Wireless Wellhead Watch: Keeping Proficiency On Site

Running an efficient, profitable, and safe operation at remote fields and wells is exceptionally challenging. In an ideal world, you have access to timely and precise data to keep your sites working optimally and producing levels that fulfill your targets. This information will also contribute to your reservoirs’ longevity. You can spot a minor issue right before it grows into a more serious one. However, with small field personnel, you may often have to make frequent expensive trips to the remote site for troubleshooting any issues only to rely on manual reading; manual readings that are prone to inaccuracy and miscalculation. Rather than optimizing your operations, you are just reacting to situations, which can lead to overall inefficient processes.

Whether it’s an existing well or a brand new site, utilizing wireless wellhead monitoring equipment at a production location to oversee the critical processes and variables can deliver many benefits. Many oil and gas companies are making smart monitoring decisions through centralized planning using operational, field, and numerous significant data sources to up the return in investment, better safety in operation, and affect higher productivity.

Accurate and Reliable Data

By using wireless innovations, running conduit, permitting, and trenching are removed from your cost equation. Wireless technology allows quick deployment and shortens the engineering design of the system. Typically, it will only take a day to finish the installation for gathering correct and trusted information remotely.

Wireless Attributes

Before we discuss the wireless options for wellhead monitoring equipment, let’s talk about the following attributes.

Data Collection

Oil and gas operators must make a complete evaluation of the wellheads and what areas need monitoring. The surface pressures, casing, and tubing are the most common monitoring points. To further your automation solution, the valve control and arrivals sensor can also be added.

Power

With wellhead automation, you are mostly handling a remote area of a network that usually has power limitations. Thus, low-powered I/O equipment or battery-powered transmitters that use other energy sources such as solar, for instance, for independent operations without the demand for grid power is the answer.

Safety

All devices must be safe and proper to use for any oil and gas production sites. The standard Class I, Division 2 or “CID2” certification is a requirement. CID2-rated devices are line-powered. CID1-rated devices, on the other hand, are usually the self-powered and self-contained solutions that have higher safety needs.

Radio Frequency

When it comes to radio frequency, when the rate is doubled, the range is cut in half. In North America, 2.4 gigahertz and 900 megahertz industrial, scientific, and medical radio (ISM) bands are available for use. The 900 MHz has better extension features than 2.4 GHz. Nevertheless, in packed 900 MHz locations, 2.4 GHz can provide diversity in frequency.

Wireless Options

Self-Contained Transmitter

This option is one of the most common wellhead monitoring equipment solutions. Self-contained transmitters can be mounted onto a process directly and are made for rough outdoor conditions. These transmitters belong to a wireless sensor network, which provides extensive scalability and additional nodes to be easily included for monitoring other functions such as flows, levels, temperatures, and open/close, or on/off status. They have high compatibility with SCADA systems standards and only requires minimal maintenance. They are best to use for complete oilfield automation and when external power is nonexistent.

Multipoint I/O System

The multipoint I/O system is ideal when high I/O and flexible count are needed while offering scalability. It has a more extended radio frequency range and a more rapid data exchange rate than lower-power transmitters. However, multipoint systems need external power and extra hardware, which makes installation more difficult than using self-contained transmitters.

Point-to-Point System

This system is the most straightforward method of remotely collecting data. In a nutshell, it copies hardwired signals from one point to the next with no software programming. The point-to-point system is ideal when scalability is not required and when field operators can only use raw signals to integrate into the SCADA system.

In Summary

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There are multiple benefits to using wireless wellhead monitoring equipment. When you decide to deploy wireless options to the field, a suitable system should meet power and safety requirements, radio frequency spectrum, and application needs that are unique to your production.