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Why the oil and gas industry needs to shift its operations to the edge

Oil-Rig 

By Eli Daccach, Global Business Development Leader for Secure Power - Industrial Segments at Schneider Electric

Every second of the day, all around the world, the same thing is happening over and over - data is being collected. The oil and gas industry now relies on 24/7 data communication to have a complete view of operations. According to Cisco, a typical offshore oil platform generates between 1 TB and 2 TB of data per day. This colossal increase in the use of data, while daunting, is an untapped opportunity in the oil and gas industry.

Oil and gas companies are also enduring an energy transition, and their efforts to decarbonize both operations and value chains will be aided using data and AI-powered edge computing. In order to take advantage of the valuable data that companies are accumulating, the power generation industry needs to shift its operations to the edge, which has the power to reduce latency and increase efficiency.

Shifting operations from the cloud to the edge

Edge computing helps companies store their data on the edge of their infrastructure, so that large packets of information no longer need to use bandwidth to send data across the global network. Instead of offloading to cloud data centers, edge computing allows data processing without latency.

This makes edge computing highly optimized for resource efficiency. Shifting operations to the edge enables a digital-first paradigm, allowing organizations to monitor an operational network as well as store and process operational data locally. In addition to increasing data efficiency and resilience, some energy leaders are also already optimizing new technology, like drones, with edge computing. By investing in edge computing, energy leaders can drive efficiency, resiliency, and agility throughout their value chain. This is true for all businesses in power generation, including oil, gas, solar, and wind.

Reducing the cost of IT infrastructure

As the oil and gas industry continues to face challenging geopolitical conditions and volatile commodity prices, finding a way to reduce costs is crucial. Integrated edge computing solutions bring the processing of data closer to where the data is produced, such as in the field or on the drilling platform. Edge computing introduces cost savings by lowering the network bandwidth and reducing data center costs.

Minimizing unplanned downtime through edge computing can also lead to major payoffs. An MIT Sloan Study found that a single day of downtime for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility can cost $25 million, with a typical midsize LNG facility going down about five times a year. Edge computing reduces prevent costly shutdowns by reducing the processing burden on IT infrastructure.

What to consider with new edge computing solutions

The benefits of edge computing are clear, which explains why deployments are on the rise. However, there are important factors to consider when deciding to transition to edge computing. Early in edge planning phases, companies should include resilient power and connectivity resources to help reduce the risk of downtime.

Edge sites should be designed in a resilient way, with environmental separation from environmental risks like fire or water, a reliable power source like a UPS to ensure power distribution to the equipment, and cooling infrastructure to control temperature and humidity. A UPS is an especially important element to ensure resiliency of local edge IT installations in offshore sites with poor utility power quality.

Companies also need a means of monitoring and maintaining the infrastructure assets. Edge resources should be equipped to support autonomous operation and continuous remote monitoring. Managing edge computing sites is critical to ensuring business continuity and proactive maintenance to detect and correct issues before they occur. Managing edge computing sites is critical to ensuring business continuity, requiring around-the-clock monitoring and proactive maintenance to detect and correct issues before they occur.

Ultimately, edge computing can give energy leaders increased operational efficiency, which then leads to increased profitability. Energy companies that harness the power of edge computing will drive a more efficient, sustainable performance with increased profitability while empowering employees through connected capabilities and technologies.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eli-El-Daccache 

Eli Daccach is currently the Global Business Development Leader within the Secure Power division of Schneider Electric, focusing on Industrial Segments.

He has been with the company since 2011, working in Canada for the Industrial Automation business unit, in various roles such as automation specialist, applications engineer and team leader for motion offers, before moving to the US and joining the Energy Management business unit as a Strategic Marketing Manager for Industrial Edge Computing and Data Centers.

Eli holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Marketing.

Published Tuesday, August 23, 2022 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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