As oil industry technology has advanced, increasing emphasis has been placed upon accomplishing operational objectives more safely and efficiently. In pursuing these goals, operators and service companies have investigated the advances made in other technological fields, and many innovative applications have found their way into oilfield operations to accomplish these objectives.

One of the most notable technologies for improving and disseminating information is "Real Time Operations." Real Time Operations or RTO in the oil industry is already a reality in certain geographical areas. Specifically, data from drilling operations such as Formation-Evaluation-While-Drilling are already being "beamed" real-time back to the operators, assisting them in making optimal operating decisions. The advantages are clear when one considers that in the past, the subject matter expert had to be present at the well site in order to carry out any type of real time analysis or control during an operation. This advantage becomes particularly beneficial in remote areas.

Cost savings from RTO vary according to the particular service and wellsite location, but with increasing emphasis on deeper waters, high pressure/high temperature (HP/HT) environments, and remote areas, the value of RTO becomes more evident.

This paper will present a synopsis of oilfield RTO and how it is applied to drill tem testing and well testing. A classification system is proposed for delineating the different types of RTO that are available. Several RTO case histories are presented to support the applications. A discussion concerning the added-value generated as well as the relative cost-savings will be shown by the case histories.

The capability to carry out real-time analysis remotely can positively effect cost efficiency and allow state-of-the-art testing to be performed in areas that would not previously have been feasible. In addition to the present usage of RTO in the oilfield, this paper will discuss what RTO capabilities can provide, in both the near-term and in the distant future.

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