Improving O&G Operations with IoT

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is dramatically shifting how businesses operate. IoT often capitalizes on using software, sensors and devices to predict equipment failures while tracking performance in real time, to help refine designs and processes to prevent those failures in the future. But IoT’s true promise lies beyond just helping oil and gas (O&G) companies directly manage their existing assets, supply chains, or customer relationships. In fact, IoT technology creates an entirely new asset: information about these crucial elements of their businesses.

CIOs are now turning to digital innovation strategies and IoT as a means to reduce costs and increase productivity. More importantly, they are embracing a bottom-up approach by investing in smaller projects that deliver significant value to a focused area of the business with a faster return on investment. For large-scale extraction industries like petroleum and gas operations, IoT has been proven to provide tangible financial benefits including greater uptime while delivering superior products at the same time.

Establishing Goals for IoT

Modern equipment can generate vast amounts of data that can be harnessed for business benefit. But before implementing a connected initiative, companies need to focus on two primary components: The business objectives they wish to achieve and the team required to make them happen. Leveraging equipment data to create business value, whether it’s cost savings or performance improvements, takes a concerted effort between trusted partners, IT, and those who work with the equipment on a daily basis: engineers, technicians, reliability professionals, and others.

To illustrate, in the O&G industry, compression systems have a wide range of essential applications in both upstream and midstream operations. These systems often include a diesel – or natural gas – powered engine, cooler, and the compressor itself. In upstream operations, natural gas compression is critical to extraction methods, with midstream distribution requiring compression to maintain pressure and flow over long distances. Unplanned compression equipment failures and downtime hit the bottom line hard. Servicing these systems, whether for preventative maintenance or unplanned repair, is costly but critical. Above all, O&G organizations seek to achieve the consistent equipment performance and reliability that is the very lifeblood of their operations. So how can IoT help achieve these goals?

Progressing through the 5 Stages of IoT

In an industry as diverse as O&G, there is no one-size-fits-all IoT solution; however, through the establishment of comprehensive, data-driven predictive insights, O&G companies can employ sophisticated rules and machine learning to constantly adapt and tune expensive assets in real-time using trend analysis.

To get to this point, though, organizations need to focus on specific business outcomes – such as improving financial performance while also maintaining critical uptime – using IoT as the basis for an overall strategy. There are many paths that can be taken in pursuit of these goals, but to reap the greatest return, IoT should be looked at as a maturity progression as the organization’s needs and adoption of IoT change.

Each phase of IoT maturity yields ROI, but it’s not until the later stages that significant value is added. The early stages of IoT reflect a change in behavior the company must embrace, while the later stages emphasize a shift in technological perception.

Putting IoT to Work for Your Company

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