IN THE LATE 2000s, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) launched a programme to bring digitalisation to the hydrocarbon producing fields in the North Kuwait (NK) asset. It started with a pilot project covering 49 wells (out of 1,200+ onshore wells in NK) to assess the value of digital technologies. Over the next decade, the programme, named KwiDF (Kuwait Integrated Digital Field), would grow into one of the leading digital oilfield implementations in the Exploration and Production (E&P) industry, both in terms of its scale and ambition. With the recent announcement of Phase 2, representing the expansion of Phase 1, KwiDF is set to leapfrog the digitalisation efforts across all KOC’s producing assets in Kuwait. As KOC’s technology partner, Halliburton will support this expansion, leveraging the DecisionSpace® 365 platform.

Business drivers for KwiDF
More than 70% of production globally comes from mature fields today – some of them producing for several decades. With age come operational challenges such as reservoir productivity decline, well integrity and flow assurance issues, equipment malfunction and unstable well behaviour.

"The labour-intensive mode of operations reduced visibility of the operating conditions in the field and delayed the response to anomalies"

Fields in NK, several decades into production, had started to show signs of the same late-life challenges, including declining reservoir pressure, increasing water cut and frequent trips/failures of surface and downhole equipment, to name a few. Further amplifying these issues was the prevailing operating model in NK. Day-to-day production monitoring relied on the field technicians travelling to the remote well sites for data gathering. The asset specialist teams in the office waited for the data to come from the field so that they could do performance analysis, which itself would be a time-consuming effort given the sporadic data and lack of the right tools.

The labour-intensive mode of operations reduced visibility of the operating conditions in the fields and significantly delayed the response to anomalies, which often festered unnoticed until they caused production downtime. Costs went up too due to frequent well intervention activities needed to keep up the production.

KwiDF Phase 1 – delivering the foundation for growth
KwiDF sought to be an answer to these issues, with specific goals to improve well performance, unlock workforce productivity and reduce cost. The initiative was set in motion with KOC selecting Halliburton to implement a pilot project targeting the following digital capabilities:

  • Outfitting 49 wells from NK Sabriyah field with wireless sensors and setting up appropriate technology infrastructure to bring real time data from the well sites to office
  • Integration with existing KOC data sources and models including third party data sources (real time historian, production, completion and corporate), third party well and network modelling tools and in-house data sources
  • Smart alarms for exception-based surveillance
  • Work process automation to speed up engineering tasks (e.g. performance analysis, diagnostics, model calibration)
  • Dashboards to deliver context-specific data visualisation to KOC users. Nine well and reservoir management workflows were targeted for digitalisation, of which the ESP (Electrical Submersible Pump) surveillance and optimisation workflow became one of KwiDF’s most important, given over 70% of the NK wells are producing with ESPs. The workflow delivered exception summaries, smart alarms, detailed well information, diagnostic tools and an optimisation engine. The latter allowed users to rapidly evaluate various opportunities for production gain such as changes in pump frequency or well head pressure, thus saving time for the KOC users who would manually perform those tasks.

The pilot demonstrated tangible benefits in terms of productivity increase and faster decision cycles. This encouraged expansion to 140 wells followed by a full-scale roll out of the entire solution covering nearly 1,200 wells and five gathering centres in NK, culminating in full operationalisation of Phase 1 in 2018. As part of that, a state-of-the-art collaboration centre was also constructed to facilitate inter-disciplinary collaboration and streamline communication between the field-based operations team and office-based technical specialists.

Phase 1 yielded a 4-5% production increase as observed by KOC, resulting from early detection of anomalies and faster response to them. Staff productivity multiplied due to work process automation, which minimised human efforts on low-value repetitive tasks such as data gathering, filtering, model update and production reporting.

"Phase 1 yielded a 4-5% production increase as observed by KOC. ”

KwiDF Phase 2 – expanding and sustaining value
Phase 2 expands the KwiDF scope to target value creation in new areas such as reservoir management, production optimisation and operational efficiency improvement. Expansion identifies the following four key initiatives that will be deployed on top of the DecisionSpace 365 platform. The platform will leverage existing functionalities of Phase 1, but also deliver more advanced capabilities in the form of digital twins incorporating machine learning models and data from advanced subsurface sensors and IoT devices on wellheads and the pipeline network.

1. Intelligent reservoir management (IRM)
IRM will advance understanding of the NK reservoirs to enable field development planning and waterflood surveillance and optimisation. A full field digital twin integrating subsurface and surface performance models will be developed to aid evaluation of field development scenarios, including adjustments to waterflooding strategy. Near wellbore sensors will be deployed to measure field resistivity and achieve superior reservoir characterisation.

2. Well productivity and uptime optimisation (WPUO)
This initiative will augment the well performance management solution delivered in Phase 1. New digital capabilities such as predictive analytics developed using machine learning techniques will assist in early identification of abnormal well conditions and definition of optimal remedial action, thus maximising well uptime and productivity.

3. Integrated production optimisation (IPO)
Over the years, the complexity of NK operations has seen a steady rise. Asset teams are challenged to meet the production targets against dynamic flow bottlenecks in the production network and unplanned remedial or safety critical activities, rendering parts of the production system unavailable.

The digital enablement of IPO will centre on a digital twin, underpinned by automated work processes and data visualisation, offering an integrated representation of wells, pipeline network and surface facilities. It will assist in running NK producing assets to their full potential through identification of optimal network routings and operating set points. It will also aid decision making on actions to mitigate unexpected production shortfalls caused by operational upsets.

4. Pipeline monitoring (PMON)
PMON will focus on maintaining productivity and integrity of in-field pipeline network by enhancing data and analytical capabilities. Additional sensors will be installed to allow continuous measurements of flow condition and assure the quality of the network model incorporated in the IPO digital twin.

The digital twins mentioned above, through on-demand simulation of the NK production system and its constituents (reservoir, well, pipeline network and facilities), will offer a deeper analysis of hydrocarbon flow behaviours and how they respond to changes to operating set points. NK asset teams can then identify flow bottlenecks, test various optimisation scenarios, review technical limits, and generate more accurate production forecasts.

A major concern in the E&P industry over using digital twins in large fields is their long computation run time that makes them unfit for faster decision cycles as required in daily operations management. KwiDF will address this constraint by incorporating a hybrid modelling approach in which data-driven algorithms are blended with a physics model to speed up model run-time, aligning it with a decision-making time scale. To keep the digital twins fresh and up-to-date, manual and time consuming tasks related to data quality checks, model update, calibration and versioning will be automated. End users will only have to review the bad quality models flagged by the system through interactive dashboards.

Sustaining KwiDF
Open architecture will be the key in ensuring the longevity and resilience of the KwiDF solution to deal with the fast pace of technology changes and ever-evolving business needs. A well-acknowledged observation from many digital oilfields of the past has been the limitation, and in some cases failure, of rigid software solutions struggling to scale beyond their coded functionalities.

Open platforms on the other hand can scale much more easily without losing their performance and interoperability. Halliburton’s DecisionSpace 365 platform underpinning the KwiDF solution exemplifies this principle. The platform offers flexibility to tailor and grow digital solutions through its open, technology-neutral, modular, and interoperable architecture. The underlying technology building blocks (data integration, business rules, analytics, workflow orchestration and visualisation) accelerate the solution deployment and time to value.

The ultimate measure of KwiDF success, however, will lie in how well it gets adopted by the organisation. End users will not just need to embrace the value of the system, but also be able to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to make effective use of KwiDF in their day-to-day work.

To that end a change management programme has been put in place to encourage solution adoption and utilisation through regular communications, incentive schemes and on-the-job training. A dedicated team staffed with Halliburton domain experts and IT specialists will be formed to provide continuous mentoring and training to the KwiDF users in running the digital workflows and conducting the well and reservoir performance review cadence. The team will also gather user feedback for enhancements to the solution and report them to KwiDF management for future release planning.

In conclusion, KwiDF Phase 1 delivered a strong engine for digital transformation to KOC, generating momentum toward an efficient, agile and data-informed operating model. Phase 2 will further expand and accelerate that transition by unlocking newer opportunities for efficiency gains through smarter and more automated work processes and fostering the digital capabilities of the KOC workforce. Contact Us.


Planar Client Options
Layout Style
  • Wide
  • Boxed
Theme Preview