Is your Oil field being exploited at its best? Part II

In our previous blog, the discussion was centred on assessing how well an asset is exploited, as a key concern for the field manager and the asset team. The Integrated Choke Model (ICM) was proposed as a model to identify opportunities for improving the free cash flow as the fundamental objective during periods when the oil price is low.

In assessing the opportunities, five key interacting elements that affect the whole system were suggested, to be studied by the team:

  • Measurements and Data  
  • Operational Technology  
  • Modelling  
  • Work Processes  
  • People and Organisational Changes  

The very first (Measurements and Data) was already analysed. Let us focus on the other elements! 

Operational Technology 

Operational Technology refers to the systems and applications that will facilitate access to data, analysis, and automation. In conjunction with all the other key elements, it will enable key decision making. 

Making use of the latest fit for purpose technology will create and optimize the workflows, reduce uncertainties, and improve precision and forecast estimations. Technology can also help to reduce the dependency of field actions on human hands, reducing their exposure to accidents. Remote sensors and actuators increase the early detection of safety related signals and production reducing warnings, as well as enabling immediate actions. 

Key questions will have to be addressed, such as: what data to digitise, what processes to automate, how much workforce and skill set are really required in the field. Past experience has shown that the number Persons on Board (POB) required to operate an offshore asset can be reduced quite significantly, given the right technology is in place, which can result in extending the field life beyond what was originally possible.  

Technology will introduce changes to the working processes enabling a much more responsive decision making, as well as action execution. At Eigen, we are always keen to empower users to make the jump towards decisive and effective decision making, and our set of Decision Bridge Technologies facilitate this. 

Choosing the right technology providers is fundamental to ensure availability, reliability, and controlling the cost of the different systems. 

Modelling 

An Integrated Simulation starting from the reservoir, passing through wells, gathering and distribution systems, to the delivery point, must be frequently history-matched to validate its capability for prediction. A good model can help you to identify bottlenecks in the system and anticipate, years in advance, on how the field will perform under different field constraints, fluid composition changes (OWR, GOR, sand, impurities, flow assurance problems), and natural decline. Preparation for changing conditions will minimise costs and anticipate the time for analyses and for implementing the best solutions. 

The evolution of integrated model technology has led to systems that can be automatically validated with respect to real field process measurements as frequently as required, making those models more robust and better predictors. 

Work Processes 

Updating the teams on how work processes are executed and managed, what procedures are used, and what workflows are in place, will maximize their anticipation and responsive capability.  

Increasing the speed of detection, prioritisation and corrective action execution will help to reduce production deferments and unsafe operational conditions. Implementing maintenance management strategies and a culture of prevention will help to reduce safety risks and ensure a flawless operation with maximum uptime. For example, a few technology-savvy North Sea operators are already using advanced Safety Barrier Health Monitoring software to identify the actions that will have the greatest impact in reducing their operational risk. 

Taking advantage of “Industry Benchmarking Assessments” for similar fields will help the team to identify what the best performers do to obtain better results, and such comparison provides a source of gaps likely to be improved in your field. In this matter, partnering with the best in class consultants and service providers is fundamental. 

People and Organizational Changes 

The transformation of the asset must be continuous throughout the life of the field. Not only the fluids composition will change, but also the volumes, the pressures, the facilities and, as we have come to know the hard way, the oil price. 

The organisational chart structure and the capabilities of each position must be adapted in line with the changes. They must be led from the technical and management perspective, in order to transform the threats and weaknesses into strengths and opportunities.  

Questions like what type of organization (by process, by function, agile teams) and what composition serves better for the working processes, while taking into account the requirements of data, maintenance and operations practices, well job executions, technical studies, economic and cost assessments, will be necessary to adapt the costs to each field’s needs. That means that the traditional “only form of organization” approach, does not always add value to the asset itself. 

The set of skills is another aspect to carefully analyse. The technical and managerial competences of the team must be frequently measured to map out the existing knowledge, and their gap with respect to the ideal skill sets. This assessment will help the team to develop an integrated training plan to cover the knowledge gaps. Also, an individual career development and succession plans to ensure evolution, engagement, and a long-lasting trust-based management style. In some cases multi-skilling can be the answer to the required efficiency in unmanned or low manned facilities, as discussed in this video

Conclusions 

Common elements like the ones discussed are a source of gaps that separate the reality from the maximum potential value of the asset. Each discipline and each part of the work process has its complexities where knowledge, skills, and adequate management practices are needed. 

The perspective provided by the Integrated Choke Model is a pillar to counterbalance the weight of each choke and achieve the best value for the asset, for every circumstance, particularly during challenging times due to periods of global crisis. 

Joel Chacon - Eigen

written by

joel chacon

and

Cesar Perez Montaner

you may also like...