Extracting maximum value from oil and gas wells has never been more vital. Current oil price volatility is influenced by global geopolitical and, increasingly, climatic events. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the pandemic and recent natural disasters that have degraded US oil production are just some of the factors that fueled the latest price spike.
Whatever the price per barrel, optimizing production is crucial. Keeping operations running and improving efficiency when the opportunity arises is critical, and this is where monitoring comes into its own.
Ninety percent of the world’s oil and gas wells are classified as offline, meaning they are still manually monitored. Yet, we can be certain that a significant number of these wells will experience a shutdown problem at some point in their life. In fact, 33% of wells will experience an integrity issue affecting production availability at some point in their life. With statistics like these, it’s clear that monitoring wells should be a strategic priority for every operator, especially as oil prices rise. Any downtime or leak can be a disaster for safety, the environment and the business.
Whether a well is producing 10 or 1,000 barrels per day, monitoring your wells unlocks significant improvements in well efficiency, reduces downtime and improves overall safety. And the more remote or less productive the well, the greater the potential benefits of monitoring.
In terms of increasing oil production, using more granular and accurate well data has three key benefits.
Reduce downtime by responding faster to health issues
First, during production booms, engineers have one goal: to get resources out of the ground as quickly as possible. Time spent manually checking or monitoring wells or pinpointing precisely which well is the problem is a waste of time. By using real-time data and digital technology, engineers can respond and resolve issues faster and focus on production.
A good well monitoring system can immediately direct engineers to wells that need attention when they need it. For example, identifying dangerous increases in temperature or pressure that need to be addressed, then ensuring that the right engineers can be dispatched to the right wells at the right time.
Optimize production with data
Measuring, monitoring and taking action to produce oil as efficiently as possible using regular, reliable and accurate data optimizes oil production. Well monitoring makes this possible, even on low-production wells or those located off-grid.
Connected wells can use data insights to adjust their operations on time. For example, if a well is way off its production target, data such as tubing pressure or production rate can help engineers get production back on track.
Unconnected sinks can be inefficient and even dangerous without data. Infrequent data can be just as dangerous. At best, wells can be checked once a day. At worst, weeks (or months) can elapse between well checks. However, with well integrity issues, for example, it is possible that time and production could be lost on a well that could have produced more, had the team been alerted.
Improve safety, save time and reduce costs
The cost of repeated trips to monitor wells can quickly add up, as can the time crews spend traveling there. This is particularly the case when the wells are offshore or in less connected parts of the world. Well monitoring eliminates unnecessary travel and time costs associated with visiting wells without a need or a clear plan.
Sending teams of engineers to monitor offshore or remote wells is also dangerous. From bad weather to broken down vehicles, lack of local security, to the remote nature of the places themselves, there are many things that can go wrong. There is also often a poor communications network in these situations, and little access to local infrastructure or cellular communications.
A robust well monitoring system saves team time, reduces travel costs, and eliminates this type of travel risk for oil company employees. For operations companies, it’s a clear and easy win because it generates reliable, 24/7 data that can be used to diagnose and fix problems in the field without hassle.
Satellite technology changes everything for unconnected wells
The value of well monitoring technology is clear.
However, 90% of wells are still not connected and monitored manually. Why? Because traditional well monitoring technologies are expensive and complex to install. They have not been developed to meet the needs of the majority of wells – remote onshore wells, unmanned satellite rigs, low producing wells, old or abandoned wells.
What does the ideal well monitoring technology look like? It should be simple yet comprehensive, affordable and scalable, and of course flexible.
Hiber’s solution to this challenge is HiberHilo, a satellite-based well monitoring technology that allows producers to digitally monitor remote, low-production, or older wells at an affordable cost through an all-in-one subscription.
HiberHilo is available worldwide. The solution connects sensors on the wellheads via a solar-powered wireless gateway to the satellites and then to an API or a secure online desktop or mobile dashboard that can be monitored from anywhere in the world.
Multiple wellheads with sensors can be connected to the same gateway within a five mile radius. Sensors regularly relay readings to give a 24/7 view of the status of any well, no matter how far away it is, so problems such as production stoppages or leaks are immediately identified and quickly corrected.
It’s simple and easy to install. No local power is needed, HiberHilo is completely battery and solar powered. The subscription model means there are no capital expenditures or hidden costs.
With remote wells notoriously difficult to monitor and most experiencing integrity issues or production issues at some point in their lives, HiberHilo makes monitoring remote assets in the least connected regions of the world safer, cheaper and easier. The breakthrough cost and potential return on investment also makes it possible to digitize well monitoring, even for the least productive wells, helping to increase production.
Major Oil Companies Turn to HiberHilo Well Monitoring Technology
HiberHilo has been deployed globally with some of the world’s largest energy companies. Shell and Continental are already using Hiber’s well monitoring technology to improve remote monitoring of wells.
Shell was indeed one of the first major oil companies to turn to HiberHilo.
When exploration company Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Shell wanted a better way to monitor well integrity, they embarked on a joint project to test HiberHilo on a well abandonment project that was still connected to a pressure monitoring system.
The purpose of the test was to assess the speed and ease of installation, to compare the output of the sensor to an existing wired measurement system, and to assess the future possibilities of this approach. Both companies wanted a system that was easy to install, easy to use, and that they could trust.
The whole installation took less than three hours, with the sensors connecting to the satellites in 15 minutes. Installation was so quick that engineers estimated they could have completed 15 more installations in the same day, making this approach suitable even in remote areas.
The Shell technical team was impressed with the satellite approach.
“After testing HiberHilo, the opportunity was clear,” said Ian Taylor, Global Lead Technical Expert for Well Integrity at Shell.
Shell and Hiber now have a global framework agreement that allows Shell subsidiaries and entities to transition to satellite IoT and use HiberHilo. It has already been installed in Shell’s North Sea operations.
Making Well Monitoring Accessible
Well monitoring technology has traditionally been unreliable in remote areas without cellular connectivity and too expensive for all but the most productive wells in other locations.
HiberHilo game changer for the oil and gas industry. Producers can monitor wells via low-cost, low-power satellite connectivity that makes well monitoring affordable and increases oil production, reduces downtime and improves safety through access to better data .