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CNOOC builds China's first smart offshore gas field cluster

Author : PCEC

13 May 2021

On April 29, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) announced the completion of China's first offshore intelligent gas field group. The Dongfang Gas Field Group consists of 10 offshore production platforms, one land processing terminal and several subsea oil and gas pipelines. It is currently the largest self-operated gas field group in the western South China Sea.

Dongfang Gas Field - Image: CNOOC
Dongfang Gas Field - Image: CNOOC

After nearly 20 years of development and construction, the gas field's annual output of natural gas has exceeded 5.7 billion cubic metres, making it a vital source of gas for Hainan province, CNOOC said.

"After the completion of the intelligent gas field group, production can be remotely controlled to realise 'one-key gas distribution'. On the one hand, the distribution of different types of gas can be completed instantly according to the needs of different users, and the production efficiency can be greatly improved; on the other hand, under severe and extreme weather conditions, it ensures the safety of personnel while ensuring the stability of the people's livelihood gas supply," said Tang Guangrong, Deputy General Manager of CNOOC Hainan Branch.

Through intelligent transformation, the offshore gas field's production will be safer and more efficient, CNOOC said. The smart offshore platforms have shortened the time it takes to resume production after shutdown by one-sixth of the original time. The system can analyse and diagnose the entire upstream and downstream flow conditions of the gas field group, making the gas distribution speed nearly 10 times faster than before. Intelligent inspection robots and real-time monitoring equipment have also been used to give higher precision and accuracy than traditional manual inspections.

As more offshore gas field platforms become digitalised, the number of offshore personnel on duty will be significantly reduced. A large number of offshore employees will become technical talents with one specialisation and multiple capabilities, and the team of technical engineers in the control centre will gradually grow. At the same time, smart oil and gas field production will promote high-quality development with production costs being drastically reduced as more high-tech personnel are deployed to the control centre, CNOOC said.

The intelligent gas field group project consists of three parts: an unmanned offshore wellhead platform, an unmanned transformation of the central platform, and the construction of an onshore production control centre, including nearly a hundred transformation projects.

The Dongfang Gas Field control centre - Image: CNOOC
The Dongfang Gas Field control centre - Image: CNOOC

CNOOC Dongfang Operations began its digital renovations in 2018. In 2019, CNOOC built China’s first unmanned wellhead platform that can be remotely controlled to resume production. Automating the process has reduced the time it takes to resume production from two hours down to just 20 minutes.

The intelligent production control centre, which was connected to the grid and put into use on April 29, integrates IoT, Big Data, and AI. It conducts real-time monitoring, early warning and diagnosis, remote control, integrated sharing, collaborative operation and auxiliary decision-making for the entire process of oil and gas field development and production.

"The production operation centre is the brain of the entire intelligent gas field cluster. In terms of safety, it can monitor high-risk operations on site, track the improvement of hidden dangers, monitor various mechanical equipment, and implement fault diagnosis, etc. In terms of production, it can analyse and process production data, realise coordinated production of multiple gas fields, one-key gas distribution, etc., and implement management and decision-making on gas field groups in an all-round and multi-angled manner," said Cui Rong, General Manager of Dongfang Operations Company, who works in the intelligent production control centre.

CNOOC has so far achieved the unmanned transformation of 29 platforms in China with 11.3% of its offshore platforms now unmanned. In its next steps, CNOOC will step up the construction of smart gas field clusters and continue developing China’s offshore oil and gas facilities by adopting intelligent equipment and digitalisation.

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