1- Hello Wang & Zelong, can you please tell us a bit about you?
Wang: Hey I am Han Wang, I go to back to hank or doc. I was born and raised in China.
I am a mechanical and electrical engineer. I got a doctor’s degree in 2014 from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, which is considered as the best M&E university in Asia. After graduated, fortunately, I got a job in an oil field equipment company, in Suzhou, China. Our company focuses on a low-production oil field, and we have an oil field in Texas, in the USA. So I spend a lot of time on those oil wells both in China and the USA.
Zelong: My name is Zelong Ma, my friends usually call me Michael. I was born and grow up in China.
I got my master’s degree in Mechanical and Electronical in 2012 from Huazhong University of science and technology.
Now I am the ME department leader in our company. I am in charge of the ME system’s design and improvement for our products, like wire rope spooler, intelligent oil bailer, and portable logging unit. Besides, I am still a petroleum production consultant, especially for low production oil leases.
That’s all, thank you!
2- What are your focus areas and why?
Zelong: We both focus on artificial lift system design on the low production oil field area.
Because there are lots of low production or abandon wells. If Oil-wells losing their commercial value with low production or no production, the operators are most likely to shut down the well and remove the equipment from it. Meanwhile, in the future, it is certain that the number of shut-down wells can but rise. According to the Texas railroad commission, there are as many as 50,000 wells are shut-down. And under this historical low-oil price, it is going to be more Oil and Gas companies are likely to go out of the business. Those wells under their operating are going to be shut-down.
According to our research, there are many more reasons why these wells have been shut down. But most of these wells will re-gain commercial value. What do they most need is a novel low-cost production equipment.
So, we started to focus on this area.
Wang: With the production of oil wells, the production drop is indispensable, until those wells lose the commercial value. If there is an equipment or solution that can make those wells re-gain commercial value, not only it can save those oil wells, but also it can stimulate the local economy.
I focus on the low-production oil field, using our equipment to improve the production of those oil wells. Back in 2010, it is the first time that I participate in the project about the equipment development for those wells, and in 2015, it the first time that we installed our equipment in Texas. And now we have made significant progress been here. Meanwhile, I paid my attention to the traditional beam-pump unit system, and try my best to lower the production cost for those well with the beam-pump unit.
3- How would you describe “IOB” in a few words?
Wang: Intelligent Oil Bailer (iOB) is special artificial lift equipment for low-production oil field, which makes most low-production oil wells re-gain their commercial value, and the IOB brings the revolution for these wells.
Zelong: A novel intelligent production equipment for low production oil field.
4- Wang, What is IOB for?
IOB is artificial lift equipment, specially designed for low-production oil wells. All the IOB is our own design, and you will never find the second one in the world. The IOB can increase production, cut the power consumption. It can reduce the oil production cost and make most low-production wells re-gain commercial value.
5- Zelong, what’s making IOB different that pushes all big names around the world to try to work with you?
Yeah. As you know many famous production experts around the world have joined this project, Like Professor Renpu Wang and the professor Sharma etc. Even the National Energy Department concerned about this project.
I think, the only reason that makes IOB is so different is that this technology will be a revolution in the low production oil field area.
Here is a well, there is still some oil in this well. The regular producing system cannot pump the oil out or it’s not worth it. But the iOB can, it can lift the oil out, and still has commercial value. It’s so excited, anyone will be interested in it.
On the one hand, the mechanical structure is distinct. Different with the traditional beam-pumping unit, it doesn’t use tubing, rods, and down-hole pump system, but uses the winch, cable, cable spooler, and barrels instead. So there is no huge cost for workover by the rod, tubing, and down-hole pump system.
On another hand, all these technologies combine with artificial intelligence control system. The traditional beam-pump unit cannot detect the situation in the well, but the IOB can make the well works on the optimal status by testing the fluid level real-time, and adjust the production cycle according with the differential producing pressure.
Most important, the IOB can make the wells have a commercial valve even the oil price lower than 20 dollars.
6- What is your role in the IOB designing process?
Zelong: I am the ME department leader in our team. I am mainly in charge of the mechanical system design. There are six assembles in the ME system. Winch assemble, wire rope spooler system, top sheave system, wellhead system, barrels system, and the control cabinet.
Design the 3D models and production drawings on the software platform, follow up manufacturing, packing, and shipment, installation in the oil field are all my responsibilities.
Wang: I am the Software Department leader of our team. I am in charge of the software design of control system. There are five parts in software department, control system programming, fluid level detective algorithm, auto-seek optimal work schedule algorithm, HMI system design and remote control system design.
Collecting the different data under the different wells production situation, establishing the mathematical models, simulating on the professional platform, and finally implement the algorithm in the program are all my responsibilities.
7- What are you most excited about at the moment and what are your future plans?
Right now, the most excited is the oil price. You know in this month, the WTI oil price dropped down to the historical low point, minus 37 dollars. Which means many many oil companies will bankrupt and many wells will be forced to shut down. In the long term, the low oil price will bring the need of low cost oil production technology. Yes! iOB is the right technology!
We have a big plan for the future. The rise of the IOT (internet of things) technology brings many opportunities into oil field area. The Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
We can connect all the iOBs together, or connect the iOB and regular pumping unit together. Even the flow line, the oil tank, the injection wells. After connect all the facility together we can monitor the change of the production chain in the real time, and then we can know the change of formation or reservoir. By getting these big data, we can do many many things. Actually, we are now is moving to this direction.
8- Where do you see the project in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, this project will develop in both depth and breadth.
In the depth way, we will “internet-all-things” of the oil field, as we introduced above, further reduce the production and operation costs.
And in the breadth way, you know iOB is a such good technology, there are still many low production wells around the world. We plan to serve for more countries in the future and make more these wells re-breath again.
9- What is the “one-word” advice you will give to young Engineers when it comes to succeeding in life?
Do what you think right, never give up!
10- The last word or final thoughts?
First of all. What we have to mention is that the COVID-19 has seriously influenced the development of the economy, especially the oil industry. We hope we stand Together to Beat Coronavirus. It’s never been clearer: we are all Global Citizens. Let’s stay together, at home, and take action to beat coronavirus.
And the energy industry is the source of our life, and the oil industry is an important component. As a nonrenewable resource, we should save every drop of oil, and the low-production oil field needs more attention. We can make it works
We build our passion for this industry. It is possible that we can bring the low-production oil well to get a new life. we believe that we can make a revolution in this industry, Produce environmental friendly.