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Analysis

Benefits of Real Time Well Monitoring

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 11:08

The equipment that FCM has supplied to five fields at Chicontepec, including Agua Fría-Coapechaca, is actually remarkably simple technology: a flow computer, pressure transmitters and solenoids controlling the valves, which control the gas injection for gas lift at the wells. By monitoring pressure and flow, the gas is injected at precisely the right moment to increase production, which is one step in production optimization at Pemex’s troublesome Chicontepec field. “We saw good results and increased production between 25% and 200% at different wells, all from what is really a very simple system,” says Rolando A. Maggi Versteeg, CEO of Flow Control & Measurement (FCM). “At first, Pemex was skeptical of the system, as we were a new company with limited experience. We started with five wells in order to test the process and were very pleased with the results. The next hurdle was convincing Pemex that the results we produced were sustainable; six months since the first results we are pleased to report that they are.”

After the success of FCM’s five test wells, Pemex contracted the company to install infrastructure at 45 more wells in the Chicontepec region. As part of FCM’s aggressive pursuit of business with Pemex entailed, the company offered to forgo payment if Pemex’s productivity did not improve by at least 10% as a result of the installation of its equipment. The test wells have proven successful, and there are 300 more intermittent wells with gas lift at Chicontepec where FCM is hoping that Pemex will apply their technology.

Maggi Versteeg explains how the idea to employ the technology came to FCM. “The idea came from understanding the wells. We understood that Chicontepec was a problem area for Pemex, which was not achieving the production rates that the company had believed it would be able to. We thought about the idea of not just monitoring gas lift, but controlling the wells remotely in order to optimize production and enhance recovery.”

There are still over 600 wells in Mexico where Pemex could apply gas lift technology. In fields with geology like Chicontepec, production generally drops within the first six months of the well’s spudding and becomes what is termed an intermittent well, in which gas lift is one technology that can bring production levels back up. Gas lift is one of the least expensive secondary recovery technologies for such wells. Building on the momentum of its success at Chicontepec, FCM hopes to provide secondary recovery technologies to more wells in Mexico’s southern region. The company is also looking to optimize production of Pemex’s oshore fields by applying remote operation, transmission, data and video services in a complete package with the company’s Kimray and Mercer valves.