What is Oilfield Automation and Monitoring?

When most people think of Oilfield automation systems, they usually think of Oilfield SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems. Much of today’s oil and natural gas production occurs in remote areas beyond the traditional grid environment of wired communications. Oil and gas companies regularly collect critical data from remote well sites and production locations, typically using SCADA systems set up to monitor facilities, such as storage tanks, pumping stations, or pipelines. To connect to these remote areas, oil companies will construct a series of radio towers which include a master station and often radio repeaters to hop from point to point and reach out into these remote areas. Because these radio communication systems have relatively low data transfer rates, the system essentially polls information one-way back to central servers, where this “stale” data is displayed in a reporting software which may also trigger alarms or alerts that are used to dispatch personnel to visit the location to investigate. These oilfield monitoring systems almost exclusively belong to large oil and gas companies who are capable of developing, deploying, and supporting extremely large and proprietary IT infrastructures.

What makes this solution less expensive than SCADA?

The oil and gas industry is one of the few industries where almost all of the assets reside in remote and difficult to reach locations. Maintaining production and control of these assets requires a high level of cost, attention, significant travel, and resources, and is precisely why the majors have invested so heavily in first generation automation infrastructures. This new, low-cost alternative to SCADA benefits not only the rest of the oil and gas industry, but with its superior technology, it will increasingly replace the infrastructure supporting earlier generation SCADA systems.

Eliminating the upfront capital cost of constructing a communications infrastructure is only part of the story. Even with new automation technologies, the complexity, scope, and length of the project development cycle to fully test and develop a new system with differing communications protocols and hardware devices capable of operating in hazardous and extreme environments requires a significant level of hardware engineering, software engineering, application layer and device engineering, web site development, and IT infrastructure and security. By pre-engineering a repeatable and scalable solution, PetroCloud has enabled the customer to deploy a turn-key system without the usual cost, complexity and time to deploy a large automation project, and also eliminates virtually all other project costs. Each and every customer benefits from the work that has already been done and any improvements.

What is the Cloud?

A cloud oilfield monitoring platform essentially means that the user needs nothing more than a browser in order to use and control their automation system. By running the entire system on a cloud platform, companies can eliminate virtually all of the ongoing costs for software licensing, development, modification, and maintenance. Older, legacy SCADA software companies that require that you download and pay for their software for use on servers and desktops, have recognized the potential disruption this could cause to their business models, and have tried to emulate the cloud, by making some of their reports available to desktops and mobile phones, but still displaying “stale” data in a browser. Simply displaying data in a report is very different from automation control pages, where you can turn things off and on, stream video, configure devices remotely, etc…all using your browser on your phone or computer. The PetroCloud platform is a true cloud based automation system and is absolutely superior and safer than any legacy SCADA system.

What are the Benefits of Cloud Automation?

Oilfield automation using the cloud allows companies to better manage their oilfields and do so in a way that lowers overall capital costs, maintenance costs, and labor costs. The benefits seen include:

  • Deployment Costs: Dramatically reduce deployment costs with no communications infrastructure costs and no software licenses.
  • Optimization: Continual readings with advanced charts, graphs, and analytics allows for production optimization.
  • Compliance: Environmental compliance is met with ease thanks to monitoring of gas leaks and emissions and tank overspills.
  • Safety: The overall safety of workers and the location is increased using cameras as a deterrent and automatic critical shut down and spill prevention.
  • Accuracy: The overall accuracy of readings is much higher and more frequent.
  • Costs: Labor costs are reduced significantly as everyone spends less time and money on tasks which can be handled remotely. Free up your staff to focus where they are needed.

The PetroCloud oilfield monitoring and automation system saves times and money by making everyone in your organization more effective and productive. Contact us today for more information.

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