Streamlining asset monitoring solutions in the oil and gas industry

Louise Smyth

Operator implements smart well integrity and flow assurance management system to optimise safe well performance in India

Approximately 35% of global well inventory suffers from well integrity issues related to corrosion and chemical usage, adversely affecting pipelines and flow assurance. This situation results in asset failure and subsequent downtime that costs millions of dollars in lost revenue. In addition, oil and gas companies must mitigate risks and safeguard against uncontrolled release of fluids to protect the environment and community. Faced with these challenges, well integrity and flow assurance management have become critical to oil and gas operations. To monitor and control chemical usage, reduce pipe corrosion, improve flow assurance and optimise well integrity, the industry requires continuous visibility into asset reliability, well performance, cost and environmental impact.

Cairn Oil and Gas is the largest private sector crude oil producer in India. It operates over 850 wells across three blocks in the Barmer, Ravva and Cambay areas. With time, wax and scaling issues were experienced that affected the well’s productivity. With manual, error-prone processes failing to provide optimal insight into well integrity management, Cairn explored technology solutions to automate and streamline workflows and integrate disparate data. Committed to operational excellence and sustainability, the firm sought to implement a smart well integrity and flow assurance management system (SWIM) to efficiently manage associated risks, optimise well performance and limit environmental impact. “To ensure that the wells are operating optimally, it is very critical that various parameters affecting the performance of the wells are monitored robustly, hence the need for a smart well integrity and flow assurance management system,” says Utkarsh Vijayvargia, senior petroleum engineer at Cairn.

A connected digital asset monitoring solution

Well integrity and flow assurance management involve a multidisciplinary approach, requiring engineers to interact on a regular basis to assess the status of well barriers and safe operating envelopes, as well as manage risks associated with maintaining flow. The sheer number of associated risks with well operations usually entails numerous stakeholders, voluminous data and multiple interfaces. With data dispersed among various interfaces and disparate sources, Cairn was faced with a lack of data visibility and accuracy, which are crucial for decision-making regarding well integrity and flow assurance. To implement its SWIM, Cairn relied on Bentley’s AssetWise to establish a connected data environment. The single platform streamlined workflows and converted all processes to a digital format. The interoperability of AssetWise provided a digital solution that interfaced with Cairn’s internal, web-based portal and integrated data from different sources within Cairn through the connected data environment.

Working in the connected data environment facilitates real-time data accessibility, allowing users to visualise data from wells and run individual queries to produce specified results, including summary data aggregated through the business up to the top level of the asset structure. Bentley’s asset performance and management application provides Cairn with a sustainable platform to implement SWIM throughout the lifecycle of its entire well stock. The software facilitates consistent and accurate data visibility required for production optimisation. It also enables Cairn to analyse stimulation recipes relative to the established formations to determine and optimise the volume and types of chemicals to be used over time. Having a centralised view of real-time information easily accessible within the connected data environment, Cairn has standardised risk management and can monitor corrosion rates and chemical usage, using those insights to drive well performance. Bentley’s digital solution allows engineers to evaluate and manage flow assurance and well integrity from a single location, minimising data inconsistencies and errors associated with manual processes.

Automating asset monitoring and management processes

To optimise well performance and reduce well downtime due to well integrity, Cairn needed to rely on continuous monitoring and management of all well data. Using AssetWise as the foundation for its SWIM system, it automated well performance affecting parameters, safety critical parameters, well-stimulation pre and post job data, enabling timely corrective actions and preventive maintenance with context to well integrity and enhancing stimulation operations. The company developed a well failure action matrix and alarm methodology using Bentley software, which automatically alerts personnel when well parameters exceed safe operating limits. This capability helps prevent potential spillage of well fluids.

Additionally, the company used AssetWise to automate cumulative cost performance charts that facilitate cost benefit analysis of individual stimulation treatments, resulting in abandoning ineffective treatments, improving well productivity, and increasing production from its wells at reduced costs. Bentley’s flexible application has a fully configurable dashboard functionality that provides Cairn with visibility on an automated, scheduled basis at the field and organisational level to assess stimulation effectiveness, corrosion data, asset reliability, and overall well performance. The software automatically converts raw data into analytical data used for diagnostics and decision-making. The automated features and digital operational analytics available in AssetWise facilitate a proactive approach to operations and maintenance, preventing uncontrolled release of fluids and ensuring optimal well production.

Advantages of Cairn’s asset monitoring solution

AssetWise provided the foundation for Cairn’s effective SWIM system implementation, leading to enhanced decision-making based on accurate data insights. “Successful SWIM implementation has reduced the probability of personnel missing potential well integrity issues, thereby enabling a proactive approach toward integrity management to eliminate possible failures or rectifying them as soon as possible,” states Vijayvargia. The AssetWise-based program displays live integrity status of the entire Cairn well stock at any point in time. The application helped Cairn generate a comprehensive central database for all wells within a connected data environment that eliminates Excel files and time spent searching for data from disparate sources, ensuring accurate consistent data accessible to all stakeholders. Using the application to customise data entry forms accelerated direct entry of daily operational data into the system, while the reusable templates streamlined creation of asset structure for quick deployment of wells.

Bentley’s interoperable application increased system visibility and enhanced data management, which effectively reduced associated costs and liabilities. Incorporating automated cumulative cost-performance plots provides Cairn with the ability to evaluate the cost benefit of individual stimulation treatments for cost-effective, optimal chemical management, enhancing well productivity and ensuring that ineffective treatments are abandoned. The connected digital solution monitors safe well parameters and chemical intervention jobs and uses a risk-based inspection approach that optimised preventive maintenance and corrective action, reducing unproductive well time by 10%. With a web-enabled, real-time system for lifecycle integrity and flow assurance management of the company’s entire well stock, Cairn can also retain full asset failure and flow assurance histories. These histories can be used to manage spare assets, ensure safety, maintain production plateaus, and provide insight for successful future well operations.

Digitalisation of asset monitoring drives sustainability

Replacing traditional monitoring and management methods with digital models and automated workflows using AssetWise has helped Cairn optimise production across its all fields. The digital data for each physical asset within the SWIM system presents a real-time picture of well performance, facilitating a proactive approach to safety, reduced risk, and preventative maintenance. Incorporating advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence is the next step for the firm to further embrace digitalization. These technologies will provide valuable insight about asset performance, operation, and profitability that will enable the company to identify the problem before failure occurs, preventing downtime and enhancing predictability.

Cairn has successfully created a sustainable technology platform by integrating data from different systems to provide a single source of information for its wells. The organisation plans to extend the advanced diagnostic features in AssetWise to predict potential failures and generate compliance reports providing clear visibility on status to reduce instances of overdue compliance. Leveraging the interoperability of the application with digital monitoring devices and artificial intelligence, Cairn can apply predictive analytics and machine learning for early detection of issues to avoid asset failure. This success and continued commitment to data and process digitalisation helped establish guidelines to automate and streamline chemical and asset management for optimal well performance and production, driving sustainability across the company, as well as the entire oil and gas industry.