Smarter, better, faster: The data drive behind tomorrow’s energy leaders

Lilia Noble, Product Lead at LYTT, July 20 2021
It’s hardly news by this point that the oil and gas sector is standing on the precipice of overwhelming change. As the world seeks to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, oil and gas companies know they need to transform to meet the energy needs of a low carbon future.
But the challenges they face in this endeavour are multi-faceted. Pressures to increase efficiency and reduce costs are greater than ever due to continuing oil price fluctuations and climbing emissions reduction targets – and yet operators must still generate enough product to maintain global energy security while renewable energy infrastructure scales up to the task of the energy transition.
Compounding this endeavour is the fact that many assets in the world’s most mature offshore markets are reaching the end of their lifespan. The industry is anticipating a trend of decommissioning in the years to come, and is laying plans to drive efficiencies into this process. The UK’s Oil and Gas Association, for example, is targeting a 35% reduction in decommissioning costs for assets on the UK Continental Shelf. The association also has a particular focus on promoting investment into technologies to deliver cost and energy efficient decommissioning, and supporting the deployment of new technologies. 
But why invest time and money into developing new technologies when we can simply better utilize the data generated by infrastructure many already have? Fiber optic cables, commonly used for communications on many assets, can capture vast swathes of data which are rarely analyzed or fully understood by operators. At LYTT, we use this data to generate insights that reduce risk and drive efficiencies across a plethora of offshore and onshore operations; including the plug and abandonment (P&A) of decommissioned wells.
The successful P&A of aged oil wells is a critical part of an asset’s lifespan. The well must be effectively sealed in order to return the site to its original state; any integrity issues can result in hazardous leaks, which are harmful to the environment and demand lengthy, costly investigations to source and resolve the problem. But traditional leak and flow behind casing monitoring tools used in P&A capture only snapshot data from a certain time and depth, which is insufficient to develop an accurate understanding of dynamic leak and flow events. It would be like trying to use a single photograph to determine the speed of a moving vehicle.
LYTT offers consistent, real-time monitoring and analysis, allowing operators to measure performance across the span of the well through a single length of fiber optic cable. Our proprietary algorithms assess this data to intelligently identify, extract, and classify events across the entire well. With LYTT’s Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) enabled solutions, operators can source and address well integrity issues continuously throughout P&A processes, cutting the risk of harmful leaks – as well as extensive, expensive repairs to fix them – and giving operators more time and money to invest in their future transformations. We’ve successfully deployed DAS-based well integrity technology more than 40 times in key offshore regions including the North Sea, Trinidad, and Azerbaijan.
The winners and losers of the energy transition will be defined by how quickly they can complete not just their energy transitions, but their digital transformations as well. Energy firms must be ready for the challenges racing towards them, with resilient strategies to enable quick responses, and better deployment of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies is essential to unlocking this efficiency.
LYTT can up the pace of this transformation for its customers, by bridging the data gap and arming energy firms with critical, usable data to boost understanding of asset performance and potential. We have developed an extensive library of acoustic fingerprints, which our AI and machine learning algorithms use to identify specific downhole events out of the data pool – thereby extracting only the data which is important for informing decision-making and supporting the safe P&A of depleted wells.
By working with LYTT, operators will be empowered with 24/7 contextualized insights so they know what is happening across their portfolio at any given moment, allowing them to act fast both at the single asset and portfolio-wide level. With smarter operations fueled by better data fluency, the energy leaders of the future will be able to respond faster to their challenges and build a more resilient energy future than ever before.
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