American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 58

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SpecialReport: Artificial Lift Technology

Technologies Boost Well Performance
By Tim Beims
and Dan Holder
Imagine a doctor trying to treat patients
by prescribing the same remedy no matter
the ailment. At the very least, that approach
would generate highly inconsistent results
and lead to untold needless pain and suffering. Now think about that "doctor"
holding a petroleum engineering degree
and the "patient" taking the form of producing wells equipped with artificial lift.
Would it be any more logical to apply
one type of lift system to every well in a
field regardless of operational parameters,
or use the same universal pump speeds
or chemical treatment programs without
considering each well's production history? Absolutely not, according to
Franklin Cueto, vice president of artificial
lift systems at Weatherford. "The time
when everything was 'copy and paste'
from one well to the next is over," he
declares. "The future is about treating
wells like individual patients with unique
problems."
Considering that a grouping of wells
in close proximity can have very different
fluid, reservoir and mechanical properties,
it stands to reason that each well would
have distinct artificial lift requirements.
As Cueto points out, the producer could
avoid a lot of pain by better understanding
the characteristic behavior of every well

in its portfolio, and then taking prescriptive
action in a timely manner based on that
knowledge.
"That is why real-time data is key to
where the production world is headed,"
he contends, explaining that high-frequency data provides the granularity necessary for a detailed diagnosis of well
health. But just as importantly, he says
capturing real-time data at frequent intervals makes possible what he calls "the
next big step" in production operations:
autonomous control.
"With the right data management and
computing tools, autonomous decisions
can be made every second to maximize
artificial lift performance and keep production on line," Cueto holds.
The positive economic impacts of optimizing production with autonomous
control take on particular significance
when fiscal margins come under pressure.
And as the industry emerges from a
period in which pressures have been intensified to the breaking point, he contends
that the value of the technology is more
compelling than ever.
"With shut-in wells now starting to
be brought back, the experience of getting
wells up and running again will make it
obvious that next-generation well intelligence and automation is the right investment," Cueto suggests. "Operators have
to know how the well behaved before

The ability to collect high-frequency data and analyze it in
real time is driving revolutionary
advancements in production
management, providing information on a granular level to
monitor each individual well's
performance and build the foundation of autonomous well operations. Similar to autonomous
cars, autonomous control systems continuously scrutinize
data to make decisions and execute appropriate actions to
keep artificial lift equipment and
producing wells operating at
peak performance.

58 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

shut in to figure out how to restart equipment and production. One of the hard
lessons many companies are learning is
that they do not have the historical data
to determine that."
He says restoring shut-in wells can be
a complex undertaking, particularly where
scaling, paraffin, corrosion and other
downhole issues occurred in the past.
"Starting an electric submersible pump
in an idled well with scale or paraffin
buildup can lead to serious equipment
damage, which would mean spending a
lot of capital to get that well back," he
states. "The risk is typically lower in a
rod-lifted well, but the challenges are
similar. It gets back to having the data to
understand and optimize well operations."
End-To-End Solution
The solution, Cueto says, is the Weatherford Production 4.0™ ecosystem, an
end-to-end production management solution. Anchored by the ForeSite® platform,
this solution comprises intelligent surveillance, next-generation automation and
networking functionalities that take well
control into the realm of autonomous operation. The integrated hardware and software leverage Internet of things, cloud
and edge computing, artificial intelligence,
and remote monitoring in a low-cost,
easy-to-deploy package.
"All of this capability is contained in
a small box that can be connected to any
well controller or existing communications
network," Cueto explains. "Cutting-edge
autonomous well control does not have
to be complex or expensive to implement."
Nor does it require high-output wells.
In fact, the cost-versus-benefit proposition
of the technology is so powerful that
Cueto says it can pay for itself in only a
few days' worth of saved downtime on
wells producing as little as 20-30 barrels
a day. "It's almost like having a person
sitting on the well looking at the data
and making the right decisions every
single second to optimize performance,"
he relates.
The value of real-time data analysis
and autonomous control is magnified
when installed on multiple wells on a
pad or in a field. "When you do the math
barrel by barrel, we are talking about a
huge return on investment by keeping all
the wells lifting oil," he relates. "Au-



American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 5
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 6
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 7
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 8
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 9
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