When it comes to oil and gas production, information and communication technologies are not the first things that come to mind. But in many cases, leading edge communication is a primary factor that helps oil and gas producers create winning solutions.
With the exploration of hydrocarbons increasingly moving to remote and hostile environments, oil and gas companies are turning to sophisticated automation, remote monitoring, real-time asset management running on advanced communications infrastructure to to optimize their efforts.
Information and communication technologies assist the oil and gas industries in three primary ways, according to a recent paper by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), “Dynamic Communications for Oil & Gas,” Benefits cited include they:
- Enhance hydrocarbon delivery and quality
- Improve operations and living conditions
- Provide superior safety and security
When it comes to delivery and quality, it is important that real-time and highly resilient solutions ensure that overall project schedules and efficiencies are not hindered by communications needs. Oil and gas communications can help through IP-based mobile and wireless systems, including SCADA for pipelines and wellheads, VoIP, and full radio network convergence towards 4G broadband. In addition, dynamic bandwidth adjustment also can optimize assets for maximum value, providing faster hydrocarbon recovery, accelerated production and reduced downtime.
“A fast flow of essential real-time data streams provides the instant correlated information necessary to automatically detect and address anomalies, pressure gradients, earthquakes, tsunamis and severe weather events, leaks, and spills in far-flung oil and gas well and pipeline environments, enabling more rapid mitigation and lower liability costs,” the paper noted.
In terms of improving operations and living quality, communications can help oil and gas firms monitoring and troubleshooting remote and hard to access wellheads, pipelines and collection points, interpret and correlate the constant flow of data coming from numerous sources, gather logs, coordinate and react to alarms and events generated by systems in separate locations, and help define workflows and assignments.
“The superior speed and flexibility of an IP-MPLS network combined with innovative solutions allows commercial-grade triple-play (video, Internet, telephony) and customized multimedia services assures that workers, no matter where they’re located and for how long, will be able to enjoy quality entertainment and stay in touch with friends and family,” the paper noted.
Services such as Alcatel-Lucent’s Dynamic Communications for Oil & Gas also can ensure security and safety with more connectivity to extend reach along pipelines, onshore plants and off-shore assets, incorporating IP-based video surveillance (CCTV) with intelligent video analysis, perimeter intrusion detection, access control and personnel on board, public address/general alarming [PA/GA], emergency communication and message broadcast, as well as environment monitoring and a full complement of physical security systems, the paper pointed out.
Overall, communications plays a large role in the oil and gas industries even if it isn’t the first thing most people think about when they consider hydrocarbon extraction.
Edited by Peter Bernstein