Natural gas producer Vine Energy has signed a contract with global energy technology company Baker Hughes to deploy its artificial lift solution, ProductionLink Edge across 100 natural gas wells in Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale. The automation solution uses advanced analytics to boost production and reduce associated methane emissions from oil and gas wells. 

Throughout typical well operations, water can periodically seep into the wellbore, blocking oil or gas from coming to the surface and stopping the well from producing. To restart production, a technician must remove the water, or “unload” the well, resulting in methane venting. Reducing the requirement for water unloading events curtails associated emissions.

During a three-month joint pilot project in Haynesville Shale using the artificial lift solution across 10 wells, Vine’s gas production increased by 5% and well unloading events decreased by 94%.  

ProductionLink Edge is an intelligent industrial internet of things (IIoT) controller device installed at producing wells, providing a secure, flexible and cloud-based edge computing platform that continuously collects and analyzes data to automate artificial lift well site operations. The edge solution is part of Baker Hughes’s broader ProductionLink remote monitoring and production optimization platform.

“This technology leverages existing field hardware to increase production and reduce unloading events,” said David Elkin, SVP and chief operating officer of Vine Energy. “It analyzes well pressures and flow rates in real time, so we can automatically open and close wells efficiently to optimize production. It mitigates the need for manual unloads, which is a source of methane emissions.”

Dave Dillon, vice president, Artificial Lift Systems at Baker Hughes said, “The Environmental Protection Agency estimates manual unloads of water in oil and gas producing wells are the seventh largest source of greenhouse gas emissions generated in onshore oil and gas operations. Our ProductionLink Edge solution is another example of how we are using digital technologies to transform our core businesses to increase production and reduce emissions from customers’ operations.”

The ProductionLin Edge solution was developed jointly by the Baker Hughes Artificial Lift Systems group and the company’s Global Innovation Centers, which are connected to 17 research and development facilities dedicated to energy and industrial innovation.