Connected Oilfield: Digital Transformation, from Concept to Reality

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The current attitude on Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) represents a gradual acceptance by companies to incorporate IoT into their business. Whether they are interested and researching the technology and business value possibilities or they have a clear vision with implementation well under way, over 75 % of companies are now actively pursuing IoT solutions (Source: Internet of Things Institute. BPI Network).

Oil and gas companies are beginning to embrace the power of data capture and analysis in delivering business benefits. Several recent reports/studies have delivered compelling reasons for O & G companies to adopt asset monitoring solutions. Results such as:

  • 2-5 % increase in production
  • 5-25 % OPEX reduction
  • 1-10 % CAPEX reduction

These kinds of results demonstrate the value that is required for an organization to make a substantial commitment to investing into IoT. O & G is starting to realize this value, but the effect is marginal due to a disconnect approach.

 

Disconnected Approach

 

Oil and Gas companies are very early in digital maturity. They often rely on their IT departments to take a lead role in implementing a connected oilfield solution. While it is true that IT professionals can make a valuable contribution, a connected oilfield solution requires senior leadership, in a champion role, and involve people at all levels.

Modern equipment can generate vast amounts of data that can be tapped for enhancing business operations. But before implementing a connected oilfield initiative, oil and gas companies must focus on two components: Defining the business objectives that the company would like to achieve and identifying the team required to make them happen. It takes a concerted effort between trusted partners, IT and those that work with the equipment on a daily basis (engineers, technicians, etc.) to create business value, whether it’s costs savings or improved performance.

Once you have identified the business objectives and the team that can best implement a solution, there are five (5) stages to implementing a connected oilfield solution.

 

Five Stages to Implementing a Connected Oilfield Solution

 

The O & G industry is extremely diverse, and no one IoT strategy will fit all. However, through the establishment of a remote asset monitoring solution, companies can acquire the real-time data that offers the predictive insights and trend analysis that can significantly enhance operations.

To get to this point, O & G companies must focus on specific business outcomes – such as improving production, reducing downtime and reducing ‘time behind the windshield’ (which serves to enhance HSE measures and reduces operational expenses).

Each phase of IoT maturity delivers a quantifiable return on investment, but it is not until the later stages that a significant value is introduced. The early stages of IoT adoption will reflect a change in behaviour that a company must welcome, while the later stages of emphasize a shift in how the company views technology overall.

 

Stage One – Connected Devices and Data Acquisition

 

Companies will incorporate components that are equipped with sensors and standardized ports that allow data to be transmitted over wired or wireless networks for a real-time view of the device. Devices are equipped with on-board logic that determines what data is collected, transmitted and stored for analysis and action.  In a non-connected scenario, the technician has limited or no information on what caused the problem and what might be required to resolve the problem.

Simply collecting the data requires an investment but it does not produce business benefits. A solution that performs monitoring and alert messaging is required to begin to extract value from the data derived from the device.

 

Stage Two – Monitoring Remote Assets in Real-Time

 

The data arriving from the device can be utilized to populate dashboards with real-time effect, allowing companies to monitor activity on site, or if connected to the cloud, virtually anywhere on the globe. Dashboards will allow employees to view real-time data that will inform decision making and drive efficiency in communicating vital information to the right people.

With real-time monitoring, companies can achieve insight into critical conditions that may impact the performance of an asset (positively or negatively). Basic dashboards can provide your team with valuable insight into basic operations and functions. Often this is sufficient for the decision making that a field operator may require. If the operations are complex, simple logic may not be sufficient to detect complex conditions and events.

 

Stage Three – Analyzing Data

 

Data analytics has the ability to deliver insight, predictions and optimization across a company’s complete line up of equipment. A truly successful data analytics system incorporates data collection, machine learning and modelling. Data analytics can provide valuable insight into operations that allows your team to take the action that is required.

Field operators are under pressure to reduce operating expenses and enhance production. The result is operators are driving technician utilization rates higher and higher. Predictive analytics can provide advance information on possible maintenance and systems requirements before a failure occurs. This can result in better utilization of resources and ensuring valuable well uptime.

 

Stage Four – Automating

 

By introducing rules and automation, complex information can be distributed across multiple levels such as inventory management, technical support or a service ticketing system. Rules defined by the operator can also manage the rate with which data is collected and transmitted, such as the case when a device is healthy and less data is collected or when a device enters a vulnerable state and more data is required to diagnose and address the problem. This will enhance condition-based maintenance and better device utilization.

 

Stage Five – Enhancing On-Board Intelligence

 

Distributed intelligence allows for the processing of data on or very close to the equipment that is connected in addition to functions performed in gateways or in the cloud. Many of today’s connected industrial equipment incorporates computing capabilities that can be used to perform data analytics and automation directly on the device, in real-time. This provides maximum return on investment and business benefit from predictive failure, data-driven diagnostics and device optimization.

 

Summary

 

By implementing a connected oilfield solution, it is possible to substantially improve production while reducing operating costs. Implementing a connected oilfield strategy and remote asset monitoring solution is best achieved in a series of steps rather than a deep dive at the outset. Successful IoT implementation is a collaborative approach across many business units within an organization.

Asset Monitoring Solutions has developed a cloud based platform that can serve as the backbone for your digital transformation.  eTrackdataTM server and eSensordataTM is a comprehensive asset monitoring solution ideally suited for todays Connected Oilfield. eSensordataTM provides an industry standard interface for sensors to collect data from whatever process or equipment that the energy company would like to monitor.  eSensordataTM provides a cellular communication link to the internet, where it will interact with our cloud based eTrackdataTM server. eTrackdataTM Cloud Server is a secure cloud server that provides a user interface to monitor the Connected Oilfield. Interfaces include internet enabled devices such as cell phones, tablets, and desktop computers.  The operator(s) preferred internet enabled device becomes the window to the Connected Oilfield.

The ability to remotely monitor an oilfield site with literally hundreds of sensors can be achieved through eTrackdataTMserver and eSensordataTM.

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