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Creating a Smarter Oil and Gas Industry, Part 1: The Internet of Everything and the Digital Oilfield

November 20, 2013

Creating a Smarter Oil and Gas Industry, Part 1: The Internet of Everything and the Digital OilfieldAs a new employee at Cisco and coming from the Oil and Gas industry, I have to admit that I had never heard of the Internet of Everything (IoE), and I was skeptical.  However, given the mindshare it has within the Cisco community, I was open to learning.  After gaining a better understanding of IoE’s underlying concepts of connecting people, process, data and things, I’m now a believer and an advocate for how it is transforming the energy sector.

It may come as a surprise, but the O&G industry is already adopting the Internet of Everything. Although the O&G industry is traditionally slow with regard to adopting new horizontal technology concepts, it is in fact a leader in the IoE space thanks to the development of the Digital Oil Field (also called the e-Field, i-Field or Smart-field). A concept first envisioned over a decade ago, the Digital Oil Field has been evolving since the late 1990’s, and now is an embedded strategy in all NOC’s, IOC’s and many small to large independent oil and gas companies across the globe.

To really understand how the Internet of Everything is helping drive the momentum of the Digital Oilfield, it’s best to look at an example. Originally published in the September 2005 issue of Harts E&P magazine, the scenario outlined below illustrates that even a decade ago, O&G leaders were envisioning a more connected work experience thanks to IoE.

“Renee is an Asset Team Leader for a global oil company. The first thing she does in the morning is check a TV monitor hung on the wall of her kitchen for messages.

This morning, she notices an exception report from the field – apparently well AP 47 is producing below expectations, last night it dropped below the set point for an exception alert. The set point was determined from a model of the field, one which includes a reservoir model based on geophysical, geological, petrophysical data, and models of the surface facilities and pipelines.

She uses her secure access to the Internet to shut the gas lift valve on 47 and enable an automatic pressure buildup analysis (PBU).

After lunch, she meets with her asset team, which is scattered around the globe. She describes the problem with well 47 and uses an online collaboration tool to show them the production history and model results. She also describes the sensitivity studies from her simulation work earlier in the day.  “Any suggestions?” she asks.”

This scenario illustrates how the Internet of Everything can help the Oil and Gas industry connect, collaborate, and compete.  In my next post, I’ll be taking a closer look at what the future holds and just what is possible. It’s clear that we are just beginning to leverage all the benefits of IoE.

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