An oil and gas production company embarked on a plant optimisation initiative to address performance challenges on a mature North Sea asset.

To support this, OPEX carried out a data-driven study with particular focus on understanding the constitution of high production, optimum plant restart after a shutdown and gas compression stability.

The Challenge

The customer’s asset was mature, technically complex with significant system interdependency and operating at the lower end of the design envelope. Comprising various co-mingled reservoirs, each with specific fluid characteristics, processing was handled through a single separation and gas compression system.

Collaborating with OPEX, the customer implemented a phased data science led project in support of their plant optimisation initiatives. The initial phase focussed on applying a range of data science techniques to reveal a deeper understanding of performance to realise incremental and marginal gains.

Our Approach

The challenges, recognised by many in upstream operations, are well understood. However, the overall approach adopted within this project was unique in this sphere of operations.

Using predictive analytics, AI and machine learning techniques, historical data was analysed to find patterns and relationships corresponding to distinct operating modes, levels of performance and periods of instability.

Led and contextualised by process engineering expertise, these AI-based analyses provided a detailed understanding of the combination of factors leading to sustained high production, the best possible conditions for successful plant re-start and the optimum operating points for gas compression stability.

Key Outcomes

The key outcomes of this project included:

  • Identified the optimum combination of wells, gas lift rates, pressure optimisation and water handling conditions that yielded high production.
  • Determined operating sweet spots providing potential production gain in excess of $8million of revenue.
  • Revealed links between compressor surges and emerging slugging conditions related to the balance of production between fields.
  • Provided guidance on how to significantly reduce the risk of catastrophic damage to the compressor.
  • Established optimum full plant restart conditions and sequencing of wells, gas lift and compressor discharge pressure.

Your ability to efficiently analyse vast amounts of data and display this using a broad range of highly effective visual representations meant this project could be undertaken with very low drain on our own resource time.

The capability within the OPEX team, both in terms of personnel and the analytical tools that you have at your disposal, is impressive. This resulted in efficient execution of the project and tangible results that will be used in optimisation of our process plant. - Manager, UKCS Operating Company