Production and Facilities

Topics: Projects, facilities & construction

I keep a sign on my desk, purported to be a Chinese proverb, that says, “Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” This bit of wisdom certainly applies as we recap the impressive progress made in a wide range of technologies related to production and facilities. Significant advances were reported in materials, field optimization, safe operations, corrosion, and wellbore-related technologies. In each area, progress was reported toward more-efficient field development, extended equipment and pipeline service life, and reduced environmental-release risks.

In materials, papers described new liquid coatings (SPE 176048, SPE 179933) as well as new alloy coatings (SPE 176930) that provide improved corrosion- and erosion-resistance properties. The strength and fit-for-service range is being extended for pipelines by the development of new polymeric and composite materials (OTC 26506, OTC 27179). On the flip side, a material for fully degradable fracturing plugs was also reported (SPE 176917).  Who knew that sometimes we want things to fall apart in a timely manner?

In field optimization, the development of an artificial-neural-network (ANN) model significantly reduced the amount of computational time required to generate an optimal well-placement strategy (SPE 177442). An ANN-modeling approach also improved the reliability and accuracy of a model for detecting gas-pipeline leaks from basic flow-rate, velocity, pressure, and temperature signatures of the pipeline (SPE 177459). Another paper reported on the development of an Excel-based tool that allows nonchemists, field personnel, and engineers to make rapid determinations of the threat to asset integrity by sour (hydrogen-sulfide-containing) production streams (SPE 179921).

For safe operations, a model was developed to improve the reliability of blowout-preventer control systems that included the interaction of multidomain dynamically coupled systems rather than just taking a steady-state approach (OTC 27292).  Another paper described advances in the use of robotic technology for internal pressure-vessel inspections, significantly reducing the required time and personnel hazards associated with conventional human-entry inspections (SPE 177913).

A combination of drill-rig automation and improved inspection technologies reduces well-workover times (and costs) while also reducing personnel exposure to operational hazards. One paper described an online method for inspecting tubing as it was being pulled from a well by use of electromagnetic inspection (SPE 177741), while another described an automated pipe-racking system that removes personnel from this hazardous procedure (SPE 176336).

These papers are only a limited sampling of the progress made this past year in the development of new technology for production and facilities. Several of these technical advancements may now allow operators to do routinely what many may have previously said cannot be done.

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 176930 Boosting Performance of Component Assets Used in Unconventional-Resource Plays With Nanolaminated Alloy Coatings by Christina Lomasney, Modumetal, et al.

SPE 177741 Application of Flux Leakage Technique and Hydrostatic Pressure Testing To Evaluate Imperfections in Used Tubing by Fajarul Majeed M, AlMansoori Inspection Services

OTC 27292 Holistic Systems Analysis: A Case Study Demonstrating Simple Models Improving the Reliability of the BOP Control Equipment Ecosystem by Daniel C. Barker, Cameron

SPE 176048 Next-Generation Damage-Resistant Liquid Coatings by Melvin Devadass, 3M, et al.

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, has more than 30 years of experience with oilfield process systems and produced-water treatment. He holds a PhD degree in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. Frankiewicz holds 15 patents. His experience includes hands-on operations, equipment design and manufacturing, and process engineering. Frankiewicz has worked for Occidental Petroleum, Unocal, Natco Group, and SPEC Services. At Unocal, he was responsible for developing water-treatment systems for the Gulf of Thailand to remove mercury and arsenic as well as residual oil from produced water. At SPEC Services, Frankiewicz has designed equipment and process systems for, and diagnosed performance issues with, facilities and water-treatment systems for major and independent operators. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2009–2010 and is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee. Frankiewicz can be reached at

Production and Facilities

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, Engineering Adviser, SPEC Services

23 November 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 12