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New monitoring platform aims to teach artificial lift autonomy


Cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning are all buzzwords spreading from industry to industry. Now, they’re arriving in the oil patch.

Start-up company Boomerang SCADA is launching a platform comprised of proprietary software, cloud computing and edge devices that teaches artificial lift systems to monitor and automate themselves.

“The way monitoring is done is based on old architecture, where you get readings every 10 minutes,” explained Austin deGraaf, vice president of operations. “The new wave is microservers, cloud computing and edge devices.”

Instead of building one huge system built monolithically, he said Boomerang can build a system to perform a variety of tasks on different levels – monitoring all oil wells, setting downhole parameters and surface parameters – for the same price as that slice of information every 10 minutes.

“An edge device sits on the edge of the microserver. If you teach that device rules and build algorithms into the device, it can learn to detect anomalies and make live changes,” said deGraaf.

Teaching machines those rules will require experts, especially in the oil patch, teaching individual wells individual rules, he noted.

“We have a client, Mike. We put Mike’s brain in a box – it’s Mike in a box,” said deGraaf.

The company’s platform is being well-received, and deGraaf said what they are seeing is the edge devices are being taught semi-autonomous rules.

“We think it will be six months to a year before clients feel comfortable giving full autonomy,” he said of himself and the two colleagues who founded the company. “Once they see wells will speed up or slowdown every morning, they’ll feel more comfortable switching to full autonomy.”

There will still be work to be done in the field, but that will require fewer people and allow companies to better deploy their staff.

Boomerang works with operators and artificial lift companies to customize its platform, which deGraaf said can monitor 1,000 wells or 10 wells.



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