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Implementing IoT and Connected Cloud Technologies in the Oil & Gas Industry

Today, oil and gas industry is rapidly adopting innovative and smart technologies like cloud and the internet of things. Deployment of these connected technologies results in greater safety of workers as well as resources, real-time monitoring of equipment, better field communication, reduced downtime, and automation of mining operations. Learn more about how implementing IoT and connected cloud technologies can transform the oil and gas industry.

Over the years, the oil and gas industry has faced many challenges — from speedily changing market conditions to a massive reduction of talent and workforce. Due to these challenges, many petroleum and oil suppliers’ growth plans were put on hold. In fact, approximately $620 billion in oil and gas expansion projects planned through 2020 were either deferred, canceled or abandoned entirely.

To overcome these challenges as well as to sustain their business growth plans, companies are looking towards innovative technologies. Internet of Things and Cloud are the key technologies for oil and gas industry that help achieve operational efficiency. IoT and cloud technologies help the industry deal with a number of challenges such as volatility of oil prices, ensuring the safety of workers in the hazardous environment, accessing data and information for taking right decisions, monitoring remote assets, fuel shipments, etc. According to a new market intelligence report by BIS Research, the global market for Internet of Things (IoT) in oil and gas is expected to reach US $30.57 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.65 percent from 2017 to 2026.

How IoT and connected cloud technologies help in the oil & gas industry

The implementation of IoT and cloud technology allows companies to improve oil and gas operations by overcoming challenges. For an instance, information collected from each system allows workers to conduct an active monitoring of the overall system, including gas leakage, other hazardous environments, etc. Additionally, connected systems can be programmed to send active alerts to other connected devices if they begin to fail. In such cases, alerts can also be sent when systems are about to experience a high- pressure situation or any other unsafe issues.

The connected system provides a complete visibility of the operational floor, even in a remote location, ensuring proactive maintenance to act on potential issues such as problems in tank levels, oil pressure, spillage, etc., from sensors deployed in the well. In addition, IoT helps improve efficiencies in asset tracking. The use of sensors permits the oil companies to monitor a large number of processes along with inventory and oil and gas shipments. These tracking sensors provide useful information so that the companies can identify the number of supplies in inventories and if any item is missing, the IoT sensors can be used to track shipments with the exact location of each oil and gas shipment.

Role of digitization in the development of oil & gas industry

Digitization in oil and gas industry allows oil and gas companies to add value to their business by reducing costs, improving decision making, and increasing the productivity and efficiency, to maximize business and operational benefits for growth. Additionally, wearable technology combined with the cloud capabilities can boost worker safety by allowing managers to monitor employees at risk.

There are different IoT and cloud platforms available in the market. Here, we will talk about how AWS Cloud services can help overcome problems in the Oil & Gas industry.

Pipeline safety challenges

Pipelines are one of the most efficient means of transporting large quantities of crude oil or natural gas. There are different challenges in maintaining these pipelines such as corrosion, human error, leakage, metal loss or tiny cracks, which can result in major breakdowns and hazards. Even a pinhole leakage, which can be easily missed during a virtual inspection, can become a serious issue. Also, it is critical to maintain the temperature of oil and gas in pipes to keep the water and oil level balanced in order to reduce the chances of future mishaps.

Cloud computing platforms like Amazon AWS allow companies to use a network of devices and remote servers hosted on the internet — to store, manage, and process data. Cloud-based processing services enable pipeline operators to process a huge amount of data in order to run a detailed analysis that improves the transparency and safety of pipeline operations.

To manage pipeline, evaluate risk, remove human error, provide worker safety, access data related to remote locations, etc., AWS IoT Device Management can be of great help.  With AWS IoT Device Management, pipeline operators can easily onboard and track connected IoT devices. It can also help in the scaling of existing device fleets, which can reduce the cost for large deployments.

Machinery downtime challenges

In the Oil and Gas industry, production downtime can result in hundreds of thousands of loss of dollars per day. To ensure that the production machinery and other critical equipment downtime are minimized, companies need to invest in regular maintenance and monitoring of applications. Upgrading a maintenance application to ensure a more predictive maintenance of oil equipment and machinery with digital technologies and data can help offshore production facilities to cut down their unplanned downtime and drive a better operational efficiency.

As the oil and gas production moves towards a more digital and data-enabled environment, it is important for the operators to build more predictive and data-driven approaches for asset operations. Actively monitoring and tracking the condition of components is very essential, so that the systems do not break down and fail on a predetermined schedule.

Amazon Cloud Watch helps monitor resources to automate actions based on defined metrics, collect and monitor log files, and set alarms. This ultimately helps in utilizing applications at an optimum level, maintaining application performance and ensuring operational health to keep the application running smoothly.

Cloud-based services can offer expertise and scalability to support data-driven approaches as they continue to grow and evolve. Using AWS cloud services for monitoring, collecting telemetry data from multiple devices, as well as storing and analyzing the data can reduce the future efforts.

Drilling challenges in the sea

Deep drilling is an area of oil and gas exploration that need a better technology. Deep rigs are used to drill resources that are difficult to reach. However, the deeper the rig goes, the more dangerous it becomes. Hence, the rig and operators have to be accurate in terms of inches and centimeters during the drilling process. Deepwater drilling is difficult technically, and also increase the number of environmental concerns if done unsystematically.

One of the technologies to deal with such challenges is RFID (Radio frequency identification). RFID helps reduce risk and non-productive time and perform operations that are difficult with traditional tools. The RFID technology uses tiny electronic devices that consist of an antenna and a small chip to automatically identify and track labels that are attached to drilling objects. Moreover, RFID with AWS cloud services enable oil and gas organizations to increase their efficiency and reduce the cost of deploying drilling rigs. In addition, with cloud-enabled RFID, organizations can predict the success of drilling operation according to the environment, as well as avail information to identify optimum oil drilling locations. Also, it helps oil and gas organizations to identify potential drilling errors or equipment failure with the help of real-time sensor data and geological data from equipment.

Apart from these, implementing IoT and connected cloud technologies can help the oil and gas industry experience benefits such as infrastructure and asset monitoring, supply chain management, real-time decision making by unlocking a host of potentially useful data.

In the current scenario, Cloud platform and strategy are important for a large-scale digital transformation journey of oil and gas industry. For connectivity and edge analytics, AWS Greengrass can be used, which filters the data and transmits the necessary information to the cloud. It also synchronizes the data on the device with AWS IoT Core for effective and timely decision-making. Amazon RDS (relational database) can be used for keeping the track of equipment and maintaining a monitored database which can be used in future.

eInfochips as an advanced consulting partner of AWS provides AWS cloud solutions to help oil and gas companies implement a scalable, reliable and cost-efficient infrastructure for managing their operations. We create custom IoT solutions on the AWS platform that provide comprehensive solutions to help companies achieve their productivity and growth objectives while optimizing time-to-market and costs. Know more about our AWS services.

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