The term “digital oilfield” has been around since the late 1970s, when 2D and 3D computerized technologies were used for seismic testing. It’s recently become a popular buzzword as companies look for ways to cut costs and increase productivity using digital solutions. Let’s look at how the oil industry is investing in tech to manage their assets effectively.
Drone-based oil rig inspections
When it comes to maintaining an oil rig, manual inspections can become time consuming and dangerous. Drone mapping software takes structural inspections to a whole new level. You can now spot corrosion and cracks with a point-and-click interface using a smartphone and a 3D drone reporting tool. The mapping software also allows companies to plan access routes by creating a digital twin of the environment.
Previously, quality control phases of flare stacks required the whole production to be shut down in order to assess what was wrong. Moreover, the sheer scale of the structure made it a safety hazard since it required skilled workers to sail out to offshore oil rigs. People have now started democratizing the use of drones by providing specialized knowledge to drone operatives.
Data analytics to minimize downtime
Research is being increasingly carried out to improve operational efficiency using data analytics. These reports help predict associated risks and task durations. In addition, natural language processing tools significantly reduce the time it takes engineers to analyze data. This allows for faster benchmarking and optimizing processes against other competitors in the industry.
Offshore drilling contractors are taking digitization one step further by realizing its potential to transform fleets. This led to the world’s first digital rig—as described by General Electric. Advanced control systems and sensors are used to collect data on pressure and flow which is then transmitted in real time to research centers. Comparing historical data to current data gives companies onshore and onboard the drillship a holistic view of equipment performance and vessel health.
Moreover, cloud computing offers an increased amount of processing power that’s useful for storing large amounts of data and sending it to shore.
With better data collection and analyzing tools comes the ability to analyze common faults associated with equipment. 3D models are used to go through records of certain equipment and assess problems that occur nearby.
The centralized database, in combination with the “Internet of Things,” helps to keep all information in one place and improve aging infrastructures. Ubiquitous data is leading a digital renaissance with improved technical processes and working practices onsite.
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