The oil & gas industry plays a significant role in the North American economy. As global energy demand recovers, the North American oil & gas market is expected to grow to more than $356 billion by 2025.
Extracting, transporting, refining, and distributing oil & gas requires a complex mix of diverse and geographically dispersed facilities. Each of these sites faces unique challenges, especially when it comes to the operation and maintenance of high-value industrial assets.
In such a highly competitive and capital-intensive segment, any equipment downtime can significantly impact financial performance. And when a single component can shut down an entire site, it’s vital that minor issues are resolved before they grow into a larger failure.
Under increasing pressure, oil & gas companies must take a proactive approach to maintenance and repairs while also improving worker safety, optimizing asset performance, and mitigating environmental risk.
What Is Touchless™ Monitoring for Oil & Gas?
Oil & gas facilities are incredibly complex and challenging environments to operate in. Many are located in remote regions that are dangerous to access, making it difficult and expensive for technicians to conduct physical inspections and monitor the health and performance of industrial assets.
Instead of relying solely on these manual interventions, oil & gas companies can leverage Touchless™ Monitoring.
Touchless™ Monitoring solutions use thermal and visual sensors to enable remote monitoring of upstream, midstream, and downstream oil & gas facilities.
Deployed at various points around the facility, the safe or hazardous area sensors provide continuous, 24/7 coverage of high-value industrial assets and critical processes.
The thermal sensors measure temperature and automatically alert technicians to hotspots or other anomalies, while the visual sensors allow crews to verify operations and monitor live equipment from a central location.
With increased visibility, oil & gas companies can detect and diagnose issues before dispatching a crew to the site, significantly reducing operations & maintenance costs and improving reliability and performance.
4 Ways To Implement Touchless™ Monitoring Solutions
1) Operational Safety and Security
A recent US Department of Labor report showed that, from 2008 to 2017, 1,566 oil & gas workers died from injuries sustained on the job.
Oil & gas facilities are hazardous environments, and worker safety must always be the top priority. Touchless® Monitoring solutions allow safety teams to monitor safety procedures, mitigate the risk of accidents, and ensure the protection of workers.
Further, a recent CDC report found that motor vehicle crashes caused over 40 percent of oil & gas industry-related deaths. With less need for physical inspections, technicians can spend less time on the road driving to remote locations and less time working in hazardous conditions.
2) Leak Detection and Repair
The oil & gas industry is under increasing scrutiny to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these emissions are in the form of methane gas leaks that occur during the production, transportation, or delivery of natural gas.
Though shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, methane gas is more than 80 times more potent at warming over a 20-year period.
While it is difficult to quantify the exact volume of methane released, a recent study found that the industry emitted more than 13 million metric tons of methane per year from 2012 to 2018. Beyond the environmental concerns, this massive release of valuable product costs the industry more than $2 billion in potential revenue.
As governments impose stricter regulations in order to meet Net Zero targets over the coming decades, oil & gas companies must do more to stop methane leaks. Scheduled inspections every 3 to 6 months are no longer sufficient.
Instead, Touchless™ Monitoring solutions, combined with advanced software and artificial intelligence, can be used to detect and quantify leaks so that companies can immediately respond and conduct the repair.
3) Performance Optimization
Large oil & gas facilities require massive capital investment in equipment and machinery. Achieving a return on investment means that companies must ensure industrial assets are performing at the highest level.
With more access to data, Process Optimization teams can monitor key performance indicators such as flow rate, pressure, asset utilization, yield, overall equipment effectiveness, and uptime. High-resolution sensors allow teams to read meters from a central location and track trends over time.
If the team identifies a bottleneck or other deviation from the expected result, they can diagnose the problem and immediately take corrective action.
4) Asset Integrity and Reliability
Beyond equipment performance, oil & gas companies must also monitor the health and condition of high-value industrial assets. As mentioned above, facilities are often located in challenging environments that increase the normal wear and tear on equipment. Assets can be regularly exposed to extreme temperatures, corrosive and abrasive materials, high pressures, and other damaging elements.
Over time, this repeated exposure damages equipment such as wellheads, tanks, compressors, turbines, pipes, or other assets.
Touchless™ Monitoring solutions allow companies to transition from a reactive approach to maintenance toward a Condition Based Maintenance strategy. By taking a proactive approach, oil & gas companies can mitigate the risk of catastrophic failure while increasing asset reliability and reducing overall maintenance costs.
Thermal & Visual Sensors for Better Operations & Maintenance
Physical inspections will always be needed at oil & gas facilities. But they are expensive and time-consuming processes that put workers at increased risk.
Touchless™ Monitoring solutions, on the other hand, leverage explosion-proof thermal and visual sensors to allow oil & gas companies to monitor facilities remotely.
With better visibility, oil & gas companies can improve worker safety, detect and repair methane gas leaks and oil spills, optimize asset performance, and enhance the reliability of equipment.