC) or Multi-Variable Control (MVC), is a technique that is well suited for controlling and optimizing the operations of a process where multiple variables affect each other. APC lends itself very well to the above mentioned challenge. It has inspired some research work by Pavlov et al. 2014, and followed up by Dinesh et al. 2016. But the work has been limited to implementation in a test lab setup or on a simulated well respectively. Patel et al. 2014, published their work on APC as applied to a simulated injection-production well pair, but in an unconventional oil. Large scale APC implementation in a conventional oilfield with ESPs has not been reported in literature. This paper describes an innovative APC implementation on multiple oil wells in an onshore conventional oil field, with documented benefits of improved flow compliance to production targets, and reduced power consumption due to efficient ESP operations.
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