An integrated approach to production management requires real-time monitoring information, efficient workover management and robust analysis. Producing more at less cost is of utmost importance in today’s market and requires systemwide efficiencies at all levels of a production operation.

To overcome operational inefficiencies, Weatherford provides production optimization software designed to achieve optimal well performance. LOWIS life-of-well information software ensures that every member of the asset management team from operational staff to the production manager can access the right information in the right format to support critical production decisions.

The software includes fully configurable and userfriendly alarms and real-time monitoring capabilities that help operators manage assets by exception and increase their efficiency. Best-practice workflows can be configured to support typical operational activities such as downtime management, well status management and well test validation.

For an integrated approach to artificial lift the software natively supports analysis workbench (AWB) modules for reciprocating rod lift, electric submersible pump (ESP), progressing cavity pumping and gas lift. The modules perform optimization analysis using realtime data and detailed mathematical models of each lift type and generate intelligent alarms to warn operators of nonoptimal use of the lift equipment.

Use of the AWB modules and customizable workflows allows operators to quickly identify, prioritize, plan and service underperforming wells, thereby reducing downtime and associated production losses. Scorecarding tools and complete well histories enable producers to develop and implement best practices of failure management.

The benefits of production optimization software can be seen in conventional and unconventional applications and in onshore and offshore assets.

Integrated optimization system

In 2016 LOWIS was applied in Kazakhstan to optimize ESP production in 11 oil wells. The operator’s objective was to establish a reliable system to remotely monitor ESP output and performance in each well. Software compatibility problems between the ESP surveillance system and the different brands and vintages of pumps in use had hindered effective monitoring of these assets.

The operator hired Weatherford to address the compatibility challenges and to effectively manage the performance of each well with the goal of maximizing field production. Together, the operator and service company executed a comprehensive review of the field layout, ESP performance and monitoring processes and jointly developed a full-field optimization plan.

As part of the plan the team deployed the software coupled with a digital mobile telephony system to optimize ESP performance. The real-time well optimization and operation software enables comprehensive well monitoring, control and analysis across all forms of production. The digital mobile telephony system provides a stable and economically effective method to connect to offsite controllers.

Engineers and technicians installed the production optimization system at the operations office and installed transmission devices at each wellhead. The team also coordinated with the field global system for mobile communications providers to overcome data transmission problems caused by unstable satellite connections.

The production optimization software enabled the client to closely monitor and analyze ESP performance despite differences in the type of remote terminal unit installed at each well and without the problems and expense the operator had faced previously related to satellite communications. With ESP data available on demand the operator was able to automate the production optimization workflow and track a wide range of ESP parameters to quickly detect problems. The combination of monitoring and detailed nodal analysis identified the full range of options available to increase operational efficiency, extend ESP life and maximize production.

The integrated system of surveillance and analysis tools enabled the client to save almost $450,000 in the first year of use.

Optimized rod lift in the Permian

In the Permian Basin the integrated software successfully optimized hundreds of reciprocating-rod lift wells that were experiencing high failure rates. Soon after acquiring the wells from another company, the operator realized the failure rate in the field was very high, resulting in significantly higher production costs.

The operator asked Weatherford to review the failures and provide solutions to optimize field operations and minimize production cost. Weatherford experts quickly identified the reciprocating-rod lift system had stopped pumping due to frequent fluid pound, a phenomenon that causes rods to buckle on each stroke that leads to premature tubing and sucker rod failures.

Based on these findings the operator decided to deploy the LOWIS software and authorized Weatherford to implement remote changes to the wellsite controllers. The client’s primary request for the field was to reduce the number of failures. Additionally, Weatherford sought to extend the equipment life with the remote changes.

The integration of real-time surveillance with predictive model data provides a means for faster diagnosis and remediation. Real-time data are converted into intelligent alarms to inform stakeholders of what’s happening, why it is happening and what actions might need to be taken to maintain maximum production efficiency. In this case the software identified inflow performance constraints that led to fluid pound and gas interference issues. The sucker rod fatigue that results from fluid pound often goes undetected without a proper surveillance system. Using information from the software, the team identified corrective action to achieve optimal pump fillage and minimize gas interference.

The service provider performed a detailed study on the five wells that were of the greatest concern to the operator and had each failed five or more times in a year. Prior to deploying the optimization software, the operator had experienced mean run times between failures of 32 days to 171 days.

With the ability to detect and resolve operational issues that cause pump failures, the production optimization software improved the bottom line for current and future assets. Based on the previous failure rate, a conservative estimate cost of $20,000 per well workover and an oil-per-barrel price of $50, the software delivered a net savings of about $350,000. One year after installing the new monitoring software on these wells, the operator had zero well failures.

Future of production optimization software

The reduction of total cost of ownership and integration risk through an integrated suite of applications can be applied to all types of assets. The use of production optimization software maximizes business opportunities with timely, accurate data that invoke high confidence in the decision-making process.

In addition to the capabilities and benefits illustrated by the above case studies, Weatherford is preparing to release new production optimization software with capabilities including daily monitoring and collaboration, intelligent alarms and advanced data analytics to provide effective production management and optimization for the life of the well and field.