Case Studies

oil well control system

Oil Well Control System Upgrade using an Allen-Bradley Control Logix PLC

Posted in Allen Bradley PLC, HMI and SCADA, Manufacturing Automation and Intelligence, Oil and Gas Engineering, PLC Programming


DMC worked with an oil and gas company to update and standardize their well pad control systems. DMC built a scalable program that can be configured by the client to fit each of their well pads of various sizes. This upgrade gives the customer the future flexibility to drill additional wells at a given asset, without requiring a major control system overhaul.


DMC’s client manages a number of oil well sites, each with anywhere between one and six oil wells. The sensors, valves, and pumps at the sites vary with the number of drilled wells, which previously required the client to maintain different programs for each site. When a modification or improvement was required, the change had to be manually implemented in each program. This proved tedious and expensive. The customer turned to DMC to develop a single, scalable solution that could be deployed to all their existing and future well sites.

DMC developed control code capable of dynamically configuring the PLC and HMI at runtime based on the number of wells at the site. Based on the site’s configuration, the program:

  • Updates the PLC hardware configuration to include the appropriate number of I/O cards. This allows the client to only install the required hardware without causing hardware faults.
  • Configures the HMI to only display wells that were drilled, preventing operator confusion with extraneous HMI data.
  • Alters the program execution to only execute logic for the drilled wells. This improved scan time, eliminated “phantom” alarms, and simplified troubleshooting.

By leveraging the industry’s best practices in object-oriented PLC programming, DMC built one robust solution that the customer can use repeatedly on a wide mix of well sites. The flexibility of this system will allow the client to expand well sites in the future without costly developer involvement. Further, the uniformity between assets allows for easier operator training and troubleshooting.

Learn more about DMC’s expertise in PLC programming and the Oil and Gas Industry.

Customer Benefits

  • Ability to expand existing well pads without major control system modifications
  • Homogeneous and reliable code base allowing for easy functional updates
  • Configurable template system allowing fast commissioning of new sites
  • Cost savings due to the ability to only purchase the PLC I/O hardware required by the number of currently drilled wells at a given site, rather than buying the maximum expected up front


  • Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLC
  • RS Logix 5000
  • PanelView Plus HMI
  • Point I/O
  • HART communication
  • ProSoft Modbus TCP/IP