Alf Jarle Helleland, Senior Well Test Operator, Expro
The Expro team in Norway have often discussed making a functional model of a well test plant in-house to demonstrate how our equipment works to customers, partners and staff.
Over the last four years, I have been studying part-time for a technical degree in mechatronics combining online study with classroom sessions at school in Kongsberg, Norway. My final assignment for the course is to complete a multi-disciplinary live project and after approaching my line manager in Norway, I decided to design and build a fully functioning Expro well test model.
The model aims to recreate the conditions in the field and consists of various replicas of well testing equipment including a surface test tree, safety valve, choke manifold, heat exchanger, separator, calibration tank and burner boom. Made from Plexiglass, the model has been designed so users can follow the process visually.
We have tried to implement as much detail to recreate a real well testing environment as possible, using three phases and materials – water, vegetable oil to simulate crude oil and compressed air in place of gas.
Furthermore, the Process Shutdown System works as it would offshore, and the choke manifold has both fixed and adjustable chokes. The model also has a heat exchanger that visitors can see and feel working using hot water. One valve in the wrong position will stop the model, as it would the whole well test offshore.
The model has two operation modes: fully automatic and manual. During trade shows, automatic mode will be used for displaying the process to customers. Manual operation will be useful for training of personnel to give new recruits increased knowledge of systems before operating them offshore. It also provides us with the opportunity to train office-based staff that wouldn’t normally see the equipment working.
I’m delighted the model will be displayed on our stand at ONS 2014 in Stavanger, and I’m looking forward to showing visitors first-hand how Expro’s well testing equipment works, in addition to the challenges that can arise when doing a well test.
More importantly, it will highlight how much equipment a single well test involves and the importance of skilled people to operate it and ensure a successful operation.