November 2023
Special focus: Advances in production

Technological innovation delivers transformative product suite to upstream sector

A unique collaboration is enhancing gas production, reducing emissions, and boosting revenue generation while controlling costs.
Dylan Abel / INNIO Group Darnell Franco / Detechtion Technologies
Fig. 1. SkidIQ is a cloud-based digital solution that seamlessly integrates INNIO Group’s Waukesha engine analytics with Detechtion’s real-time compressor monitoring technology.

To address the ever-changing demands of the global upstream sector, INNIO Group’s Waukesha team and Detechtion Technologies have collaborated to produce transformative technologies. While each company is rooted in unique expertise and innovative solutions, they have converged to launch the SkidIQ product suite by integrating Waukesha engine analytics with Detechtion’s real-time compressor monitoring technology, Fig. 1. 

Reducing carbon output. The SkidIQ product suite emerges as a milestone of collaborative innovation between INNIO Group and Detechtion Technologies, marking a significant milestone in the oil and gas industry’s transition toward decarbonization. As the industry shifts toward a more sustainable future, technological solutions like SkidIQ will play a crucial role in helping operators improve efficiency, reduce emissions and control costs. 

This cloud-based digital solution seamlessly integrates INNIO Group’s Waukesha engine analytics with Detechtion’s real-time compressor monitoring technology. The result is a unified platform that reduces operating expenses and emissions while enhancing uptime by providing a unified platform for the compressor and engine. Furthermore, it offers operators direct access to the Waukesha E-help manual, enabling swift event identification and resolution, thereby improving uptime and throughput. 

One of SkidIQ’s key attributes is its “digital twin” feature. With its real-time pressures and temperatures, SkidIQ’s digital twin can identify compressor leaks to mitigate fugitive emissions. The digital twin also calculates various emissions content on the engine, such as CO2 and NOx, with each simulation. This enables operators to understand the emissions effects to the engine from changes being made in the field to proactively reduce emissions.  In addition, fuel consumption is calculated which helps clients improve their assets to move more gas.   

Bud Hittie, president and leader of INNIO Group’s Waukesha brand, and Chris Smith, CEO of Detechtion Technologies, both underscore the transformative potential of SkidIQ. Says Hittie, “At INNIO Group, we believe that digitalization can unlock significant value for our customers in terms of efficiency, productivity and sustainability. With SkidIQ, we have created a digital solution that is both comprehensive and easy to use.” Smith echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the unparalleled technological integration: “SkidIQ’s technology and its future product releases are simply unmatched. Gone are the days of siloed performance data for the engine and compressor, as we bring the full skid’s health and performance into a single view.” 

The future of remote operations centers. In an era where data-driven decisions are paramount, many companies globally are leveraging remote operations centers (ROCs) to enhance both internal and external operations. ROCs facilitate continuous tracking of various key performance indicators (KPIs) and critical data points, ensuring 24/7/365 monitoring and enabling the remote tracking, assessment and resolution of issues from a centralized location. This not only improves operations but also transforms unused data into actionable insights, driven by trained professionals, who can efficiently monitor, analyze, and proactively make decisions. 

Strategically implementing ROC to leverage SkidIQ. In the pursuit of operational excellence, INNIO Group’s Waukesha brand has pioneered the implementation of its own ROC, meticulously designed to observe and catalog historical data from the compression package equipment for precise monitoring and analysis. The ROC leveraging SkidIQ does more than just monitor and analyze customer data remotely; it proactively identifies equipment anomalies and notifies customers with strategic recommendations, enabling a seamless and efficient operational flow. 

Fig. 2. SkidIQ’s innovative circuitry improves natural gas production throughput for enhanced revenue generation.

SkidIQ’s ROC adopts an integrated approach toward monitoring equipment skids and critical off-skid components, enabling a comprehensive and unified system for excellent operational functionality. Recognizing that one component, such as the compressor, impacts the functionality of others, like the engine, SkidIQ’s ROC helps ensure that the system is used as a cohesive unit with comprehensive monitoring and proactive maintenance. This approach eliminates the disjointed view and operational challenges posed by multiple platforms, dashboards and systems. Staffed by both engine and compressor experts, the ROC plays a pivotal role in condition monitoring, enabling the scheduling of proactive, preventative maintenance and increasing uptime and throughput, Fig. 2.   

Helping to ensure confidence with proactive monitoring. SkidIQ’s ROC also nurtures customer peace of mind with its proactive equipment monitoring. Historically, some ROCs provided by other equipment OEMs chose to focus on their own parts, such as the engine and compressor skid. However, multiple solutions—such as dashboards, systems and payments—did not work well for end-users.  

SkidIQ’s ROC is different. It uses an integrated approach with the equipment skid or critical off-skid components for a unified, efficient and effective operational strategy. SkidIQ’s ROC not only signifies a step toward innovative, data-driven, and proactive operational management, but it also underscores the two companies’ commitment to providing tangible, efficient and customer-centric solutions. It stands as an example of operational excellence and provides solutions that help the industry reach its sustainability goals. 

Connecting innovation and application. The theoretical potential of a technological innovation is often vast and promising. However, its true mettle is tested when applied in the real world, where diverse challenges and dynamic variables come into play. The case studies below help illustrate the tangible impact and efficacy of the SkidIQ product suite, highlighting both the operational benefits as well as the challenges encountered and overcome in distinct application contexts.   

Case study 1: Enhancing global fleet management. In a strategic move to validate the practicality and efficiency of their collaborative technological solution, INNIO Group’s Waukesha team and Detechtion embarked on a proof of concept with a prominent international fleet rental company. The project spanned diverse geographical locations, with seven assets earmarked for the pilot, three in Bolivia and four in Oman.  

Comprehensive information, including equipment make and model, compressor and engine geometry, and gas composition (both fuel and compressed gas), was gathered from the customer in advance to build a digital twin of the compressor. This foresight facilitated a plug-and-play scenario on the hardware arriving on site, streamlining the installation process.  

The operator, after undergoing installation training, implemented the dashboard, with each remotely supported device taking an average of one hour to install. A hurdle was encountered at the Oman site, due to a lack of requisite data to fully enable the digital twin’s functionality. Addressing this promptly, an expansion module was dispatched to the site, enabling the installation of pressure and temperature transducers without necessitating expensive controller reprogramming.  

Upon establishing hub communication and validating the data, information from the dashboard was fed into the digital twin, generating exception-based diagnostic reports, which included calculations for:  

  • Incremental production  
  • Fuel gas used  
  • CO2 and NOx emissions  
  • Expected discharge temperature  
  • Compression ratio  
  • Volumetric efficiency  
  • Blowby, a measure of compressor cylinder health  
  • Rod load compression and tension – static and net  
  • Minimum degrees reversal  
  • Minimum rod load net ratio  
  • Cylinder flow  
  • Horsepower used—overall and at RPM  
  • Cylinder capacity used. 

With the systems operational, assets were monitored remotely by the ROC located in Waukesha, in collaboration with the engineering account managers (EAMs) at Detechtion. They collaborate closely with clients to integrate the data from the SkidIQ analytics and make thoroughly vetted operational recommendations.   

Benefits realized. Through the collaboration between INNIO Group’s Waukesha team and Detechtion, the client achieved comprehensive visibility into the compressor package (encompassing both engine and compressor), reaping benefits including:  

  • Diminished operating costs  
  • Reduced asset downtime  
  • Enhanced asset availability  
  • Prolonged runtimes  
  • Mitigated risk of catastrophic failure  
  • Decreased number of unforeseen issues. 

This case study documents how SkidIQ product suite’s robustness improved operations while underscoring its pivotal role in proactive maintenance and issue mitigation improving operational continuity and financial viability.  

Case study 2: Boosting gas production. Throughout a year of collaborative endeavors, an additional pivotal user benefit has been realized: the capability to pinpoint opportunities for increasing natural gas production throughput, which has culminated in augmented gas movement and bolstered revenue generation. By harnessing insights derived from the current engine model, configuration, control system, asset age and operating profile, the teams employed various conversion, modification and upgrade (CMU) kits to formulate “what-if” scenarios and develop production models.  

This approach facilitated an understanding of potential incremental production, daily revenue and the payback period. With a spotlight on end-users operating engine/compressor packages in natural gas production applications, assets from 10 unique end customers, totaling approximately 800 assets, were analyzed for gas throughput.  

The process. In the overarching remote monitoring activity, both engine and compressor data are studied and analyzed by the ROC and EAMs. The data analysis process commences with the current Waukesha engine model in operation. The analysis model then integrates the suggested engine or component upgrades or upgrade kits, including any potential core return credit. Subsequent “what-if” calculations are analyzed to determine potential incremental production, revenue increases (adjustable based on current natural gas pricing), and ROI or payback period in days. These insights serve to aid end clients in their decision-making process and support them in budgeting activities for the new fiscal year.  

Value added. Through the collaborative endeavors of the ROC and EAM team, opportunities to enhance throughput were identified for more than 50 assets, resulting in approximately 150 MMcfd of additional gas movement capacity. Based on an average of $4.00/MMBtu, that translated into increased revenue of more than $500,000.  

Path forward. As the industry drives toward a more sustainable future, the SkidIQ digital solution can help provide robust monitoring and proactive maintenance, while also controlling costs and helping operators to reach their sustainability goals The SkidIQ product suite represents a milestone, not only for the companies involved but also for the wider upstream sector. 

About the Authors
Dylan Abel
Dylan Abel is digital product manager at INNIO Group, where he leads digital and controls product lines for gas compression and power generation, fostering collaboration with Detechtion Technologies. He embarked on his career in 2012 at Windrock, overseeing the installation and commissioning of online monitoring systems and advanced into roles with technical services and product development. Mr. Abel holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, a fundamentals of engineering certification and an MBA from Tennessee Tech University.
Darnell Franco
Detechtion Technologies
Darnell Franco is senior sales engineer for Detechtion Technologies, supporting the collaboration between INNIO’s Waukesha Engine and Detechtion Technologies as the compression optimization and fleet management subject matter expert. He supports client education and SkidIQ system implementations, enabling remote monitoring and enhancement of gas compression assets. Mr. Franco brings over a decade of engineering experience and system integration to his role working with clients in the oil and gas industry, providing technical support to maximize uptime. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Related Articles
Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.