US20020153134A1 - Method of managing work orders at a well site - Google Patents

Method of managing work orders at a well site Download PDF

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Publication number
US20020153134A1
US20020153134A1 US09839080 US83908001A US2002153134A1 US 20020153134 A1 US20020153134 A1 US 20020153134A1 US 09839080 US09839080 US 09839080 US 83908001 A US83908001 A US 83908001A US 2002153134 A1 US2002153134 A1 US 2002153134A1
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computer
contractor
work
performed
input
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Abandoned
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US09839080
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Frederic Newman
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Key Energy Services Inc
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UNITRAK SERVICES LP
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B41/00Equipment or details not covered by groups E21B15/00 - E21B40/00

Abstract

A method of managing work orders that well companies issue to contractors working at remote well sites, involves a wireless communication link between two computers. Work orders specifying work to be done to a well are stored on a home base computer. Using the wireless communication link, the work orders are communicated to a mobile computer at the well site. This allows a contractor to refer to the work order while the work is being performed, and allows the contractor to immediately notify the well company when the job is done. The mobile computer can be transported between well sites by carrying the computer on a service vehicle, which the contractor uses in performing service operations specified in work orders. While the service vehicle is at a well site, other independent contractors can share the same computer, thus creating a central station for collecting and displaying work order related information.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention [0001]
  • The invention generally pertains to service work performed at a well site and more specifically pertains to a method of managing such work. [0002]
  • 2. Description of Related Art [0003]
  • After a well is set up and operating to draw petroleum, water or other fluid up from within the ground, various service operations are periodically performed to maintain the well. Such service operations may include replacing worn parts such as a pump, sucker rods, inner tubing, and packer glands; pumping chemical treatments or hot oil down into the well bore; and pumping cement into the well bore to partially close off a portion of the well (or to shut it down entirely). Since wells are often miles apart from each other, the maintenance or service operations are usually performed by a mobile unit or service vehicle having special onboard servicing equipment suited to perform the work. Some examples of service vehicles include a chemical tank truck or trailer, a cement truck or trailer, a hot-oiler tank truck or trailer, and a portable work-over service rig having a hoist to remove and install well components (e.g., sucker rods, tubing, etc.). [0004]
  • Service vehicles are often owned by independent contractors that the well owner or well operator hire to service the wells. When a well needs servicing, the process of actually getting the work done and accurately documenting that fact can be quite involved. Typically, a representative of the company that owns and/or operates the well determines what service operations are needed. After consulting with various contactors, the company representative prepares a work order that specifies what work is to be performed and at what price. The representative typically mails the work order to the representative's chosen contractor. The contractor, in turn, dispatches a crew to the well site to perform the work. However, if the actual work order remains at the contractor's office, the crew cannot readily refer back to the order as the work is being performed, which can lead to errors. Once a job or specific service operation is completed, the crew returns to the contractor's office to report the completion of their assignment. To receive payment for the work, the contractor typically submits an invoice to the accounts payable department of the well company. However, personnel in accounting may have no idea of whether the work has actually been performed satisfactorily. Thus, payment of the invoice may be delayed until after those in accounting acquire verification that the work has been completed as specified in the original work order. The whole process becomes even more complicated when a particular well servicing project involves numerous work orders that are assigned to several different independent contractors. [0005]
  • Consequently, there is a need for a more efficient and accurate method of managing work orders that well companies issue to independent contractors that work at remote well sites. [0006]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • To avoid the problems and limitation of current methods of managing well-related work orders, it is an object of the invention to provide an electronic copy of a work order directly at the well site at which service operations are being performed on a well. [0007]
  • A second object of the invention is to allow multiple independent contractors access to several work orders by way of a computer carried by a service vehicle of one of the contractors. [0008]
  • A third object of the invention is to provide a wireless communication link between one computer at a home base location and another computer at a remote well site, wherein well-related work order information can be exchanged between the two computers. [0009]
  • A fourth object is to allow a company representative at a home base computer to acknowledge the completion of a service operation performed by an independent contractor at a remote well site. [0010]
  • A fifth object is to provide a method of effectively managing work orders that pertain to pumping, manipulating sucker rods, manipulating tubing, perforating a well pipe, and/or downhole logging. [0011]
  • A sixth object is enter into a computer a well site identifier that allows a contractor at the well site to access the appropriate work order for the particular well being serviced. [0012]
  • A seventh object is to allow a representative of the well company to enter an input into a computer to indicate that the representative accepts the work done by a contractor. [0013]
  • These and other objects of the invention are provided by a method of managing work orders by storing a work order on a home base computer, and then conveying the work order over a wireless communication link to another computer that a service vehicle carries to at a remote well site.[0014]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a method of managing work orders according to a currently preferred embodiment of the invention.[0015]
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • Service operations to be performed by a contractor [0016] 10 on a well 12 at a well site 15 can be managed from a remote location 14 by using a method 16 illustrated in FIG. 1. Well 12 is schematically illustrated to encompass any apparatus for drawing a fluid (e.g., oil, gas, water, etc.) from the ground. In some embodiments of the invention, well 12 includes a string of outer piping known as casing 18. When perforated, casing 18 provides a conduit that conveys fluid from within the ground to the inlet of a submerged reciprocating pump 20. An inner string of pipe, known as tubing 22, provides a discharge conduit that conveys the fluid from the outlet of pump 20 to the surface. A powered pivoting beam (not shown) moves a string of sucker rods 24 up and down, which in turn moves the pump's piston up and down to pump the fluid.
  • Any work done to well [0017] 12 is referred to as a service operation. Examples of service operations include, but are not limited to manipulating sucker rods (e.g., installing, torquing, or replacing rods 24, as indicated by arrow 26); manipulating tubing (e.g., installing, torquing, or replacing tubing 22, as indicated by arrow 28); perforating casing 18, as indicated by a perforating gun 30 suspended from a cable or wireline 32; down hole logging, as indicated by a transducer 34 suspended from a wireline 36; pumping a fluid 38 (e.g., cement, acid, steam, hot oil, etc.) into well 12, as indicated by pump 40 and arrow 42; welding; fracture treatments; drilling; stimulating; swabbing; bailing; testing; and various other work that is familiar to those skilled in the art.
  • Owners, operators, and/or well managers (all of which are referred to herein and below as company [0018] 44) of well 12 may pay various contractors, such as contractors 10 and 46, to perform service operations on well 12. Method 16 is especially useful in coordinating the efforts of independent contractors, such as when contractors 10 and 46 are not employees of company 44, and/or when one contractor is not an employee of the other.
  • To specify what work needs to be done, company [0019] 44 may issue one or more work orders, such as work orders 48 and 50. Work order 48 may specify one or more service operations 52 intended for contractor 10, and work order 50 may specify one or more service operations 54 intended for contractor 46. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, company 44 stores work orders 48 and 50 on a home base computer 56 at location 14, which is remote relative to well site 15. The term, “computer” used herein and below refers to any device for storing and/or possessing digital information. Examples of a computer include, but are not limited to items known as personal computers, PC, desktop computer, laptop, notebook, PLC (programmable logic controller), data logger, etc. In some cases, the computer may run common software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access; Visual Basic; C++ etc. The term, “remote location relative to well site 15” means that the location is beyond the immediate property or land on which well 12 is contained or at least one-mile away from well 12, whichever is greater.
  • To communicate work orders [0020] 48 and 50 to contractors 10 and 46 at well site 15, contractor 10 uses a service vehicle 58 to transport (indicated by arrow 60) another computer 62 to well site 15. The term, “service vehicle” refers to any vehicle used to facilitate performing one or more service operations on well 12. Examples of a service vehicle include, but are not limited to, mobile work-over unit 58 and a tanker 64. Workover unit 58 includes a variety of equipment including, but not limited to, rod tongs, tubing tongs, and a wireline winch and/or a hoist 66. Work-over unit 58 is particularly suited for removing or installing well components, such as sucker rods, tubing, etc.; lowering instruments into the well bore via a cable or wireline; and may even be used in actually drilling the well bore itself Tanker 64 is schematically illustrated to encompass all other types of service vehicles including, but not limited to, pumping vehicles, such as a chemical tank truck or trailer, a cement truck or trailer, and a hot-oiler tank truck or trailer.
  • With computer [0021] 62 being at well site 15, work orders 48 and 50 can be communicated from computer 56 to computer 62 through a wireless communication link 68. The term “wireless communication link” refers to data being transmitted over a certain distance, wherein over that certain distance the data is transmitted through a medium of air and/or space rather than wires. Wireless communication link 68 is schematically illustrated to represent a wide variety of systems that are well known to those skilled in the art of wireless communication. For example, with a modem 70 and an antenna 72 associated with computer 56, and another modem 74 and an antenna 76 for computer 62, data pertaining to work orders 48 and 50 can be exchanged over the Internet between computers 56 and 62. The data can be in any of a variety of common formats including, but not limited to, HTML, e-mail, etc.
  • Work orders [0022] 48 and 50 having been communicated to computer 62 allows contractors 10 and 46 to review the work orders directly at well site 15. Once contractor 10 performs the service operation specified in work order 48, contractor 10 enters an input 78 into computer 62 that indicates that his service operation has been performed. Input 78 can be entered using any one of a variety of means including, but not limited to, a keyboard 80. Likewise, once contractor 46 performs the service operation specified in work order 50, contractor 46 enters an input 82 into computer 62 that indicates that her service operation has been performed. Information 84 and 86 that indicate that inputs 78 and 82 have been entered is then communicated from computer 62 to computer 56 using wireless communication link 68. An example of information 84 and 86 would be a statement such as, “Service operation has been performed.” Information 84 and 86 thus notifies company 44 that the service operations of work orders 48 and 50 have been performed, and feedback 88 is displayed on computer 62 to indicate that information 84 or 86 has been made available to computer 56. An example of feedback 88 would be a statement such as, “Completion of work order has been forwarded.”
  • In some embodiments of the invention, company [0023] 44 may communicate from computer 56 to computer 62 an acknowledgement 90 that company 44 has actually received information 84 or 86 that indicating that a particular service operation has been performed.
  • To verify that contractor [0024] 10 has satisfactorily performed a service operation, a field representative 92 of company 44 may enter an input 94 (e.g., a password or confidential code) that indicates representative 92 accepts the work performed by contractor 10. Input 94 may then be used enable the communication of input 78, information 84, and/or acknowledgement 90.
  • In some versions of the invention, contactor [0025] 10 or 46 may enter a well site identifier 96 into computer 62 by using keyboard 80 and/or selecting from a menu of well site identifiers stored in computer 62. Well site identifier 96 could be some alphanumeric value that identifies the well by a name or address. This could allow a contractor access to the appropriate work orders for a particular well.
  • Although the invention is described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications are well within the scope of the invention. Therefore, the scope of the invention is to be determined by reference to the claims that follow.[0026]

Claims (20)

    I claim:
  1. 1. A method of managing work of a first contractor at a well site, wherein the first contractor uses a first service vehicle to facilitate performing the work for a company, comprising:
    storing a first work order on a first computer associated with the company, wherein the first computer is at a remote location relative to the well site, and the first work order identifies a first service operation that is to be performed by the first contractor at the well site;
    transporting a second computer to the well site using the first service vehicle;
    providing a wireless communication link between the first computer and the second computer;
    communicating the work order from the first computer to the second computer through the wireless communication link;
    inputting into the second computer first input that indicates that the first service operation identified by the first work order has been performed by the first contractor;
    communicating from the second computer to the first computer information that indicates that the first input has been inputted into the second computer, thereby notifying the company that the first service operation has been performed; and
    displaying on the second computer feedback that indicates that the information has been made available to the first computer, thereby affirming that the company has been notified that the first service operation has been performed.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, further comprising communicating from the first computer to the second computer confirmation that indicates whether the company acknowledges receipt of the first input.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising inputting second input into at least one of the first computer and the second computer, wherein the second input indicates a representative of the company approves the first input, whereby the representative accepts that the first input indicates that the first service operation has actually been performed.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein the work involves pumping.
  5. 5. The method of claim 4, wherein the work involves pumping cement.
  6. 6. The method of claim 4, wherein the work involves pumping an acid.
  7. 7. The method of claim 1, wherein the work involves manipulating sucker rods.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein the work involves manipulating tubing.
  9. 9. The method of claim 1, wherein the work involves perforating a well pipe.
  10. 10. The method of claim 1, wherein the work involves downhole logging.
  11. 11. The method of claim 1, further comprising accessing the work order from the well site by entering a well site identifier into the second computer.
  12. 12. A method of managing work of a first contractor and a second contractor at a well site, comprising:
    storing a first work order on a first computer at a remote location relative to the well site, wherein the first work order identifies a first service operation able to be performed by the first contractor;
    storing a second work order on the first computer at a remote location relative to the well site, wherein the second work order identifies a second service operation able to be performed by the second contractor;
    transporting a second computer to the well site;
    providing a wireless communication link between the first computer and the second computer;
    communicating the first work order and the second work order from the first computer to the second computer through the wireless communication link;
    inputting into the second computer first input that indicates that the first service operation of the first work order has been performed by the first contractor;
    inputting into the second computer second input that indicates that the second service operation of the second work order has been performed by the second contractor; and
    displaying on the second computer feedback that indicates that the information has been made available to the first computer, thereby affirming that the company has been notified that the first service operation and the second service operation have been performed.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12, wherein the first service operation and the second service operation are performed for a company associated with the first computer.
  14. 14. The method of claim 12, further comprising: using a first service vehicle to assist the first contractor in performing the first service operation; and using a second service vehicle to assist the second contractor in performing the second service operation.
  15. 15. The method of claim 14, further comprising using the first service vehicle in transporting the second computer to the well site.
  16. 16. The method of claim 13, inputting third input into at least one of the first computer and the second computer, wherein the third input indicates that a representative of the company approves the first input and the second input.
  17. 17. The method of claim 13, further comprising displaying on the second computer feedback that indicates that the information has been communicated to the first computer, thereby affirming that the company has been notified that the first service operation has been performed.
  18. 18. A method of managing work at a well site, wherein the work is to be performed by a first contractor and a second contractor doing work for a company, wherein the first contractor has a first service vehicle and the second contractor has a second service vehicle, comprising:
    storing a first work order on a first computer associated with the company, wherein the first computer is at a remote location relative to the well site, and the first work order identifies a first service operation that is to be performed by the first contractor at the well site;
    using the first service vehicle to assist the first contractor in performing the first service operation;
    storing a second work order on the first computer, wherein the second work order identifies a second service operation that is to be performed by the second contractor at the well site;
    using the second service vehicle to assist the second contractor in performing the second service operation;
    transporting a second computer to the well site using the first service vehicle;
    providing a wireless communication link between the first computer and the second computer;
    communicating the first work order and the second work order from the first computer to the second computer through the wireless communication link;
    inputting into the second computer first input that indicates that the first service operation identified by the first work order has been performed by the first contractor;
    inputting into the second computer second input that indicates that the second service operation identified by the second work order has been performed by the second contractor;
    inputting third input into at least one of the first computer and the second computer, wherein the third input indicates that a representative of the company approves the first input and the second input;
    communicating from the second computer to the first computer information that indicates that the first input and the second input have been inputted into the second computer; thereby notifying the company that the first service operation has been performed by the first contractor and the second service operation has been performed by the second contractor; and
    displaying on the second computer feedback that indicates that the information has been communicated to the first computer, thereby affirming that the company has been notified that the first service operation and the second service operation have been performed.
  19. 19. The method of claim 18, wherein the work involves pumping.
  20. 20. The method of claim 18, wherein the work involves manipulating sucker rods.
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