Oil, Gas Companies Seek Technology for Data Delivery

Video and telemetry, communications and asset and data management are the three main areas where Oceaneering International Inc. sees demand for technology that can help oil and gas companies deliver data from offshore to onshore monitoring facilities, an Oceaneering official said during a presentation at OilComm 2016 Oct. 12 in Houston.

Oceaneering’s oil and gas clients are looking to communications technology to answer two questions: Where’s my stuff, and what’s going on with the weather, said Stevens during the presentation. Tracking assets in real-time – and determining whether resources such as a capping stack are available if an oil spill occurs – is critical for oil and gas companies. The monitoring of asset health is another common request now from oil and gas companies. Typically, these companies want to stream in data into a dashboard that can be monitored from a smart phone or tablet.

To address its oil and gas customer needs, Oceaneering over the past two years has collaborated with Portland, Ore.-based PacStar to deliver PacStar’s modular, scalable, ruggedized hardware and wizard-based, intuitive network nodal management to Oceaneering’s oil and gas customers. The company’s technology incorporates “best of breed” original equipment manufacturer technology with unified software to simplify system management.

The deployment of PacStar’s technology – which falls under the realm of Internet of Things (IoT) technology – is not only about enhancing data management, but about reducing the footprint and weight of communications technology, Jeff Sinclair, vice president of sales, told Rigzone. The technology also allows workers to effectively operate equipment with little training, Sinclair said. PacStar’s technology uses a standard Cisco operating system, “allowing technicians to go from working at Home Depot to a military router.”

The PacStar technology kit is deployed to an operator’s company man on board an Oceaneering vessel. The operator representative then uses the kit to relay information gathered back to their company’s central monitoring hub, Stevens told Rigzone. The use of this technology means that fewer people must be present. For example, only one person would have to be on board an inspection, maintenance and repair vessel. Previously, four people would be needed offshore, but now three of those people can work from an onshore monitoring center.

Oceaneering is also seeking to meet the oil and gas industry’s need for fewer workers in remote operations through technology such as its remote piloting and automated control technology (RPACT). RPACT allows ROV pilots to establish remotely operated vehicle (ROV) control through a satellite or wireless network link to support operations at a remote work site. Developed last year in the Gulf of Mexico, RPACT won a Spotlight on Technology award at this year’s Offshore Technology Conference.

Oceaneering also recently started conducting drone inspections of offshore rigs. Stevens said the company has subcontracted the drones used for inspections because of drone costs. The oil and gas industry has started exploring applications for drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in upstream operations.

Drones are another example of IoT technology. IoT applications, which integrate sensing, communications and analytics capabilities, not only promise to help oil and gas companies managing exists assets, supply chains, and customer relationships, but create new value in formation in these three areas, according to a 2015 Deloitte report "Connected barrels: Transforming oil and gas strategies with the Internet of Things."

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com


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