Automation and Data Processing Reduce Operating Costs In 12,000-Acre Field
- James C. Shepler (Continental Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 377 - 379
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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The economic squeeze currently facing the petroleum industry is causing producers to evaluate their present producing practices. Automation and data processing can be one way of reducing producing costs. The large-scale development of the Sacatosa field in Maverick County, Tex., provided the opportunity and the necessity to evaluate automation and data processing. It has now become apparent that a total-automation system with data-processing facilities lowers producing costs, increases safety measures and provides increased supervisory control. Based on experience gained from this unit, additional automation units will be designed to allow for a greater degree of centralization and data processing. The degree of automation that is needed now, with future requirements and improvements added later, can be determined through a step-wise approach to the equipment and application. Diagrams and photographs illustrate the system discussed, and cost analyses are given.
The Chittim system covers over 12,000 acres and currently is handling 280 wells. Two basic concepts have evolved from the Chittim automation system: (1) centralization of facilities, both production and data accumulation and control; and (2) a step-wise approach with a block- or modular-type design. Automation of lease producing facilities and the handling of collected data can be broken down into the following operations: (1) controlling and scheduling production; (2) testing wells; (3) supervising levels in vessels; (4) measuring produced fluids and witnessing fluid transfer from the lease to the pipeline; (5) automatically using and storing data; and (6) remotely controlling operation and transmission of controls and data.
Centralization of Facilities
Centralization of facilities has reduced the cost of producing equipment from $1,450 to $1,281 per well, or a decrease of 11.6 per cent. The number of vessels has been reduced from 71 to 31. Production from each well is individually controlled and scheduled at the wellhead by using clocks in the motor controllers. The test and production system has been designed on a 16-well basic unit called a "satellite". (The satellite can be expanded to 64 wells.) There are presently 19 satellites on the lease. This unit consists of header equipment and one test separator (Fig. 1). Four satellite units deliver crude production and data information to a unit called a "central", which consists of a heater-treater, a small transfer pump and a meter. The central is also the data collection point for all well information and is the control center for well tests an production. Six centrals, similar to Fig. 2, are now located on the lease. The oil, water and gas are separated at the central and the oil is moved to the "sol", which consists of a gun barrel separator, a surge tank and a LACT unit. Oil from the sol is delivered to the pipeline through a LACT unit. One sol, shown in Fig. 3, serves the entire 12,000-acre field. All vessels have high-level controls which either shut-in production or divert it. There has been no spillage since the automation was started on this lease.
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