A Distributed Computer Network for Oilfield Computer Production Control
- C.L. Dunham (Shell Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 1977
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,417 - 1,426
- 1977. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3.1.6 Gas Lift, 6.4.3 Data and Communication Security, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 3.1.1 Beam and related pumping techniques
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Computer production control is becoming more important as an aid infield operations. It can be used profitably if it is reliable and flexible, and if it can be supported and maintained adequately. A distributed computer network can be an economical and effective way to meet varying field needs, provide reliability and flexibility, and assure continuous support. This provide reliability and flexibility, and assure continuous support. This paper describes such a system. paper describes such a system. Introduction
Shell Oil Co. is implementing a distributed computer network for oilfield computer production control (CPC). This paper describes the network, shows how it is being used to meet several varied CPC applications, discusses advantages of the network approach, and presents some early results.
CPC applications require that computers be involved directly in oilfield information gathering and processing, in the control of certain oilfield functions, and in the dissemination of operating information and results. To be effective, CPC systems must be highly reliable. They also must be very flexible to meet continuously changing requirements; and they must be economical to install, operate, and maintain.
After assessing the many requirements, the primary cost factors, and the state of the art, Shell selected a distributed computer network to serve the Production Dept. The network is a system in which the CPC computers are physically located in or near the fields on CPC. However, these "field computers" are in on-line communication with a central computer for system support and information management. Services provided by the central computer include data analysis and storage, the generation of sophisticated reports, program and data file development and maintenance, and an interface with the corporate production information and accounting systems.
Shell installed a pilot CPC system starting in 1970. That system performs rather routine functions of data gathering, warning, automatic well testing, and field reporting for the West Lake Verret field in south-central Louisiana. By late 1973, the following general pilot results and related observations were becoming clear.
1. CPC can be an effective way to improve field operations and reduce operating costs in certain situations.
2. Shell operates several fields in which the right type of CPC system - one uniquely designed to meet the requirements of each field - can be used profitably.
3. The components of CPC systems (computers, software, communications, telemetry, meters, and end elements) can be made reliable. Also, the technology is continuing to improve.
4. The potential economics of CPC are trending favorably as costs (particularly hardware costs) continue to remain stable or decrease, while benefits (reduced operating costs, increased production, and intangible results) continue to grow in significance.
5. Certain key resources, especially the people needed to install, operate, and maintain CPC systems, are increasing in cost and are of limited supply.
Based on these results and observations, a study was conducted to determine the best way to pursue new applications of CPC while maintaining proper constraints on the use of people and other limited resources. Experience with the pilot project led to the following principles that helped guide the study.
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