According to Sami Suheil the evolution of the Digital Oil field (DOF) has been a slow process since being identified years ago due to many obstacles mainly linked to uniform data exchange platforms and in some cases the limitations of technology used in the oil field. With the evolution of OPC and other integration platforms and the advances in hardware and software technology has finally changed all this and DOF has become a reality.
Suheil explained that as DOF requires vast amounts of data from the field in near “real time” for slower and faster loops it was the advances in radio technology and abundance of bandwidth and QoS in communications that has allowed data to be transported with high reliability to the central repositories.
While, advances in hardware platforms whether on the embedded microprocessors or on powerful servers helped to get quality control data and perform required analysis in almost real time. Emerging uniform open standard communications protocols such as OLE for Process Control, OPC, allowed systems to share data and exchange data to allow different systems to perform diverse analysis and converge into a needed decision.
“The emergence of all these technologies together is allowing the vision become reality and allowing people to execute their own workflows in an automated process and permitting knowledge and data sharing among different interested parties instead of previously having that data compartmentalised in silos,” said Suheil.
Suheil discussed the opportunities in the DOF arena in the region.
“The Middle East has had it easy over the years except for some particular markets, but as awareness of resource optimisation and the capabilities to enhance recovery from reservoirs and the shortage in qualified resources is pressing oil companies to engage the industry in implementations of DOF projects.”
He pointed out that challenges such as water breakthrough and mature assets are imposing the acceleration of need for knowledge sharing, better data management and converting that data into knowledge and smart decisions. The opportunities are vast and the needs are justified with what the operators are facing. “DOF is much more than a trend in the industry, it is the way we ought to be doing business. That has dawned on everyone,” added Suheil.
DOF or Smart Oilfields have different levels of smartness and the industry has been evolving towards DOF through many initiatives. Some are through basic monitoring and telemetry which has been around for many years, some are going beyond monitoring into remote operations and others are progressing yet further allowing Collaborative Work environments and data/knowledge sharing across their assets and resources.
In the region there are many companies that have been doing a lot of smartness for many years such as PDO and Saudi Aramco and others who are piloting several technologies starting with smart completions up to wellhead through the network into processing facilities identifying bottlenecks and optimising every process along the way.
Suheil elaborated on the benefits that vMonitor’s products can bring to the DOF arena.
“Our whole product line and growth strategy is cantered around the DOF enablement and all our acquisitions are around the value loop of the DOF,” said Suheil. He added: “The solutions we are addressing are to provide oil and service companies with the components and solutions that will help them realise the end-to-end solution or the tools that will allow the user to select the missing components to be able to close the loop.”
In early 2011, vMonitor acquired a reputable production choke company with 27 years experience to provide the control element in the field, similarly the company is going at the different elements of the value loop and addressing our products and solutions to complement the need in the market.
Wireless is a major component of these products. “vMonitor has focused on the upstream market and we have differentiated ourselves by carving our own niche, focusing on true upstream applications with the longest range wireless sensor and true wellhead applications.”
vMonitor has also focused on providing the industry the enablers of DOF with an end-to-end solution starting with long range wireless sensors allowing the least amount of gateways in the field with open communications protocols reporting to a fit for application SCADA system with a flexible polling engine and an integration middleware platform based on an OPC broker to be able to pass and exchange data with different third party applications and legacy platforms and databases.
Suheil talked about new product launches planned for later this year, including products that will comply with the emerging standards and others that address applications using our product line and adding some local intelligence on the product taking advantages of the advances in microprocessor capabilities.
vMonitor launched a few products last year amongst which is an orifice based single Phase flow computer that uses some petroleum engineering correlations, some PVT data and a well test for calibration to estimate the multiphase flow. It is a great tool for doing allocation in real time versus using the well test to do allocation for the well over the period between well tests.
“Our methodology in this product and other products and solutions we have on the drawing board is to go by the 80/20 ratio, providing the industry with a solution that can address 80 per cent of the functionality for 20 per cent of the cost,” said Suheil.
vMonitor has been awarded several big projects over the last year mainly in Kuwait, Venezuela, and other markets where mass commercial roll outs are being considered with the client.
“Kuwait is a tremendous market and a really exciting market.”
KOC has a wide range of reservoirs and have all types of crudes and production. On top of that KOC is really adopting the holistic approach to DOF and is starting from the grounds up by collecting data from all brown fields, providing their users access to that data and allowing different vendors to highlight their technologies by analysing that data and recommending solutions to better optimise the process and enhance recovery.
“KOC is trying to implement a vendor agnostic approach to the process of operating and managing their assets,” he added.
Suheil gave his outlook for the industry in 2012 saying: “It is promising to be another good year for demand and a momentum building year with global market health indicators leading to more automation and implementation of DOF through out several organisations, the instability in the region in particular and Europe’s economic troubles can have an impact on the demand side of the equation due to supply routes and higher prices.”