It is evident that Digital Oil Field Projects have succeeded in making reservoir, production and operations data more widely available. However, it is also evident that many operators still fail to realise the full value of these data. Too often, oil field professionals are overloaded with information with the direct result that the organisation fails to respond appropriately within the available window of opportunity. The authors believe that in order to realize sustainable improvements in operational efficiencies and in decision-making for production optimisation and reservoir management, the Industry now needs to find ways to ensure that the new streams of information and knowledge that result from Digital Oilfield Projects can flow freely throughout the organization. IT solutions need to do more to screen, classify and rank data, to present the most significant information to the most appropriate person as and when it is needed, to marshal the right analysis tools and configure them optimally for the task at hand, and to route critical actions and results across the organization in the manner most appropriate to the prevailing circumstances.
Much effort has been spent attempting to devolve increased levels of governance to computer systems, including responsibility for the management of workflows, but workflow automation solutions applied to date have tended to be too prescriptive and too inflexible to cope with the dynamic and varying circumstances that humans invariably have to deal with in a real world production situation. This paper describes the piloting of a "guided workflows" solution for Well Test Validation in one of Shell's Operating Companies. This was the first workflow tool built in Shell using PRODML™ connectivity standards.
The solution automates the gathering and pre-analysis of production and well test information, delivering the screened and prioritized results for validation by the appropriate professional, e.g. Production Programmer, before the start of the working day. PDS incorporated human workflow extensions into Shell's production web portal that were used to guide the user through the most appropriate analysis steps and route results to the appropriate team member and other company experts for further analysis and actioning. The solution incorporated overviews of the progress and status of well test validation activities across the company, and provided audit trails to support organizational learning and compliance checking at the granularity of individual tasks and decisions.
The pilot results indicated significant potential for the approach in related areas e.g. production surveillance, optimization and reporting. The extensive use of the PRODML™ standards favourably impacted systems integration project costs and timescales, and increased software reuse.