Manoj Nimbalkar leads the team that is applying IoT, Cloud, Edge computing and advanced data analytics technologies to improve upstream production. He holds a BEng in chemical engineering from the University of Mumbai and an MBA in marketing and strategy from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Leadership: Working with colleagues Bimal Venkatesh, Colby Burns and Ryan Ackerman, Nimbalkar is pursuing the vision of Production 4.0. The objective is to apply Industry 4.0 and digitization concepts that have been proven outside the oilfield to elevate oilfield production performance in terms of efficiency, recovery and safety.
Nimbalkar and the Weatherford team are using the power of emerging technology to improve production efficiencies through intelligent systems and devices that can make real-time, autonomous decisions based on live data and historical models.
Accomplishments: The foundation for Production 4.0 uses proven assets from the Weatherford portfolio. For data reporting and controls, the team transformed the CygNet SCADA system into the world’s first oilfield IoT platform. Using multiple legacy software systems, they launched the company’s ForeSite production optimization software platform, which leverages what Nimbalkar believes is the next industrial superpower – Big Data.
These platforms remove the burden of managing lower-level transactions. Applying analytics, intelligent production machines can not only predict equipment failures for just-in-time maintenance, they can identify trends and anomalies on the fly to enable enhanced efficiency and improved performance.
Nimbalkar and the team of Production 4.0 architects created a way for organizations to reach operations-level decisions without human involvement. Pairing this capability with IoT-enabled equipment, pipelines and surface facilities, the team used Edge computing – a means of allowing data produced by IoT devices to be processed closer to where they originate instead of sending information to data centers or clouds – to launch data analytics into action. Reaching the decision that the ultimate expression of Production 4.0 would be an Edge computing device, or next-generation automation, the team created and commercialized ForeSite Edge, which acquires, stores and streams high-frequency data, offers secure communication in the form of IoT-based instant notifications, provides optimization models on the Edge, and enables autonomous control of the artificial lift system.
The impact of these systems is significant. Production 4.0 drivers conceived and launched by Nimbalkar and the Weatherford team have a major footprint around the globe. The backbone of this new capability, the new ForeSite and CygNet platforms, monitor and optimize more than 460,000 wells worldwide and manage 125,000 miles of oil and gas pipeline with 30 billion updates each day.
Perspective: “We created the vision of Production 4.0 because we saw a great need. Efficiencies have largely played out in the drilling and completion spaces, which means that production is the final frontier. It’s satisfying to see the power of Production 4.0 in action. The potential for the industry is staggering.”