Using Real-Time Downhole Monitoring to Overcome Deferred or Lost Production

Downhole monitoring in SRP/PCP/ESP installations to help take pre-emptive measures to reduce downtime.

The Issue

Globally, the oil & gas industry routinely suffers an average of 5 to 7% of unplanned downtime due to unknown wellbore problems and poor maintenance practices.

However, this number is skewed due to a majority of wells with smooth & uninterrupted operations. This means that on wells where interruptions occur, the unplanned downtime is often much higher than 5-7%.

For operators with many wells, this issue becomes multiplied with more cases of potential breakdowns and workovers, resulting in more lost or deferred production. This introduces operational and logistic complexity increasing the number of potential offline wells reducing online time.

Changing Bottom-Hole Dynamics

While the well is online and pumps are running, the bottom-hole characteristics remain dynamic.

Changes in reservoir behaviors, sand intrusion, permeability, fluid influx, etc. can alter pump filling percentage which can adversely effect lubrication and efficiency. Matching pump displacement to oil inflow remains one of the biggest challenges.

While a qualitative measurement of fluid level against approximations from echo shots or empirical derivations can be helpful in preventing the pump from running dry, they have their shortcomings.

Factors such as foam or obstructions can adversely affect these readings. Even in the best-case scenario, these measurements are at most probable guesses from surface and not a replacement for accurate measurements downhole.

As seen in the graph below, for 10% excessive downtime, a 30 Bbls /d well production rate, and a WTI$50/ Bbls oil price, the lost yearly revenue is~US55000$/yr

At 15% excessive downtime the lost revenue is US$~82,000/ yr

At 20% excessive downtime the lost revenue is US$~110,000/ yr

The solution to recover this lost revenue is to minimize downtime

  • Minimize Workovers
  • Keep The Well producing

Figure 1: Yearly Value of Lost or Deferred Production from Excessive Downtime Graph

The Solution

Downhole gauges offer a continuous supply of accurate real-time data.

This provides helpful insight into reservoir behavior, and other various aspects of the downhole characteristics through measured downhole pressure and temperature.

This is a much better alternative to empirical solutions of surface derivations where operators make critical decisions based off what is essentially a “best guess”.

This real-time analysis of downhole behavior also helps in assessing the pressure and output ratio in correlation with pump performance. This helps in assessing pump health and putting together a preemptive plan for workovers rather than waiting for an unforeseen breakdown.

With downhole diagnostics, rather than waiting for a catastrophic failure to the artificial lift system, operators can see indicators of reduced performance. For SRP/PCP/ESP installations this means being able to do planned regular maintenance instead of addressing costly failures whenever they arise.

As seen in below image, the parameters can be observed and regulated in real-time which gives you a clear indication of pump status and health.

Pump Status & Health Indicator Bars GEO PSI

Figure 2: Pump Status & Health Indicator Bars Screenshot

The Result

The graph below highlights a case study of one energy company that made a decision to integrate a downhole monitoring system in their artificial lift well. With operational success and production optimization achieved, they conducted a predictive analysis based on production optimization data.

The findings were amazing showing an increase of almost 40% in cumulative revenue over their original prediction without a downhole monitoring system deployed.


Figure 3: Artificial Lift System – Downhole Gauge Monitoring Value Addition For Life Of Well (Case Study)

With the system cost of about 1% of total revenue, the additional revenue generation of 40% is significant.

The strategic decision made by the company was to use the additional revenue generated from this test well to implement downhole monitoring in other wells of the field, thereby multiplying the result.

As they continue to scale the number of systems with real-time downhole monitoring, the substantial improvement over wells which don’t feature real-time monitoring becomes more and more apparent, developing a compelling case to run real-time downhole gauge systems in every well.

To learn more, and speak to one of our sales staff about the potential benefits you could expect from real-time downhole monitoring in your well please contact us.

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