Why Oil Companies are Setting Up Digital Oilfields
- Accessing information from pumps, pneumatic valves, boilers, furnaces and other equipment in oil fields is a labor-intensive task
- Digital oilfields optimize productivity in real time and minimize such laborious activities
- Oil producers are harnessing digital oilfield technologies to manage remote offshore locations
Oilfields have been implementing automation and software tools to replace labor-intensive activities as well as for troubleshooting and recording process adjustments.
The digital oilfield market globally is projected to grow from $24.3 billion in 2021 to $32 billion by 2026 amid technological advancements in the oil & gas industry and increased ROI. Increasing deployment of enhanced oil recovery systems across the Middle East is also fueling the adoption of digital oilfields.
What is a digital oilfield?
Accessing information from pumps, pneumatic valves, boilers, furnaces and other equipment is labor-intensive and a safety concern for the employees operating the plant.
In digital oilfields, reduced onsite field staffers and offsite experts collaborate remotely to share information via voice, data, and real-time video to improve decision making by eliminating non-productive work and reducing risk to onsite workers and employees.
Digital oilfields manage process systems remotely by real-time surveillance with the help of human machine interface (HMI) systems and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks to display information, values, data, etc.
Strategic objectives of digital oilfields
Companies implement digital oilfields to collect and analyze equipment status and performance to predict and respond to equipment faults before they occur. They do this with the help of data analysis to minimize downtime of any equipment or machinery associated with the process, thereby improving quality and maximizing profits.
Digital oilfields also help manage complex projects that require accessing reserves in difficult environments through machine data and real-time surveillance by remotely accessing the site.
How oil producers are implementing digital oil fields
In February 2021, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) awarded a contract to Halliburton Inc for the maintenance and expansion of digital solutions for an oilfield in northern Kuwait. Halliburton would provide digital solutions to KOC and automate work processes through DecisonSpace 365, an open-architecture, cloud-based subscription service for exploration and production applications.
In October 2020, BP chose Emerson as the automation contractor for its Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli oilfield in the Caspian Sea. Emerson would deploy a digital twin solution for virtual testing and system integration during the construction of the platform. The automation software would control critical safety functions on top of wellhead production, drilling and the transfer of oil and gas to the nearest onshore terminal.
An increasing number of companies are likely to harness the digital oilfield technology for remote offshore locations. Many oilfields will eventually have both software and hardware integration at their offshore locations as digital oilfields demonstrate optimized productivity in real time, while minimizing labor-intensive hassles to create an automation-run environment.