The oil and gas industry has been consistently evolving and optimizing operations over the years, and some of the most exciting recent developments haven’t been found deep within the earth or inside pipelines, but in computers.
Particularly in today’s COVID-19 world, remote capabilities have become much more important, and operators who have been early adopters of digital transformation solutions have been reaping the benefits of their technology leadership.
Thanks to the partnership between mCloud Technologies and artificial intelligence technology development house nybl, 2,000 oil wells in Kuwait and North America will soon benefit from new digital optimization approaches that can deliver a return of $200,000 or more per year for each well. Both companies plan to expand this initial optimization – covering improved maintenance operations, asset health awareness, utilization approaches and more – to over one million oil and gas wells worldwide.
As readers of this blog likely know, mCloud’s AssetCare solutions combine IoT sensors, AI and the cloud to find the best ways of improving asset performance, minimizing energy use and streamlining maintenance. AssetCare is easily installed with a light touch at any given facility, with a dashboard accessible through headsets and desktops, either on-site or remotely.
AssetCare offers real-time failure prediction, prescription, prevention and optimization while increasing efficiency and reducing costs. This is accomplished through an end-to-end AI platform which eliminates the need for time-consuming and biased historical training data by using data-behavior models and science-based machine learning.
When combined, the technologies from mCloud and nybl allow for market-changing possibilities in the physics-based world of electrical submersible pumps, progressive cavity pumps, plunger lifts and other kinds of artificial lift equipment.
One example is predicting the remaining useful life of an artificial lift pump, a feature called Remaining Run Life (RRL). This advanced feature enables proactive well management, such as optimizing rig operations and scheduling, by anticipating replacement of pumps and avoiding unexpected failures. This minimizes rig-waiting downtime and deferred production while providing valuable insights for budgeting and inventory planning.
Another feature of RRL is the Failure Prediction Index (FPI) which predicts imminent, non-trending failure phenomenon and alerts operators who can take action to avoid or mitigate imminent failure.
The RRL is calculated through a number of factors, including average lifespan of equipment, operating parameters, optimum performance conditions and much more. RRL determines, with great accuracy, when a pump will fail given typical operating conditions.
When combined, the FPI can be checked against the RRL to identify abnormalities. If an operator receives an FPI alert of imminent failure on a pump that has another 300 days of life, it means the cause isn’t a standard signature failure, such as a worn-out impeller shaft, but something unusual occurring in the system.
These systems are currently being deployed to provide oil well optimization services in Kuwait and North America and the savings have been game-changing for the oil and gas operators.
One of the first observed benefits is increased pump life. The installations have been shown to increase expected pump life by as much as 30 percent. When you consider the cost of replacement, this works out to between $3,000 and $30,000 per well.
The solution also addresses the constant threat of unplanned downtime. It can sometimes take three to six months to get out to a rig to replace the pump and in extreme cases, up to a year. There have even been reports of operational failures costing as much as $20 million in deferred revenue due to a pump failing unexpectedly on a high producing well. By predicting the remaining useful life and the imminent, non-trending failure metrics, operators can anticipate these failures and plan their maintenance accordingly.
mCloud’s technologies also produced a 5 percent average increase in production across the board, with outliers as high as 20 or even 30 percent. When you have a well producing 100 barrels per day priced at $40 a barrel, even single-digit increases can result in hundreds of dollars of additional revenue for each well per day.
The bottom line is you cannot reap the benefits of cloud-based technologies like AI and IoT in the oil and gas industry without first taking the plunge. These technologies are proven to enhance oil well management and maximize output, while reducing the workload, costs and anxiety for facilities operators.