Midland oil producer (50-year- old, privately held company) seeking to extend automation into their field operations. Specifically looking to monitor stripper well tanks to increase efficiencies of the field crew and acquire data for accurate decision making.


Note to reader: While not mentioned by name in this case study, this client of iTankData is available for reference.

In 2016, a long-standing, well respected oil producer in Midland, Texas, was attempting to identify a solution to improve field operations with cost-effective tank monitoring technology. The challenge was the production they were seeking to monitor included stripper wells producing between 1 and 10 barrels per day. The monitoring technology had to be low in cost, while providing data and alarms to allow the production manager the ability to

oversee all production at the beginning of each day from his computer or mobile device.

The specific criteria for the application included the following:

  • Ability to see all tank levels on one screen and identify full tanks to schedule an oil buy or a water haul.

  • Gain efficiencies by not requiring a pumper to check on all low production tanks each day.

  • Ability to push information to a mobile app (both Apple and Android)

  • Ability to receive critical alerts via e-mail and text

  • Be cost-effective considering the low revenue from the volume of production being monitored

iTankData was identified as a potential solution. The monitoring and telemetry technology was solidified in aself-contained unit. Within the pressure molded housing resided a lithium ion battery powered Verizon or AT&T mobile card and a state-of- the-art antenna. The sensor consisted of a stainless steel hydrostatic pressure transducer at the end of a Teflon tether (resistant to all forms of corrosion from crude oil and waste water).

The monitoring capabilities included:

  • Tank level reading 48 times a day, with call outs three times a day to the portal and mobile device

  • An internet based portal allowing full management of the portfolio of tank production

  • Mobile app providing instant access and management of production, with the capability to view tank levels by lease and by pumper

  • Ability to individually set alerts and provide access to unlimited users, submitting alerts via text and/or e-mail

  • Ability to store all tank level readings as well as export all data for use in outside analytics applications

  • Ability to indicate if water is being produced in an oil tank

  • Ability to indicate if oil theft may be occurring

The company elected to purchase two tank monitoring units to conduct a trial. The units were installed in both water and crude oil tanks. The installation process took approximately 15 minutes to insert the unit into a vent

opening in the tank, activate the battery and initiate the telemetry transmission. The only information needed to complete the process was the dimensions of the tank, the volume of fluid the tank holds, and the gravity of the particular fluid.

The operations manager was able to see the tank levels and begin assessing production data within minutes of the monitor installation in the tank. There is no external power or internet (Wi-Fi) connectivity needed. Over the course of the following three weeks, the units performed flawlessly.

The trial produced several expected and unexpected benefits.

The operations manager expected to be able to make informed decisions more easily and possibly save money, but improving the timing of revenue and increasing safety were an added bonus. Specifically, the outcomes came in three key areas:

  • Being able to see tank levels three times a day (versus maybe one reading a day from a pumper) allowed field management to better direct the project work of their crews

  • Viewing the entire portfolio of tank levels each morning and placing buy and haul orders allowed for better revenue prediction and management. This was found to be very helpful in managing large volumes of water production, both in keeping on top of hauls

  • Better tracking how much water was hauled

  • Knowing the exact tank levels prevented risk of overflows and mitigated the need for pumpers to climb up tanks and being exposed to H2S gas

The operations team was able to improve efficiency in field operations. Due to having tank level reports at the beginning of each day, the field crew could eliminate needing to check every tank and thus focus on critical projects.

This company placed an order for an additional 108 units and was able to successfully install all units within 30 days. A secondary order of 58 units was placed and installed in 2017.


Future of stripper well field operations

After experiencing low oil prices, the future of successfully managing stripperwell production dictates lowering costs and improving safety. The operationsmanagement of this company views automation and tank monitoring as asignificant contributor to the improved performance of their company.iTankData provides a nimble ability to quickly apply technology in areas whereelectricity does not exist, where safety is a critical concern and environmentalsecurity is of the utmost importance.

Editors Note:  Case Studies presented on Energy OnRamp Technology news are vendor submitted and are used to illustrate how users can leverage their respective technologies.