How a data transmission service cut costs and increased production
A web-based monitoring, reporting and control system for compression management significantly reduced operating costs and increased field efficiencies
John Powers, eLynx Technologies
In September 2000, eLynx Technologies, Inc., along with its parent company, American Central Gas Technologies (ACGT), began work on an automation and control project with Devon Energy Production Co., L.P. As a result, Devon experienced cost reductions and increases in employee efficiency. The project took place in the East Texas field surrounding the Carthage area – one of the largest natural gas producing fields in the nation. The work was completed in March 2001.
Before the project, Devon had 24,030 hp of compression installed throughout the field. With horsepower spread throughout such a large area (Fig. 1), maximizing efficiencies became an issue. Although the operator leased most of its compression, it owned five electric units totaling 4,600 hp.
Part of the project involved strategically laying common-suction piping, which tied existing horsepower together. In addition, compression facilities were upgraded and outfitted with new automation and communication systems. The new monitoring technology provided the operator with real-time data collection, production reporting, monitoring and control for wells and compressors via the Internet or private network connection. The technology was applied throughout the gas gathering system to maximize efficiency gains.
Devon’s employees are now able to view central delivery point information first thing in the morning, enabling them to concentrate on troubled areas first. The benefit of a constantly monitored system is reduction in production downtime, which translates into lower maintenance and remedial costs. Through monitoring and maximizing horsepower, fuel consumption can also be decreased. Before the project, the operator had fuel consumption on compressors as high as 7% of production. After common piping, installation, centralization of energy-efficient compression and installing the monitoring systems, it now has 3.5% fuel consumption.
Harold Hawkins, production superintendent for Devon commented, “The web-based monitoring, reporting and control system has significantly reduced our operating costs and made our field personnel more efficient in the process. The alarm call-out system on our compressors, coupled with real-time flow data on our central delivery points, has allowed field personnel to operate by exception, which in turn has increased our production by 3% to 5%.”
During a curtailment period, the operator’s ability to predict and control volumes on a real-time basis enabled it to expedite the process of shutting in and bringing on production, resulting in smoother, safer and more cost-effective operation.
The system is customized for each company and data is secure from unauthorized users. It uses 128-bit encryption, and requires an authorized password every time it is accessed.
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