Discover the technologies that facilitate the production of Oil and Gas

  • 15/09/2020
  • 10 minutes

The production of Oil and Gas has always been one of the industrial areas most open to technological innovation. After all, anyone looking for more optimized and efficient ways to explore products can take part of the operational burden of the budget and profit more.

Now that we are entering a new decade, it is time to look at the present and the future. Which technologies will impact the area in the coming years? What is the relationship between Industry 4.0 and O&G?

With the help of João Felipe Cardoso de Aguiar, Leser IT Infrastructure Analyst, we will seek together answers to these questions. Keep reading!

Industry 4.0 in the context of Oil and Gas production

Historically, O&G production has been resistant to change. João Felipe describes the scenario well: “because it is an industrial sector, some technologies took some time before they consolidated in the market. Many solutions are made ‘in-house’ to meet certain demands.”

This type of technological centralization is being undone in recent years, with internal and external barriers naturally dropped by the application of technology. According to several experts and a growing consensus in the market, we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, dubbed Industry 4.0.

It is difficult to go against this notion when we realize how much the use of data grows to formulate business strategies in conjunction with new productive paradigms.

This directly reflects in the production of Oil and Gas. More efficient exploration, which spends less resources to extract more material, immediately reflects on the entire commercial chain in the sector.

It is the complete integration between data-based management and operation. From this change, there is a universe of possibilities capable of including intelligence and technology from planning to final consumption.

The technologies that have been transforming the sector

When we talk about Industry 4.0, three main technologies stand out. They are exactly the pillars of this revolution cited by João Felipe when analyzing their role in the new O&G routine. Check it out!

Internet of Things

The analyst starts by pointing to the Internet of Things (of universal acronym IoT) as the big bet for the future of the area: “I recently did a study on IoT in the Oil and Gas sector and I found it incredible how a technology that is, to some extent, inexpensive can be so revolutionary.”

IoT is characterized by specific action devices, mainly data monitoring and collection, capable of acting autonomously connected to an integrated system through the internet.

João Felipe gives as an example his study using the solution to reduce fuel theft along oil pipelines: “in the proposal, we connected IoT heat and presence sensors along the oil pipelines, in order to strategically map the most critical points where the product of the companies were stolen or lost due to leaks. The sensors communicated with an appropriate Internet of Things network, capable of communicating over 3/4G — and 5G in the near future.”

And he continues: “after this communication process, the data coming from the sensor were translated into information readable in the system so that the analyst could make a kind of mapping of activities around the ducts. After the whole process, I realized that the value added to the operation and to the reduction of losses due to thefts, could be, in a way, revolutionary for the sector.”

This is just one example of how the Internet of Things can use specialized devices for complex actions without any human participation. It is an army of monitors working 24 hours a day, collecting data and pointing paths to maximum efficiency throughout the O&G chain.

Big Data

Big Data is the set of systems, softwares and methodologies to perform analysis on a quantity of information that would be humanly impossible to be done manually. Faced with this new IoT scenario, imagine the amount of data that these devices can generate for an industrial system.

Technology freed companies from this limitation when it allowed them, through storage and structuring, to map and monitor as many indicators as they need to make decisions and adjust their operation.

And if Big Data’s focus is on intelligence, the industry’s natural evolution is always towards optimization. What we can expect from this is that the entire market will see a production increase using fewer and fewer resources. It is more flexibility, agility and economy for the entire modernized chain.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

If the human being is unable to analyze such impressive volumes of data, what kind of technology can do that?

Artificial Intelligence is another big bet and demand for O&G in the future, especially after the sophistication of Machine Learning programs.

This concept, which can be translated as Machine Learning, consists of giving AI the ability to analyze large volumes of information and learn from them on its own, without IT having to directly enter new commands and settings.

Machine Learning will be used to increase the efficiency of the IoT devices themselves and the analysis derived from their monitoring.

The result in the future will be an Industry that evolves at record speed, with programs capable of finding new answers and ways of producing and even putting them into practice without humans being part of this process.

Predictions for the future of O&G

Cheaper operation, faster adaptation to the market and more intelligence in dealing with the product between extraction, transport and commercialization flows. This is what is expected of Industry 4.0 arriving at the O&G sector.

Here in Brazil, this type of data revolution can be even more impactful. After all, technology is increasingly accessible and can level the playing field for all markets.

“Because it is a developing country, we have several challenging scenarios that developed countries have not yet experienced. This is a key factor in which Brazil can, in a way, benefit”, said the analyst.

We still have to invest a lot in professional training to be able to take full advantage of new technologies for the area. But, overcoming our first barriers, this may be the perfect time for the country to assume more protagonism.

After all, as João Felipe himself comments, “Brazil can learn — a lot — with its structural and procedural flaws”. If one of the focuses of the revolution in the production of Oil and Gas is to include intelligence and efficiency, we may be envisioning the perfect answer to solve our biggest problems once and for all.

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