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Technology changes our lives more quickly than we can even understand. Can you remember what your life was like before cell phones? Before personal computers? Almost every industry has been changed by the marvels of modern technology, and the oilfield is no exception. From electronic flow meters (EFMs), to emergency shut down equipment (ESDs) and pump off controllers (POCs), there are monitoring and control devices for every function on the modern well. All of these devices must be controlled and monitored, which falls in the realm of "SCADA" – an acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition.
SCADA-hosting systems collect valuable data from field devices around the clock – from once per hour to many times per minute – using radio, cell modem, or satellite communication. This information is organized, stored, and made available so oil and gas companies can keep a close eye on every step of their operations. This high-quality data provides insights into operating conditions that aid decision making, which increases oil and gas production while lowering costs. As the established leader in oilfield SCADA, zdSCADA® provides a range of benefits.
SCADA Reduces Operating Expenses
Unnecessary trips to remote facilities are expensive. Full-featured SCADA systems can eliminate time-consuming rounds through “pumping by exception,” which is seeing wide adoption in the oilfield. Lease operators review a morning report and plan their day around the problem wells. Wells with no issues are left for another day. That leads to another, seldom recognized benefit of SCADA: safety. The most dangerous thing field personnel do is drive. Eliminating unnecessary trips reduces hours on the road and its associated risks.
SCADA provides insights that allow personnel heading to locations to arrive better prepared to address problems. Remote valve operation and compressor auto-start can completely eliminate some trips. Monitoring and controlling chemical injection rates prevents waste. Reducing the data collection burden on lease operators frees up their time for other functions.
SCADA Eliminates Downtime
Operators can’t turn wells back on unless they know they’re off. If a gas compressor goes down, or the belts burn off a pumpjack, SCADA systems can text or call the operator almost immediately to let them know the well is down. Rather than arriving the next day to discover many hours of lost production, the operator arrives sooner, eliminating costly downtime.
Combining SCADA with predictive maintenance programs can prevent repairs and excess downtime for pumpjacks, compressors and pumps. Data from pump-off controllers alerts operators to improper operating conditions that require immediate attention. This prevents damage to equipment and further downtime. Monitoring chemical levels ensures an adequate supply to keep things operating smoothly.
SCADA Increases Production
The accuracy, accessibility, and reliability of manually gathered data pales in comparison to the superior data collection of SCADA. SCADA systems provide data capture for myriad parameters at high frequencies that are impossible to achieve with manual processes. This allows engineers to create accurate models, which would be less useful if based on spotty, manual data.
Furthermore, SCADA greatly enhances the effectiveness of lifting systems, including rod pumps, ESPs, gas lifts, plunger lifts, and chemical (“soap”) injections. Without SCADA, such systems are adjusted in the field too infrequently and based on lagging data. With SCADA, engineers can tune equipment for maximum effectiveness from the convenience of their offices. Available at their fingertips is a multitude of data to aid their decision making. Examples include dynacards from pump-off controllers, plunger travel times, pressures, flow rates, and chemical injection rates. In real-time, they can see the results of any adjustments. This is the most effective way to optimize lifting systems and increase production.
SCADA Decreases Environmental Risks
Alarms from SCADA systems can prevent spills. An oil tank that is about to overflow can be shut-in immediately, and declining fluid levels can warn of a leak. Pipeline leaks are especially insidious, because they can continue, unchecked, for days and weeks absent good SCADA protocols.
Monitoring vapor recovery units (“VRU’s”) is required in most jurisdictions to ensure capture of volatile organic compounds. Flares must be monitored to confirm proper temperature and operation. Alarms on these devices notify lease operators of problems so they can be rapidly addressed. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to meet growing environmental demands without SCADA.
SCADA Improves Collaboration
SCADA improves collaboration between departments by providing a single source of data for operations, accounting, and management. If an accountant needs to identify reasons behind rising profits in an area, the conversation with operations personal should revolve around the same data set. Effective SCADA-hosting systems provide easy-to-use data, accessible by all departments from anywhere. That’s best accomplished by web-based platforms that don’t require complicated connections to standalone servers.
Technology has come to the oilfield in the form of a SCADA revolution. The application of modern electronics and engineering to remotely monitor and control operations has made the oilfield more efficient, more productive, and safer. The innumerable benefits of joining the "digital oilfield" make it an efficient and effective solution for smart companies to consider. Thanks to zdSCADA® for the information contained above.