Digital oilfield management boosts information flow

Paul Boughton

John Gilmore and Stan DeVries outline how digital oilfield management is revolutionising the flow of information from business centres to shop floors.

Houston-based Cheniere Energy is developing a platform of three100percent owned LNG receiving terminal projects along the US Gulf Coast. The terminals will have an aggregate capacity of 9.9billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) on completion.

One of these terminalsat Sabine Passis currently in phase one of construction. This includes a receiving terminal with a regasification capacity of 2.6Bcf/dtwo unloading docks and three storage tanks capable of holding 10Bcf equivalent of LNG. The company has just an Environmental Assessment from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that gives it the go ahead with phase twowhich will expand the capacity of the terminal to 4Bcf/d.

Cheniere Energyrecognises the value of transferring information from the shop floor to the business centre – and also in the other direction.

Invensys has addressed this by building an IT infrastructure layer that uses multiple simulators to get around the issue of instrument tag-based systems. The problem here is that a lot of equipment often uses an identical naming system. In additionthe structure for naming can change across a plant.

The Invensys solution normalises equipment nomenclature and centralises operations. Its largest such deployment so far is in Omanwhere the system is deployed across 17 oil and gas fields.

Simulators are needed to study what is going on in wells and in gathering systems for real-time production allocation. During different projectsInvensys has accumulated lots of information from customer sites.

In the case of Shellfor examplethe company has developed techniques to look for emerging patterns in data that are indicative of particular events such as sand breakout or pressure drop. Then these can be addressed with appropriate remedial actions. Even soit can still be hard to take knowledge and associate it with a particular event because much plant IT still lives in a ‘tag time value’ world.

In effectthis is a data mining issue. But traditional data mining tools are not very good at time series analysis. What the Invensys solution does is capture discrete events – when they start and when they end. The system is constantly looking for patterns in the data; when things go from good to badwhen production drops offgas lift parameters changeflow from LNG terminal changes. The data is organised within Invensys’ ArchestrA collaborative environmentwhich simplifies structuring of production data so that business software can understand it. Here the data historian is crucial because it is both a focus for and a barrier to information flow. Traditionally it stores tagtime and value data. HoweverInvensys is transforming this by moving on from simply capturing event history to providing trends and forecasts.

One of the biggest transformations in terms of making this happenas has been seen at Sabine Passis the modern role of the ERP system. The old way of producing a report every 30days generated old history rather than actionable results. What the upstream business people want to do is to make enterprise finance visible to operators to help them make the best financial decisions.

Invensys offers such real time accounting with the Dynamic Performance Measurement package.

John Gilmore and Stan DeVries are with InvensysFoxboroMAUSA. www.invensys.com/ps

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