Remote wireless monitoring

At the SPE, innovative companies were showing how spread-spectrum wireless technologies can be used to lower the cost of remote monitoring of wells, facilities and other assets.

The big buzz at the SPE is the use of low cost wireless technology to provide SCADA-like monitoring of remote facilities. While the technology is currently ‘read-only’ most vendors plan to offer feedback and control ‘real soon now.’


Backed by Shell venture capital, vMonitor’s low cost battery operated data acquisition units collect real-time data in the field. This is transmitted over spread spectrum wireless—through concentrators and into the office. Real time data is viewed in a web browser with ‘smart alarms’ and links to legacy systems including Honeywell, Foxboro and Oracle. A 50-70% cost reduction on traditional SCADA is claimed. Clients include Saudi Aramco, Shell and ChevronTexaco.

Luna iMonitoring

Luna’s solar powered sensors measure beam pump activity, rpm, gas rate and tank levels. Data is beamed up through a Qualcom satellite modem operating at 9600 baud. With judicious sampling and compression, meaningful daily data can be squeezed into a 96 byte package at a cost of 10 cents per transmission. A single well can be equipped for around $2,000 – c.f. ‘$10,000 for SCADA’.


Axonn’s ‘Axess’ off the shelf wireless package collects and transmits data from up to four sensors over one mile. Sensors are available for pressure, flow, temperature strain etc.

This article is abstracted from a 26 page illustrated report on the 2002 SPE ACTE produced as part of The Data Room’s Technology Watch service. For more information, email

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