GE, BP Launch 'Fitbit' for Oil, Gas Assets

A new digital technology solution offers oil and gas companies a “Fitbit” for tracking the health of their offshore assets.

BP plc and General Electric (GE) are testing a new digital platform technology at BP’s Atlantis platform in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. This solution, Plant Operations Advisor (POA), is designed to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of oil and gas operations by livestreaming more than 20 million digital data points. Following BP’s pilot program in the Gulf of Mexico, POA will be deployed to other BP facilities worldwide in 2017, the companies said in a joint Nov. 15 press statement.

POA will help prevent unplanned downtime and improve facility reliability by helping engineering teams respond quickly to issues as they happen in real-time, the companies said in the release. The tool utilizes GE’s Predix and Asset Performance Management (APM) capabilities to quickly integrate operational data from producing oil and gas facilities to deliver notifications and analytical reports to engineers. This will allow engineers to pinpoint operational performance issues before they become significant.

GE’s POA aims to enhance operations by:

  • Improving operating efficiency by 2 to 4 percent
  • Offering simplified access to a variety of live data feeds and include visualization capabilities, including a real-time facility threat display
  • Incorporating extensive case management capability to support learnings from prior operational issues

GE plans to offer the technology on both individual pieces of equipment as well as entire production systems, as an APM solution that will be available across the oil and gas industry, GE and BP said in the Nov. 15 release.

“BP gravitates toward new technologies, especially digital, and that makes working with them particularly exciting,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, GE Oil & Gas president and CEO, in the Nov. 15 release. “We are taking a big step forward together during this time of digital transformation, deploying what we’ve co-created over the past year to drive the kind of productivity improvements that the oil and gas industry needs.”

The deployment is expected to be the largest-scale employment of GE’s Predix-powered APM technology to date, Simonelli added.

POA, which combines Big Data, cloud hosting, and analytics, was created as part of a development partnership BP and GE announced Jan. 28 of this year.

Simonelli said in a Jan. 28 press release that “digitization has become not only a competitive differentiator but increasingly, a necessity. We are evolving our business and digital offerings to match the needs of our customers, partnering with them to embrace the transition and help make their businesses stronger long-term.”

GE has been focused on developing digital technology solutions for its oil and gas customers with solutions such as Predix, SeaLytics and SeaOnyx, Rigzone reported earlier this year. The recently announced merger of GE and Baker Hughes could also offer more opportunities for the use of digital technology in the oil and gas industry.

Oil and gas companies have been looking at digital technology as a way to derive more value from data and information.

Speaking at GE’s Minds + Machines Conference Tuesday in San Francisco, Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s vice president of Upstream Technology, said that digital technologies can allow oil and gas companies to have their cake and eat it too. But oil and gas companies need to make a significant investment in digital technology, and also change their workflows and mindsets. Hashmi said that his role at BP has completely changed; today, most of his group’s investment is going into digital technology.

BP has had a long history of investing in different types of digital technology. Twenty years ago, the company invested in Big Data for seismic. That was the company’s first big wave of change. This was followed by investment in 2D seismic, then 3D modelling for reservoir simulation, then high performance computing. These investments have established the foundation for digital technology.

“What you’re seeing now is the transformation of how we run our company, how we operate our assets, conduct maintenance, how we make sense of data,” Hashmi told conference attendees.

BP is working with GE to gain more insight from its data. Right now, only 5 percent of the data coming off of BP’s platforms yields anything meaningful.


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