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Well Testing Imperative to Improve Operations

Horacio Ferreira - Surpetrol
President and CEO


Conal Quinn By Conal Quinn | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 08/09/2022 - 11:18

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Q: As Mexico seeks to ramp up production to meet ambitious production targets by 2024, what role is Surpetrol playing?

A: Surpetrol plays a fundamental role as the most important service provider of well testing in Mexico. It is imperative in the oil and gas industry to measure each well production so we can optimize what is being produced. An important part of the production in Mexico comes from mature wells, which need to be tested regularly to see how they are performing. Based on well production information, operators can implement actions to improve productivity, create better management strategies and gain a higher recovery rate from the fields. Surpetrol provides well testing services in real time with data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), which increases the quality and quantity of information that we have available, enabling users to make better decisions and therefore reducing costs and optimizing well production. 

Well testing is an investment and if companies do not invest in knowing what they have, they will not be able to enhance the productivity of their wells. CNH also demands that companies carry out well testing at least once a month.

Q: Does the global spike in oil prices drive operators to become more open to investing in new technologies?

A: Historically spikes in oil prices provide cash to invest in new concepts; however, we are living a transition in the oil & gas industry with high pressure to max production in every well. Under the current economical and geopolitical situation, companies start to focus on maximizing short terms production targets rather than the ultimate oil recovery rates from the fields in the long term. Nevertheless in terms of industry technology trends, there is more and more value being placed on real time, data analytics and AI to maximize well operations and productivity.

Q: Having witnessed the recent decline of some of PEMEX’s most emblematic fields, such as Cantarell, how can Surpetrol improve EOR and IOR to optimize oilfield production?

A: This is a key mission of the company. We tested 80 percent of the wells at Cantarell and after three years, the decline in the field flattened out. Right now, PEMEX is producing the same amount of oil as it did some time ago. It is not increasing production but it has halted the downward trend, which the NOC were able to accomplish by knowing exactly how much the individual wells were producing, then optimizing the production of each well . Put simply, PEMEX were able to achieve this improved performance at Cantarell with the data we provided. That is the value that Surpetrol adds: information in real time with data analytics and AI.   

Q: How do multiphase meters make unconventional wells more viable?

A: For multiphase meters, the value comes through three aspects. Firstly, with multiphase meters, companies get a true reading of the flow of the well every second through a sort of electrocardiogram. When testing without these meters, readings merely measure the average production compared to an amount of time but the technological value of the multiphase meter allows for deeper insights.

For unconventional wells, efficiency is of the essence in the current market. Multiphase meters are effective when it comes to cost. The size of the equipment compared to what is used at conventional wells is smaller, too. They require fewer people and less maintenance, which ultimately reduces the CAPEX and OPEX hit.

Yet, the main value the meters offer is in relation to the environment. They can be used in a closed system, without any flaring and, therefore, they generate no impact on the environment. Ninety-eight percent of our equipment runs on solar panels and uses very little energy. The sustainability Surpetrol offers is great, which is an area the oil and gas inudstry has traditionally neglected. 

Q: How will the arrival of Gustavo Petro as the president of Colombia impact the oil and gas industry there?

A: Things are going to be run with a different view, one that favors the environment over business. Climate change is a reality and if we do not start making an effort right now, the problems we face in the future will only be worse. The oil and gas industry must do a better job of taking care of the environment.

Nonetheless, I do not expect the oil and gas industry to change much there in the long run.  In Colombia, the president is elected for four years and in the oil and gas industry, it takes at least five years to develop a field.  

Unfortunately, there is too much noise and misleading information about Petro’s plans but Colombia will not lose out on one of its main sources of income.


Surpetrol is a global provider of well management and optimization services, with over 250,000 successful well-testing operations using multiphase meters. The company offers its data interpreting expertise to lengthen the lifetime of an oil field.

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