When a natural gas well goes down, the cost clock starts immediately. As the minutes tick by, not only is gas production at a standstill, but the price of repairs can continue to increase as well. Time is of the essence and often an offline well may not be discovered until the gauger stops by again on his 150 mile or so long route, likely at least 24 hours after the last check in.
The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a record boom and natural gas prices are at their highest level since April 2008. To meet the increased demand, the U.S. is bringing more gas wells online – up more than 50% since last year – and is on track to set new natural gas production records in 2022. S&P Global Platts forecasts that average U.S. production is set to increase by 4 billion cubic feet per (Bcf) day throughout 2022. One billion cubic feet of gas equivalent can produce roughly 1.028 trillion BTUs (British Thermal Units), which is enough to power all of Delaware’s natural gas needs for slightly more than one week, according to Investopedia. It is also estimated that total flowing gas volumes could reach above 97 Bcf per day by December 2022.
There’s a lot of money to be made in this market, and unplanned downtime can have real implications on the bottom line. Existing wells need to be producing at their optimum levels 24/7 and the only way to ensure gas production isn’t interrupted is real-time monitoring as well as preventative maintenance.
A simple remote monitoring device can let gaugers know if the pipeline pressure is too high, the compressor is off, electricity service off and more. These simple alerts on downtime codes provide insight that may prevent production from being interrupted enabling gaugers to respond instead of react. Through real-time monitoring, gaugers can also intervene before hazardous salt water spills occur causing environmental damage resulting in expensive fines and harm to your company’s brand. By simply keeping an eye on a short list of common levels that can point to potential downtime, gaugers can prevent costly gas well downtime.
In addition to real-time alerts, historical data from remote monitoring devices can also provide valuable insight into areas where common malfunctions are occurring or maintenance is needed more regularly. This takes proactive to another level and enables gaugers to perform preventative maintenance and allows producers to better estimate gas well production.
Remote monitoring devices can be installed by a gauger with pre-determined levels monitored via smartphone and alerts sent by text, email or phone call. With satellite technology, connections are always on no matter the remote location of the gas well. Also, everyday batteries power most individual devices with solar power an option too.
The basic remote capabilities are within reach and at prices that gaugers can expense without a purchase order. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Translate that into today’s natural gas market and by preventing or reducing gas well downtime the return on implementing remote monitoring device could equal millions of dollars.