Despite recent increases in investment and the very gradual return of optimism in the industry, oil and gas prices continue to remain low and, thus, companies are still feeling the pinch. Gone are the days when an oil company could increase their profits by simply producing more oil. Now the focus must be on slicker and more efficient operations to drive down costs and new technology is playing a vital role in achieving this. Companies are offering innovative technological solutions in automation, exploration to discover new fields like the ones recently found off the coast of Scotland, and collecting and processing data.
Automation and Staffing
Across manufacturing related industries, a shift from manual staff to automation is taking place at an increasing pace. Oil and gas is no different as many functions that have always been hazardous for human workers are being performed by robots. Staff are shifting from onsite workers to remote workers operating machinery through ‘joystick’ controls and monitoring wells from afar using mobile devices and computers. Some companies report that their more automated rigs could reduce staff numbers by 30% but the long term effect on the job market is unknown as more efficient practices could mean more oil and gas being produced and, thus, more jobs. The proliferation of sensors applied all over oil and gas operations allows for more remote operation and monitoring but also generates a great deal of essential data.
Fast access to reliable data is essential for oil and gas operators to make important decisions. Sensors collect data such as tank capacity, pressure readings, flow rates, choke sizes and more. For workers in the fields, this translates to instant, actionable data that directly results in reduced downtime and production loss for large oil companies. So much data is collected that the industry is constantly looking for better data handling software architecture to process it effectively. Having the most accurate equipment to take these measurements is, of course, essential.
Accurate data and accurate measurement is also a necessary part of oil and gas exploration and new technology is being introduced all the time. One new machine uses electromagnetic technology to help pinpoint oil, gas and mineral deposits below the earth. Robotics are also expected to play a larger part in the future as the Oil and Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen launches two new ‘Calls for Ideas’ with funds of over $1million each for companies who can create robotic solutions to assist with and save money in non-intrusive inspection of pressure vessels and tanks and/or confined space entry to pressure vessels and tanks.
Researchers suggest that it will be a collaboration between these different technologies that will produce the most efficiency gains in this industry and companies will need to constantly innovate and adapt to make their technology systems as compatible as possible.
In developing the SFC3000 flow computer, we have constantly updated and developed it to be compatible with other technology and to make it adaptable by our customers so they can easily make changes and updates as required. For more information about our services, call +44 (0)1243 554920 or contact us here.