Combining edge computing with automation enabled an operator to optimize their ESP performance and production in brownfields with a digital ESP gas-handling workflow.

THE CHALLENGE

The gas coming from ESP wells that produce from high-GOR reservoirs has devastating effects on well productivity and ESP run life. The operator’s workflow to handle the produced gas from these wells is personnel intensive and highly reactive. Wells that needed intervention could take days to weeks to get back to the standard producing behavior. A field technician would need to be sent to the field to manually bleed off the casing head pressure and leave the annular casing valve cracked open until the next gas event occurs.

THE SOLUTION

An automated ESP gas-handling system— including an AgoraGateway, wireless sensors, and a solar-powered skid with a flow computer and an automated choke valve to control the annular gas flow rate—was used to optimize the well and ESP performance.

The AgoraGateway captures tubing head pressure and casing head pressure from the wireless sensors, gas flow rate from the skid, and ESP data, and then synchronizes the parameters prior to transmitting the data to the cloud. All this data is also consumed by a well model installed in the AgoraGateway which accounts for the effect of the produced gas on ESP performance and autonomously sends commands to control the fully automated skid supplied by our partner, Sensia.

THE RESULTS

The AgoraGateway captures the gas rate measured by the flow computer and identifies the correct opening of the casing annular valve based on well-flow simulation models, with the ability to incorporate a physics-based model using the ECLIPSE industry-reference reservoir simulator and data-driven estimation using machine learning. The AgoraGateway sends commands to the automated skid to adjust the casing valve, preventing production halting gas-lock conditions. This iterative process results in proper ESP optimization in hours instead of days or weeks, with no manual intervention required. 

By deploying the automated ESP gas-handling system to over 40 high-GOR wells, the operator expects to gain 400,000 bbl/y (1,095 bbl/d more per well) and reduce 10,000 mi of driving in harsh environments within the next year. It also eliminates the intervention expense of sending a field technician to the field to investigate and remedy the persistent gas-lock issues.

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