Have you read about the advance of self-driving cars? With an array of sensors “seeing” obstacles, speed limit signs and other vehicles, tracking the speed, noting highway conditions such as rain or sleet, and using maps and tracking to plan the route, self-driving vehicles are approaching us in their own fast lane.
You may not be surprised to find that we have the same dreams for a self-operating oil field.
Now there will still be the need for repairs of worn-out equipment, damaged well-bores, and to perform PMs such as oil changes. There’s the need to do that for vehicles as well. The autonomous oil change is not here yet, but even that might be in line for cars someday.
Journey to Autonomous Oil and Gas Production Operations
In the oil patch, the highest level of autonomy would be to optimize production, epitomize safety, and to absolutely minimize lease operating expense. This would involve as little human intervention as possible, so that each human’s work could be as efficient as possible. The more wells a person can manage, the more valuable they are.
Ultimately, our goal is to have a well that’s aware of its environment such as temperature and weather forecasts—especially involving extremes of heat and cold—aware of the economic environment, so that it would compare operating costs with oil prices and would only run the pump when it was profitable to do so. It would ‘know’ its own production amounts, including projected production based on decline curves, and it would know track production of nearby wells in the formation.
It would also be aware of its condition, sensing, analyzing, and fixing any issue that could be remedied by adjustments of stroke speed or other remote decisions.
Override as necessary.
Our first step in this direction is an anomaly detection solution, in which a site monitors itself through sensors and pump cards. It would autonomously analyze this data. Should it detect changes that indicate, for example, gas interference, it would initiate corrective actions.
The corrections would include a list of actions, with those most likely to solve the problem at the top of the list. After making the change, the pump control system would monitor the results—if that doesn’t fix the problem, it will continue down the list until it finds the action that does work. The system would issue a report for human review once it has completed the task.
Join us on this journey and help guide your autonomous field development to the exact solution that will bring your production, profits, and sustainability to new levels.
All this can be done less time than it would typically take operations people even to detect an issue, let alone solve it. So downtime is reduced or eliminated, increasing production and profits.
While the biggest jump in efficiency is in comparison to pumpers driving by a well every day or so, the autonomous operation has notable efficiency gains even over automation systems that monitor pumps and send alarms for anomalies. Even the latter system involves human evaluation and reaction, which the autonomous system can execute in the blink of an eye.
This is where we’re headed and we'd love to have you join the journey!