FEATURE: WELL INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT
Effective oversight An operator’s ability to ensure effective oversight of every aspect of their operation will be crucial in managing HSE concerns and the demands of regulatory change. Systematic control during the entire lifecycle of wells, pipelines and surface facilities in upstream oil and gas will also be vital.
Much of the information relating to well production, barrier equipment and design is held in different departments in various formats and under different timelines. One emerging model is the well integrity management system (WIMS), which aligns all elements including business process, handover, data management and risk management. A WIMS can ensure compliance and provide greater control and transparency across the enterprise, combining key well operating and production data within a framework for decision-making, management processes and organisational
structure. In addition, a WIMS can support operators in extending the operational life of ageing assets, and those facing changing production conditions. Nevertheless, complete control of well integrity requires a system with a sophisticated data handling and analysis, communication and reporting capability. The latter is particularly important, given that a regulator may request an update from an operator on its well integrity status at any time. For example, a simple question that the regulator ought to be able to ask is, “What is the status of your wells today?” Unfortunately, it would be a big task for many operators to answer that question. Much of the information relating to well production, barrier equipment and design is held in different departments in various formats and under different timelines. Not only do these ‘silos’ make it difficult for operators to collate, compare and report on well integrity data, but the length of time this can take impacts on their ability to identify problem wells, make informed decisions and take remedial action.
Reporting and control Advanced WIMS can interface to a wide range of third-party databases to collate the necessary information for analysis and identification of wells
shifting outside critical safe operating limits. They can also support the assessment of equipment reliability and well risk, for real-time estimation of the corrosion in the well tubing. Data can also be acquired directly via tablet PCs in the field, entered manually, or via spreadsheet loader. With operating well data consolidated within a single user interface, the addition of smart functionality enables operators to analyse the well condition automatically in real time and generate concise reports customised to their individual requirements. This ensures they have the specific ‘tools’ needed to satisfy local regulations, proactively identify potential problems and plan test schedules and repairs. For oil and gas firms operating in high-tech, high-risk and often hazardous environments, regulatory change, and the costs associated with it, remains a top concern. But with the right tools and systems in place, they can significantly reduce risk and improve control and transparency across their operations.
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