Digital transformation in oil and gas remains paramount in managing mission-critical operations, gaining valuable business insights, improving worker safety, reducing costs, and more.
This is especially true for offshore oil and gas production, presenting a unique set of circumstances including – but not limited to – often inhospitable geographically remote locations, 24/7/365 operations, and around-the-clock rotating equipment required to move oil and gas and generate power to simply keep the lights on.
So, where does Edge Computing fit in this digital transformation equation?
Technology Advancements for Offshore Oil and Gas: Edge Computing
Gone are the days of difficult communications and archaic two-way radios. Technology advancements over the years have brought an exciting digital revolution to the oil and gas industry, not only impacting the offshore production setting but also significantly improving the lives of those who leave their families for weeks at a time just to do their jobs.
According to McKinsey and Company, “Technology has potential to boost performance across the entire upstream oil and gas value chain by enabling optimization and automation.”
Many offshore oil and gas organizations have chosen to leverage Edge Computing, providing highly reliable compute infrastructure capabilities right at the edge of operations. This is especially important as many offshore oil and gas companies reside in harsh environments without easy access to IT teams should a problem arise.
Some of the key components that make Edge Computing a trusted ally in digitizing the oilfield and to those working in the industry include accurate, real-time data analysis; remote control operation capabilities; new levels of reliability and availability; and applications with the ability to predict equipment failures before they happen.
Real-Time Data Analysis with Edge Computing
It’s no secret; offshore oil and gas facilities produce an incredible amount of data daily. According to a Cisco report, an oil rig can create 2 terabytes of data in one day, but due to the remote nature of the offshore oil and gas industry, this data is rarely analyzed and leveraged for decision making without the support from Edge Computing solutions. In a recent Schneider Electric blog, the reduction of latency is highlighted as one reason many offshore organizations are turning to edge platforms.
“Latency is the time between the moment a data packet is transmitted to the moment it reaches its destination (one way) and returns (round trip). Excessive latency creates traffic jams that prevent data from filling the network to capacity. The impact of latency on network bandwidth can be temporary (lasting a few seconds) like a traffic light or constant like a single-lane bridge. When Edge Computing is deployed, very few latency issues occur because the data is analyzed locally instead of sent up and back from the cloud.”
With zero-touch Edge Computing, data can be managed in real time, allowing for improved communications, storage, and analysis, which in turn can improve business-critical decisions.
Remote Control of Operations with Edge Computing
With an autonomous Edge Computing solution, those working in offshore oil and gas production have enhanced visibility of operations from a distance – especially with extremely limited support staff and access. Operators require the power of Edge Computing to manage and remotely run software and equipment continuously. Not only that, but workers can also remotely handle health monitoring, alerting, patching, and issue resolution that would often require IT teams.
Enhanced Reliability and Availability with Edge Computing
In the upstream environment, many high value and mission-critical applications are run with basic IPCs, which do not deliver the level of reliability needed for geographically remote assets. By leveraging zero-touch Edge Computing, organizations find ruggedized fault tolerance, protecting these assets from downtime without the need for IT maintenance and support.
Predictive Maintenance with Edge Computing
As technology continues to evolve, new analytical tools leveraging the accurate and real-time data provided by Edge Computing platforms are proven to optimize performance and safety. These tools play a key role in improving critical decision-making keeping assets at peak operation conditions. They also raise any concerns or anomalies that may need to be investigated further. This autonomous monitoring system identifies and releases software patches and updates, restores and backs up individual machines, and predicts failures and recovery.
Edge Computing for Offshore Oil and Gas Production
It’s essential to invest in the right technology advancements to help achieve success in the upstream offshore oil and gas industry. When selecting Edge Computing, operations must consider the following:
- The Edge Computing platform is simple to install, deploy, and manage across applications and infrastructure
- The Edge Computing platform protects your physical assets, data, and security, reducing both operational and financial risk.
- The Edge Computing platform operates autonomously – at the edge – with constant availability, even in the harshest offshore production environments.