How Oil Companies Can Avoid Pitfalls of Automation Technology

Compromising on critical edge computing can be a costly gamble for oil and gas companies.


The allure of automation is surging across the oil and gas industry. Yet, even with its consistency, efficiency, safety, machine learning, and 24/7 productivity, achieving these benefits comes with an inherent risk/reward tipping point by transitioning critical compute technologies from pristine data centers into daunting field environments. That tipping point is downtime.

Any given oil rig uses standard laptops for general computing. If a laptop breaks or needs maintenance, it’s an inconvenience, but the downtime to replace or restore it isn’t detrimental to the rig’s overall performance or protections. These non-essential, “disposable” computers are purchased without much deliberation or effort. 
On the flipside, there are high-reliability fielded compute functions—like drilling activities, production monitoring, and processing massive amounts of data for real-time decision making and system adjustments—that can cripple production, performance, profitability and safety if they fail. 

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