LabVIEW helps to save Petrobas up to $2million per well

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Petrobas is using LabVIEW to develop a new oil well drilling technique that has the potential to save between $500,000 and $2million per well.

Petrobras, one of Latin America's largest oil and gas companies, has selected National Instruments LabVIEW software and data acquisition hardware to develop a mud-gas separator for underbalanced drilling (UBD) applications. Using NI tools, Petrobras engineers have developed a high-throughput UBD application capable of reducing the time it takes for a well to become fully productive, as well as eliminating the need for costly fracturing after the well is completed.

Manoel Feliciano da Silva, Equipment Engineer at Petrobras, comments: "By deploying UBD technology based on LabVIEW, Petrobras has realised savings between $500,000 and $2million, depending on the size of the well and the cost of the potential fracturing job. This method, made more efficient through the use of NI products, gives Petrobras the ability to reach full production faster and with minimal impact on the formation."

UBD is a drilling technique that reduces the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling fluid, causing the pressure in the wellbore to be less than the formation pressure. As the well is being drilled, formation fluid flows into the wellbore and up to the surface. This approach provides significant financial and operational improvements over traditional drilling techniques. In traditional drilling, pressure often causes formation damage and results in a delay before the formation reaches full production or forces companies to perform fracturing jobs on the well. In addition to being more financially efficient, the new system is intrinsically safer and easier to use than traditional methods.

Link to PLC

The mud-gas separator Petrobras developed delivers a compact separation system capable of handling the dynamic gas and liquid flow rates generated during drilling with compressible fluids, and it responds quickly to variations in the pressure or flow rates from injected or produced variations in the dynamic systems. LabVIEW provides connectivity to the drilling control programmable logic controller (PLC) and connectivity to remote systems. LabVIEW also delivers the flexibility to: connect to existing PLCs; perform high-speed measurements; and provide the required server, client and playback modes.

The LabVIEW system exceeds Petrobras' design requirements, providing real-time measurements and trending to equip operators with better data for decision making and improved safety during the drilling operations. The equipment for land operation was tested and approved during full-scale experiments and is currently being used on four oil wells at the Estreito Field located in the Rio Grande do Norte state.

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27 June 2007

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