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Monday, February 3, 2014

Real-time Gas Analysis in the Cloud

PML offers customers vital gas analysis data in real-time, using InduSoft Web Studio’s Web Thin Client capabilities

  • Real-time information ensures the most affordable, efficient and safe drilling

  • Utilizing InduSoft Web Studio’s built in features such as trending, alarming, included drivers, and reporting PML is able to offer a complete system for their customers

  • Publishing data to the cloud (via satellite) allows even the most remote locations to notify customers of alarms and any critical conditions

Figure 1: InduSoft Web Studio is used to monitor gas wells drilling in real-time from the local site, as well as from the cloud.



When drilling wells for oil or natural gas, the safety of the employees and the integrity of the well are some of the foremost concerns. PML Exploration Services LLC provides gas analysis in ‘real time’, thanks to the extensive web-ready tools available in the InduSoft Web Studio SCADA Software package. With these tools, PML can help well operators optimize their time, protect their investment in the well and ensure the safety of the operation by offering up-to-the-minute gas analysis and detailed, web viewable geological information.

InduSoft Web Studio is able to help companies like PML put their data ‘in the cloud’ so that rig operators and site managers can have ready access to data, even while out at remote locations, such as oil and natural gas drilling rigs. PML currently has more than sixty active systems that can be placed across the country to deliver rapid-fire results that site managers can review on devices like smart phones, tablet computers, and even through text messages and SMS.

With real-time data, PML can put information right on the client’s desk, even when multiple sites are being monitored. Cost saving changes like the speed, direction, and loads of the drill can be put into effect the moment relevant information is available, making the entire process much more affordable, safe, and efficient.

Figure 2: Waterfall charts allow specialists to analyze the chromatography of the embedded gases and key indicators about the productivity of the well.

The Challenge

When PML initially began analyzing and providing gas and geological information at the rig there were no systems in place to provide current information to the wellsite managers and remote office staff overseeing the drilling of the well. Reports were provided twice a day in order to update the rig and office staff on gas and geological conditions. Delays could be as long as twelve hours between the actual analysis and the report provided to PML’s Clients.

These reports contain critical information regarding crude oil and natural gas deposits as well as critical rock structures that must be isolated for safety and production reasons. Continuous monitoring of the gas components and their quantities plus correlation with drilling information is critical for safety reasons as well as timely decision making to ensure maximum ROI (return on investment) for a given well. The time delays between presenting the reports and adjusting the drilling system to the specifications required to make use of the data can cause problems. This could potentially put the structural integrity of the well in danger. Customers requested a system that could provide information on a much more current basis.

In order to provide well operators with real-time information that would allow them to drill more safely and efficiently, PML began looking for a solution that could make use of cloud technology and web based applications. InduSoft was a clear contender for this sort of SCADA application, due to their ability to easily configure web based solutions, such as the Web Thin Client and the Studio Mobile Access thin client.

Another important factor to consider when choosing the SCADA software was international accessibility. PML is a US based company with plans for expansion into the international market. In order to efficiently translate application user interfaces and reports into other languages, they needed a SCADA software that could handle simple, customizable translations and engineering units. InduSoft Web Studio supports Unicode fonts capable of many different character sets from the Latin alphabet, to Cyrillic and Greek fonts to Chinese characters and Kanji. One-click translation makes it easy to translate the entire application to another language.

Figure 3: Drillers easily configure the well geometry using an intuitive and rich-graphic interface. This screen also keeps track of pipe as it is added to the drill string.

The Solution

InduSoft Web Studio was chosen by PML as the SCADA software best able to meet the needs of their clients. Approximately sixty active rigs, use InduSoft’s Web Studio solution for data acquisition, control and display of wellsite information.. Data is monitored constantly by PML employees at the wellsite, as well as being sent directly to the client’s and PML’s Supervisors desks over a satellite connection. The well operator can keep track of changes by using the Web Thin Client, and pulling reports from the cloud.

The process begins with the rig systems used by PML. These mobile units consist of portable trailers where the employees assigned to the well can observe continuous gas analysis and drilling information plus perform detailed analysis of geological samples from the wellbore. The InduSoft Web Studio SCADA software is installed on a 17” laptop coupled with a 24” monitor that acts as the local server. PML’s portable gas analyser, controller and data acquisition solution incorporates a  PLC. The PLC at the rig communicates with IWS via Modbus communications. At the rig, PML employees track changes in total gas, gas constituents, drilling information and geological conditions using the chart and trending functions in the software.

The data from the SCADA software is then sent via satellite connection to the cloud, where it can be viewed via Web Thin Clients, and Studio Mobile Access. These features are easy to configure in InduSoft Web Studio. According to John Parsons, President and CEO of PML Exploration Services, “One of the main advantages of InduSoft Web Studio was that we didn’t have to write code for cloud based technology from scratch. It was all right there in the software. That allows us to put the information directly in the hands of the customer, by providing a good web solution.” 

The Studio Mobile Access (SMA) solution aligned with the remote alarm notification features of InduSoft Web Studio (via email or SMA) allows PML to notify their customers about critical conditions (alarms). Upon notification, the users can log to the system via any smart mobile device such as iPhone, Android, Balckberry, or WindowsPhone 7 and monitor the critical variables of their wells.

Information retrieved from the analysis is also transmitted to SQL databases, and stored there for traceability and historical information. InduSoft has a patented method of communicating with SQL databases that makes it uniquely able to send and receive data from relational databases with easy configuration. This is another way in which development time for preparing an InduSoft solution is greatly reduced, which makes it easy for customers like PML to develop powerful applications in a short time.

The native and flexible security system built-in in InduSoft Web Studio allows PML to consolidate data from several wells in the cloud, but control remote access to the data based on the credentials (user name and password) of the user logged on the remote Web Thin Client (web browser). With InduSoft Web Studio, PML was able to adopt the SaaS (Software as Service) model, offering remote access to meaningful information in real-time to their customers (end users) rather than a proprietary, isolated, and eventually depreciated system.


The Results

The result of this partnership between PML and InduSoft is a SCADA solution for gas, drilling and geological analysis that is able to meet the growing demand for cloud based information that is relevant and current enough to help site managers in oil and natural gas well drilling operations enact changes based on real-time data that will help them meet safety codes, save time and cost in drilling, and protect the integrity of the well. The web solution made possible by InduSoft Web Studio has made PML highly competitive in geological and surface logging, and allows them to stay ahead of the curve in the industry. 

Because InduSoft Web Studio applications are always compatible with new versions of the software, PML will be able to keep pace with new technology, even as PLCs and other equipment changes. Because IWS offers over 240 drivers that communicate with every major brand of PLC, as well as offering OPC support, it is easy to configure an application to communicate with new combinations of equipment, or even allow dissimilar devices that would not ordinarily be able to share data to use IWS as a bridge to send data back and forth.

With the EDGE System, PML innovated and leveraged the technology provided by InduSoft as an enabler for their core competency (well drilling) and created a sustainable competitive advantage in its industry.

The ease of translation and Unicode fonts supported by InduSoft Web Studio also give PML the flexibility they require in making a national business international
PML intends to further develop their system with Indusoft to provide realtime geosteering of the rock bit to ensure the client’s wellbore is accurately and safely placed for optimum return on investment. 

PML’s ability to share, in real time over the web, information that includes wellbore characteristics such as gamma ray, liberated gas components, lithology, penetration rates and directional information with key stakeholders will add significant value to their suit of evolving solutions.

Figure 4: Diagnostic screens show in real-time the current status of each valve and the actual flow of the gases though the system. From this screen the user can select between 3 flow modes, “Run System”, “Calibrate Flow” and “Test Valves”.

For more information contact your local distributor or InduSoft directly at info@indusoft.com or 877-INDUSOFT (877-463-8763) or 512-349-0334.

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