Electrification paves the way for lower cost, lower carbon energy future

Nov 25, 2021 by Energy Connects
image is Schlumberger DAY2 Electrification

Electrification manager at Schlumberger writes how companies can decarbonise operations and improve performance with all-electric production systems.

Schlumberger Stephane Hiron DAY2
Author Stephane Hiron Electrification Manager at Schlumberger

As the world emerges from the pandemic, demand for oil and gas is once again on the uptick. 

While the stage appears to be set for a multi-year, demand-led recovery, a new industry imperative to address climate change compels swift action to decarbonise operations across the oil and gas value chain. Simultaneously, the industry is seeking opportunities that will bring the most value to its operations to offset anticipated long-term market volatility. 

Decarbonising operations

Schlumberger’s decarbonisation plan commits to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 with minimal reliance on carbon offsets. A key tenet of the company’s decarbonisation plan is to address its customers’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions through its Transition Technologies portfolio. This portfolio of technologies and solutions aims to enable more sustainable operations for Schlumberger’s customers while simultaneously driving efficiency, reliability, and performance. A key theme of this portfolio is electrification of infrastructure. 

Electrification means increasing production at lower costs, thanks to enhanced operational capabilities; maximising the use of existing infrastructure to expand field layouts; and enabling digitalisation of the production process toward automation while delivering environmental sustainability benefits at multiple levels.

All-electric production systems

For decades the oil and gas industry has relied on hydraulic production systems to develop its on- and offshore fields. But hydraulic systems have intrinsic limitations that electric systems do not have. All-electric completions enable very long wells with multiple controlled production intervals from a single main wellbore, including from multiple multilateral branches, which is unconceivable with hydraulic systems. These new possibilities can significantly reduce the number of wells needed for a given reservoir drainage objective. Fewer wells reduce development costs and schedules and allow for expansion of existing assets without additional infrastructure —lowering capex, carbon intensity, and time to first oil. Subsea production systems can be considerably simpler when going all-electric. The elimination of hydraulic power units, subsea distribution systems, and kilometres of hydraulic lines, will make subsea templates cheaper, faster to deliver, and easier to commission. This also eliminates the risk of pollution to the environment from hydraulic fluid discharge caused by opening and closing valves or leakage. 

Improving operational decision making

While hydraulic systems require dedicated lines for each control station, electrification allows multidropping a large number of monitoring or control stations on the same cable that carries both power and information in real time. 

Dedicated sensing devices — distributed along the line or on a fibre-optic cable as a natural extension to electrification — will provide choking pressure, flow, or water cut, allowing fine control of commingling production from heterogeneous reservoir layers, without cross flow, while containing water production. Operators can fully leverage well performance and productivity index calculations and make optimal production decisions. On the control side, electric motors (downhole or subsea) are actuated via the control of dozens of internal parameters that can be collected for prognostic health monitoring, supporting superior reliability and availability of the system.

Electrification will reduce downtime and maintenance efforts, eliminate refill costs, and improve safety by removing hydraulic pressure.

Making all-electric production systems a reality

Schlumberger has been involved with all-electric systems for decades, from its first all-electric downhole flow control valve, developed in 1998, to the first all-electric subsea tree installed in 2008. Since 2014, 58 all-electric Manara production and reservoir management systems have been deployed and continuously operated, of which 18 are in the Middle East. These systems have helped operators optimise multizone production without crossflow and prevent water production.

What’s next

Electrification is a natural enabler for the increasing importance of the digitalisation of future operations management. Digital applications will deliver production optimiser and provide scenarios for preservation of equipment integrity for long-term reliability. The safety critical functions will be redistributed among topside, seabed, and downhole equipment, likely with more decentralised control. 

Electrification of downhole and subsea production systems will support the platform electrification goal sought after by many operators, in association with electric feeds from renewable energies, and will enable the generalisation of unmanned platforms. 

The industry is now entering this full electrification journey, but it is transforming rapidly, so what may look like a long-term vision today is already becoming a reality. 


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