Published on October 3rd, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Technology Steers The U.S. Oil and Gas Industry
Often, lots of credit goes to engineers, geologists, drilling and production companies when the oil and gas industry is prospering. In equal measure, these stakeholders also find themselves on the receiving end when all is not well in the industry. Well, that is understandable given the huge roles played by these groups within the many oil and gas companies in the U.S.
However, recently there has been a shift in attribute as the overall domestic production increase unprecedented rates. Even though these groups of employees are necessary to the success of an oil company, deployment of revolutionary technologies has been known to increase a company’s profits and recoveries in the long-haul.
Fluid level measurement, in particular, has been revolutionized from technical and expensive devices to the inexpensive technological measuring system. Berthold is leading in this area and much of their innovation can be seen at berthold.com. The measuring technology leverages the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications, to make the accurate fluid calibration. The systems can also measure large-sized tanks and reservoir thereby increasing production efficiency.
With the unforeseen equipment outages, the industry would also benefit from technology innovations aimed at reducing these outages. Companies would save billions of dollars lost annually and lower production cost.
Technology brings progress
A couple of months ago, an article about PRT, a machine learning tool, was published. The technological tool was by then the latest acquisition of Drilling info, designed to help oil and gas companies reduce their electricity bill by predicting weather and wind patterns up to two weeks in advance. This is a huge win for the companies having in mind that electricity is one of the largest operation elements of the gas industry. Such accuracy in prediction by the machine learning tools goes a long way into reducing a company’s overall operating cost.
Aspen Mtell machine-learning tool from AspenTech company cannot also go unnoticed. The tool was designed to monitor machine degradation as well as predict pieces of equipment that are about to break down. The best thing is that technology can make these predictions up to 4 weeks in advance. In their catalog of innovations, AspenTech also has flow assurance application to enable companies to predict and avoid interruptions in their supply chain.
Another noteworthy tech company is Veros Systems. This venture-funded company is based in Austin, Texas, with Shell Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures being its major investment partners. The company offers an AI application with the ability to learn electrical waveform signature from any compressor or pump, and use that information to anticipate future breakdowns. With this information, companies can make the needed repairs or replacement, which in turn minimizes loss.
Currently, Veros has manufactured a sensor that attaches to the pump’s electrical supply. However, the CEO, Jim Denchman, says plans are underway to design a sensor that attaches to the electrical supply itself. According to him, the new sensor will make its way into domestic use by enabling homeowners to know if their electrical appliances need any repair.
The real value of technology
To understand the value of this warning tech, Royal Dutch Shell, an oil and company offered to explain how the tech has helped them maximize on their returns in their Gulf of Mexico operations. According to the company, Veros delivered an additional $300 million annually that would otherwise be lost were it not for the prior warning of the technology.
Apart from ensuring operations run smoothly, technology is also breaking grounds into remote monitoring. This has enabled oil and gas company executives to monitor projects and other tasks remotely from their offices. Case in point, Apache Corporation using aerial drones to monitor construction activities at its Delaware Basin Alpine High base, from its office in San Antonio. The company has also managed to leverage technology in its other operations such as gas flow, well pressure, and storage tank level monitoring.
In overall, the cost-saving advantage of these technologies is huge. From reduced headcount, less travel time to lower vehicle maintenance; indeed technology is driving the oil and gas industry. This has given the industry a new face different from the slaving-workers image painted by the media and entertainment industry. Although these workers are indispensable, it is difficult to overlook the huge role played by technology in improving the operations.