Opinion

Harnessing Data to Increase Upstream Production

Posted by Giles Edward

06-Nov-2017

m-flow-tech.com/


Giles Edward, CEO of M-Flow, explains how reliable, accurate 24/7 multiphase fraction measurement at the wellhead unlocks value through improved production, optimised reserves recovery, and reduced manning.

Industrial process control and optimisation is driven by data. The more reliable, available, and accurate the data, the better the optimisation outcomes. If you can't trust or access the data that's being created, you can't expect it to deliver valuable insights.

Yet while many industries have taken this mantra to heart and used reliable data to improve performance through reproducibility and tight process control, the oil industry has lagged behind. Too often focused on seeking bolt-on one-offs, and struggling to build a culture that prioritises continual gains.

If the upstream oil industry is to thrive and not just survive the lower for longer oil price scenario, it will require fresh thinking on what is being measured and how.

Data in a lower oil price environment

When operating in a price-constrained environment, the first focus in achieving sustainable improvements is to upgrade your understanding of your business's assets.

To do this requires being able to answer straightforward questions about your wells: When and where did the water in my process come from? What does this mean for my reservoir planning? Are my wells, artificial lift and processing plant being used in an optimum way? Could the onset of damaging acid gas  or scale be avoided?

Data is the key to answering these questions, driving increased production and reserves recovery while lowering costs. However to do this accurate, 24/7 real time data must be available at the wellhead, and ideally on a well-by-well basis before production is combined.

Complicating matters, the current multiphase market has been focused on meters that inherently embed uncertainty in flow rate measurement interpretation over accuracy and repeatability in parameters that can be directly measured. The only alternative has largely been to use solutions such as sampling or well tests that provide incomplete or fragmented data that conveys limited value.

So while oil and gas companies have accepted the benefits of access to dependable data, for wellhead metering to date there has been limited access to the means to deliver that data.

A fresh approach

In contrast to traditional meters, M-Flow's new carbon fibre multiphase meters require minimal manpower, lower capital expenditure, and almost zero operational expenditure, with five-year lifespan meter costs that are on average 20% of traditional MPFM capex and opex combined. All the while delivering directly measured, constant data on water cut and gas fraction with zero doubts about its accuracy or repeatability.

By providing this information in a packaged, discreet, and highly valuable data set, M-Flow has enabled a shift in focus: moving dialogue and engagement within the multiphase market away from the meter, and onto the impact of accurate and reliable data to redefine upstream operations.

Now is the time to think differently, change behaviour, and embrace the transformative power of information that can be relied on: because better visibility results in more effective, data-driven decision-making.



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