Oil firm uses IoT sensors to monitor oilfields instead of site visits
Shell has managed to make savings of over $1 million (£700,000) by using IoT devices to monitor oil fields.
The oil company deployed sensors from Koncar Inem, a manufacturer of industrial electronics and power electronics devices and systems, as part of Shell’s “Digital Oilfield” project in Nigeria.
The sensors are used to provide pipeline surveillance and wellhead monitoring capabilities to remote infrastructure in the Niger Delta.
It combined IT automation and instrumentation technologies to provide a support platform for remote field data and optimise operations. It uses analysis and data management to provide insight into field processes. It said this would lead to safer and more efficient oilfield operations.
The savings came from deploying Ingenu’s RPMA (Random Phase Multiple Access) connectivity platform, which is light on infrastructure. Other options, including satellite, PI to SMS, and GPRS (general packet radio service), required significant infrastructure investment for towers, radios, data communications equipment, battery banks, logistics and installation, while Ingenu’s low-power, wide-area RPMA network solution required minimal infrastructure.
This system provided Shell Nigeria with a collection of field data pertaining to pipeline pressure, temperature, and flow. The Koncar Remote Terminal Units and wireless pressure and temperature transmitters were installed in flow stations, manifolds, and wellheads to provide connection from the field to the back office, ensuring reliable information transmission.
IoT replaces manual data collection
“Upland evaluated several communication technologies to present Shell Nigeria with a solution to replace its manual oilfield data collection processes,” said Bola Awobamise, president and CEO, Upland Consulting Nigeria.
“The key criteria for selecting a solution were the technology’s ability to cover difficult terrain, power performance, and long-range transmission as well as network scalability, two-way communications, and secure data transmission. Ingenu’s RPMA offered all of these attributes and eclipsed the competition with its connectivity, network capacity, and exceptional value.”
Steve Baker, a consultant at research and product development company TTP, told Internet of Business that IoT can also save money by improving the utilisation of capital assets.
“Things have got to be paid for because, unlike the ‘Internet of Computers’, the Internet of Things comes with very real marginal costs of deployment,” he said.
“Opex reduction – as in the Shell example – provides one way to pay. But improving utilisation of capital assets provides another way to cover these costs. So I’d make the slightly more generalised claim that operational effectiveness is key to the growth of the IoT market.
“In short, you have to take a ‘business model first’ approach for successful IoT deployment. Understand the business impact you seek and then worry about the technology that can deliver it.”