Oil without a person: how robots and the Internet of things have changed oil production

Processes and technologies of oil and gas production are constantly evolving, evolving and related

production areas. It is required to extract more and more to satisfy industrial demand, not only for the production of gasoline or diesel fuel, but also for the creation of synthetic materials that are necessary for modern man. Four of the five objects around us are partially or completely composed of plastics obtained in petrochemical plants.

Source: habr.com

Any kind of plastic - synthetic fabrics,plastic windows, packaging materials, water pipes, electronic device cases, medical equipment and much more are petrochemical products. The demand for these products is constantly growing, and with it the demand for the volumes of oil and gas production grows.

The main limitation of the resource supply process isthe market is their immediate production. In order for the field to provide the maximum return of resources, modern and high-tech methods for extracting oil and gas are necessary. The technologies allow raising the oil recovery rate from typical 30% to 70% and increasing the debits of new wells to 100–150 tons per day, increasing oil recovery in line with market needs.

All areas are being modernized and improved.oil and gas industry: exploration and development of fields, mining and refining. Affected and related areas, including industrial safety, repairs and maintenance of equipment, logistics and transportation of petroleum products.

The most notable recent trends are the integration of the following technologies into the oil production processes:

  • The Internet of Things - gathering data from sensors in real time to automatically adjust technological processes.
  • Maximum robotization of processes and elimination of the human factor.
  • Virtual and augmented reality, 3D when performing equipment maintenance.
  • 3D-printing of the necessary elements of equipment directly on the field.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning for faster decision making in emergency situations in production.
  • Improvement of measurement and logging devices (a type of well survey - “High-tech”) during the drilling process.
  • Modeling of the reservoir, drilling process and planning of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing based on big data.
  • Transition to modular drilling rigs withmaximum automation and increased safety, low noise and comfort for the staff. The travel time of such an installation is reduced from one and a half to two months to one week.
  • Video analytics and technical vision to improve work efficiency.
  • Interaction of oil companies, information exchange with contractors using blockchain technology.

Presence at the enterprise in a portfolio of greater numbertechnology gives a significant competitive advantage. Companies have the opportunity to reduce the cost of work and offer services at lower prices, thereby increasing the chances of getting a contract.

Is this just a theory?

No, all major industry players are already usingthese or other technologies of the above. Interestingly, new products are being introduced not only at the level of IT solutions. The entire oil production sector is being modernized.

  • A striking example is the transition to fracturing technology. The method is to create artificialcracks, so that gas or oil, as well as oily products, move faster to the bottom of the well. As a result, the coefficient of oil recovery increases significantly. Previously, the technology was not used because of the high cost, but now it is being used more and more often both at long-developed and new fields.
  • Drilling rigs become modular - assembled as cubes of LEGO constructor, andfor specific tasks, you can create specific solutions simply by adding or removing a certain element. Modularity increases efficiency, while reducing the economic costs of installation, as well as when moving equipment from place to place. The correctness of the equipment of the drilling rigs is monitored using LoRa technology, it has become especially popular over the past five years.
  • 3D printing technologies are being worked out.which allows to manufacture spare partsparts for units at remote sites with minimal time, without resorting to costly delivery. Of course, field companies usually have certain reserves of spare parts for equipment, but sometimes elements that are not in reserve are out of order, and you have to shut down the entire complex, waiting for the spare parts to arrive. Delivery takes time, production is interrupted, the company suffers losses. If the item can be made on site, downtime is minimized. Such a scheme of work is only being tested as “pilots”, but it is already used in other areas, including the space program.

  • Digital deposit doubles are becoming increasingly popular. To create such a “twin”, a mathematical model of a well, equipment and logistic schemes is being developed. The general situation is analyzed, after which an economic model is created that shows which methods of work are effective for a particular field and which are not. Data updating in digital doubles is one of the most important tasks, which is solved by the Internet of Things technology.
  • For data analysis is actively used machine learning. It allows you to assess the potential of newdeposits - a system with a high degree of accuracy will predict the presence of oil and gas reserves, calculating approximate volumes. As a result, the work of experts on the analysis of data on the field can be reduced from six months to several hours. So far there are few such developments and they are all test ones.
  • Predictive analyticswhere machine learning is used helpspredict equipment operation modes. Sensors are installed on the equipment (for example, transformers, pumps, electric motors and valves) that continuously collect data and transmit it to the central system for processing. After analysis, the system can determine that the motor at the current level of noise, load and vibration will fail after 20 hours, so it is necessary to take measures, reduce the load and plan maintenance. If earlier repair crews were sent to the site to eliminate production interruption or an accident caused by the failure of an electric motor, now technicians can predict the occurrence of problems and minimize risks.

Popular usage scenario in RussiaThe Internet of Things - monitoring of air-cooling apparatuses used in oil refining. The information collected by the sensors is analyzed and used in predictive analytics to prevent breakdowns of cooling systems.

The task of the full digitalization of the oil companyIt is very difficult, because it is necessary to organize the processes of collecting and information exchange of reliable and consistent data between the mining, processing and marketing divisions, and preferably in real time. And that thousands of units and hundreds of thousands of employees. Creating an information model of the interaction of units costs a considerable amount, so it is sometimes costly to fully implement the project of a digital field, even for large players. According to statistics, the cost of IT in oil companies can reach 1.5–3% of profits, but even such significant financial opportunities do not guarantee quick and successful digitalization.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of interesting cases that oil companies have announced as successful in the market.

Gazprom Neft, RFID and Blockchain

Last year, Gazprom Neft took part ina pilot project for the introduction of the blockchain and the Internet of things in logistics. RFID tags and a satellite positioning sensor were installed on the purchased valves. Radio tags recorded the movement of valves from the time of shipment in Veliky Novgorod to the storage base in Murmansk. Operators received data such as the speed of movement of cargo, the number and duration of stops along the way.

The data received from the device recordedsmart contract using blockchain technologies. Information on warehouse and transport operations for cargoes of the Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea was transmitted in a similar way. The blockchain provided an inextricable link between the physical delivery and all accompanying processes, including the workflow.

Surgutneftegaz and blockchain

Surgutneftegaz together with Russian Railways and OMKlaunched a pilot project on the use of blockchain. The technology is used to monitor the movement of cargo - metal pipes from the Vyksa Steel Works that is part of the OMK. The distributed registry solution marks all stages of the process, including shipment of pipes from the plant, their transportation, acceptance of goods and distribution, identification of defective items. If the marriage is revealed, the goods are sent back.

Then all data is transferred to the cloud. As soon as the batch of pipes is ready, the manufacturer notes its readiness for shipment. Involving trains Railways, the transport company signals that the goods are in transit. After delivery, detailed information about the process is sent to the cloud, as well as product certificates.

Technological solution includes SAP Leonardo andSAP Cloud Platform Blockchain, user interface - SAP Fiori. According to representatives of the project, the option on the blockchain is economically superior to other proposals.

Rosneft, Gazprom, Transneft and drones

Russia's largest oil and gas companiesuse unmanned aircraft manufactured by the Kalashnikov concern for monitoring pipeline systems. They were launched by Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Gazprom, LUKOIL, Tatneft and Transneft. The monitoring geography is extensive: Makhachkala, Surgut, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Saratov and Volgograd, as well as the May, Pravdinsk and Yugan fields.

UAVs are equipped with thermal imagers and a systemnavigation, which allows devices to estimate the location of the pipe and, in the case of displacement, send a team of technicians to the problem area. In addition, they successfully detect illegal tie-ins into the pipeline and damage to pipes that cause leaks. Every month, Kalashnikov drones check pipelines with a length of 9.5 thousand to 11.5 thousand km.

An example of a drone that is used to monitor pipelines

In addition to the mentioned UAVs in Russia applyunmanned systems ZALA-T. According to experts, the use of unmanned vehicles makes it possible to reduce the cost of carrying out maintenance work by about 85%.

Gazprom uses unmanned vehicles forsurveys of potential oil sites. The company uses a UAV to measure the magnetic field characteristics of certain locations. If we compare the costs of resources for such studies performed by traditional methods, the devices require about three to four times less - and time and money.

British Petroleum and the Internet of Things

BP actively uses IoT to monitorstates of their wells. Back in 2015, the company connected 650 oil wells to the network. Each well has 30 sensors that measure many parameters, including pressure and temperature.

Then the platforms were connected to the cloudGE's Predix IoT service, which allows you to perform information analysis and not only monitor the current parameters of the well and the oil and gas production platform as a whole, but also simulate the near future events.

The Internet of Things is actively used by others.companies, including Russian. First of all, to monitor the areas and objects of increased danger, control the availability of personal protective equipment among personnel and a quick response in case of accidents. In this case, the IoT functionality is not much different from similar solutions in any other area - personnel clothing and equipment are equipped with UWB anchors that interact with the system using the LoRa network. As a result, the number of emergencies at enterprises is reduced - for example, the hitting of special equipment on people is prevented, and equipment and materials are less often damaged.

Saudi Aramco and Predictive Analytics

The largest oil company in the world in terms ofoil production and the size of oil reserves Saudi Aramco launched a project for the implementation of technological solutions in the process of oil and gas production. When walking around the plots, operators receive information about actions in the current location, including signals about problems that require a response now or will need to be resolved in the near future. Thus, the operators do not need to examine all the wells, it is enough to monitor only those warning information about which goes to the plate.

It is worth noting that this process is possible only by combining a number of technologies - the Internet of things, digital twins, modeling, and wireless networks.

Shell and Robots

Shell, one of the world's leading energysector, a few years ago began to use robots in their fields. The system is called Sensabot, it is a remotely controlled robots capable of operating in locations that are dangerous to humans: for example, at high temperatures or gas pollution. Sensabot robots solve problems up to six months without the need for maintenance.

Operators connect to robot cameras tosee what is happening. All data is transmitted over a high-speed 4G wireless network. Now Shell is planning to expand the functionality of robots so that they can be used not only in the fields, but also in production facilities.

Chevron and audio / video analytics

Chevron uses an early warning system.detection of leaks from oil pipelines and gas pipelines. The basis of the development is the analysis of acoustic signals and a video stream. The system, called the Catalyst Program, includes such an important element as artificial intelligence with the possibility of self-learning.

Analyzing the information coming from the pipelineCatalyst Computing Center detects small leaks threatening to turn into a major accident. Thanks to the early detection of problems, they can be eliminated much faster.

What does the industry digitalization and robotization?

The use of technological solutions in the workallows "digitized" companies from the oil and gas sector to significantly increase production rates. At the same time, the number of almost any types of emergency incidents (leaks, emissions, employee injuries) is reduced. The efficiency of the company's operating activities is also growing, which can be seen from the positive change in almost all key business indicators.

The benefits of intelligent technology

According to experts, large-scale implementationModern technologies in the oil and gas industry can increase the increase in global oil and gas up to about 30%. It is estimated that when working with new technologies and methods, you can increase the field development efficiency indicator by 5–7%, while at the same time reducing the cost of extracting oil from the field by up to 25%, including energy savings.

The main trend for the next few years -maximum exclusion of man from technological processes. Robotization will affect both individual units and industrial sites in general. For example, the study of potentially oil and gas regions or the process of drilling wells will be as automated as possible with the organization of remote control. Another important point is to increase control over the impact of the entire oil and gas industry on the environment. Human intervention and its impact on nature in the exploration of fields, extraction and refining of oil should be minimized through operational monitoring of the environmental situation, which is impossible without implementing comprehensive IoT solutions.

Modern solutions will be effective only whensubstantial modernization of not only technological, but also business processes of oil companies. The maximum effect can be provided by the transformation of the entire oil and gas industry on the basis of adjustments to the legislative and regulatory framework, the introduction of new standards for the use of IoT solutions and the control of technological processes. The option when each oil company will go through its own trial and error with partial digitalization of individual business processes is long and economically inefficient. Digitalization will provide an opportunity to consolidate the best practices on modern technologies for the extraction and processing of oil and gas, combine the efforts of companies to implement new technologies, prepare qualified personnel and increase the competitive advantages of Russian companies on the world market.