• Smart Wireless Network to Monitor over 180 Wells with 600 Devices in First Phase of PDVSA Oil Field Production Upgrade

Measurement and Testing

Smart Wireless Network to Monitor over 180 Wells with 600 Devices in First Phase of PDVSA Oil Field Production Upgrade

Jan 11 2009

Emerson Process Management has received orders from PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, for the first two phases of a programme to install Emerson Smart Wireless technology in the Morichal District oil fields. The multi-million dollar orders include monitoring of over 180 wells by more than 600 Emerson devices in a selforganising wireless network.

Realising major installation cost reduction and avoiding interference, the wireless solution is expected to deliver reliable pressure and temperature data that will be used to predict well performance and report on the health of wellhead drives, enabling action to prevent well shutdown. Production will increase as a result, enabling the Morichal District to consistently reach its government mandated crude oil production goal of 150,000 bbl per day.

Communication of well head data from wired instruments has been unreliable in this area due to grounding problems and harmonics generated by electronic drive equipment at the well pads. The problem of false readings might have been solved by burying heavily armoured cables in trenches, but that is time-consuming and very expensive.

"We need more reliable and accurate measurements for better well head control in order to increase production and meet our commitment to the government," commented the PDVSA Morichal AIT Maintenance
division. "Our long-term goal is to modernise more than 500 wells. Emerson’s wireless communications technology has proven itself in our rigorous field trials and is the cost-effective solution we’ve been seeking for this purpose."

The Smart Wireless solution appealed to the Morichal officials as the fastest and most reliable means of improving the quality of well measurements. The wireless transmissions are unaffected by local electrical or
harmonic interference. If there is an obstruction, the self-organising mesh network simply reorganises and reroutes the transmissions until they reach the network’s Smart Wireless Gateway. This happens automatically, without any involvement by the user, providing redundant communication paths and better reliability than direct, line-of-sight communications between individual devices and a receiver.

In the first two phases of the Morichal project, more than 40 well pads will be equipped with Smart Wireless gateways that will serve as network hubs for the field instruments. A total of 450 Rosemount® wireless pressure
transmitters and 235 wireless temperature transmitters will provide accurate data from 180 individual wells, which are generally 60 to 80 metres from the well pads.

Attaching wireless pressure and temperature transmitters at the well heads is quick and easy, and communications with the gateway can begin immediately. In turn, each gateway forwards the data it receives via a radio link to Emerson’s AMS® Suite predictive maintenance software located at the main control station.

"This is a significant confirmation of Emerson’s wireless technology by a world leader in petroleum production," said Bob Karschnia, Emerson’s vice president of wireless. "As personnel find more and more measurements they need for improved operations, the cost-benefit of installing wireless will make this method preferable in many cases to traditional wired systems. In this case, our Smart Wireless was the smart choice to assure reliable transmission of essential information across the oil field."

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