Optimizing OPC Connections in the Oil Field

Production facilities in the Oman Mukhaizna oil field are using PLCs linked though the Software Toolbox TOP Server OPC server to ICONICS HMI/SCADA systems for data visualization and operator control. OPC DataHub speeds data throughput.

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In 2005 the Sultanate of Oman issued a Royal Decree to develop the giant Mukhaizna oil field covering a vast expanse of desert in the center and south of the country. A major worldwide producer of oil, natural gas, and chemicals was given responsibility for developing the Mukhaizna field, and from 2005 to 2008 oil recovery rates were increased by more than 600% through the use of a steam-assisted gravity drainage process. As each year goes by, the company makes every effort to continuously upgrade technology and improve productivity of the field.

Eight separate production facilities in the Mukhaizna oil field are using Rockwell PLCs linked though the TOP Server OPC Server from Software Toolbox to Iconics HMI/SCADA systems for data visualization and operator control. Each facility had a specific function which included extracting oil from the ground, separating the oil, and water, gas and steam injection on the final product to test the density. All locations have tanks, pumps, compressors, valves, etc. that monitor and control the temperature, pressure and flow of these different components which are critical to day-to-day operations.

One of the key ways of determining areas for productivity improvement is through the data collection and monitoring systems. Enhancements in data collection and monitoring systems have created improvements in responsiveness as the system changes. The effectiveness of these systems in identifying process changes has helped in the rapid expansion of their use in oil field applications. As with many systems, the expansion created new unique problems. The challenges of keeping track of PLC addresses and the addressing of information in the PLCs is common to any large project, but personnel ran into a few they were not expecting, like problems with data collection performance and network reliability over distances.

The data collection and distribution systems worked well when first implemented, but as the number of data points increased with expansion it became clear to the project engineers that they needed a way to improve data collection performance, so they began to look for a way to streamline the data flow. The solution they found not only performed well, but it created other, significant opportunities for real-time data integration.

CLICK HERE to learn in more detail how engineers improved the performance of this system and went even further.

More information on TOP Server may be found at www.softwaretoolbox.com/topserver.

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