Development of onshore integrated pipelines system using GIS

Development of onshore integrated pipelines system using GIS


The development of the onshore integrated pipeline system is about leveraging spatial engineering technology for improving oil & gas engineering business processes in pipeline management. The business drivers include; laying the scientific foundation for visualising the complexities of upstream and midstream oil & gas pipeline network, which in turn will assist in enhancing the operation of gathering network, optimising hydrocarbon production, improving operational safety, protecting the environment, maximising and discovering reserves in addition to maintaining a competitive edge. The project landscape is awash with multidisciplinary geospatial & engineering data sets, legacy systems, proprietary and vendor data, encompassing a storm of engineering and live data streaming in from the field to provide cross-disciplinary data transparency and collaborative working environment across all ADNOC group of companies.

The current trend in collaborative petrotechnical, engineering and scientific computing knowledge management emphasises the importance of inter-n-intra-organisational engineering-n-knowledge management. Legacy engineering and CAD is gigantic wealth of information for ADCO, where the biggest challenge is the transformation from a traditional major oil company to a knowledge-driven organisation. The development of the onshore integrated pipeline master plan, integrating all assets under a common CAD/GIS umbrella is the first of many steps for ADCO in the process of its transformation to an asset-based technology-driven organisation.

Under this project, spatial and engineering data along with information associated with the functional properties of the entire ADNOC onshore pipeline network comprising of approximately 12,000 km of pipe, field assets, equipment stations, manifolds and RSUs are captured and kept in the central knowledge repository of the ADCO corporate data vault. A sophisticated workflow has been developed per company security guidelines and procedures for data retrieval and update from EDMS to keep the assets and network information current at all times.

The onshore pipeline system will not only be used to visualise the current assets and network in the geographical context, but it will also provide the smart engineering decision platform for planning and designing of geological and geophysical exploration, future field development, production operations, and operations planning of the gathering and transportation network.

The success of efficient planning and management of production wells, water and gas injection, and the gathering and distribution systems lies in the accuracy of the pipeline master plan. Geospatial engineering analysis along with mathematical modeling provides a unique visualisation capability, combining surface and subsurface data, along with production and operations information, both spatially and temporally. It is all about engineering knowledge management and engineering workflow management in a multi-dimensional environment on a real-time basis.

Engineering paradigm at ADCO
One of the key engineering challenges is to utilise manual update of all records and processes across the ADNOC organisation to create, share and exchange work (knowledge) in a collaborative knowledge environment spread across multiple diverse locations. The pipeline master plan is the combination of processes, knowledge, and desired level of automation in a development framework that provides intelligent collaborative knowledge management with emphasis on the importance of inter- and intra-organisational business process engineering with the objective of transforming ADCO to a full asset based organisation. It is critical that these changes are implemented incrementally to minimise disruption and make the transformation manageable. In addition, an asset based organisation creates significant new opportunities for career growth.

Need for engineering knowledge automation
As crude oil production increases to meet global demand, ADCO is prevented from reaching the full potential for value creation from engineering automation, unless it can efficiently resolve its rapidly growing needs for human capital and resources. Closing the labour and skills gap represents one of the industry’s major factors in sustaining growth and maximising profitability against a tide of rising capital and operating costs. ADCO’s current model for deploying human capital, coupled with the sustained trend for capital expansion will require significant investments in finding and developing the high-cost professionals needed throughout the engineering value chain. Adopting the latest technologies through advanced automation, coupled with the intelligent visualisation of field operations and engineering activities will play a critical role in addressing this challenge and provide an edge to ADCO’s Engineering and Applications department.

The business objective
The business objective behind development of onshore integrated pipeline system is to provide a single engineering platform, that integrates the existing gathering and distribution pipeline networks of ADCO, GASCO, ADCOP, ADNOC-Oxy, Al HUSON,MASDAR, ADNOC Elexier, Dolphin, Takreer, etc. The following are the defined business drivers:

  • An engineering collaborative environment for the ADCO technical team, its vendors and stakeholders under single framework.
  • A single framework for network & asset visualisation for ADNOC and associated group companies.
  • To meet forecasted engineering requirements and reduce the gap between supply and demand.
  • A first step towards a GIS-based digital oil field initiative which will let ADCO gather and analyse the engineering, operational and maintenance data in real-time on 3D engineering framework.
  • A platform for “advance engineering and operations alarming” systems, to predict performance levels and warn of potential equipment failure.
  • Pipeline Master Plan – an information (historical and current) framework for timely decisions.

Development of an integrated onshore pipeline system
Pipelines have long been known to be the safest and most economical method for transportation of crude oil and natural gas. Pump stations dispersed throughout the lines keep the oil moving. They usually run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year. The entire pipeline operations are being monitored with real time data acquisition systems. Route safety inspections are done at regular intervals to look for leaking, rupturing and other inconsistencies. These operators and inspectors are trained to be prepared for any emergency. They can easily shut down a line or section if the need arises.

These pipelines network originates from wellhead through the tough terrain terminating at refinery and/or sea port. Several operating, controlling and monitoring assets/equipment are installed on along the entire pipeline network. The major pipelines are constructed using the alignment sheets which contains the greater engineering details and entire corridor geographical information. Since, alignment sheets were found most accurate and details engineering knowledge available with ADCO hence, it was used to develop the onshore pipeline network system.

Flow line does not have any “As Built Drawing”, hence the flow line information (layout and associated data) were captured from the Line Routing Plans. The plant details were captured from the Plant Layout. Similarly, several assets deployed along the pipeline network of approx. 12,000 running Kms (including flow lines) were picked up along with its functional and engineering properties.

The complexity of this project was that data was available in different data format, and different scale. Even the same data set was available in different format so data collation ensuring the desired accuracy was the biggest challenge.

The following process as shown in the block diagram was used to develop the onshore pipeline master plan.

The data was captured from different sources. Most of the data was already in CAD format. Data collation started from locating the well to the right location as per its latitude and longitude. The flow lines were overlaid. Since, well has the flow line number and every flow line has well number so a home grown mathematical model was used to logically connect the flow line with well. Similarly, the flow lines were connected to trunk line then to Main Oil Lines (MOL). Several assets and plants as coming across the network were also captured to build the spatial network. The communication network (fiber and copper), water network electrical network and railway line network was also being captured as these infrastructures are critical while planning the new well location and hydrocarbon (oil and/or Gas) collection network.

The 1 meter satellite data was used to ensure that the entire pipeline network is accurate. Several desired features line, rig crossing, sand tracks, corridors, well fence were captured from satellite images.

Biggest challenge
The major challenge in the project was extraction of data from alignment sheets. Smart automation was being done towards capturing of data from alignment sheets, and automatically cleaning the pipe centerline data adhering to ADCO CAD manual, automatically picking the desired construction, corridor, crossing, surface and subsurface data from alignment sheet and appending it in the onshore pipeline system ensuring the scale and projection system. One can understand the project intricacy, that the data were available across three projection system and scale ranging from 1:150 till 1:66,000.

Future expansion
Development of pipeline master plan is the jump start for ADNOC policymakers for sustainable planning of upstream and midstream operation of oil & gas. The e-Landuse approval will for new project will be done on the 3D environment. Pipeline master plan encompasses both, the engineering automation and the processes surrounding data and document management system across the entire suite of upstream and midstream activities, which will allow ADNOC group of companies to capture more data, with greater frequency, from all parts of the oil and gas value chain and analyse it in real or near-real time. Thus, optimising reservoir, well, flow line & midstream operation, assets maintenance and facility performance. Initially, the information was available with few selected individual, but the proposed automation initiative of ADNOC enabled authorised user to share the intellectual assets, combined with collaboration, over powerful knowledge driven system across the ADNOC corporate.

Authors express personal gratitude to BSSTech, Abu Dhabi for their valuable advice, assistance and guidance in bringing this work to completion. Special thanks to JPAC India for providing execution assistance.