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February 23, 2015

Well integrity benchmarking: how do you measure up to your competitors?

A new software platform from Wood Group Intetech called iQRA is set to change the way companies analyse global well component reliability data by giving users the ability to benchmark their reliability figures against a global dataset, allowing them to extract safety critical element (SCE) failure statistics and mean-time-to failure (MTTF) data. We Adam Leach spoke to the company to find out how it all works.

By Adam Leach

Well integrity

For years, offshore oil companies large and small have been using the iWIT software package to analyse and assess the well integrity data they have gathered from their operations, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and underperforming components. Fuelled by feedback from its existing customer base, Wood Group Intetech is expanding its offering with the launch a new piece of software that enables users to not just compare performance with their own operations but that of other operators too.

Liane Smith, managing director of Wood Group Intetech, explains what the software offers the industry.

Adam Leach (AL): How did you develop IQRA?

Liane Smith (LS): It’s built upon technology which we have within our well integrity management software iWIT . It’s a fundamental aspect that our current clients have benefited from this reliability analysis capability from their own data for many years. It was realised that some of them were interested to benchmark their own performance against a global data set and that led us to think about what we would do different from a system where all the data was stored internally on a company’s intranet.

The actual engine for the core functionality was just translated across from our core system. What we’ve been building is all this nice functionality relating to data loading, user controls, confidentiality and user customisation.

AL: What was the main chaleengechallenge that you encountered during development?

LS: The key issue is that we’ve always had high levels of respect for the confidentiality for the data that our customers have and as a result I think they have high levels of confidence in us. But a key element for some of the clients was still that they have no wish for their data to be identifiable to their operation and it was that challenge of looking at how do you retain value in the information whilst concealing all the critical identifiers like the field, the location, the well ID and any other information that could identify it and we’ve done a great job at that. They are happy with the security we have put in place and the way we’re dealing with the data.

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AL: What will offshore companies be looking to get out of the software?

LS: What they’re really interested in is to be able to ensure that the data set they are looking at is comparable with their own wells. That requires being able to filter on various criteria like the field conditions in terms of its CO2 to H2S content, potentially whether wells are offshore, subsea, or on land. The data search criteria are really important and all of that filtering capability exists.

We’ve got many levels of filters that we haven’t enabled at the start because we need to keep the granularity of the capability to search at a level that is consistent with the database. That’s something that we will be gradually rolling out as we load up more data.

AL: What feedback have you had from the companies that have tested it so far?

LS: I think what they’ve been really looking for isfor is whether there is value in them pursuing the steps to improve the reliability of their equipment. In a wonderful situation where your reliability is much better than the global data set then you can perhaps feel that it’s quite a comfortable position to be in.

If you’re worse than the benchmark then you’ve got to question whether you are doing the maintenance correctly, or whether you should be looking at the intervals at which routine maintenance is carried out. Through the software you can basically quantify that by using the benchmark capability.

AL: What sort of savings can you see companies making through the software?

LS: Our clients that have used this sort of functionality for years when looking at their own data set. They have the capability to look at different valves used across their operations and identify which equipment gives them higher levels of reliability. Then they can cut back the frequency of maintenance activity or testing activities because they’ve got confidence that the equipment will be unlikely to fail in the maintenance interval.

You only have to cut back your frequency of inspection on wells with that equipment installed by say three months, so from six monthly visits to nine monthly visits, and you’re saving an absolute fortune. To do even a straightforward assessment of a well will mean shutting down operations for a significant amount of time.

AL: What sections of the offshore market are you targeting?

LS: We have some member companies with as few as 30 wells and some with over 1200 wells, so there’s something at both ends of the spectrum. Obviously the small operators do gain from understanding the reliability of the equipment that they don’t have themselves so they can see whether it would be worthwhile switching to a different supplier or model – so you’ve got that aspect for the smaller ones. For the larger operators, it comes down to how they can optimise their own operations and maintenance schedules.

AL: What do you think is the main challenge for the offshore industry in relation to taking advantage of big data?

LS: The challenge of big data is dealing with data that is arriving at a faster speed than you can deal with and process it. In the case of wells, particularly for those with a few hundred wells or more, the data is not only arriving fast but it is getting distributed to different software systems. What we as our value is providing clients with a holistic view across all those data sets.

So you have data coming in that used by a number of departments, so different people need efficient ways to access slices and parts of that data and that is what I believe is the skill of handling big data that we provide. One of our clients has more than 12 different data systems that they are using regularly and they have multiple instances of those data systems so we interface to 27 different systems but we are able to return answers in time so that they don’t lose patience looking at the screen.

AL: What further developments have you got planned?

LS: Very shortly we’ll be moving ahead with the subsea data set. As part of Wood Group Kenny, which is the world’s leading subsea engineering company, there’s a huge wealth of knowledge amongst our colleagues in our sister companies and they have already seen the value in iQRA and the benefit for their clients. I think we will see a very fast launch of the subsea module for IQRA. This functionality is not unique to the wells arena; it’s of much broader value to the industry in general.

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