Digitalisation Strategy: Cairn Oil and Gas adopts smart tech for better flow assurance and well integrity

Cairn Oil and Gas adopts smart tech for better flow assurance and well integrity

Richard Humphrey, Vice President of Construction Product Management, Bentley Systems

Cairn Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, is the largest private sector producer of crude oil in India, with assets in three major regions – Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat – across many fields, both onshore and offshore, totalling over 800 wells. It thus contributes nearly 25 per cent of the country’s domestic crude oil production across all assets.

Crucial to the continuous performance of these wells are the practices of well integrity and flow assurance. Well integrity maintains full control of fluids within a well at all times in order to prevent unintended fluid movement or loss. Flow assurance guarantees oil and gas production by minimising restrictions and risks during physical hydrocarbon flow, such as scaling and wax build-up in the down-hole.

Both processes rely on the use of chemicals to help optimise production, the relationship between chemicals and the physical and mechanical processes involved. This highlights how important chemicals are and how managing them correctly is key, as failure to do so can be expensive down the line in terms of downtime and shut-ins. By digitalising both processes instead of relying on chemical injection, Cairn Oil and Gas has been able to achieve considerable savings. It has been able to identify and prioritise jobs, determine the overall health of wells, and visualise performance in near real time from a centralised system.

Previously, critical information was held in spreadsheets, with data often stored in disparate silos and applications with little or no connectivity and no way of ensuring data validity. As a result, reporting took time and became redundant by the time it was complete. Responses were therefore reactive instead of proactive, the use of analytics and insights was poor or non-existent, and tasks were often either duplicated or ignored due to a lack of visibility.

If not checked, poor data management can result in sustained annulus pressure in B-annulus, Christmas tree valve failures, scaling issues that affect productivity and injectivity, and much more. Oil and gas production now requires digital solutions to better manage oilfield operations and focus on well integrity and flow assurance.

With data dispersed among various interfaces and disparate sources, Cairn was faced with the issue of a lack of data visibility and accuracy, which are crucial for decision-making regarding well integrity and flow assurance. After a tender process, Cairn decided to use Bentley’s Smart Well Integrity and Flow Assurance application to optimise its assets. Launched in 2016, the application utilises Bentley’s AssetWise 4D Analytics software to connect, collect, analyse and report all associated well integrity and flow assurance data. The centralised operating system monitors a number of information sources, including stimulation treatments, scale inhibitor squeeze performance, scale monitoring and prediction, water chemistry, chemical performance monitoring and corrosion prediction, among others.

Multiple calculations within the system transform data into critical information that finds quicker resolutions to any potential problem that can cause assets to underperform. Using a combination of alarms, notifications, reporting, future projections and other tools, Cairn is now able to focus on work in the right place at the right time through data-driven decisions. By using 1D and 2D images, web mimics, maps and an asset hierarchy that creates a digital twin of the physical assets, Cairn is able to add digital context to almost any asset, component, or calculation, providing insights to improve operational performance and production.

The smart system fits perfectly into Cairn’s digitalisation strategy, which focuses on safety (zero harm to people and equipment), environment protection (preventing hydrocarbon leaks) and maximising shareholder value (increasing asset performance).

With the development of a well failure matrix, an alarm methodology, quality checks for all data, identification of underperforming wells, data management process automation, and overall performance visualisation, Cairn Oil and Gas is well placed to remain agile and competitive for many years to come.