Digitalization in Industry

The oil and gas sector is usually the first to implement advanced technology and engineering solutions. Control in it is very strict and the price of error is very high, so all tested innovations can be safely applied in the future in other industries.

The oil and gas industry has always used innovations as part of its production process: to find new fields, production, forecasting and analytics. In the beginning it was seismographs and aerial photography, today it is the use of neural networks, Internet sensors of things and “smart wells”.

New technological solutions are the first to be introduced here, as this is the most sensitive area for any economy in the world. Consumption growth requires more resources, and it is becoming more and more difficult to produce them every day.

To improve the production process and solve other production problems, engineers are implementing the most advanced technologies available to mankind today. Efficiency of their work is connected with use of the robotised systems, neural networks, the 3D-press and the Internet of things more and more often.

Global trends in oil and gas industry digitalization

The year 2014 was marked by a significant drop in oil prices, which could not but affect the overall state of the natural resources industry. Companies from all OPEC countries spent the next four years rebuilding the financial balance. However, the market continued to storm.

Natural gas price, on the contrary, has remained approximately at the same level for the last 5 years. However, active expansion of American companies led to the fact that representatives of other countries had to step up and try to catch up with competitors from the USA.

According to the Deloitte survey, CEOs of the largest commodity companies expected from 2019 better sales statistics and higher demand for their products. And entrepreneurs were not mistaken: at the moment there is a relative economic stability in the world, which contributes to attracting investment and development of new deposits, which requires digital technology.

The issue of improving the efficiency of resource extraction concerns not only the production of gasoline or diesel fuel, but also the creation of synthetic materials that are needed by modern man. Any type of plastic is a product of petrochemistry. For example, plastic windows, packaging materials, synthetic fabrics, water pipes, cases of electronic devices.

Availability and price of these things depend on the level of oil and gas industry development. In addition, the demand for these goods is constantly growing, and with it the demand for production volumes.

Recent trends are making manufacturers increasingly think about the increasing use of digital technologies.

Oil and gas companies have relied on several types of innovations:

  • artificial intelligence for faster decision making;
  • Internet of Things – analysis of data from sensors installed on equipment;
  • digital analytics, video analytics and technical vision for better performance;
  • robotics for working in hazardous environments;
  • blockchain for improved productivity;
  • 3D printing of the required equipment;
  • 4D seismic technology for reservoir change analysis.

The listed processes fit organically into the course of production and allow achieving a higher level of customer focus. In addition, they greatly simplify the process of drilling and production of oil and gas, which helps to increase supply and strengthen the company’s position in the market.

New technologies are also used to improve working conditions. The installation of cameras, the use of robots and artificial intelligence software eliminate the need to put workers’ lives in danger and help create voluminous layouts and plans that previously had to be drawn manually on a computer. This saving of time will increase the efficiency of production as a whole.

Application of new technologies in the Russian oil and gas industry

In Russia, the development of natural resource deposits has always received special attention. It was in this industry that the main scientific and technical innovations and experimental developments were applied. In 2018, stability returned to the Russian commodity market, as well as to the world market.

The main tasks for the Russian oil and gas industry at the end of 2019 and beyond are to automate production and improve communication links.

To achieve this goal, it is planned:

  • to build new telecommunications systems;
  • to ensure continuous monitoring of all processes;
  • to reduce physical risk, improve working and living conditions of employees;
  • to centralise the management of production units in a single centre.

Russian mining companies will also face a number of challenges in the future. Global trends of digitalization of raw material development, production and storage require more active implementation of new technologies.

At the same time, Russian organizations have to work under conditions of economic sanctions, which complicate the process of development of the industry and force entrepreneurs and representatives of government agencies to look for new ways to success and stability.

One of the main trends in the domestic industry is the use of neural networks. Since March has been applying this technology in the course of exploratory drilling. This allows forecasting the rock properties at recently discovered fields.

The new technology was created in co-authorship with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and has already demonstrated the first results. In particular, it was possible to reduce expenses for exploration works. This has made the largest representatives of the Russian raw materials market think about widespread introduction of the smart well technology.

The Russian oil and gas industry is also actively mastering Internet technologies, collecting and analyzing information at all stages of production. Whereas previously it was sufficient to receive data from an object once per hour, now the figures come for analysis every few seconds.

To do this, depth sensors are installed at all facilities and in wells. They must have a high data transfer rate, because large volumes of data need to be analyzed, processed and transmitted. For this purpose, new software products for information visualization are also being developed.

Smart Well Technology

As oil reserves are gradually depleting, companies have to touch the Earth’s deep layers to generate stable profits. This complicates the process of exploration and development in traditional ways. Smart wells come to the rescue.

“Smart Well is a generic name for new digital technologies that can be used in mining operations.

In Russia, smart wells have already been launched. The high efficiency of this method of field organization makes one think about the necessity of their universal introduction.

Such units are equipped with automated internal equipment. It allows to constantly collect and transfer information about production parameters to the surface. For this purpose, a complex system of underground sensors and control valves is organized. As a result, parameters such as temperature, pressure and fluid flow can be monitored from a distance.

New technologies make it possible to determine the seismic state of the area where the field is located more accurately. Today, scientists are developing cableless technologies that will not only reduce energy costs, but also improve the entire data acquisition and transmission system.

Using the latest scientific and technological advances, such systems make it possible:

  • to reduce exploration costs by 70-80%;
  • predict the place of occurrence of raw materials with an accuracy of 0.3 m;
  • work in any climatic conditions;
  • automate the process of oil and gas production, distribution and storage.

By applying the smart well technology to oil and gas production, companies not only simplify the task of finding and extracting minerals for themselves, but also begin to look more solid in the eyes of investors. This contributes to an inflow of funds and a more confident market position.