Downhole Monitoring Basics: How utilizing real-time downhole data can help maximize operational safety
This is part 5 in our series of posts where we are going back to the basics covering the high-level benefits of the real-time downhole data that downhole monitoring systems provide.
As our industry quickly transitions to data-driven operations we hope to provide a resource detailing the ways that modern technology such as real-time downhole monitoring systems can provide greater optimization and profitability.
You can view our first posts in this series ‘Reducing Capital Costs With Downhole Monitoring‘, ‘Reducing Operating Costs With Downhole Monitoring‘, and ‘Maximizing EUR With Downhole Monitoring‘ by clicking the links below.
In this post, we will take a specific look at the ways downhole monitoring can help reduce the time your crews spend in the field and maximize the overall safety of your operations. To make sure you don’t miss out on future posts we encourage you to follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter so you get notified when our next post goes live!
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The Importance Of Safety
It goes without saying that it is critical we all feel safe at work and are able to return home safely to our families at the end of each shift. Good health and avoiding injury are also important to allow us to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We all work hard to improve the quality of life for our families, and we want to ensure good health so we can enjoy life with them. Safety in the workplace is a key component to allowing this to occur.
In addition to maintaining the lives and well-being of your employees, having a safe work environment and well-known safety culture attracts quality people, maintains morale, and overall helps drive better economic performance.
A Safe Work Culture Reduces Costs
While the primary motivation for a safe work environment is the wellbeing of employees, minimizing workplace incidents and mitigating risks has a massive impact on reducing costs. By reducing the risk of harm to employees or equipment companies can see a significant impact to their bottom line.
A safe work culture and the mitigation of jobsite hazards means lower insurance premiums, and reduced liability associated with lost work time, legal proceedings, or downtime. A safe work environment is also one where there is a reduced risk of damage or unnecessary wear and tear on equipment, and there is a mitigated risk of accidental damage to the surrounding enviroment.
How Downhole Monitoring Helps
The best way to ensure a safe work environment is to eliminate risks or hazards altogether, or engineer solutions to avoid them. That is exactly what our real-time downhole monitoring solutions do.
Reducing Travel & Time On-Site
According to the US Bureau Of Labour Statistics, the leading cause of workplace fatality in the US are transportation-related incidents.
While these fatalities are tragic, this chart doesn’t include the countless workplace injuries and damage to equipment that are also sustained on the road each year.
Our real-time downhole monitoring solutions help eliminate the need for regular site visits and enable real-time remote monitoring of entire fields of wells! This can drastically cut down on crews time on the road and out at site providing a significant reduction in exposure to hazards.
A simple reduction in travel to well sites from daily visits to weekly visits would reduce travel by 85%. Utilizing real-time downhole monitoring and SCADA provides the necessary information to allow this site visit reduction to become reality. No longer would crews need to monitor their wells in person, but instead they monitor them all remotely from a central location.
This reduction in travel reduces windshield time, thereby reducing the travel-related risk of incidents from occurring. And by being on sites 85% less, the risk of being exposed to wellsite incidents is also reduced.
Cost reductions are achieved by:
- Reduced insurance premiums
- Better use of employee time
- Reduced fuel costs with greatly reduced travel
- Lower vehicle maintenance costs with less kilometers traveled on a yearly basis
- Lower vehicle capital costs with less change over of vehicles due to less wear & tear
- Less third-party contractor operating costs as employees are now able to use the previous non-productive travel time to handle typical contractor tasks
- Lower carbon tax costs with lower CO2 emissions from less kilometers traveled on a yearly basis
By using the data provided by real-time downhole monitoring systems in a proactive planning process, well interventions or site visits can be pre-planned.
By having accurate insights into the health and performance of a well, operations personnel are able to know in advance when certain maintenance may be required. By knowing when, why, and what they are going in to address they are able to ensure they have the proper tools for the job and support services in place. They may also be able to plan the intervention for a time when there is adequate daylight and they are able to avoid inclement weather.
This insight into real-time downhole conditions that our permanent monitoring systems provides ensures crews can properly plan for any required maintenance ensuring they get the job done in a safe manner and can make sure it’s done right the first time.
The alternative of being blind-sided by an unexpected repair using improper tools or materials for a temporary fix can result in a higher risk of an incident occurring or a failure. This can cause increased incremental repair costs and downtime (lost revenue).
Intelligent Drilling & Interventions
Field-wide permanent downhole monitoring can provide key reservoir pressure and temperature data for drilling, completion, and well intervention operations.
It is critically important for the people involved in these types of operations to know what kind of pressure and temperature they are going to encounter in their daily operations, so they are prepared to deal with them in a safe and effective manner.
One example of where this would be applicable would be for a drilling crew that is drilling an infill well in an area that is over pressured due to a water injection scheme in the area. The crew can be prepared with proper mud weights for when they penetrate the over-pressured reservoir and minimize the risk of an uncontrolled flow event. The same applies to completion or well intervention operations.
In the case of steam injection operations for heavy oil recovery, understanding the reservoir temperature is key to reduce the risk of exceeding the temperature limitations of equipment or the release of high-temperature fluids that put workers at risk of severe burns.
By knowing what they’re up against crews can again ensure they have the right tools for the job and are able to complete it safely and effectively.
While it is difficult to quantify an exact dollar value related to the increase in safety provided by real-time downhole monitoring, there is no doubt that it has a substantial impact on employee safety and the company’s bottom line.
When you consider the benefits of reduced capital costs, reduced operating costs, maximized production, and maximized EUR, improving the safety of staff and contractors at no incremental cost just makes sense.
We hope this series has been helpful for you, and we look forward to continuing to share more about the unique benefits of our systems and the many ways they impact operations.