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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Is there any new technology in Oil & Gas?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

It's Fun Fact Friday! This week we are talking about new technology in Oil & Gas, including a little about what we do here at OneStep Power.

New technology creates a lot of buzz – the newest smart phone, smart watch, smart TV. Better, faster, with more pixels is interesting, more than that, it’s exciting! It’s fun to see the new device or software that has the latest features to make life a little easier or more enjoyable. The package comes in the mail, the box with the smile on it. You open it to reveal a shiny new gadget. It’s easy to see the advances in technology when they’re right there in our hands, and we use them every day. It’s real, tangible.

Today, we are going to talk about an industry many think hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Those inside know change is constant, but we are hoping to bring some excitement to the new technology of the oil and gas industry. There’s more to it than just drilling a hole and pumping the oil – machine learning, advanced drilling tech, even alternative energy all make an appearance in what has been accurately renamed as the “energy” industry. Even as new energy technologies such as wind, solar, and hydro come online and continue to mature, the demand for oil and gas has been rising. Read on to find out more about some of the new technology being deployed.

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Artificial Intelligence isn’t quite as scary as some science fiction movies may make it seem. At its most basic level, AI programming simply improves software’s ability to make decisions. The stroke of the ‘e’ key on the keyboard produces an ‘e’ on screen. But what if we want to predict energy loads? AI can use weather patterns and previous data to predict what the energy loads will look like in the future. This means a more accurate forecast for power generation, which is critically important with rapidly changing weather patterns and storms.

You might be wondering about the accuracy of forecasts for this prediction, as I know I’ve questioned the accuracy of the weather report many, many times. AI can also take into account the accuracy of previous predictions in the future forecast. Some of these tools can actually predict accurate weather and wind up to 2 weeks in advance. The closer it gets, the more accurate the forecast can become. Over time, the program learns and refines its accuracy, better managing energy load requirements. Every percentage point in accuracy gained is a huge savings to energy companies as well as reduced emissions and wasted energy by running at optimum levels.

Image Credit: Cubix

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is a subset of AI and very similar to above. It can automate model building and learn from patterns in data. It can understand the structure of data, even if we don’t know what the structure is. The learning is automated so it can be run until a solid pattern is found.

This technology isn’t necessarily new, but when connected to big data it becomes much more useful. Pumps, drills, and sensors all over produce data, which can then be processed and turned into information on which decisions can be made. The modeling created from big data can be used to map seismic faults, geological data, and determine exactly where to drill.

Image Credit: Beyond Limits AI

Digital Twins

Now we get going a bit deeper into the Matrix. A digital twin is a digital replica of a process or system. In oil and gas, this means that anything from a small drilling operation to an entire refinery can be recreated digitally. This allows for a higher level analysis to be performed. For example, a digital twin could warn of potential break downs or degradation of equipment before they happen. A warning like that can not only save downtime, but prevent disasters. New designs can be tested virtually to see if they are feasible before physical changes are made. Benefits of this are testing ideas that can save money up front, but also testing ideas that would not have been given a second thought if the only option was a real-world test.

One of the biggest benefits of a digital twin is it can gather data in real-time. What’s happening in the simulation is the same state of the actual rig, vessel, or equipment. Someone miles away can see a problem that might not even be visible on site. Beyond Limits says, “The real advantage of the digital twin concept, however, materializes when all aspects of the asset (from design to real-time operating and status data) are brought together to optimize the asset over its lifetime. Companies can test pricing levels, logistics challenges, even potential safety hazards. A digital twin allows users to identify numerous plausible futures for an asset and consider their potential impact.”

The world first digital rig for Shell is expected to have big increases in efficiency as well as a 20 percent reduction in expenditures. Control systems, power management, and dynamic positioning will all be connected to provide a highly detailed digital rig model. “The system has already started to capture multiple anomalies and produce alerts of potential failures up to two months before they would occur.”

OneStep Power

These have all been, big, overarching technologies that provide huge benefit, but can also be extremely expensive to implement. Here at OneStep Power, we have developed technology that makes dynamically positioned vessels safer, with a simple test. It tests for compliant Closed Bus operations in a non-destructive way. Traditional Closed Bus testing can damage equipment and lower its service life. We saw a way to deliver the test without any destructive effects, reliably and safely.

What are the benefits of Closed Bus operation? Increased fuel efficiency of up to 16%, lower emissions, and lower wear and tear from running fewer generators. This all results in lower operating costs across the board. We work with DP2 and DP3 dynamically positioned vessels. If you’re interested in a reliable, safe way to recapture revenue and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time, give us a call – we’re happy to help!

Sources: – editor’s note: AI is referred to in this article as “Advanced Intelligence”, which we believe to be a typo and should likely be “Artificial Intelligence”.

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