Automating Remote Gas Wells, Compressors And Processing Plants
- Glen R. Davis (Sinclair Oil And Gas Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1965
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 45 - 49
- 1965. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4 in the last 30 days
- 196 since 2007
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Combinations of radio and radio-telephone lines were used to automatically control gas wells, compressors and gas processing plants. The gas wells can be individually and collectively controlled to keep gas processing facilities at capacity operation regardless of variations in the supply of gas from wells. Alarm systems transmit signals by radio to manned stations when a compressor or processing temperatures, operating pressures, meter differentials and engine speeds are telemetered on command from the installation to central plants as far away as 70 miles. These installations have been outstandingly successful, and have shown that proper design and careful selection of quality components will allow remote monitoring and control of facilities.
In the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, several gas-gathering systems have been built around central plant facilities which serve as communications, operations and maintenance centers. Each plant system covers several hundred square miles. Many of the oil and gas fields in the West Texas-New Mexico area are too small to justify conventional gas-processing plants with their normal personnel complements. Studies indicated that processing isolated gas supplies could only be justified if the gas were compressed in unattended stations in the remotely located field and transported to a central processing plant. Unattended operation of gas-engine and electric-motor driven compressor stations, as well as processing facilities for liquid hydrocarbon extraction and gas dehydration, is both practical and economical. This paper discusses the several features which make unattended operation of such facilities possible and describes several gas processing plant systems utilizing these features. Although not covered in the present paper, unattended gas-treating facilities for hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide removal have also been designed and are being successfully operated. The authors draw upon their experience to formulate recommendations for others.
The Federal Communications Commission has designated certain radio frequencies for use by industry. The same frequency may be used by several base-station transmitters, and by more than one company or individual. The FCC grants approval for each specific transmitter. Sufficient geographical separation is maintained between transmitters on the same frequency to minimize interference. We utilize four different carrier-wave frequencies in the 72 to 76 megacycle range for telemetering and control purposes. Each RF carrier wave is frequency-modulated by imposing one or more discrete audio-frequency tones upon the carrier wave. Radio receivers, by the use of decoding networks, extract the audio-frequency tone or tones from the incoming RF signal. The presence of tones, their frequency and duration constitute the intelligence being communicated.
Unattended Booster Stations
It is frequently economical to operate unattended compressor stations picking up small quantities of gas produced in outlying fields and transporting to a central processing area. For compressors to operate unattended, it is essential that machinery safeguards be built into the compressor stations so that individual compressor units will be shut down whenever malfunctions develop which would endanger their safety. Both gas-engine and electric-motor driven stations are being operated. The electric-motor driven stations represent the ultimate in automatic control for remote operation. They require less maintenance than their gas-engine driven counterparts and have a higher on-stream factor. Electric power, however, usually costs more than natural gas fuel. In the absence of operators, some method must be found, if a high on-stream factor is to be realized, to alert personnel at a central location whenever a compressor goes off the line so that corrective measures may be promptly taken to return the unit to service. Telephone lines, where already existing, are satisfactory and inexpensive. Where telephone lines do not already exist, radio should always be considered as an alternate-even for short distances.
Unattended Processing Facilities
Glycol gas dehydration units can often be operated on an unattended basis. Each isolated booster station discussed in this paper incorporates gas dehydration.
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