The oil and gas industry is similar to every other in terms of generating critical data that, when used appropriately, can enhance decision-making, operational efficiency and the bottom line. The next step is to take a broader view of how big data and the cloud can support more successful ways of working across the enterprise and across boundaries.
From using these technologies primarily for exploration, companies are now using them to drive remote operations with digitally-managed wells and fields providing all the data needed to maintain and improve productivity with fewer personnel.
Historically, a digital oilfield meant replacing manual logging with digital gauges and transmitting devices for production rates and pressures, giving visibility of a diverse range of performance metrics and highlighting problems.
In the new world of open networking, a central control console using dashboards and software helps make digital monitoring and operations easier across a company's wells and fields, more safely, productively and cost-effectively.
In the connected enterprise where web, cloud and mobile platforms converge, oil and gas producers, their suppliers and customers have a unified, collaborative view of operations. Big data enables constant monitoring and improvement in real-time, reducing errors and wasteful processes and making better, more productive use of operator man-hours. It's these higher levels of collaboration that can help drive productivity improvements, innovation and ultimately optimise business processes.
In the oil and gas industry, aging workforces are as much an issue as global competition and environmental issues. And assets have to perform in the harshest environments – open networks, big data analytics and the cloud can help to overcome operators' most pressing challenges in all sorts of ways.
M.G. Bryan Equipment Co. in Grand Prairie, Texas, for example, has implemented cloud-based solutions to better manage its fleet of fracking trucks. The solution in place provides generic internet connections for tablet PCs and smart phones, so Bryan's users can secure production data from the trucks and their drill sites. This enables the trucks to alert operators when their air filters need to be changed, which can be as often as every eight hours.
In this scenario, sensors and other field-based devices provide data via real-time production models to centralised software, which co-ordinates relevant reports and displays. Users can use iPads and Gmail to login to their trucks, check actual data dashboards with real-time parameters and even initiate immediate orders for service or supplies.
Find out how Rockwell Automation is using new technologies alongside its industry experience to support customers better.
Published May 1, 2014