Anadarko Going Further in Deepwater with Digital Oilfield Technology

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has turned to digital oilfield technology to address the challenges it faces in effectively exploring for and producing hydrocarbons from complex deepwater fields.

The company has deployed its digital oilfield solution, IPSO – Integrated Production Surveillance and Optimization – in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and will deploy IPSO for use offshore Mozambique, said Huan Gamblin, staff reservoir engineer with Anadarko, during a presentation at a conference last week in Houston. The event was hosted by software firm and Halliburton subsidiary Landmark Graphics.

IPSO was designed to measure, control and monitor integrated workflows, allowing Anadarko to listen to the reservoir in real-time fashion and detect and address problems before they get out of hand, Gamblin said. Having a better understanding of the reservoir allows the company to make smarter decisions. Through IPSO, engineers of all different disciplines – drilling, production, reservoir and completion – can look at one spreadsheet, rather than many.

“In general, production engineers look at data that is relevant to day-to-day operations, while reservoir engineers look at data at a macro-scale level to determine how the well will perform during its lifespan,” Gamblin told Rigzone in an email statement. “Sometimes, the short-term and long-term data points lead to different conclusions in the analysis.”

Deployment of IPSO in the U.S. Gulf phase one of the rollout, with a focus on production and reservoir surveillance. Phase two will focus on production and operations. By allowing for effective and consistent decision-making by the right people at the right time, IPSO can deliver value in exploration, appraisal, development and production for Anadarko that will allow the company to be profitable at lower oil prices, Gamblin said.

The experience gap between younger and older workers is one challenge that Anadarko is addressing with IPSO. IPSO also enables Anadarko to capture engineering best practices that ensure consistent results, even as it loses experienced engineers to retirement. Gamblin told conference attendees that, at 33, he’s the oldest of the young people he works with. Everybody else is older and have been working longer than Gamblin has been alive.

“As these older, more experienced engineers get closer to retirement, we need to capture all their knowledge, work flows, and spreadsheets to retain all the knowledge they have.”

IPSO is also helping Anadarko address the explosion of data formats and applications, the need to link together data siloed across different company departments, a globally distributed workforce that needs to share data, massive amounts of real-time data, complex reservoirs such as the Lower Tertiary in the Gulf of Mexico and high costs associated with recovery technologies.

One example of the amount of data the company deals with in the deepwater Gulf: 4 billion data points per year come from six typical subsea wells with multiple zones. From 2000 to 2005, high-resolution well data was stored in the company’s IT system for 30 days. While most of the data was placed into custom engineering spreadsheets for longer-term storage, some of the spreadsheets have been lost due to personal transfers and turnover. The increase in the reliability of subsea gauges in 2005, and the KAPPA Diamant server, which was brought in around 2011 to store real-time data for easy visualization and analysis, meant the company had more data that it could save for a longer period of time.

The company is using digital oilfield tools to address issues such as PI degradation, or the decrease of a well’s productivity index. In 2012, Anadarko began a successful high-rate productivity initiative to address PI degradation observed in a U.S. Gulf development. A multidisciplinary team was assembled to form recommendations on how to prevent PI degradation in future Gulf projects, Gamblin said.

Gamblin compared the massive amounts of real-time data from numerous meters and gauges like drinking from a firehose.

“Can you manage all the data coming in and make smarter decisions from it?”

As Anadarko moves from Miocene reservoirs to the more complex Lower Tertiary in the U.S. Gulf, the company needs less time for routine stuff and more time to understand the reservoirs. The high cost of operating in the Gulf also makes it critical that, whatever Anadarko is doing in recovery technology, it’s using the most effective technology.

“It would be horrible to spend millions of dollars on waterflood technology, only to find that it wasn’t needed.”

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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