Lower oil prices have driven oil & gas producers to find ways to reduce capital spending and ongoing operational spending. In the U.S. shale oil & gas producers typical use separators for each well to determine royalties among the owners and better understand the performance of the well.
Emerson’s Sharon McCurdy and Rusty Liner describe how multiphase metering technology improves the performance of oil & gas well pads. In their Emerson Exchange 2017 presentation, they share how a more modular and flexible multiphase meter (meters designed for offshore service) is leading to efficient and cost-effective well pad operations with reduced equipment and improved real-time well performance monitoring.
Prior to this modular approach, well pads often had individual test separators for each well (up to 10 in total). The new Roxar MPFM 2600 M multiphase flow meter is a modular, flexible and compact alternative, performing real-time well testing and reservoir monitoring in all conditions.
Separators perform the function of separating the oil, gas and water from the produced fluids coming up from the well. These separators require a lot of piping, measurements and valving. If not operating properly, oil can be lost to the water tanks and gas can be lost to carry under conditions. Sharon described different scenarios where separators may or may not be required.
With the Roxar multiphase meter, the oil, gas and water mix can be measured in line for each well to determine royalties, before going to the production equipment for further processing.
Operators can reduce costs per well pad by as much as 50% by replacing the current separation infrastructure. The separation upstream of the central processing facility can be replaced. The multiphase meter can scale to address the rapid production declines common with shale oil & gas wells.
Since the meter has no moving parts, maintenance requirements are reduced which can double the efficiencies of field technicians in performing their functions. Sharon mentioned that some oil & gas operators report technicians being able to handle 40 wells per day instead of the more typical 20 wells with conventional separators per well.
A portable well test skid with multiphase meters can fit in the back of a pickup truck, which is transportation of choice in the Permian Basin and other shale zones across North America.
Modular multiphase meters start with a well monitoring tool for trending watercut, gas break-through and flow rates. Options include adding a gamma source to improve accuracy and robustness of the measurements. This meter was designed for onshore shale fields due to its compact size and modular options compared with the original multiphase meter designed for offshore installations. Even after installation, modules can be added to handle the changing requirements of the well flow stream, such as the introduction of wet gas.
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