Keeping the oilfields pumping: wellhead protection in the Gulf States

Crescent Petroleum
Remote Satellite Rig Monitoring
Industry / Vertical:


Headquartered in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Crescent Petroleum has been operating as a regional upstream oil and gas company for almost forty years. It was the first independent, privately-owned Middle Eastern petroleum company to engage in the acquisition, exploration and development of petroleum concessions. Crescent Petroleum produces and sells crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas.


The production costs during the life of an oilfield well are strongly influenced by the performance of wellhead equipment. Any equipment failure that would lead to a shutdown of the wellhead results in spiralling costs. With such high value placed on production uptime, Crescent Petroleum, required a rugged, highly reliable automated monitoring system suited for managing the wells. Such monitoring of the wellhead system is the typical method employed for reducing costs and increasing revenue.


To ensure increased wellhead uptime, as well as providing the visibility needed to anticipate problems, Crescent Petroleum began a major engineering project. McDermott Hudson, which specialises in procurement, construction and project management for the oil and gas industry, provided the wellhead engineering. Design and engineering for the remote monitoring and control was jointly implemented by telecoms system integrator Nessco (Aberdeen) and wireless specialist Wood & Douglas.

Wood & Douglas created a bespoke system based on its PACSNET 3000 UHF radio, designed to monitor and where necessary shutdown remote wellheads and satellite rig systems.

With secure systems, protocols and structures, the PACSNET 3000 system was easily integrated with McDermott Hudson and Nessco equipment to create a comprehensive system which met Crescent Petroleum’s specification.

The communications offers a choice of VHF or UHF Narrow Band FM, or both when frequency diversity is required to improve the reliability of a transmitted signal. In addition to the basic radio communications infrastructure, the Wood & Douglas stations allow MODBUS interface, the simple, robust communication protocol for connecting industrial electronic devices. In this case the stations enable communications to intelligent site equipment and to SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) for long range, regular monitoring and control.

The five satellite rigs all report status over wireless to a central station which maintains a continuously updated database for reporting to SCADA. All communications are managed by the PACSNET 3000 radio system and all functions at the central station are configured with dual redundancy with auto changeover. This includes dual radios and antennae. The equipment located on the wellheads and satellite rigs was also configured to support either mains power operation or recharged battery operation as required on a site by site basis.

Every two seconds the wellhead or satellite rig status is updated and reported to the SCADA. Control decisions resulting in shutdown requirements are sent back to the base station and then on to the appropriate satellite rig. The actual shutdown control is handled by hardwired systems on the rig, with the PACSNET 3000 system supplying the trigger.

Through this installation Wood & Douglas gave Crescent Petroleum the visibility it needed to perform maintenance on time, anticipate problems and take action before equipment suffered terminal failure and costs spun out of control.

  • Rugged, robust, radio with built in redundancy for guaranteed monitoring and control
  • Continuous monitoring enables improved management of remotely located, highly expensive equipment
  • Bespoke implementation of industrial MODBUS and SCADA communication


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