Solutions and technologies for the implementation of the Unmanned oil field concept (fully automated)

February 2020

Analytical Report (full version)

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Analytical Report (full version)

Solutions and technologies for the implementation of the Unmanned oil field concept (fully automated)
Solutions and technologies for the implementation of  the Unmanned oil field concept (fully automated)
February 2020

Solutions and technologies for the implementation of the Unmanned oil field concept (fully automated)

February 2020

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In the modern world, it is becoming obvious that there is a need to change oil search and production methods that have developed over more than half a century. Oil companies are forced to start working on fields located at great depths with complex mining and geological conditions, higher temperature and pressure. Fundamentally new theoretical developments and technical solutions are needed to work on such fields.


The depletion of existing reserves and remoteness of promising hydrocarbon deposits forces oil and gas companies to introduce new technologies to reduce the cost of oil production and increase the efficiency of fields at all stages. Finding the optimal, technically and economically feasible way of development and operation of oil and gas assets in such conditions is possible only with an integrated complex approach to solving current production problems. This solution is laid down in the Unmanned field concept.


Qualitative effects of introducing the Unmanned field principles for oil and gas companies include:


• implementation of fundamentally new and inaccessible projects;

• ensuring completely safe and virtually maintenance-free production process;

• development of unique industry competencies at world level;

• exclusion of routine operations and new high-tech jobs.


World experience in operating offshore platforms defines the term “unmanned asset” in different ways, depending on the principles of production management — staff still maintains the asset, but the number of visits, and as a result, labor costs, is significantly reduced.


The largest international oil companies are actively developing unmanned assets on the shelf (offshore rigs) and note a significant decrease in operating costs for their operation, however, examples of unmanned land-based assets (onshore) and oil fields are absent in world practice. The concept of unmanned production is actively developing in related industries, for example, in the automotive industry, where this concept is just beginning to bring first results.


The insufficient development of unmanned land-based oil and gas fields is due to technological features and economic and political factors.


Automation itself does not provide 100% unmanned assets. There are still some oil production processes that cannot be automated using affordable and perspective IT technologies. The evolution of industrial production (Industry 5.0) is a transition from simple automation to the search for fundamentally new technological approaches that completely exclude some of the processes. Such approaches are already used, for example, in the automotive industry, when manufacturers first optimize their processes and then automate those parts that are possible.


As part of this study, the authors prepared a review of the existing concepts of unmanned oil production complexes with a description of the key architectural, structural, technological and digital solutions used. It also describes approaches to unmanned oil fields on the shelf (offshore rigs) used by the largest international oil companies, as well as approaches to unmanned assets in other industries (in particular, the automotive one). The study provides systematized information on the typology of unmanned oil fields and the experience of their development and implementation that accumulated at this stage.


In this study, you will find an analysis of more than 200 processes and operations of oil production at an onshore field, including their segmentation according to efficiency criteria (number of personnel, labor costs) and also find out what areas are the most labor-intensive.


The authors have formed a unified approach to the description and organization of unmanned oil and gas production on land assets and given examples of potential technological and digital solutions that can be used in order to reduce the number of service personnel in the field (in terms of performance criteria, readiness for implementation, as well as risks and barriers related to implementation processes). Inter alia, the project presents more than 40 scenarios of technological solutions that can exclude or minimize the participation of personnel in production operations.


The unified approach to unmanned oil fields is based on a combination of the following technological principles: exclusion (of blocks/processes, etc.), new materials and innovative equipment, digitalization (AT+IT), new principles of engineering. Due to the implementation of such technological solutions, it is possible to reduce the number of staff costs on oil fields by 70-80%.


The fundamental principle for the Unmanned oil field concept implementation assumes a preliminary review of the current production processes and a fundamental change in production approaches (eliminating/replacing outdated technological principles with new approaches), followed by automation of the “simplified” optimized infrastructure.


The report contains: 116 pages, 10 tables, and 62 pictures



This information note was prepared by the J'son & Partners Consulting. We work hard to provide factual and prognostic data that fully reflect the situation and available at the time of release. J'son & Partners Consulting reserves the right to revise the data after publication of new official information by individual players. 


Copyright © 2020, J'son & Partners Consulting. The media can use the text, graphics, and data contained in this market review only using a link to the source of information - J'son & Partners Consulting or with an active link to the JSON.TV portal


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Detailed research results presented in the full version of the report:


"Solutions and technologies for the implementation of the Unmanned (fully automated) oil field concept”



  1. The methodology of the study and basic parameters of the report 
  2. Summary of the project: conclusions and recommendations for organizing an unmanned oil field  
  3. Research of advanced technological and digital solutions (AT/IT/OT) that affect the reduction of the oil field personnel

3.1.Overview and description of solutions, including analysis of barriers and risks when implementing unmanned technologies 

3.1.1.       Digitalization as a key direction of development of unmanned technologies in the oil and gas industry

3.1.2.       Development of future communication systems is a critical factor in the automation of the oil and gas industry and the formation of an unmanned oil field

3.1.3.       Some technological solutions that reduce the participation of personnel at oil fields     Exclusion of well pad metering units: in particular with use of…     Reagent-free production: in particular with use of…     Elimination of the need to take samples: in particular with use of…     Innovative artificial lift technologies and ESPs: an overall increase in inter-repair maintenance and reduction of labor costs for operations before/during/after well servicing and workover     Self-diagnosed oil field pipeline: in particular with use of…       

3.2.Experience and approaches to implementing unmanned principles at offshore platforms    

3.2.1.       Ramboll       

3.2.2.       TechnipFMC Genesis

3.2.3.       Society of Petroleum Engineers     

3.2.4.       Aker Solutions        

3.2.5.       Total  

3.2.6.       Other approaches and technological solutions     Electric fountain valve control systems / fully electric wells             Subsea production systems

3.3.Overview and description of unmanned production in related industries        

3.3.1.       Lights-out factory concept description     

3.3.2.       Examples of implementation of the Lights-out factory concept: automation does not mean unmanned production    

3.4.Unmanned oil field typology definition     

  1. Forming an approach to creating an unmanned oil field 

4.1.Analysis of approaches to the creation of unmanned oil fields in Russian and international vertically integrated companies

4.2.Metrics for analyzing the effectiveness of various technological solutions      

4.3.The unmanned oil field concept and approaches to its implementation