2020 IoT in Oil and Gas Virtual Conference

Energy Conferences Network Internet of Things in Oil and Gas hears from ExxonMobil on OPAF (Open Process Automation Forum) function block successes and on harmonization with NAMUR. Chevron warns on risks of ‘consumer’ devices in the workplace. McDermott’s ‘Gemini’, a major deployment of Dassault Systèmes 3D Experience. Parsley Energy’s WITSML/Cold Bore Technology/Halliburton technology stack.

David DeBari provided a backgrounder ExxonMobil’s Open Process Automation Program which is developing standards based, open interfaces for the industrial internet of things. The work is performed under the auspices of the Open Group’s Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF). For more introductory material see our previous coverage and the OPAF home page. DeBari announced the harmonization of the OPAF work with similar initiatives from the EU NAMUR standards body. NOA, the Namur Open Architecture is described as offering a monitoring and optimization capability ‘separate from and parallel to the control system’. Harmonization also extends to the Namur MTP (Module Type Package) a middleware layer that abstracts proprietary control systems for orchestration. The NAMUR specifications have just been published as Recommendation NE 171.

OPAS interoperability is achieved using ‘function blocks’, software objects developed according to IEC 61499 standard. In one trial development, Siemens, Yokogawa, Schneider and Rockwell developed independent process control function blocks using only the interfaces provided and with no access to each other’s code. A ‘cohesive’ application was built from the four different developer’s function blocks demonstrating that a written interface description is sufficient to ensure correct use, and that future intellectual property can be protected via pre-compiled target libraries. OPAS is currently under test with ExxonMobil, Yokogawa and others with field trials to demonstrate technical readiness planned for 2021-2023.

After the event we asked DeBari about possible overlap between OPAS and NAMUR, in particular, whether the collaboration was achieved through accretion or rationalization. He replied, ‘NAMUR and O-PAS are complementary architectures. [ they can ] fit together, do not conflict in their design, and are basically addressing different parts of an automation system. Accretion is really the better concept for this harmony’.

Chevron’s Michael Lewis warned of the risks of consumer IoT in the workplace. Increasingly, employees bring connected devices like fitness trackers and smart watches into the office. Virtual/augmented reality devices, drones and medical implants may likewise expose a company to novel threats. These include monitoring and tracking of a wearer’s activity. PINS and confidential information may be intercepted. Lewis suggests ‘abstinence’ as a cure. Turn off unneeded features, do not wear the device when working in public areas or better still do not work in public areas. Currently, the risk from most wearables is low, although the possibility of data exfiltration over Bluetooth by a malicious insider is considered ‘medium’ risk. Drones can be used to intercept or disrupt communications. Conversely, drones themselves are at risk of attack, by GPS spoofing and jamming. Lewis cited the NIST/NCCOE Mobile Threat Catalogue as source material for many of the above risks.

Vaseem Khan presented McDermott’s Gemini XD Collaboration PLM*, deployed on its capital projects. The industry has a mixed record of delivering complex projects on time and on budget. Digital technologies are coming to the rescue with a combo of a digital twin (aka a single version of the truth) and a digital thread that runs across a project from inception to decommissioning. Gemini (a rebrand of Dassault Systèmes’s 3DExperience) system talks to other software tools from Hexagon and AVEVA and, according to Khan, has simplified ‘confused and complicated project information flows’. Addressing the terminology, Kahn defines the ‘twin’ as a digital manifestation of the plant and the ‘thread’ as the connecting project data flows. Together they provide an integrated view of a project across the functional silos. The digital thread also provides traceability from the digital twin back to the requirements, parts and systems that make up the asset. Gemini XD is McDermott’s name for Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience platform. Watch the video here for more.

* Product/Plant Lifecycle Management.

Shaji John presented Parsley Energy’s real-time solution for well completion and operations. Witsml drilling and completion data streams into a Witsml data store which feeds into Halliburton’s OpenWells operations reporting software for drillers and also into an analytics data store for business users. These systems operate in hybrid storage spanning Parsley’s data center and the cloud. Expert systems perform activity detection and create an automated operation log from sensor data. Summary data is captured to Halliburton’s Engineering Data Model and integrated with completion data to provide data-driven completion efficiency reports.

Parsley makes extensive use of Cold Bore Technology’s SmartPAD server to aggregated data at the well site from CBT (Cold Bore Tech) devices on pumps and at the well head. These include a 15 kpsi rated valve pressure, a safety beacon that automatically signals a hot zone and others. Frac, wireline, pump down and flow back data is aggregated from service providers, again with auto-event detection and activity classification. CBT/SmartPAD KPIs are accessible from tablets or cellphones. An IOT Edge gateway uses an MQTT/AMQP protocol to talk with the cloud for in-cloud analytics.

More from the Conference home page.

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