Kyle Chapman, Weatherford’s President of Production speaks to Pipeline Magazine’s Nadia Saleem about the industry’s future for production and how digitalisation is playing a role in the way forward
What are the top challenges your clients are facing that Weatherford can address?
The mandate that we have for the industry is that more oil and gas needs to be produced but at lower cost. We’ve been through the high and low oil price cycles and we’ve come to a point where in upstream we can drive cost out sustainably no matter what the price is.
In downstream, a very good job has been done over the years to continuously drive out cost from the business. We need to take some of what has been done in downstream to be able to operate no matter what the oil price is - and move some of those learnings to upstream.
Because it was so severe and extended, this last downturn woke a lot of people up to the fact that we need to work on efﬁciency in all aspects of upstream – not just drilling or completions but the entire value chain.
How important is optimisation and cost efficiency for oil and gas companies now that the low oil price pressure has abated?
Optimisation and cost efﬁciency are still, and will continue to be, very important for oil and gas companies. Although the price of oil has risen, the reality is that most companies have shareholders that require them to make a return on investment and to do this they must continuously drive for increased production with decreased cost.
Has the upstream industry conversation moved beyond reducing cost and increasing production?
It’s a combination of both, which will continue. People will continue doing what was started in the downturn. In the drilling and completions area, the industry has done a good job in becoming cost efﬁcient and with new and intelligent designs and technology. Where I think there is big opportunity is in the production space.
What is Weatherford doing in this area to stay ahead of competition?
Weatherford sees that the next frontier for efﬁciency is in production. Production has not seen the efﬁciency gains that both the drilling and completions part of the upstream industry has seen and therefore we have put signiﬁcant time and effort into developing our Weatherford Production Performance Management offering which combines our industry leading hardware with the technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
What do you see as the next big thing in technology in the production industry?
Weatherford is the only company that can provide a true lift agnostic end to end production optimisation solution and we call that Weatherford Production Performance Management. This gives the operator a solution for optimising their production, not individual widgets, and allows a collaboration or partnership where results can be KPI based, not traditional supply arrangements. This type of partnership assures that the operator and service company are aligned for success.
Digitalisation has become a key topic in the industry, with a lot of competition. What will set apart Weatherford in this space?
What sets us apart in digitalisation is that we’ve been doing optimisation for many years. We’re the only ones with an enterprise level optimisation platform – that does end-to-end optimisation from the well to the point of sales for all types of artiﬁcial lift and any type of surface facility.
We’re not afraid to go outside of our industry and partner with other companies.
We’ve recently partnered with Google for cloud technology and also with IBM for machine learning and artiﬁcial intelligence. We’ve realised that we can’t invent everything so it makes sense to collaborate. Some of the smartest people in the world are working in Silicon Valley and our industry has been fairly slow to adopt digital technologies, but bringing them in to show us how we can take good technology that we already have and make it better for digital, I think that’s the future.
Weatherford is among the leaders in production with our full suite of artiﬁcial lift offerings, access to decades of data from all types of well environments globally and SME’s who can analyse and interpret the data to optimise production.
In addition, our Foresight and Cygnet production software platforms offer enterprise level end-to-end optimisation of all forms of artiﬁcial lift and production facilities. We also recently announced the commercialisation of our Foresight Edge device which in conjunction with Internet of Things technology allows optimisation of high frequency data at the well site which translates into increased production for our clients.
What is Weatherford looking to do in the Middle East’s upstream sector?
In the Middle East, it’s production optimisation. A number of reservoirs in the Middle East are going towards artiﬁcial lift and in order to do that efﬁciently, we need to optimise it. We also need to take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution and the digital technologies to be able to do that.
We’re starting with a blank sheet in the Middle East, where artiﬁcial lift and product optimisation is starting to be needed and it can be started from the beginning and be done right. It’s a lot easier to start with a new technology rather than replacing old technology.
How are you seeing response to automation in the Middle East and attitude towards the new technology and costs associated with it?
There has been great response to automation in the Middle East. There are clients in the Middle East that have led the industry in their adoption of full stack automation and optimisation solutions.
One of our NOC clients fully automated one of their ﬁelds using automation hardware and control/optimisation software, and as a result, they have seen a large incremental production with less cost due to less personnel required to operate the ﬁeld.
What are you doing to win customers towards digitalisation?
Most of our customers do not need to be convinced that digitalisation is the future, they know this and are embracing the change. The largest hurdle is regarding cyber security.
Weatherford is partnering with Google Cloud to help with our cloud storage and computing and their unrivalled security technology will assure these issues are mitigated.