IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Mining, Oil, And Gas Sectors
When it comes to the mining, oil and gas industries, the last decade has seen massive upgrades in terms of technological advancement. The fall in oil prices in 2014, along with rising regulations, forced major oil and gas companies to cut their IT costs. However, with the proliferation of oil and gas, and due to volatile and hazardous world conditions after covid-19, companies have started to adapt technological advancements to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0. Companies are increasingly adopting technologies such as IoT, AI, advanced analytics, and cloud computing to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve manual operation.
Technologies such as seismic imaging are helping companies experiment with 4D models in the research process, and sensor data is being used to determine the correct methods of mining, drilling and optimize production. In midstream operations, the key areas of change have been data management so that inventory levels can be tracked and logistics operations run smoothly. Digital purchasing, forecasting maintenance, labor training and real-time operations monitoring have been some of the key areas of change at the downstream. There have been cases of use in the Automating Oil rig and the Smart Exploration stream domain and much more.
Let’s have a look at the technologies that are enabling Industry 4.0 in mining, oil and gas sector and their use cases.
AI and Machine Learning
Machine learning enables computer systems to learn and interpret data without human input, improving the process through repetition to develop programs for specific purposes. It helps companies to have an eye on complex internal affairs and respond quickly to issues that human workers may not know instantly.
Machine learning can also be used to run simulations, using predictive data models to discover patterns based on different inputs. The mining oil and gas industry can use AI before assessing the potential impact of new changes or assessing the environmental issues related to a new project.
Data Science uses AI to extract information and insights from data, interconnect relevant pieces of data using neural networks, and create more comprehensive images from existing information. The offshore oil and gas industry use AI to make the complex data used for oil and gas exploration and production more accessible, allowing companies to explore new opportunities for discovery or improve the existing infrastructure.
In January 2019, BP invested in Houston-based technology startup Belmont Technology to enhance the company’s AI capabilities, developing a cloud-based geoscience platform called “Sandy”.
Sandy helps BP to translate information collected from geology, geophysics, history and reservoir projects, and develop a unique “knowledge graph”.
AI intuitively integrates information, identifies new contacts and workflows, and uses them to create a stronger image of BP’s underground assets. The oil company can then consult the data in the science graph; AI simulates and interprets the results using artificial networks.
Petroleum engineers and bio scientists spend more than 50 percent of their time collecting data, Brule reports. Several companies are in a hurry to implement big data systems for oil and gas to enhance the efficiency of process and save time.
Big data analysis helps companies in exploration, drilling, production and delivery.
The US based companies are already enjoying the fruits of big data analytics. The market is driven by high demand for solutions in the Gulf of Mexico and US shale fields, which will help make better decisions and improve efficiency. ConocoPhillips said the sensors deployed in the Eagle Ford Shale Basin in South Texas, helped reduce drilling time by about 50 percent. The North Sea is expected to be the second largest market. The digitization of oil fields in the region during the low oil prices led to a 40% reduction in operating costs in the North Sea.
As reported by Mehta, based on the results of the General Electric and Accenture survey in 2018, 81% of executives ranked big data as one of the top three priorities for oil and gas companies. And this is mainly driven by their need to improve oil and gas exploration efficiency.
The use of IoT helps companies avoid breakdowns and accidents, makes the entire production process more predictable, increases revenue while reducing costs, defeats competitors and increases market share.
Sensor-based technology can be used to monitor pressure in pipes, monitor drilling processes, and detect machinery conditions and leakage. In this industry, the speed of problem solving can be considered as billions of dollars in savings.
Smart algorithms analyze data and events registered and detected through cross-reference and various sensors. They create unique insights that help management make important decisions, for example, when to start drilling and when to stop to avoid problems.
Smart algorithms can predict when the terms of expensive goods change and require regular or immediate maintenance. Needless to say, timely on-demand maintenance is more effective than routine checks and acts as a guarantee of worker safety.
A company named Annova integrates Telit technologies to expand its products and provide more value to its customers. By equipping fuel and gas tanks with sensor-based telemetry systems, consumers receive a full range of tools and services to measure and monitor the exploitation of tanks.
HPE worked with partners to make Texmark an efficient, flexible, secure and reliable plant of the future. Today, it is a complex ecosystem that integrates a range of solutions in automation and data-driven operations in IIoT, predictive modeling, edge analytics and AI technologies.
Many enterprise level companies, market leaders such as IBM, Cisco, Schneider Electric and Microsoft provide customized IoT solutions for the oil and gas industry.
The mining, oil and gas companies can measure their data management and storage and build a greater flexibility in infrastructure expenses using cloud computing system. The cloud computing systems provide high computing power and support the implementation of other technologies such as intelligent management of physical assets, which facilitates operational efficiency as well.
Cloud provides agility, which allows oil companies to reduce their resources on the basis of operational integrity and profitability, while also giving them the ability to scale up. It improves their adaptation to any disruptive trends that arise as energy transfers, while also ensuring that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities are facilitated as soon as possible. Standardization can be achieved through the cloud, where oil and gas best practices are automated and provided with real-time insights, allowing information to be shared across departments through cross-departmental collaboration and visibility.
Major oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Total and Shell are the key players in the cloud computing systems implementation in the oil and gas industry. Some known cloud solution providers to these companies are Pivvot, AVEVA, Halliburton, Microsoft Azure and Cegal.
Extensive use of existing digital technologies in the mining, oil and gas sector could reduce production costs by 10% to 20%, according to the International Energy Agency. Companies are increasingly investing in applications such as logistics and inventory management that can be expanded with the help of digital technologies. With the passage of time, new improvements are being done in these technologies to facilitate different sectors. Let’s see, what these technologies bring further in our lives.