Carl Sisk, BP’s program manager for their Field of the Future program talked about the goals and challenges BP has faced trying to integrate the data from exploration, well drilling, upstream production and downstream distribution chain, and described the pilot program they’ve been running in partnership with Yokogawa at the Wamsutter, WY gas field. The field is 50 miles on a side, 2500 square miles, and to drive from one end to the other takes hours. There are already 1000 gas wells in the field, and BP expects to increase the number to over 4000 in the next five years– without increasing staff fivefold to keep up. The only way to do that is to have remote control and remote access to the data from each well in real time.
Sisk also beat the drum that Bowron (and of course, yours truly) beat: we can’t get enough people.
(On a personal note, I almost, almost didn’t come back from Bahrain. Saudi Aramco suggested that I might want to come be an automation consultant in SA for two years, and they were willing to pay $45,000 a month plus expenses to get me…or any other senior automation professional. They can’t get people either. This is a world wide phenomenon, and not just limited to the US, Canada and Western Europe.)
So rather than give a dry discussion of what BP and Yokogawa have done, Sisk invited his colleague, Robert Rounding, to give a LIVE DEMO.
Now, I spent over 20 years in sales and I can assure you that most salespeople absolutely HATE live demos. I used to say, in sales training classes, that in a live demo, three things can happen and two of them are bad.
But after some time negotiating three separate firewalls, from a public Wi-Fi connection in the ballroom of the Hilton Americas in Houston, Rounding was able to call up a live desktop from the Yokogawa control system in Wamsutter, Wyoming. He proceeded to show, in detail, how it works, and how it can be used by remotely located operators and technicians to control and maintain the gas well systems in the Field of the Future.
It was absolutely amazing. The system is entirely Foundation Fieldbus, and the bandwidth, because it is high, can also be used to supply full motion video for inspections, remote commissioning, troubleshooting, and so on.
BP’s automation strategy is to use the power of Foundation fieldbus, and that high bandwidth, to utilize advanced analytics, and standards-based tools. They also believe in a single source integrated solution provider– in this case, Yokogawa. Sisk said that the fundamentals of the Field of the Future are already in place in five primary BP regions, with the realtime production management tools in place, and the value realization is already measurable. Two years hence, he said, they want to have 50% of overall production “impacted by the Field of the Future” program, and be working in this advanced collaboration environment.
Way cool, folks. The future speaks.