How does an oil company efficiently operate declining oil wells on offshore platforms built decades ago in an area prone to seasonal hurricanes? This is the challenge facing Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the state-owned energy company in Mexico, as it seeks to extend the life of its Cantarell oil field located in Campeche Bay in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Cantarell field is one of the largest oil fields in the world, and as recently as 2003, was contributing 60 percent of Mexico’s crude oil production. However, the Cantarell field has been in a production decline since then, currently accounting for about 30 percent of Mexico’s crude oil output.
PEMEX’s Cantarell operations consist of about 200 production wells on more than 50 platforms, which have limited or non-existent power availability. In addition, many of the platforms lacked a communications infrastructure to transmit data back to the onshore operations facility. As a result, PEMEX was sending employees by boat each day to the platforms located 80 kilometers (50 miles) from shore to manually gather data to make production decisions. This approach was costly, subject to unfavorable weather conditions, delayed important decision-making, and created safety risks for workers.
After 30 years of uninterrupted production, PEMEX needed to find an innovative and economically viable monitoring solution to optimize the current production cycle of the Cantarell field. PEMEX wanted a technology approach that could collect timely and reliable information on field performance and its production processes - and integrate that data for all the offshore platforms to enable better management of the field, increase worker safety and improve environmental protection.
It’s Never Been Done Before. To achieve its vision of an "intelligent field," PEMEX engineers in Ciudad del Carmen, worked with Emerson México local engineers to create a remote monitoring system for its offshore platforms that would help extend the life of the Cantarell field without additional infrastructure, long implementation periods or high maintenance costs.