Managing Oil and Gas Produced Fluids

Managing produced fluids in the age of shale oil and gas production has opened up some new challenges compared with the days of traditional reservoir production.

Emerson's Michael Machuca


I caught up with Emerson’s Michael Machuca. He noted that while global oil prices were high, shale production levels in the U.S. skyrocketed and the focus was on bringing more production online as fast as possible. With the low oil price environment we’re experiencing, the focus has shifted to reducing costs and optimizing existing producing assets.

Optimizing the storage of well pad produced fluids is one major area where optimization is possible. Challenges today include deferred and lost production, higher facility and operating costs, poor levels of facilities and operations standardization and quality of measurement that have a direct bearing on payments to revenue sharing partners, lease holders and government agencies.

From a production target and measurement compliance perspective, a common concern is to consistently achieve daily production targets while ensuring measurement compliance. From a health, safety and environmental (HSE) perspective, it is to ensure HSE performance among widely dispersed well pads and production areas. And, from a capital efficiency and cash flow perspective, it is to maximize the efficiency of the deployed capital and cash flow against the facility costs and lease operating expenses.

Well-Pad-SiteWhen addressing the production targets and measurement compliance challenges, the first step involves establishing an overall systems approach to gain early insight into and effectively manage overall operations around inventory, allocation and custody transfer.

This is done by improving critical monitoring and control measurements for inventory, off-lease transfers and vapor control as well as implementing systems to recover lost production related to hydrocarbon vapor loss.

Also key is providing timely access to actionable information and the effective management of remote operations and improving project management by providing the appropriate resources, systems and technology to maximize capital efficiency and effective project execution.

Fiscal-RiskWith modern remote operations controllers and tank management software, well pad inventory, allocation and custody transfer can be managed to reduce production management uncertainty and fiscal risk.

The solution includes level-based, gross volume inventory management including shrinkage with API Chapter 11 standard volume correction. Transfer events are logged and reported in a timely manner through the SCADA system.

Haul transactions are captured through the secure human-machine interface with flow and level measurements providing the pay/check haul verification. The allocations of the haul fluids can be tracked back to the wellhead.

This integration in the field scales from automated haul tickets to continuous level measurement for automated production volumes and continuous inventory and interface monitoring. It enables remote operations to have timely production and accounting data and support real-time management of the lease operations.

From a fiscal flow measurement perspective, this measurement and control supports automated custody transfer, allocation balancing, improved personnel safety, less production uncertainty & shrinkage and validation of the flow-based measurements.

If you’ll be in Houston the first week of May for the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), make sure to speak with our produced fluids management experts. Register to receive a complementary OTC day pass for more on this and other oil and gas solutions.

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