We’re a long way away from achieving the goals, dreams and fantasies of the Internet of Things in the production oil patch. It’s not because of the lack of imagination or technology. The sensors and their collection/aggregation systems are not capable of providing the wealth of data needed for IoT to deliver.
Upstream and downstream don’t have the problem. The newer rigs are fully equipped to gather, process and forward robust data streams from varied sensor suites. Refineries and petrochemical are progressively and wonderfully automated.
Midstream, not so much.
All those wells, pads, gathering systems and pipes are a device mismatch of varied ages, types, capabilities, operating systems, data rates and serviceability. Wells come online, go into production and get instrumented with whatever the operator decides to install. It’s not all state of the art.
Companies buy and sell whole fields and tack them onto existing properties. Newly acquired fields from bankruptcies are generally not well maintained and they most certainly won’t match the new owner’s system. They get purchased for what’s in the ground, not particularly what’s above it.
Unlike a desktop or laptop, off the shelf SCADA stuff does not interconnect well, if at all, with gear from other manufacturers. The newer does not fit the older. Kudos to integrated manufacturers whose product lines can plug and play from wellhead to website. However, nobody rips out functional pieces to replace one missing or weak link, just to gain end-to-end connectivity.
Then there’s the data rates. IoT thrives on a lot of streaming data. It assumes robust bandwidth to easily digest and mine mountains of data. But midstream has been minimizing data streams by adjusting sampling rates, normalizing and minimizing what’s input to the network. All that has been, and continues to be, reasonable because of the restrictions on bandwidth from multiple remote sites to central data centers.
With oil prices in the toilet predictably for many months to come and companies slashing both budgets and staff, data integrity will be the second casualty of cutbacks (safety will be the first, but that’s another topic altogether). Sensors will fail, systems will weaken and there won’t be enough money to keep it up, let alone upgrade. The logic of automation for long-term operational efficiency won’t find enough short term cash to get it done.
I0T is valid, and it will work down hole, in refineries, in our factories and in our homes. But, in midstream it will require a lot more than a new computer with spiffy software.
Dan Turner, an expert in automation and control systems for 30+ years, sat down with Globalogix President, Chuck Drobny, to talk about the benefits of working with Globalogix: “[Globalogix is] a company that would sit down, you knew the technology, you were competent, you completed the project efficiently and the customers were happy when we[…..]
In our webinar on Blockchain and its impact on business, oil & gas and SCADA, you’ll be given insight into the topic from our CEO, Chuck Drobny. He recently presented on Blockchain at the SCADA Technology Summit in Denver, and is sharing His presentation on Blockchain and how it’s changing the future of business. This[…..]
Today we’d like to introduce you to Charles Drobny. Charles, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today? GlobaLogix began with six oil and gas veterans in 2004 to provide instrumentation and control systems to midstream operators. The company gained its first project in 2005 to design and[…..]
The current wave of new oil and gas field development has set into motion two unique sets of challenges due to remote geography and an increasing lack of qualified manpower. New well site, well pad and gathering system oil and gas automation projects are plagued with delays and cost overruns that can’t be mitigated with[…..]
Houston is amazingly flat, with high ground existing mostly on freeway interchanges. On top of that, add three bayous and at least two rivers that drain state-sized basins through the city and surrounding residential communities. When it rains in Southeast Texas the water flows toward Galveston Bay, and a few times each year at least[…..]