Industrial Engineering Evaluation of Petroleum Production Operations
- Harry W. Muni (Mobil Oil Co.) | Kenneth Dunn (Mobil Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 177 - 182
- 1966. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion
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An application of basic principles of industrial engineering to oilfield producing operations is described using a case study of Mobil Oil Co.'s San Ardo field in California. The objective of the study was to evaluate manpower utilization based on present methods, equipment, facilities and procedures. In addition, an analysis of present practices was conducted with a view towards possible improvement. In total, the data developed were to serve line supervision as tools to better plan and control their operations. The resultant savings from this pilot study have justified extension of these industrial engineering principles to all of Mobil's producing operations, both domestic and Canadian.
Before reviewing the principles of industrial engineering as applied to oilfield producing operations, it may be well to briefly describe the physical aspects of the San Ardo field: (1) 11,000 BOPD, (2) 41,000 BWPD, (3) 445 wells, and (4) approximately 4 sq miles of field area. It should also be noted that an extensive expansion of thermal recovery projects are underway.
Industrial engineering, nown also as work simplification, motion and time study, etc., is not new. It has a long history beyond the scope of this discussion and is currently practiced in all walks of the business world, varying only in scope of magnitude and techniques applied. As used at Mobil today, the subject is treated in two phases:
Establishing operating standards of output based upon present methods, equipment, facilities and procedures. Standards of output are based on the old adage of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.
An analysis of present practices to determine if improvements or savings could be realized through change.
These approaches complement each other so closely that they are undertaken simultaneously in the course of a study.
Scope of Study
Application of Mobil's approach to industrial engineering used in the pilot study of the San Ardo field was limited to these functions: (1) lease operator (pumper), (2) well pulling, and (3) field maintenance. Each of these studies will be described in detail following a basic discussion of operating standards.
Principles of Operating Standards
Present-day enterprises using labor standards have a wide range of differences in approach depending upon meaning of labor standards and the economics of establishing such standards. Our concept of a standard may be defined as a reasonable measure of work output expected from an employee with all due respect for working conditions and the like. Although there are numerous specific techniques used in establishing labor standards, they can be grouped into four general categories:
Estimates of output - usually based upon the previous year's record modified by anticipated major changes in new equipment or facilities.
Time study approach - techniques of stop-watch study, motion picture analyses, standard data, etc.
Pre-determined time standards - advanced techniques of pre-established time elements of basic work gathered through extensive time measurements.
Operating standards - an approach of establishing standards which, in accuracy, fall somewhere between estimates of output; and the advanced techniques of the time study approach and pre-determined time standards.
Naturally, each of these categories has its own advantages and disadvantages. Estimates of output (Table 1) offer advantages of simplicity and a rather inexpensive procedure. On the other hand, standards are usually based upuon actual experience rather than what should be. The time study approach and pre-determined time elements (Tables 2 and 3) give the greatest degree of accuracy but are expensive and often create unrest and resistance, especially where a stop-watch or motion picture camera is used for measurement. Highly repetitive, mass production operations, however, justify these techniques where every minute counts.
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