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Facilities Optimization: Configuration Factors and Potential Blind Spots

Avoiding Blind Spots

Engineering staff invest significant time and effort into designing well sites and production facilities, so it is usually a safe bet that performance was considered optimal at some point.

Over time, however, variables can change as the result of equipment repair and replacements, new regulations, aging equipment, variability in production rates and timing, increased water production, changing production stream composition and other dynamic factors that may create inefficiencies as a well ages.

These dynamics can often create “blind spots” leaving us vulnerable to changing circumstances that can generate inefficiencies and constraints over the life of a well.

Additionally, turnover of staff and attrition can result in the loss of institutional knowledge and the original reasoning behind a well site or facility’s current configuration.

Well Site Configuration Factors

When evaluating well site potential, several well site configuration factors come into play. Here are just a sample of the configuration variables we consider when conducting a Performance Audit:

  • Production volumes, including three phase composition and flow

  • Location of production equipment on the site, from the wellhead to separators, VRUs, VRTs, storage tanks, compressors, meter runs, LACT units, flare stacks, and more.

  • Piping, including sizing, angles, and type(s)

  • Equipment sizing

  • Equipment age and condition

  • Oil and water storage systems

  • Well site power gensets

When evaluating well site potential and efficiencies, it is important to look at both (a) individual equipment factors and (b) the process interdependencies between equipment.

Process interdependencies typically involve where equipment is placed and connected together to ensure the most efficient and smooth flow of liquids and gas through the system.

Common examples of how an inefficient well site configuration can inadvertently hold back performance include:

  • Inefficient routing of vent lines

  • Undersized combustors resulting in inefficient disposal of contaminated gas, creating emissions and increased wear on equipment

  • Improperly sized Vapor Recovery Units unable to safely handle actual volumes

  • Inefficient piping resulting in unnecessary and inefficient flow constraints and bottlenecks

This list is not exhaustive, but it does identify some of the low-hanging fruit that can yield significant improvements from optimization.

One Size Does Not Fit All!

When evaluating well site configuration, it is also important to recognize that there is typically no ideal configuration for all sites. Too many variables are at play, from production composition, flow, physical site geography, weather, regulatory environment, and more, for a one-size-fits-all approach.

Benefits of an Optimized Configuration

The benefits of an optimized well site configuration include:

  • Improved economic performance over the long term

  • Solve the root cause(s) of performance constraints

  • Higher uptime resulting from fewer unexpected process interruptions

  • Efficient and profitable operations

  • Reduced risk

  • Improved safety profile

A well site or facility with an optimized configuration will help you harness its full potential, maximizing its long-term economic value and environmental performance.

Contact us today at to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you harness the full potential of your well site.


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