The oil and gas industry is undergoing a massive transformation. With almost every field going through the digital transformation wave, this industry is also being driven by a powerful combination of evolving technologies like cloud computing, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Augmented Reality.

Today’s oil companies operate in a highly volatile setup. Low oil prices are shoving the revenue generation down and operators are working on very narrrow margins. The ideal solution to overcome this challenge is digital oilfield, which combines sensor technology and cloud-oriented big data analytics.

Digital oilfield, an environment where the oil field’s real-time data is continuously fed and supervised by computers situated at remote monitoring stations before being optimized for oil production, is one of the rapidly growing areas of research in the oil and gas industry. It is the latest buzzword in this sector and also hyped to be the future of the oil and gas industry.

Digital Oilfields to Disrupt the Conventional Model

There’s no doubt that the digital revolution will largely affect many industries in the forthcoming decades. Employees, producers, and suppliers are facing the impact of the present economic condition in the oil and gas sector. Digital oilfields offer technology-oriented solutions that permit companies to exploit limited resources. For example, this kind of technology can assist employees more accurately and quickly analyze the increasing data volumes produced by highly advanced engineering technologies, like down-hole separation, MWD (Measurement-While-Drilling) applications, down-hole multiphase sensors, and multilateral completions

Digital Oilfields Are the Way Ahead

Digital oilfields are certainly the way to go ahead in the oil and gas sector. To elaborate on this, let’s consider an example. The oil consumption is likely to increase twofold within the next two years. This rising level of consumption results in a strain on human labor and capital expenses. Though we can justify capital expenses based on the growing revenues that the oil drilling firms will make, human labor is not an infinite source.

This is where digital oilfields prove to be a boon as they can help the oil sector extract high volumes of hydrocarbons with very less resources. The sensors equipped on the pipelines, wellheads, and different equipment fitted along the upstream feed lot of minute data points to computers situated at the supervising station. These systems analyze and interpret valuable details about the condition and output.

Foray of Top Engineering Companies

The benefits of digital oilfields are innumerable, which has led to the entry of several engineering companies into this field.

  • The main advantage is that the process of operation is highly efficient as it enhances the productivity of workforce to a great extent.
  • A digital oilfield may be integrated with automatic pump controls for controlling the oil extraction volume as data is fed to the systems on a near-real-time or real-time basis.
  • Furthermore, the data can be used for tracking the efficiency of equipment and the surface conditions so as to reduce rig downtimes.
  • By integrating the field information with details from the seismic analysis of third party, the digital oilfield may help in charting out the future production estimation.
  • Digital oilfields are likely to enhance oil’s present net value by almost 25%.

Owing to these benefits and the vast opportunity offered by the digital oilfields, several leading engineering companies have entered the field over the last few years. QuEST Global, a leading provider of the latest engineering solutions to various industries, is already working in association with several firms in the oil and gas sector to implement digital oilfields. Organizations can considerably improve productivity of their digital oilfields by activating controlled data management across the enterprise.

The Journey to the Future

Investment in digital technology is helping the oil and gas firms cut down costs and make faster, better decisions. Expansion of upstream portfolios needs high quality proficiencies for allocation, regulatory reporting needs, and volumetric accounting. The transformation to digital oilfields has given several tactical and strategic solutions throughout the industry. This includes excellence centers linking the ideal minds to the greatest issues, workflow-oriented collaboration, visualization, virtualization, and optimization in support of quick decisions and insights.

Many oil and gas companies are already using the power of engineering solutions to improve their oil production and this trend is most likely to continue in future as well. Given the way technology is giving the industry its new face, it won’t be wrong to say that “Digital is new Oil”.

Written by Srikanth Subba Rao

on 30 Nov 2017

Srikanth Subba Rao is a Manager in Technology Excellence Group at QuEST and provides solutions to customers along with operations team. He has over 23 years of experience in Design and Detail Engineering of Process/Piping for Process Industries & Auxiliary system of Power Plants. He has handled new customer engagements from the stage of understanding the customer requirement, preparing proposal, estimation & project execution. He is responsible for setup “Plant Design and Engineering” Center of Excellence and also supporting new programs for establishing processes. He is conversant in ASME, API, EN and JIS standards.