The oil and gas sector is undergoing a huge change thanks to digital innovations. Compared with other industries in which companies have openly embraced the technology and information revolution, oil and gas has lagged a bit.

That means tech solutions have enormous potential when it comes to improving communications and addressing the industry’s unique environmental challenges. Any oil and gas company in the sector that efficiently draws on the power of the digital advancements can gain a significant competitive advantage over rivals.

 

Unique challenges

To say the oil and gas industry is unlike any other would be a vast understatement. A host of particular problems and issues arise, such as:

Complex supply chains. There are five parts in an oil and gas supply chain.

  • Exploration – A team finds the best places to drill and intricately surveys the sites.
  • Production – The oil or gas is extracted from the earth.
  • Refining – Crude materials are refined into consumer energy products.
  • Marketing – The product is advertised.
  • Consumer – Finally, the energy is sold to the consumer.

Each link has its own set of needs and common issues that must be addressed if it’s to function properly.

  • Large infrastructure size: The infrastructure needed throughout each portion of the supply chain is massive. From drilling equipment to pipelines, distribution networks, compression and metering stations to storage facilities, every aspect requires infrastructure that is huge in terms of expense and size.
  • Access to remote areas. Now more than ever, every crevice of the globe is being explored for potential energy extraction. Suitable locations could prove to be underwater, in the Arctic or in other inhospitable areas.
  • Safety and compliance. As one of the most regulated industries in the world, oil and gas companies have to worry about safety and compliance issues more than the average business. If there’s an accident, and proper precautions and guidelines weren’t followed, there will be repercussions from governments and consumers.

Technological advancements

Fortunately, recent technological improvements make overcoming those challenges possible.

Automation. Robotics and other automated technologies are at a point at which they can do high-risk jobs better than humans. For example, automated drilling will reduce overhead, increase employee safety and make it economically feasible to drill on smaller sites.

Logistic evolution. Each part of the supply chain has inefficiencies that can be remedied. One company has developed a platform that makes extraction more efficient by using an automatic injection system to prevent hydrate formation. Other research suggests that the use of metal-organic frameworks could revolutionize oil and gas transportation by eliminating the need to vent harmful materials throughout the journey. Those kinds of logistical improvements will make the entire supply chain more efficient.

Fleet-management solutions. Keeping track of employees and equipment has never been easier. Now, with the help of GPS tracking, important data can be collected and viewed nearly instantaneously, even in the most-remote locations. A company will know exactly where all of its expensive equipment is at all times, and can be alerted if something is out of place.

Internet of things (IoT) integration. Connected machines mean always having up-to-date information. That can help oil and gas companies predict equipment failure and reduce overall downtime. A single pump failure can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity, so if the condition of pumps is known in real time, replacements can be ready for those deemed susceptible to failure. That kind of real-time data will help the management team make better, more-informed decisions.

Communications solutions. When offshore or in a remote location, even basic communication can present a monumental challenge, and X2nSat offers solutions. Using the latest in satellite technology, it can bridge even the most inaccessible areas with voice and data connectivity, allowing for better communication throughout the supply chain. It also works with IoT initiatives for gathering and transmitting important sensor data. Imagine how difficult it would be to collate data sets from thousands of sensors if there was not the ability to communicate and transmit.

Cloud computing. The power of the internet cloud has been touted for years for data-driven businesses, but the oil and gas sector is just starting to catch up. Potential benefits from cloud computing in the industry are:

  • Real-time data analysis. Combining IoT with cloud computing makes sense for those needing real-time information analysis. All the IoT sensors pool an astounding amount of data requiring significant computing power to sort and evaluate. Cloud computing means a large amount of processing power is available that would require a massive infrastructure investment to have in-house.
  • More-efficient marketing. Customer-relationship management software is an important part of any marketing plan, and can be seamlessly integrated into cloud networks. That allows for higher data redundancy and easy collaboration among employees.
  • More environmentally friendly. In today’s energy marketplace, oil and gas companies must ensure that they’re doing everything they can to preserve the environment. Cloud computing offers ways to accomplish that. Private data servers usually operate at 10% to 20% efficiency, while virtual machines in a cloud network can function at up to 80%. The computers in those networks use the same amount of energy, regardless of efficiency, and that means cloud computing can do the same amount of computation using a fraction of the energy.

X2nSat, a satellite telecommunications company, has been in business for more than 22 years. It has extensive experience in the oil and gas sector and can provide the technological solutions necessary to move an oil or gas company into a new era of efficiency.

Unlike others in the communications field, X2nSat isn’t content to just connect point A to point B. By working with the client individually, it can ascertain the client’s needs, work within regulatory parameters and integrate solutions into existing infrastructures.

To learn how to take advantage of the amazing potential of current technology, contact X2nSat today to schedule a consultation. A knowledgeable professional can explain the options and help craft a plan to modernize company workflows.