BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill incident offers a learning opportunity for the Industry

Oil & Gas faces cultural difficulties. This article is from a key executive from the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill incident (the Macondo blow-out) in which he explains the problem and offers solution insights. A few key takeaways: 1. Leadership. 2. Tie consequences directly to the decision maker.

For updated Link entitled “6 years from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill: What we’ve learned, and what we shouldn’t misunderstand” click here.

Original Link:


Oil & Gas Cellular Service Challenges

Gap Wireless shed further light on cellular service to Oil & Gas at the CommTech West conference. Gap installed the Bow office tower’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS). Had the Bow not had a DAS there would have been poor cell service on the top floors because of “pilot pollution” or too many ideal cell services to choose from. The cell phone gets so confused it doesn’t work even though it shows 4 bars. For the O&G field, cell boosters are a big issue. Every 3dB noise increase, which can be caused by a single booster (there are 10’s of boosters around each cell base station), cuts the incumbent’s cell base station’s capacity considerably. More proof that O&G cellular data service will continue to be a challenge in the field (In addition to large changes in population from O&G development).

You know you have a smart oilfield when…

Petroleum Development Oman (66%) / Shell (34%) Joint Venture adoption of IHS CERA’s 2003 study’s recommendations for a Smart Oilfield and a connected field has enabled them to deploy technologies that:

  • Increased a mature oilfield’s production by 100K barrels/day. At $90/barrel this is $3.2 Billion/year in additional revenue.
  • Reduced drilling time from 39 to 14 days ($40K/day savings = $1M per drill saved). Saved $5M per-well cost (includes drilling and completions).

The cost of a connected field to one year of savings and revenue increase: less than 1%. Perhaps a smart oilfield is better than simply making educated guesses to increase reservoir pressure via water injection?

Redline’s Connected Field for PDO/Shell Joint Venture – This mature 45,000 sqr km brownfield contains:

  • 6600 broadband connection points
  • 52 base stations
  • 13 Gbps total capacity
  • 130,000 end devices

Source: CommTech West, Redline Seminar, Calgary, AB, May 28, 2014.

Power is the most common cause of outages

Good infographic on data center downtime. What should strike you right away is the most common cause of outages is power. Also of note is that of the 7 causes, only 1 was IT equipment failure (e.g. networks, servers). This aligns to what I’ve seen with Oil & Gas field networks. The best two techniques for managing power issues is to add network redundancy and ensure qualified electrical engineers correctly design the network power sources.


Connecting everything is going to be painful at first

Excellent summary on the health of the “internet of things” (also called “Embedded systems“). “Embedded systems are commonly found in consumer, cooking, industrial, automotive, medical, commercial and military applications.” The title of the article actually summarizes the issue nicely: “The Internet of Things Is Wildly Insecure — And Often Unpatchable”. My personal experience confirms this. The problem is so large that the individual response is to shut down and not worry about it. The article further explains how this situation has come about and why there is no incentive for change.  My warning to companies and consumers is don’t expect “everything to be connected” to be a good thing at first. We’ll all likely be experiencing the pain of all this until purchasers become so angry as to finally form the incentive.