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A New Age - part two

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Oilfield Technology,

This is part two of a two-part article. Part one is available to read here.

Onshore solutions

While UUVs are unique to offshore, the broader concepts of predictive and prescriptive analytics are the next step in the onshore digital oilfield as well. Onshore operations have their own unique problems – decentralised control, remote locations, stressed logistics of people and components – all of which have opportunities for improvement. The ability to forecast performance and prescribe mitigating actions consistently means onshore wells can run reliably and produce more.

With oil prices low, increasing production in any way is vital – especially if those increases can come at a low barrier to entry. Lone Star’s AOS solutions can be employed within six weeks and, because of their unique cause and effect approach, require no training sets to start. In one instance, an oil and gas company was able to increase the production of one of its wells by US$2 million a year, based on 800 bpd at US$50 a barrel, thanks to increased efficiency and reduced downtime. Applying such a solution at scale – which AOS’s Cloud infrastructure is designed for – enables a significant value proposition.

Predictive and prescriptive solutions show broad applicability across onshore systems. According to a large oil and gas company, plunger lift systems can reduce deferments and unplanned downtime, resulting in a 30% increase in production, when using predictive and prescriptive analytics solutions. On top of that, sucker rod lift systems solutions can reduce actual run time by 25% while maintaining production levels. All of these results are byproducts of technicians knowing well in advance which components are degrading or failing on each system, as well as understanding the operational status of the well in real time. Whether it is onshore or offshore, harnessing the data available is the next step toward a truly digital oilfield.

Best practices

The success of predictive and prescriptive technologies often hinges on the implementation strategy. The following section details the best practices starting to emerge that drive optimal outcomes.

The first consideration in a successful predictive and prescriptive solution should be decision latency. How long does it take to get from realising there is a problem to being able to fix the issue? If the solution cannot predict issues further out than this reaction time, it is extremely difficult to drive value. This is especially pertinent in the offshore space where transportation times are high and equipment failure can be catastrophic. For example, if a part needs to be replaced but has to be ordered and shipped, alert windows must adapt to fit that timeline and give ample warning before complications occur. This scenario is a large shift from the current state of most oil and gas operations, but one that is possible today for forward-leaning companies.

Another consideration is data provenance – the understanding of how a piece of data was collected, how it has been processed and how best to make use of it. This is especially important as the amount of data captured by digital systems increases exponentially. The industry has come a long way in terms of capturing process data, and analytics is taking that to the next level by understanding which pieces of data are relevant, which are not and ultimately driving action in real time. Organisations must see the entire automated decision-making process in front of them in order for the solution to be fully explainable. Data providence enables transparency, and transparency enables trust.


While the oil and gas industry is built on leading edge chemistry, engineering and geological technologies, the near future promises serious breakthroughs in analytics. Ultimately, it will mean that oil wells are more efficient, experience less downtime and operate at a consistently higher level than ever before. The digital oilfield is on the verge of melding technology with tangible results that will push AI and analytics to the forefront of the industry. The data is there, the industry regulations are clear and the digital oilfield is upon us.

This is part two of a two-part article. Part one is available to read here.

Written by Eric Haney, Lone Star Analysis.

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