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.