Flow assurance

Software System Enables Effective Flow-Assurance Management

This paper describes a smart management system used for retrieving and evaluating all flow-assurance-related data for more than 700 of the operator’s onshore and offshore wells.


Access to real-time production and injection data is of great benefit to the production optimization engineer. This paper describes a smart management system used for retrieving and evaluating all flow-assurance-related data for more than 700 of the operator’s onshore and offshore wells. The paper discusses system architecture, interface details, design, functionality, visualization, application, and benefits.


Cairn Oil and Gas is the operator of three major blocks currently producing in India: Block RJ-ON-90/1 (Rajasthan), CB/OS-2 (Cambay Basin), and PKGM‑1 (Ravva) constituting more than 700 wells, operated on behalf of its joint venture partners. These wells are either self-flowing or use a variety of­ ­artificial-lift systems. Waterflooding provides pressure maintenance in most fields. Injectivity of water injectors is, therefore, critical in maintaining levels of water injection required to achieve the stipulated recovery factor. Formation fluids have physical and chemical properties that have posed several flow-­assurance challenges over time with regard to outflow performance and processing in surface facilities. These flow-assurance issues include inorganic scaling, organic scaling, corrosion, sand production, injectivity decline, and injector conformance, all of which can affect productivity and injectivity of the fields and thus lead to relatively inefficient waterflood.

The Challenge

Various software products are currently in use for management of operations requiring production- and injection-enhancement treatments in different fields. To ensure that wells are operating optimally, an integrated approach combining robust monitoring and data analysis of parameters affecting well performance is ideal. This was previously achieved through the cumbersome process of data retrieval from different sources, which was then compiled in different Excel spreadsheets. This time-consuming process delayed analysis and permitted errors in data input. As the importance of improving the quality of data management and analysis became clear, the need arose for automation of flow-assurance management across all assets.

The platform described in this paper was intended to help design, evaluate, and monitor all chemical-intervention jobs, and monitor corrosion levels and scale-inhibitor squeeze performance by incorporating data from various sources within the production system. The analysis of the data enabled by this fully automated Web-based software helps in the execution of cost-effective treatments and well-production optimization. The same software system is also being used for well-integrity management for all assets.

System Architecture and Interface Details

The system architecture (Fig. 1) is based on two virtual machine servers on the corporate local-area network. In addition to these two servers, there is a test Web/application server similar to the production Web/application server. These servers were intended to test new mathematical analyses and key performance indicators (KPIs) before going live on the real-time database.

Fig. 1—System architecture. CSV=comma-separated values.


Drilling and Completion Management Software. The interface links the well data from the software to the smart system. The data are inserted into the relevant points and attributes within the structure and substructure of the system. These data are pulled from drilling and completion management software on a monthly basis to incorporate changes in the existing well configuration caused by workovers and the addition of new wells.

Digital Oilfield. There are two components that make up the digital-­oilfield system, the open platform communications (OPC) historian and the ­structured-query-language (SQL) database. The data from both components are pulled into the software system at differing frequencies as needed.

Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). This system houses all laboratory data and is based on the SQL database. The interface takes this laboratory data from the LIMS through SQL views and inserts it into relevant locations within the smart-system database.

Well-Intervention and Planning Software. This system is an in-house well-intervention planning system that houses all well-intervention data. The interface inserts this data into relevant locations within the smart-system database.

Excel Files. For software and platforms that do not allow direct interfacing, required data are exported into an Excel file with a fixed format. The smart system imports data from these Excel files and inserts them into relevant locations within the smart-system database.

Manual Data Loading. The system provides a custom data-input tool that allows input forms to be designed and built using the system’s organization structure. Required calculations are performed on the interfaced data and output reports are produced as desired.

System Design

The Assets structure in the smart system currently contains data for more than 700 wells. The system has expandable capability. The smart system’s Template and Replication functionality is used to manage well inventory and configurations. This allows configuration of a well template to include requirements such as Measured Points, Calculations, Attributes, and Alarms. This template is then copied to all the wells in the smart system. The biggest advantage of the Template and Replication functionality is that only the master template(s) need to be maintained rather than a specific number of individual wells. Well inventory was input into the system; the first structural component defined was the information flow from well level to company level, followed by the Master Well Template Design as a Tree View structure.

Master Well Template

The top-level container in the template is the Well Name, which holds four primary subcontainers:

  • Completion Details. Contains all data relating to well construction and completion such as well parameters and casing and tubing details.
  • Process Data. Contains live well data including pressure and temperature and daily parameters such as production and injection rates.
  • Flow Assurance. Contains all subtemplates required to assess and monitor flow assurance on the well covering the following areas as further subcontainers, which are detailed in the complete paper.
    • Corrosion. Covers data related to monitoring and analyzing corrosion of all assets.
    • Fluid Chemistry. Covers data related to the fluid chemistry of each well.
    • Stimulation. Covers data related to downhole stimulation treatments carried out over the lifetime of a well.
    • Scale and Sand. Covers the information related to different fields/ wells scaling tendencies.
  • Well Integrity. Contains all subtemplates required to assess and monitor well integrity.


The system has a fully configurable dashboard functionality to allow users to visualize well data. The system allows for bespoke views of information for each user in the form of dashboards. Dashboards can be added to any level of the asset structure, and their content is customizable through the addition of widgets from an extensive library. Different viewable levels are discussed in detail in the complete paper.

  • Level 1: Organization
  • Level 2: Business/Operating Unit
  • Level 3: Field
  • Level 4: Well Pad
  • Level 5: Well


Successful implementation of the flow-assurance management system described in this paper has accrued direct benefits for the organization. Automated cumulative cost-performance plots have been incorporated in the system to evaluate the cost benefit of individual chemical treatments. These analyses enable improvement of well productivity and abandonment of ineffectual operations. Examples of well-stimulation assessment are included, which illustrate the value of analytics with regard to performance improvement. Raw data are converted to dashboards and realistic KPIs are set for future well interventions for remediation and inhibition. Because the system retains a full flow-assurance history, it can be used for training new employees, bringing them rapidly up to speed with well operation characteristics. In addition to its flow-assurance-management benefits, the system’s Well Integrity Management capability has also been implemented successfully, with the following benefits:

  • Complete visibility of integrity and performance of wells in one central system
  • Increased use of well-intervention units
  • Reduction of multiple shut-ins of the same well
  • Generation of preventive maintenance programs for tree and subsurface safety valves
  • Retention of a full history of failures encountered in the field, including frequent and rare failures, which enables effective management of spares

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 191951, “A Smart Software System for Flow-Assurance Management,” by Akanksha Jain, SPE, Nilay Patel, SPE, Paul Hammonds, and Shirish Pandey, Cairn Oil and Gas, prepared for the 2018 SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, Brisbane, Australia, 23–25 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.