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Devon, Denbury, Shell and Vine O&G unlock automation opportunity

Shale production has rocketed from 100 kboe/d to 7,500 kboe/d in less than 10 years. During the same time, shale plays across North America have seen hugely impactful developments, with drilling costs declining and productivity per well increasing. The adoption of digital technologies has been critical to this, supporting the fact that the digital oilfield services market is set to be worth $38.49 billion by 2024.

In the last eight to ten months, though, the number of onshore drilling rigs has dramatically fallen as a result of the low oil price – and while they are now starting to show signs of recovery, the focus for shale operators has naturally shifted to maximizing the potential from their existing production operations. But with operating environments in which wells decline at up to 60% per year (compared with the 7-10% decline of conventional wells), operators are forced to innovatively elevate their production strategy.

For capex constrained shale operators, searching for that cost-effective solution is a major hurdle. The vast scale and acreage, varied topography and isolation of well sites only add to this dilemma and call for operators to apply an ‘operate-by-exception’ approach that can maximize workforce efficiency, reduce production drop-off, eradicate downtime and improve the overall cost economics associated with production. In short, low oil price, fast production drop-off, constrained capex and a proliferation of isolated wells are behind the operator drive for cost-effective automation.

Approaches to automation are disparate from play to play and operator to operator. Some oil companies have made multi-million dollar investments in SCADA systems, while others continue to collect data by hand from each well. Despite the differences, one thing is clear: in the new oil price environment, now is a critical time to leverage cutting-edge automation technologies. Defining a cost-effective approach to automation as part of a holistic strategy and tackling complex standardization challenges inherent within almost all automation projects present major barriers to executing this strategy.

Shale operators are demanding an entirely new approach to automation and consequently shaking up this long established market. With less formalized automation departments, major capacity challenges and a current squeeze on Capex, operators are searching for an Opex-driven automation approach that is both cost-effective and allows flexibility in future technology adoption. In light of this, the service provider community is at a crucial ‘reactionary phase,’ transitioning from a product-orientated to service-orientated strategy.

At this important time, the industry is asking the following questions:

– What processes can we automate and how do we do this in a cost-effective way?

– How do we overcome integration, infrastructure, communication, data and workforce challenges?

– What are the risks that are presented with standardization?

– How do we build automation into infrastructure from the get-go?

– What automation approaches can we employ to legacy wells and systems?

– How do we elevate our existing SCADA system to move towards real time data decision-making and predictive analytics?

– How do we move from a product-orientated to a service-orientated automation strategy?

To address these crucial questions, major automation challenges and hot-off-the-press industry developments, top experts will gather at the industry-leading Field Automation Summit in Denver this November 11-12 to tackle the major hurdles head on and aim to tailor an automation strategy that is both cost effective and scalable for each E&P organization. It will give you the opportunity to discuss all of these pivotal challenges and engage with the thought-leaders in this field to drive an ‘operate by exception’ approach.

Leading experts from Devon, Denbury, Energy Transfer, Vine Oil & Gas, plus renowned industry figures including Anadarko’s former automation manager and BP’s former technology advisor, will share their perspectives on the most cutting-edge automation trends, from balancing cost vs. controls to tackling complex standardization and data integration challenges.

For more information on this conference, or for any questions, please contact:

Phil Chadney

Head of Upstream Oil & Gas

Upstream Intelligence

1-800-814-3459 ext 4341 (US)

+44 (0)20 7422 4341(Global)




  1. Time to automate a ban on hydraulic fracturing

  2. It’s made from cellulose. Mandates for cellulose packaging @ composites are becoming necessary, hypocrite!

  3. Using dirty energy in a world where we don’t have to anymore is true idiocy!

  4. The people allow you to operate, energy is becoming localized, while fossil fuels for any chemurgy needs shall be good riddance!

  5. We will also help you all find a new job, one without the need of inhaling particulates caused by this mistaken path of energy production! Even investors can reinvest in a world better for everyone!

  6. Hey Laszlo put it out of business turn off your power stop buying anything grow your food make your clothes and a movement,,, start squatting beside a small fire near a mud hut and see how many people join you!

  7. He also opposes the further proliferation of fossil fuels

  8. Why when we can just make more energy in a sustainable, not wanting that is like spitting in your children’s face

  9. Educate yourself Lazlo. Because renewables don’t work. Trillions of tax-payer dollars have been spent over 40 years and renewables only amount to small dent in the supply of power. Without hydrocarbons the world would be a far different place. Never mind the fact that everyday the sun rises on planet earth two billion people are alive because of hydrocarbons and petrochemicals. That is the number of people who are sustained by the productivity of farmers being able to grow enough food through the use of fertilizers which are made up of petrochemicals.

  10. Flaring is bad for the air and soil, demulsifying agents and the like have a high probability of contaminating the water shed and food table, please do some more research indoctrinated fools, also check out inhabitat for plenty of alternate solutions!

  11. You are an idiot laszio I bet you do live under a bridge .
    Do humanity a favor stay there and STFU .

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