Oil and gas plants run some of the most complex systems in industrial production today. In addition to this complexity, should a failure occur, the financial and environmental consequences could be extremely serious. For these reasons, managing oil and gas operations with high levels of efficiency, safety, and profitability is becoming exponentially more difficult.

The emergence of Industry 4.0 introduces new opportunities to address these challenges. Since oil and gas facilities generally employ a relatively small labor force, optimizing maintenance is critical. With innovative solutions to help service and operations leaders better cope with daily maintenance, more time and resources are at hand to improve performance.

One of these solutions is Condition Monitoring (CM), a core principle of Industrial IoT that has already earned its place as a crucial element in successful modern-day oil and gas plant and remote asset management.

 

Condition Monitoring (CM), a core principle of Industrial IoT

 

What is Condition Monitoring?

Condition Monitoring refers to the act of monitoring the condition of an asset – a component, machine, system, or facility – using sensors, data processing hardware, and software applications.

Within the smart factory ecosystem, the most important element of CM is the provision of data that can be used for Predictive Maintenance (PdM) and other Industry 4.0 applications such as Digital Twin.

 

What do IoT and Condition Monitoring have to offer Oil & Gas?

We’re only touching the surface of Industrial IoT’s potential, but already there seems to be almost limitless potential for applying this technology to oil and gas use cases. Remote Condition Monitoring has been utilized in the petrochemical industry for a number of years, with production benefits of over 5% recorded by companies back in 2011.

Today, that figure is estimated to be much larger, especially because of the additional methods that CM is being used to cut costs. In the context of the oil and gas industry, Condition Monitoring offers:

  • Energy efficiency for upstream oil and gas facilities
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Materials degradation (corrosion) monitoring
  • Improved field communications
  • The ability to digitally map a plant (Digital Twin)
  • Mining automation
  • Improved safety conditions
  • Longer machinery lifespans
  • Pipeline management
  • Greenhouse gas emissions control
  • Location intelligence

This list makes it quite clear how significant this technology is in enabling companies in the oil and gas industry to streamline their processes, and enjoy better-run facilities that are safer and more profitable.

 

A Quick Oil & Gas Condition Monitoring Use Case

To get a sense of how powerful CM is in an industrial setting, let’s look at a simple oil/gas plant scenario.

For our example, consider a plant that currently performs maintenance according to a pre-set schedule. The rigidity of the schedule leaves open the possibility of malfunction and low-performance rates that will only be dealt with once the next scheduled check takes place. On top of this, production will have to be halted so that inspections can be performed, and this downtime includes equipment that is 100% healthy.

Condition Monitoring in the Oil and Gas Industry

It’s clear that our plant needs better monitoring of its equipment, with specifications meeting the requirements of vendors and regulatory bodies.

To answer these needs, a system is deployed that consists of the following 4 elements:

  1. Wireless sensors placed throughout the plant on motors, pumps, turbines, heat exchangers, compressors, flare stacks, coker units, and drives.
  2. A gateway device to gather, organize, and transfer the data
  3. A dedicated cloud
  4. A dashboard for controlling the system and receiving alerts

The system above allows for very specific and accurate real-time data to be collected from the plant so that it can be processed and leveraged.

  • Critical alerts trigger notifications that are immediately sent to the relevant personnel.
  • Live data is stored along with previous historical information allowing for the application of a wide variety of analytical methods.
  • The information can be accessed by both management and engineering teams.
  • The depth and quality of analysis leads to actionable decisions based upon target KPIs.

 

Condition Monitoring and Oil & Gas Go Hand in Hand

The many benefits of Condition Monitoring make it a powerful tool that oil and gas plants can’t afford not to take advantage of. Implementing Industrial IoT is a process, but the rewards are plentiful, significantly cutting maintenance costs and triggering innovation for further improvement. It’s no surprise, according to a recent survey by Accenture, that 62% of the executives in the global oil and gas industry are set to increase investments in digital technologies in the next 3 to 5 years.

To learn about how your oil or gas operation can take advantage of Condition Monitoring and other numerous benefits of Industrial IoT technology, sign up for a live demo of the Seebo platform today.