A Measure of The Digital Oil Field Status - Is It The End of The Beginning?

Cramer, Ron (Shell Global Solutions) | Gobel, Derek (Shell) | Mueller, Klaus (Shell Development Oman LLC) | Tulalian, Robert (Shell Petroleum Development Co. Of Nigeria Ltd)


The so-called Digital Oil Field (DOF) is a somewhat ill-defined, misunderstood and abstract concept. The associated functional content, scope of work and terminology is variable from company to company and vague within companies. Consequently it is unclear how to gauge DOF degree of success, business
benefit and effective organizational penetration. It is also sometimes unclear what the ultimate goals and associated road-maps are. With clear objectives, clarity of purpose and sufficient business justification there is a reasonable chance of meeting these goals, without clarity all is shrouded in mystique and uncertainty.

Hence the purposes of this paper are to:
• Define precisely what is meant by the DOF;
• Describe the current operational status quo and compare and contrast with the ideal DOF;
• Define metrics that can be used to gauge the success of DOF initiatives.

This will be achieved by illustrating what the DOF is, and what it is not, in terms of oil and gas field infrastructure, applications and experiences. Application of the metrics defined will allow users to determine whether it is "the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning for their DOF.??

Introduction and Background
There is a multiplicity of names for the Digital Oil Field, coined by oil companies, some of which are Digital Oil Field of the Future, Smart Fields, Smart Wells, iField, iWells, eField, and Intelligent Field. For convenience and simplicity we combine all of these along with Fibre Optic Systems, Micro Seismic Systems,
Pump Off Controllers, ESP Controllers under one catch-all acronym, namely DOF.

It is important to clearly define what the DOF is and why it is at the core of the oil and gas business - a twofold definition follows:

a) The Digital Oil Field sustainably maximizes production, minimizes CAPEX, OPEX and environmental impact, whilst simultaneously safeguarding the safety of the people involved and the integrity of the associated equipment for the entire upstream production process from reservoir to point of sale.
b) The DOF is achieved by integration of rapidly advancing technologies (automation, communication and computing), work processes and people skills/motivation/collaboration, acquiring, then analyzing data to make decisions and take actions at a sufficient frequency to achieve the required gains.