OTC 2016: Baker Hughes progresses production enhancement products

Sarah Parker Musarra

HOUSTON Its coffers newly bolstered following the termination of its merger agreement with Halliburton, Baker Hughes operated business-as-usual, with multiple subject matter experts on the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) showroom floor to discuss its recent technological advances.

Subsea Production Alliance update

The Subsea Production Alliance was formed between Baker Hughes and Aker Solutions in September 2014. Months later at OTC 2015, the collaboration introduced its first product concept, the POWERJump flowline booster system.

Since then, work has steadily progressed. Baker Hughes Business Development Manager Chris Hales, who works on the Subsea Production Alliance, told Offshore that pump stage testing has been completed in the company’s Claremore, Oklahoma facility, confirming POWERJump’s gas handling capability up to 70% GVF. 

Full-product testing will be held in Aker Solutions’ Tranby facility in the next quarter, he said. The Alliance wants to achieve a TRL of 4 to make it fully ready for subsea use.

Drawing from existing, qualified technology from Baker Hughes and Aker Solutions, POWERJump is designed to be a scalable solution that targets smaller, marginal developments or individual wells. It is optimized for one- to two-well projects with flow rates less than 30,000 b/d.

The Alliance said that the system comprises a quickly deployable and retrievable electrical submersible pump (ESP) system installed in a jumper, allowing for intervention to be accomplished in hours with a smaller vessel.

Multi-phase boosting systems are often not optimized to address declining production rates or low recovery factors from brownfield, satellite, or smaller developments. Such systems are for full-field application with production rates above 30,000 b/d. 

“Since its debut last year, we have been refining the design, and ensuring it is mechanically sound,” he said.

As a part of the design refinement process, input data was considered from more than 30 screening studies performed for various potential customers. Hales said that these studies were held so that companies could quickly determine if POWERJump was a good fit for their projects, but they also serve to provide the Alliance with more precise ideas of what the market needs.

It observed that companies are focusing on stranded reserves, producing through tiebacks, with a balance of greenfield and brownfield projects. In addition, Hales said that companies looking for production boosts want to move quickly.

“POWERJump has a lower lead time, and can cater to that need,” Hales said. “It can get in the water sooner, so they can anticipate and provide that boost when needed.”   

The two companies found that the product can cut lead time in half – 14-16 months versus two-three years.

Hales also said that the Alliance was also able to glean more ideas for alternative uses for the product as a result of these screenings, including sea water injection to elongate field life, and condensate boosting on larger gas fields.

“It opened our eyes to understand opportunities and see solutions that only POWERJump can offer,” he said.

The design tweaks made by the Alliance include the addition of a gas handling and processing unit to make the design more robust and enhance its versatility.

Hales said that POWERJump was suitable for use on applicable products in all subsea basins, and lends itself well to deepwater application.

New predictive analytics software

Predictive technology and automation are proving once again to be areas of keen interest to the industry. In line with this heightened interest, in April, Baker Hughes introduced the FieldPulse model-based predictive analytics software. FieldPulse presents customers with a common dashboard showing all of their wells’ key performance indicators, production data, trends, and more, in real time allowing them to make informed, preemptive decisions and mitigating potential problems before production stops.

It automates what progresses between field-office-field, Ian Brown, Manager, Integrated Production Solutions for Baker Hughes, explained to Offshore.

“It reduces the need to drill, by helping to maximize recovery from existing wells,” he said. “There is an industry focus on data-gathering. Baker Hughes wants to take that field data, along with model-driven analysis – to bring actionable information to the customer’s desktop.”

With the new software, early detection of production declines, water breakthrough, and changes within a given well’s production profile allows the customer early or advance warning to quickly remedy the situation. It corrugates a customer’s existing data streams through an interface to offer model-based analytics, thereby increasing the chance that the client would capture an issue ahead of time.

“Everything operations has already invested in, FieldPulse can plug in,” Brown said. “It is vendor neutral. Any field sensor, any database, anywhere.”

FieldPulse also automates the well review process, he continued. It blends, for example, five to six data sources in real time with its models to produce indicators and identify and accelerate search candidates. It can sort and identify a particular type of well for an engineer, e.g. wells tracking with highest production levels; workover candidates; wells that do not require immediate attention.

Further down the line, as any particular key performance indicator worsens, its candidacy increases. Finally, if needed, FieldPulse will also track the production and alert the user if a given well is forecasted to not hit its production target. The information is given in advance, allowing the company to work ahead in solving the problem.

The software uses historical data along with models and data driven analysis to look at the past and up to a year into the future; however, Brown said that FieldPulse is optimized around a 90-day window.

It works out in the field as well as in the office environment, since users only have to haul a tablet around.

“In the field, FieldPulse can then be used to enter data and do calculations in the field,” he said. “It is not just surveillance; it helps collaboration to make informed operational decisions.”

It also works to decrease cost because it does not rely on the “one user-one well license” cost structure that software vendors often use to charge customers. In addition, it can be deployed rapidly – in less than one business day, in some cases.

Operating on the data it is fed, the scalability of FieldPulse enables it to be adopted by companies of any size. FieldPulse excels in the offshore environment where the customer typically has more sensors and data available but it can also be highly effective onshore where managing large well counts with reduced labor forces can be challenging.

“One of the biggest challenges in the digital oil field is the inability to scale the solution,” he said. “The cost of implementation and total cost of ownership is high. Access is limited to the supermajors and the nationals; it is cost-prohibitive to the indies. FieldPulse can scale rapidly to apply analytics to thousands of wells simultaneously.”

Baker Hughes sees FieldPulse as an important step in realizing the digital oilfield for the whole of the industry, he said.


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