Case Study: Cairn Oil and Gas Realize the Benefits of Going Digital for Flow Assurance and Well Integrity

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July 14, 2022. By News Bureau

Cairn Oil and Gas operates in three major regions in India across many fields, both onshore and offshore, totaling over 800 wells. This contributes nearly 25% of India’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 minimizing restrictions and risks during physical hydrocarbon flow, such as scaling and wax build up in the down-hole.

Both processes relied on the use of chemicals to help optimize production, and the relationship between chemicals and the physical and mechanical processes involved. It 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 digitalizing both processes instead of relying on chemical injection, Cairn Oil and Gas were able to save millions of dollars by being able to identify and prioritize jobs, determine the overall health of wells, and visualize performance in near real-time from a centralized system.

Previously, critical information was held in spreadsheets, with data often stored in disparate silos and applications with little or no connectivity for access, and with no way of ensuring data validity. As a result, reporting took time and was redundant when complete. Responses were therefore reactive instead of proactive, the use of analytics and insights were poor or non-existent, and often work and tasks were 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 a digital solution to better manage oilfield operations and focus on well integrity and flow assurance.

With data dispersed among various interfaces and disparate sources, Cairn were faced with 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 optimize their assets. Launched in 2016, the application utilizes Bentley’s AssetWise 4D Analytics software to connect, collect, analyze, and report all associated well assurance and flow assurance data. The centralized operating system monitors numerous information sources including stimulation treatments, scale inhibitor squeeze performance, scale monitoring and prediction, water chemistry, chemical performance monitoring, corrosion prediction, and much more.

Hundreds of thousands of 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 personnel are 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 which creates a digital twin of the physical assets, Cairn are able to add digital context to almost any asset, component, or calculation, giving them insights to improve operational performance and production.
Fig.1 - Each well can be monitored to analyze each component’s performance, and alert engineers to any possible issue via notifications.

Fig. 2 - In order to maintain flow, Cairn monitors cost benefit analysis of individual stimulation treatments of all wells to identify underperforming assets.

The smart system fits perfectly into Cairn’s digitalization strategy, which focuses on:

• Safety - Zero harm to people and equipment.
• Protect the Environment - Prevent hydrocarbon leaks.
• Maximize Shareholder Value – Increase asset performance.
Fig. 3 - Cairn have developed a smart well integrity and flow assurance management system that automates manual well monitoring and corrective action processes.

Fig. 4 - Cairn have reduced the potential for uncontrolled fluid release and improved flow assurance management, saving around $1.2 million per year.

With the development of a well failure matrix, alarm methodology, quality checks for all data, underperforming well identification, data management process automation, and overall performance visualization, Cairn Oil and Gas are well placed to remain agile and competitive for many years to come. Utkarsh Vijayvargia, senior petroleum engineer, Cairn Oil & Gas, said, ‘After using the Bentley AssetWise software, the thing that has helped engineers the most is the reduced time spent gathering data. Our approach has now changed from reactive to a more preventative approach, along with a change in the overall mindset of the people involved.’

- Rich Humphrey, VP, Construction, Bentley Systems
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