Energy Network Conference’s big data and IoT in oil and gas

Ambyint, ‘IoT is disruptive.’ Galdos’ geospatial semantic registry for oil and gas. Beaver Drilling, rigs now IoT themselves. Streamline’s industrial IoT. Embark Innovations’ ArrowSync chemicals app.

Speaking at Energy Network ConferencesBig Data & IoT in Oil & Gas Canada earlier this year, chairperson Nav Dhunay (Ambyint) likened the Internet of Things (IoT) to teenage sex, as ‘everyone talks about it, nobody knows how to do it and all think that everyone else is doing it!’ Nonetheless, Dhunay believes that the IoT is disruptive and that it is a quantum leap from today’s scada systems.

Ron Lake (Galdos) believes that the IoT needs a standard. Enter the light-weight geospatial semantic registry for IoT and analytics in oil and gas. The registry (specifically the OGC’s catalogue services for the web, CSW-ebRIM) can be used to store IoT device properties and metadata. The CSW uses a NoSQL database that tracks device history and health, and forms the basis of a ‘portable business information model.’ Lake presented a use case of the registry to monitor a pipeline network involving Galdos’ CSW-derived registry Indicio.

Beaver Drilling president Kevin Krausert traced the history of drilling rigs. Today these are pretty much of an IoT themselves, with wired drill pipe extending the network downhole. Automation, along with the experience gained during the shale boom years, has brought huge efficiency gains. Krausert centers a constellation of drilling apps, for torque, vibration, pump control and more, on an ‘integrated drilling operating system.’ Today this is independent of other corporate software environments (ERP, HSE) but the future should see these merge into a new technical environment for drilling, ‘driven by strategic alliances with other service providers.’

Gregory Tink (Streamline Control) and Jason Sawchuk (Plains Midstream) described a real world project that leveraged industrial IoT concepts. The IoT and business worlds are different but they are now colliding as operations technology meets IT. One route, for instance, leads from devices to ERP environments such as SAP. There are also demands to ‘control the plant from anywhere’ so that implementers need a ‘foothold’ on either side of the firewall. IT/OT convergence means that ‘protocol barriers are starting to break down.’ All of which makes for a perfect storm, albeit one that is changing corporate expectations. Plains’ IIoT is built on the MQTT messaging protocol, a lightweight publish/subscribe middleware spec that is said to be ideal for the constrained environment of the IIoT. Devices are now upstream of the MQTT broker with business, operations, engineering and even scada now all working downstream of the MQTT broker. The project is a component of Plains’ five core strategic initiatives mapped out through til 2017.

Jane Glendon presented Embark InnovationsArrowSync platform for tracking chemicals used in oilfield operations. The flexible app tracks corrosion inhibitor, demulsifer and defoaming agent usage and costs, and is reported as having saved some $850k CAD per year in a 150 well deployment.

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