Tatneft Field-Tests Lufkin’s SAM Intelligent Well Technology

By Elena Zhuk, March 1, 2008

This applies to all stages of field development and well life, from pilot production onward. Such data also backs up decision making on when and how to apply well intervention technologies. Russian standards governing measurement and quality of production for individual wells and license blocks are regulated by GOST R 8.615-2005 “Measurement of the Amount of Recovered Oil and Petroleum Gas; General Metrological and Technical Requirements.” And to comply with those standards, Russian producers are putting the best technologies available world wide to the test. In 2007, Lufkin Automation, a global leader in intelligent well technologies based in East Texas, initiated the process of obtaining GOST certification of its SAM series of controllers which Tatneft started buying two years earlier. Partnering with Tatneft, Lufkin is field-testing on the 60-year old Romashkinskoye field in Tatarstan.

Oil&Gas Eurasia’s Technology Editor, Elena Zhuk, visited the oil capital of Tatarstan - the City of Almetyevsk - where Tatneft and its production subsidiary, Almetyevneft, are located near to the oilfields of Tatarstan, some of them in production since World War II. There, Zhuk saw first hand how Russian production engineers are implementing 21st Century intelligent well technology.

Almetyevneft: from tests to large-scale implementation

The introduction of Lufkin’s SAM line of controllers is today a major-league project of state-owned Tatneft, one of Lufkin’s best customers globally. Tatneft specialists began to familiarize themselves with foreign-made equipment for production control in the mid 1990s when tests performed by Almetyevneft, one of several Tatneft production units, proved the efficiency of using Lufkin’s DeltaX controllers and others.

However, at that time, the equipment was too costly for Tatneft to buy and install the systems on a large scale. And Russian manufacturers were entering the market with cheaper alternatives; firms such as Lint in Kazan and Intek in Ufa. Further competition was felt from Rosemount, a division of Emerson Process Management, which assembles some of its products in Chelyabinsk at the Metran plant, also a part of Emerson. Tatneft spent several years in search of the optimal solution until 2004 when specialists from the Production Department of Tatneft visited Lufkin Automation’s exhibition stand during the June international oil and gas show in Moscow.

Lufkin specialists described in detail how Bealrusneft had applied an earlier version of Lufkin’s line of intelligent well technology at the 40 year old Rechitskoye field (see OGE No 8, 2006, p. 16-27 in “archive” on www.oilandgaseurasia.com). Following a preliminary analysis, Tatneft in 2005 began a phased in test of Lufkin’s SAM Well Manager, a new generation product. It differs from its predecessor applied in Belarus by more advanced capabilities in well operation optimization.

Investment payback comes in reliability and efficiency

Tests performed in 2005 on the first batch of 10 controllers, eight of which were installed in fields operated by Almetyevneft, showed good results, high consumer characteristics and operational reliability. The new Lufkin controllers not only transfers all the information to the work stations of specialists who need it, but the system also performs its analysis