Prefabricated buildings have a lot to offer the oilfield, and not just as temporary crew camps.
Increasingly, they’re being seen as scalable solutions to build out well pads and other oilfield sites.
Jeff Runyon, with Halker Consulting, talked about the concept of prefabricated buildings and what that has to offer the oilfield at a recent meeting of the Williston Basin Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute. His presentation drew questions from representatives of several oilfield companies in the Bakken, including Halliburton and Equinor.
Runyon says one of the chief worries he hears from oilfield companies is that prefabricated buildings will take too long, and/or will be too expensive.
“But it actually doesn’t take longer for prefabrication,” he said. “And holistically you are saving time and costs by applying resources in the right way at the right time.”
Runyon showed several examples of prefabricated build sites that were custom-designed by Halker, pointing out how a focus on modular design concepts makes the facilities scalable to future changes in size, whether up or down.
In one example Runyon gave, it was taking a leading independent oilfield company four weeks or so to build out a new facility. But Halker was able to get the same job done in just five days.
“And the cost savings blew everyone away,” Runyon added.
In another case, Halker designed a central processing facility for a multi-well pad that was hydraulically optimized based on well type curves and total expected production data.
Included were mobile, skid-mounted pigging facilities to prevent line accumulation and blockages, and allow easy relocation if and when pipelines were extended.
In the final phase of work, the multi-well design was meshed together with the gathering system and central processing facility, eliminating the need for three-phase separation and tank storage at the well site.
Applying economies of scale helped the client maximize the value of their asset, as well as better manage equipment costs across multiple production flows.
Shifting work away from the field to a more ideal location ensures better overall quality, Runyon added. Prefabricated buildings can be tested before they are shipped to ensure that welds, cable, tubing, tie-ins and so forth are all what they need to be before they arrive on site.
“We are doing the work where it is more efficient and lower cost,” Runyon said. “You’re basically shipping costs from the field to an environment where we can be more efficient.”
Another plus is shifting decisions to the front-end of a project, instead of sometimes having them made on the fly, in the field.
“It’s easier to look ahead,” Runyon said. “And then you don’t have a 60-man crew waiting on a decision in the field. That’s not a good way to make a decision.”
The prefabricated units can often be reused elsewhere, if they have been designed for a broad application, Runyon added.
“It’s important that you are clear yourself on what you want to use these for,” he said.
Prefabricated modular units might not be right for every application, Runyon said, but where they do work, they save time and money over the long haul.
“It does require effort, time and resources spent up front to invest in the engineering to make sure you understand how best to meet a wide range of production,” he said. “The stack plays do not all produce the same, so you need to spend some time to make sure you do it right.”