SPE Online Education
Smart Production Monitoring Enabled by Virtual Well Metering
Recorded On: 04/25/2019
Virtual Metering technology has been used in offshore oil and gas wells for over a decade with great success. They provide a cost-effective, yet reliable solution to monitor production continuously. They also serve as ready back-up to “physical” multiphase meters, which are both expensive and less reliable.
On one asset that has been producing for over 18 years, Virtual Metering enabled reliable production metering, where it was previously not possible to do any type of well testing. In this case, the production metering process was successful because the Virtual Metering utilized multiple methods to predict flowrates and was able to keep predicting accurate flowrates, even as various pressure/temperature measurements / sensors in and around the wells failed over time.
Another key component to the successful implementation of virtual meters is to leverage all data, including export meters, to calibrate the system. However, calibration presents unique challenges, especially in situations in which multiple wells are commingled and measured at a common meter. Recent advances in Data Analytics present a great opportunity to simplify the complex calibration challenge. On a recent project, several of the physical subsea multiphase meters were not performing reliably, and the back-up virtual meters required a higher level of accuracy (i.e., >99%), as these meters were used for allocation purposes. With only one export meter available as a point of calibration, Data Analytics was used to automate the complex calibration process that led to more than an 80% reduction in calibration times. These developments and advanced in the technology has allowed the Virtual Metering software to be scalable for application on vast networks such as shale well and coal seam gas, in addition to conventional producing assets.
Lastly, Virtual Metering technology has proven to be an excellent backup to full multiphase meters on each well. Because Virtual Metering facilitates improved visualization of the whole field’s production performance, the users can determine if there are any biases in each individual multiphase meters and actually helps improve the accuracy of these “physical meters”.
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