Metering system live upgrade and expansion

Metering system live upgrade and expansion

Posted: September 1, 2020

We recently sat down and spoke with Stuart Gilbert, Senior Proposals Engineer for the measurement team, to discuss a recent project for one of our clients in the North Sea.

Proserv recently completed the live upgrade of a metering system’s hardware and software for one the UK’s highest producing fields. The client came to us with a requirement to upgrade the existing system to remove obsolescence issues, as well as expand the system to include additional wells – all the while ensuring that no loss of production occurred.

What was your role in the project?

I was responsible for the design of the replacement system and the costings associated with it. This included the numerous solutions we provided to the client to choose from as part of the tender process.

How did Proserv ensure there was no loss of production?

Loss of production during an operation like this can cause a significant shortfall in revenue for the end client, as without live installation the wells would have needed to have been shut down numerous times over a 13-week period. A live installation was therefore necessary. We developed a temporary, but fully replicable system to allow the cabinet equipment to be changed out with no downtime.

The live installation also brought additional benefits. Bed space is limited on the asset, so performing the upgrade and expansion without the need for a planned shutdown provided more flexibility, as the client could schedule our work at a time best suited to them.

Why did the client choose us for the project?

Proserv has a long history with both the client and the asset. The client felt that our knowledge of the then-current obsolete system, along with the level of support that we had been providing thus far, gave us the edge.
We also supplied a number of potential solutions for the end user. We didn’t box them into a standard package, forcing them to take what we wanted to supply. This gave them the flexibility to choose the technologies that they preferred and needed.

A key feature of our win was that we were able to integrate the new subsea wells into the existing system. This future proofed their equipment and removed the need for a separate system, which would have inevitably added both cost and complexity.

Were there any challenges involved for Proserv?

The implementation scope consisted of three phases: the initial set-up and transferring signals to the temporary rack, then refitting the existing cabinets before transferring signals over to the new equipment. This might sound simple but in order to get there, we needed to create a 1,400 page Installation and Commissioning Procedure , which contained 700 pages of associated drawings – no mean feat in itself!

The size and scale of this undertaking should not be underestimated. It was the biggest order in Proserv’s history for our measurement solutions, and it was the most complex upgrade of a metering control system that I have ever seen in my time in the flow measurement industry.

The scope involved more than 70 metering streams in total and it all had to be done when the platform was still producing hydrocarbons. This is like doing a lung, heart and brain transplant on someone who is out for a cycle ride…on a bumpy road! I am therefore particularly proud of the fact that during the entire 13-week installation and commissioning phase, no loss of production occurred.

Working on the metering system live upgrade and expansion at our measurement centre of excellence in Scotland

What are the long-term implications of this project, both for the client and for Proserv?

With the obsolete equipment now removed, Proserv can continue to support the metering system for the foreseeable future.

In 2021, the platform will be adding a further 24 new streams. These have already been incorporated into the upgrade, meaning there will be minimal impact when they come online. Proserv will also be involved in the installation and commissioning phase for the project, and we look forward to supporting the client with this going forward.

This was a fantastic effort by everyone at Cumbernauld. It was great to get recognition from the customer on a job well done, as they commented that we delivered a high-quality output and exhibited the right behaviours throughout the project.

Stuart Gilbert – Senior Proposals Engineer

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