Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Increasing Operator Safety using WatchDog and the Virtual Wellsite Visit

Oil and gas producers are increasingly aware of the urgent requirement to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This pressure to help the environment often competes with the industry’s highly dynamic market environment and the cost pressure to deliver economic value. Interestingly, there’s a direct connection between driving, GHG emissions, cost and operator safety. The more miles/kms driven, the greater the risk and environmental cost. Solving one helps solve the other. 

Often the challenge is creating the business case to fund the change in activity or behavior to realize a reduction in GHG emissions. For operations groups, one routine activity sitting near the top of this list is the daily drive to complete well inspections. Routine well inspections are relied upon, maybe even required, to detect and respond to hazardous leaks and equipment failures – both of which can cause even more costly environmental consequences, if not caught quickly.

However, increasing or repeating the distances operators drive might just be trading off one negative environmental impact for another. This is a choice that doesn’t have to be made. Let’s explore why.

How the Routine Drive to Visit the Wellsite Contributes to GHG Emissions

Most producers require their field operators to visit every well, every day to check on a few key items: 

  • Is the well pumping? 
  • Is fluid being produced?
  • Is there a leak? 
  • What is the tank volume?

When an operator/pumper physically performs these checks, they are typically only at the wellsite for five to ten minutes. However, the cost of that drive time to the environment is substantial. What’s more: once they leave the site, any negative incident which occurs thereafter will not be detected until the next daily visit, which could be as long as 12 to 18 hours later.

Let’s do a bit of math. A typical operator’s daily driving route for routine wellsite visits is approximately 60 miles or 100 kms. The average truck emits 0.25 kg of CO2 per km, or 0.89 lbs per mile. There are 1,000,000 oil wells in North America. Let’s say that one truck visits approximately 50 wells per day. This means there are an estimated 20,000 trucks performing routine wellsite visits to oil wells daily.

Using the Virtual Wellsite Visit to reduce the physical wellsite visit to once per week, you would eliminate 600 km or 370 miles per week in driving and 150 kg or 330 lbs of CO2 per week, or 7,800 kg/17,160 lbs in GHG emissions per year, per truck.  The long-term savings would be enormous – exceeding 400 Tons per year in emissions reduction. Industry statistics have shown that vehicle incidents/accidents

 on the road are the highest risk activity for field operators. By reducing the physical wellsite visit, producers can increase safety for both personnel and commuters in rural areas. According to the United States Department of Labor, four of every 10 workers killed on the job in the oil and gas industry are killed in highway vehicle incidents. Transportation injury events account for 40% of all safety- and health-related events. From 2003 to 2009, some 202 oil and gas extraction workers died in work-related motor vehicle accidents — a rate 8.5 times higher than for private wage and salary workers.

WatchDog Introduces the Virtual Wellsite Visit to Eliminate GHG Emissions

Why are these routine inspections still being done by someone in a truck when this critical information can be gathered electronically? It’s time for every producer to transition to virtual monitoring because all the information required from a routine physical inspection can now be delivered digitally and for a reasonable per-site investment. 

We at AFTI share the industry’s imperative to reduce GHG emissions in addition to avoiding costly environmental incidents like leaks and failures. AFTI WatchDog® is Canada’s leading solution for Virtual Wellsite Monitoring. WatchDog is a proven, easy, low-cost oil well monitoring and pipeline leak detection technology. 

Traditional SCADA and other monitoring systems are geared towards high production, high spend assets. WatchDog is the cost-effective alternative designed for remote monitoring of low-flow, mature oil wells. Now every operator/pumper can know the status of all their assets, from anywhere, all the time! 

WatchDog’s Virtual Wellsite Visit is now used by 13 of the top 20 major producers in Canada. It’s installed on 14% of all the oil wells in the nation. Producers are proving that the Virtual Wellsite Visit is a safe, efficient replacement for the traditional daily physical visit. Many operators have brought their routine site visits down to once per week and on exception only, meaning only when something goes wrong.

The bottom line: producers who use Virtual Wellsite Visits run a cleaner, safer operation. Let’s talk today about how you can do the same.