Drones and IoT Surface as Red Knights of the Oil & Gas Industry

Drones and IoT Surface as Red Knights of the Oil & Gas Industry

By Shehwar Ali

There is no denying the fact that we are living in an extremely interconnected world with drones and sensors all around us. And, it is yet to become even more interconnected with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), a concept where everyday objects are connected to process and receive data.

As drones and sensors are employed in so many different industries from entertainment to medicine, it comes as no surprise to find them being put to use in the Oil and Gas (O&G) industry as well, revolutionizing the way oil and gas companies work.

Why Are O&G Companies Investing in Drones & IoT?

Many oil and gas companies, such as Caterpillar, are already deploying and creating innovation and technology strategies around drones as well as the ever enticing technology of the IoT.

O&G companies are becoming more eager to revamp their entire systems to benefit from drones & IoT. These benefits are not confined to any one phase of the O&G industry. Rather, they cover several phases such as predictive maintenance, location intelligence, pipeline monitoring and automated workflows. Let us now look at each of these phases and the penetrating influence drones and IoT have on each.

Improving Predictive Maintenance

IoT and drones can be deployed to determine the state in which the in-service equipment is present. This will enable company managers and workers to predict what maintenance is required and when is it due. Before such technology was available, there was no other option but to stick to the time-based maintenance schedules. However, this strategy isn’t always effective since some equipment may show certain deviations and thus might require maintenance at an earlier date. On the other hand, some equipment may not require maintenance that frequently.

Today, drones and IoT can monitor this in-service equipment carefully and ensure a timely maintenance. This can help avoid many problems, save money and pave the way for a more efficient use of resources.

Providing Real-Time Data & Location Intelligence

These drones and IoT sensors are extremely valuable in providing the O&G companies with real-time data pertaining to the location of an asset as well as the state of which it is in. Thus, this information can cut down inventory, downtime, logistics and storage costs.

Enabling Improved Monitoring of Pipelines

Perhaps pipeline monitoring is the biggest advantage of these drones and IoT sensors, since they enable companies to monitor operations for thousands of miles. In the past, this inspection was done manually- neither a sustainable nor error free option.

With the use of such technology, not only will pipeline inspection become more accurate and swift, but will also curtail the risks posed by safety hazards and environmental concerns. These options are being extensively explored by O&G chief logistic officers for their ability to improve the lifecycle management of assets and save a hefty amount of money. For instance, a report stated that a rig’s operator managed to save 4.6 million pounds by deploying drones.

Allowing Automation of Workflows

Drones and IoT allow automation of the workflow so that safe and efficient operations are carried out. These complex workflows are set into action by an unlimited number of parameters. Such automation is invaluable in decreasing downtime as well as minimizing safety risks.

Let the Drone/IoT Race Begin

Therefore, in light of these multiple advantages, it comes as no surprise that Oil Giant BP has already begun to use commercial drones to monitor its oil pipelines. It also comes as no surprise that the competition to deploy an integrated strategy which incorporates drones and IoT technologies is soaring in the O&G industry.

Interested in learning more about Internet of Things? PreScouter is hosting an IoT event on October 6th in Chicago,IL. Register here. 

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Learn more about PreScouter at www.prescouter.com.

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