Production and Facilities

The overarching theme of work published during the past year relating to production and facilities is performance and productivity improvement—doing more with less at a lower cost. This applies to the character of work that was performed and the topics that were investigated. The publications clearly illustrate how the low-price environment stimulated creativity in the improvement of existing operations and technologies as well as in the development of new technologies. 

Nearly one-third of the papers reviewed for this feature involved the use of digital models and simulations. Models were used to verify the study results or were improved on the basis of study results. Where adequate models were unavailable, new ones were developed (paper SPE 182450). Computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulations played an important role in a number of published studies. One study (paper OTC 27762) validates simulations by actual physical testing and includes an evaluation of multiphase CFD flow-modeling techniques. Overall, this year’s publications confirm the pervasive dependence of technological advancements on the use of valid and (hopefully) reliable digital modeling. 

“Big data” played a role in several investigations, with objectives that ranged from optimizing field production (paper SPE 182450) to improving maintenance and lowering the cost for it (paper OTC 27788). Big data was also incorporated into project management by forward-using available information to systematically “Eliminate Decision Bias in Facilities Planning” (paper SPE 187283).

Compressors and compression are components of facilities that often show higher capital and maintenance costs, so it is not surprising that several papers described means to reduce these costs. Three papers addressed compressor failure/reliability issues (papers SPE 183322, SPE 183528, and SPE 183253), while two papers described means to improve production economics by the purposeful application of compressor technology, including the use of a multiphase compressor to improve recoveries on a marginal wellhead platform (paper IPTC 18692).

Inflow-control devices (ICDs) were addressed by several authors, with some focusing on the application of ICDs to steam-injection wells (paper SPE 183842). Others reported on the development of new types of devices that operate on electrical resistance (paper SPE 185682) or are viscosity independent (paper SPE 183930).

Finally, the use of 3D printing for oilfield applications was described in two papers (papers OTC 27540 and OTC 27766). A review of existing and emerging nanotechnology applications in the oil patch was also provided (paper SPE 183301).

This Month's Technical Papers

Production Optimization in Waterfloods: A New Approach to Interwell-Connectivity Modeling

Digitalization of Oil and Gas Facilities Reduces Cost and Improves Maintenance Operations

Eliminate Decision Bias in Facilities Planning

Recommended Additional Reading

OTC 27762 Modeling of a Full-Scale Horizontal Liquid/Liquid Separator Under Conditions of Varying Flow Rate, Water Cut, and Viscosity With Experimental Validation by A.B. McCleney, Southwest Research Institute, et al.

SPE 183842 Developing a Robust Inflow-Control Device Suitable for High-Rate Injection by Joshua Snitkoff, Baker Hughes, a GE Company, et al.

SPE 183840 A Robust Framework for ICD Design in a Giant Field Using 4D Dynamic Modeling by O.A. Ogunsanwo, Schlumberger, et al.

SPE 183322 Improving Control of Torsional Vibrations of Motor-Driven Reciprocating Compressors by Timo P. Holopainen, ABB Motors and Generators, et al.

SPE 183301 Nanotechnology for Oilfield Applications: Challenges and Impact by Hon Chung Lau, National University of Singapore, et al.

OTC 27540 Exploration of Applications of Metallic Additive Manufacturing for the Oil and Gas Industry by Allan Zhong, Halliburton, et al.

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, has more than 30 years of experience with oilfield process systems and produced-water treatment. He holds a PhD degree in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. Frankiewicz holds 15 patents. His experience includes hands-on operations, equipment design and manufacturing, and process engineering. Frankiewicz has worked for Occidental Petroleum, Unocal, Natco Group, and SPEC Services. At Unocal, he was responsible for developing water-treatment systems for the Gulf of Thailand to remove mercury and arsenic as well as residual oil from produced water. At SPEC Services, Frankiewicz has designed equipment and process systems for, and diagnosed performance issues with, facilities and water-treatment systems for major and independent operators. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2009–2010 and is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee. Frankiewicz can be reached at

Production and Facilities

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, Engineering Adviser, SPEC Services

01 December 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 12

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