The oil and gas sector has come a long way from workers facing unbearable conditions in remote rigs to automated ease. After all, it had time and again faced harsh criticism for the same.
Similarly, with governments across the middle east insisting on keeping a check on carbon emissions, there is more focus on renewable energy. These steps are a long time coming.
The cherry on the cake is that smart technological presence is given precedence. Oil rigs are no longer restricted to desert nations.
The advancement of technology, especially in the IoT field, has digitalized the whole industry. None more so than Subsea wells located Offshore (Within the sea). They are the new hotbeds for oil extraction.
What is the Process of Offshore Subsea Oil Extraction?
IoT in the oil and gas industry is not sudden but a strategic occurrence â€” unmanned remote access helping one in the oil extraction process. The compact pressure under the sea is painful for humans to withstand; hence, since 1896, the technology involved was tweaked.
A subsea smart solution made it possible for further exploration of natural oils under the sea bed. Similar in nature to its land-based cousins, borewell-styled equipment is used offshore too. Once the drilling has taken place, and the setup is ready to produce oil, â€œChristmas trees" come into play.
Subsea Christmas trees (big-sized machinery with valves, spools, and fittings to regulate the pipe and oil and gas intake output) have helped increase and control the flow of the oil.
This technological wonderment has exceeded expectations. Vertical in design, these Christmas trees process and store information about the facilities shared by the linked oil rig under the sea and connected to a third device called a riser which ties the oil well and the Christmas tree together.
Subsea Christmas Trees: A Testament of Technological Growth
Automation is no longer restricted to â€˜switch on/switch offâ€™. With reconditioned Christmas trees and a working manifold system in place, retrofitted IoT-enabled sensors can ensure streamlining of output.
They can also monitor any unplanned surge of oil-based fluids or gasses from the subsea reservoir back to the rig. This phenomenon of heavy flow is known as a kick and can be hazardous to the lives of the rig employees on the surface.
These Christmas trees are also known as BOP (Blow Out Preventer) stacks. They help eradicate any inbuilt pressure that can hamper the placement of the pipes. The massive system of valves and rams helps protect the rig and the environment from any oil and gas flow leak.
Flammable hydrocarbons can find ignition sources once it manages to travel onto the surface. A basic setup ensures that no hazardous leakage is involved. After all, an uncontrollable release of flammable oil and gas can be catastrophic.
IoT plays a crucial role in the prevention of catastrophe, as mentioned above. Smart sensors are placed on â€˜Blind shear ramsâ€™ that clinch the pipeline shut once it detects the massive flow of gasses and oil-based liquids. These automated system rigs can be activated manually or via preset parameters.
Areas Where IoT Can Be Implemented in Offshore Oil Rigs
Here are a few areas where IoT technology is in trend and can be implemented in offshore oil rigs.
In offshore oil rigs, IoT sensors can be used to monitor the condition of critical assets, such as pumps, valves, and pipelines. This data is used to identify potential problems early on and to schedule preventive maintenance before failures occur.
IoT is being used to enable remote operations of offshore oil rigs. This allows operators to monitor and control rigs from shore, which can improve safety and efficiency.
To monitor the environment for hazardous conditions, such as leaks, fires, and explosions, IoT sensors have been used. This data is used to alert personnel to potential hazards and to take corrective action.
IoT-based systems are being used to help oil and gas companies comply with environmental regulations. For example, sensors can be used to monitor emissions and track the disposal of hazardous waste.
IoT can be used to optimize production by tracking the flow of oil and gas, identifying bottlenecks, and making adjustments to the process.
Supply chain management
IoT technology helps in tracking the movement of goods and materials, identifying inefficiencies, and improving inventory management.
To easily track the location of personnel, identify potential hazards, and ensure that everyone is accounted for.
Benefits of Using IoT In Offshore Oil Rigs
Here are some additional benefits of using IoT in offshore oil rigs:
The utilization of subsea smart solutions in offshore oil rigs enhances decision-making by providing real-time data and actionable insights.
Sensors embedded throughout the rig continuously monitor various parameters, including temperature, pressure, and equipment performance. This data is collected, analyzed, and transmitted to a central control system or cloud platform.
Decision-makers can access this information remotely, enabling them to make informed and timely decisions regarding maintenance, safety protocols, and resource allocation. The integration of IoT in oil and gas industry enables proactive monitoring and early detection of potential hazards, improving overall safety and operational efficiency on offshore oil rigs.
For example, if an IoT sensor detects abnormal vibrations in a critical component, an alert is immediately sent to engineers who can assess the situation and schedule maintenance before a major failure occurs, thereby preventing costly downtime and ensuring worker safety.
By deploying sensors and connected devices throughout the rig, real-time data can be collected and analyzed to optimize performance and reduce downtime.
For example, IoT-enabled sensors can monitor equipment health, detecting potential failures before they occur, allowing for proactive maintenance and minimizing costly unplanned shutdowns.
Additionally, the subsea smart solutions can optimize energy usage by monitoring and controlling power consumption in various systems, leading to substantial cost savings.
Thus, IoT empowers offshore oil rig operators to make data-driven decisions, improving productivity and reducing expenses.
The implementation of IoT in offshore oil rigs has significantly enhanced safety measures. By integrating sensors and connected devices, real-time data can be collected and analyzed, enabling proactive monitoring and early detection of potential hazards.
IoT sensors can monitor equipment performance, detect leaks, and measure environmental conditions such as temperature and pressure. This information allows operators to identify potential risks and take immediate action, preventing accidents and minimizing downtime.
For instance, if a sensor detects a rise in temperature in a critical piece of equipment, an alert can be sent to the maintenance team, enabling them to address the issue before it escalates into a safety hazard.
Ultimately, IoT improves safety by providing timely insights and enabling proactive maintenance and risk mitigation in offshore oil rigs.
IoT has helped bridge the gap between innovations and implementations. With the help of AMF (Automatic Mode Function) Deadman switches, one can be sure that prevention will always take precedence. With smart parameters in place, it can be triggered to act in the case of extreme catastrophes. Designed to act when electric power, hydraulic pressure inside the pipes, and communication between the Christmas tree and the oil rig collapses.
Such subsea smart solutions often play a big role in saving lives and preventing the spillage of oil on oceanic surfaces. Keeping in mind the tragic oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico, technological advances are crucial for a greener future.
Sensors and subsea smart solutions turn-key technologies in ensuring that there are no more chances of subsea oil and gas endangering the lives of millions of crustaceans, fish, and other marine life. The very purpose of IoT is to get devices to communicate with each other.
What better use than saving our natural resources?