Production and Facilities

Novel development work continues to focus on improving preventative maintenance and risk-based inspections.


Innovation is alive and well in our industry, as evidenced by this year’s feature selections. The major thrust of papers relating to production and facilities continue to be big data analytics, process and field optimization, piping and pipelining, and the performance of inflow-control devices (ICDs and autonomous ICDs, or AICDs).

For ICDs and AICDs, publications have evolved from descriptions of the devices and how they work to field reports of their successful implementation. As with most new technologies, their degree and frequency of success are rapidly improving. Progress is exemplified by efforts to couple ICD/AICD installations with reservoir simulation (paper SPE 193364), thus giving technologists the ability to develop and digitally test placement models for ICD/AICD devices. One paper (SPE 195450) reports on the completion of three wells in one formation. The well with ICDs outperformed the wells with a slotted liner or perforations.

For big data analytics, novel development work continues to focus on improving algorithms for directing preventative maintenance and risk-based inspections with fewer false-positive alarms. This technology has even begun migrating from the research and development stage by operators to use by service companies. One step-out application of big data analytics is the use of autonomous ground vehicles for the monitoring of buried onshore pipelines (paper SPE 192773). This allows for much more sophisticated pipeline inspections with far less health, safety, and environmental exposure.

A project-management paper deserving attention describes a successful multiteam project with emphasis on interdisciplinary communication. The objective was to construct and start up a large liquefied natural gas train. The project involved 370 deliverables with over 7,000 unique line items (paper SPE 191984).

Other papers describing creative new technology include the testing of nanopaint-aided electromagnetic pigging of pipelines and production tubing (paper SPE 196112), a tetherless autonomous device capable of traveling with or against production flow to accomplish pigging and inspection (paper SPE 195709), and the use of a solid propellant accumulator for activating blowout preventers (paper OTC 29151). These and a number of other publications are great examples of creative work on nascent technologies to improve all aspects of oil and gas production.

This Month's Technical Papers

Horizontal Infill Well With AICDs Improves Production in Mature Field

Smart Robotic System Tracks Buried Pipelines, Inspects for External Damage

Automated Approach Optimizes Flow-Control Device Placement in SAGD Completions

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 191984 Facility Operations Readiness and Project Startup Support and Integration by Michael Maher, ConocoPhillips

SPE 196112 Nanopaint-Aided Electromagnetic Pigging in Pipelines and Production Tubing by Ningyu Wang, The University of Texas at Austin, et al.

OTC 29151 Solid Propellant Accumulators—Next-Generation Hydraulic Power Source for Cold-Weather BOPs by Nazareth Bedrossian, Bastion Technologies

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, has more than 30 years of experience with oilfield process systems and produced-water treatment. He holds a PhD degree in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. Frankiewicz holds 15 patents. His experience includes hands-on operations, equipment design and manufacturing, and process engineering. Frankiewicz has worked for Occidental Petroleum, Unocal, Natco Group, and SPEC Services. At Unocal, he was responsible for developing water-treatment systems for the Gulf of Thailand to remove mercury and arsenic as well as residual oil from produced water. At SPEC Services, Frankiewicz has designed equipment and process systems for, and diagnosed performance issues with, facilities and water-treatment systems for major and independent operators. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2009–2010 and is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee. Frankiewicz can be reached at