< it´s never been done before

Smart Wireless Helps Unlock Full Potential of Middle East Oil Fields

The ability to monitor equipment and optimize production levels in an oil field in real time is of enormous value for oil producers. Perhaps nowhere is that value being realized more than in the mature oil field of the Middle East. To get more out of these aging oil fields and their equipment, oil producers are turning to Emerson Smart Wireless technology.

With Emerson´s Smart Wireless technology, oil producers are able to monitor, measure and improve the production and performance of individual wells across a distributed field with almost no infrastructure cost or installation time.

More than 1,000 wells in the Middle East are already using Emerson Smart Wireless devices that comply with the IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) global wireless standard. Some of these instruments are used to measure the flow into the well for enhanced oil recovery; others measure the flow from production wells. Each month more wells are being installed with Emerson technology.

It´s Never Been Done Before. In the Middle East, production companies are installing the world´s largest wireless field instrument network in existing oil fields to help double output within the next five years. Emerson´s Smart Wireless technology is being used to help make this goal achievable.

A big advantage of Emerson´s approach is that the WirelessHART standard requires minimal network design - the network will form itself and adapt to the topology of the field within minutes of being turned on, and will continue to optimise the paths it uses as conditions change. This means very quick installation and high reliability of the measurement data.

Communications from the wireless gateways to a corporate network allow well data to be analysed and made available real-time to any site in the world. Well monitoring and field optimisation, which used to be a labour- and time-intensive process, is now performed more efficiently and on a larger scale than was possible before. Old wells that require optimisation or working over get the attention they need much sooner, which helps increase production and reduces pressure on the well geology.

Installing wireless devices instead of wired devices saves time and money, with no need for cable tray, solar power supplies or external radios.

Some operators in the Middle East have seen installation time reduced to one sixth of what it used to be, with payback periods measured in weeks - or even days. This translates into getting more wells on stream faster, further improving production. With the battery life of most devices being around 10 years, ongoing maintenance and battery replacement costs are much lower than maintaining solar power panels in the desert.

Older process plants, such as gas/oil separation plants (GOSPs) or degassing stations, also benefit. When old instruments need to be replaced, or new instruments added, WirelessHART makes this quick and easy.

Even technicians and operators who are not trained in the use of electronic measurement and control devices find it intuitive to use Emerson´s Smart Wireless devices.

Once the gateway and the first few devices are installed, others can be added anywhere in the vicinity with no need to perform network design. The devices will join the network and report their process measurements. If a device has a problem, then its extensive diagnostics will alert the maintenance team and guide them through the steps needed to fix the device with pictures of the actions they need to take.

There are degassing stations and other installations in the Middle East that have no electronic instrumentation or control; it is all pneumatic. Wholesale implementation of modern control systems at those sites can lead to culture shock for the operations and maintenance personnel.

Wireless makes the change to a modern system much easier. The operating philosophy of the plant is not initially changed so that personnel can become familiar with using electronic instrumentation and learn the installation and maintenance practices. Once personnel are comfortable with the technology, control loops are migrated to the control system with the existing wireless devices being used to read the process values, and wired or wireless devices installed to control the loop. The old pneumatic equipment for that loop can then be decommissioned.

With the help of Emerson and the WirelessHART® standard, oil field operators across the Middle East and around the world are seeing dramatic improvements in production and operating costs.