The Energy 4.0 Technologies Powering Better Leak Detection and Repair

Industry 4.0 has long been a buzzword in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Representing the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 highlights the technological transition from early steam and electric power to modern advances in automation, cloud computing, data & analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Energy 4.0 takes the same concept and applies it to the oil and gas industry. New technologies designed and built specifically for the sector have the potential to transform exploration, extraction, transportation, storage, and refinement of oil and natural gas. 

In this article, part of a series on leak detection and repair (LDAR) for upstream oil and gas operations, we’ll highlight the technologies powering a better approach and show the steps that companies can take to mitigate cybersecurity risks when deploying Touchless™ Monitoring Solutions. 

To learn more, register to download our recent white paper: Overcoming the Challenges of Leak Detection and Repair.

The Energy 4.0 Technologies Behind Connected Sensors 

Data & Analytics

Data and analytics allow utilities to collect, store, and use data from multiple sensors to improve decision-making, business processes, and performance.

Access to data has exploded in recent years. And after several years of experimenting with smaller pilots, the industry is now fully embracing the potential of data with larger projects being implemented across the entire production process.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Though often used interchangeably, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) refer to different things. AI allows computers to analyze and contextualize data to provide information or automatically trigger actions without human intervention. ML, on the other hand, is a subset of AI that uses algorithms to automatically learn and recognize patterns to increasingly make better decisions.

Cloud Computing & Storage

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing services over the Internet, including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, or other IT services.

Compared to building an on-premises data center, cloud computing offers lower upfront costs, reduced IT infrastructure and maintenance expenses, and enhanced cybersecurity. 

Addressing Cybersecurity When Deploying Continuous Leak Detection and Repair 

Whenever new technologies are involved, oil and gas companies are right to be concerned about cybersecurity. 

A recent Government of Canada threat assessment stated that 25 percent of Canadian oil and gas organizations reported a cyber incident, the highest of any critical infrastructure sector. 

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that upstream oil and gas companies can take to mitigate risk when implementing continuous LDAR.

Segregation of Networks

Fixed optical gas imaging (OGI) sensors require connectivity and communication networks to transmit data. 

Instead of connecting these sensors to the larger organization network, oil and gas companies should segregate the monitoring system from critical infrastructure. Sensors should have no electrical or physical connections to equipment and should be physically located outside the security perimeter, mitigating the risk of infiltration. 

End-to-End Encryption

Comprehensive Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption ensures data cannot be intercepted and viewed by hackers. Once stored, data should be encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard, the same standard used for other sensitive industries including financial services, government, and defense. 

Access Control and Permissions

Data should only be available to authorized users who need it to perform their roles. Include authentication at every step and create user and role-based permissions to restrict access only to those with a legitimate need.

Reputable cloud service providers generally offer security features and access control as part of their solution, without requiring internal IT departments to build these functions in-house. 

User Training

Though it sounds simple, the majority of successful attacks gain access through malicious links, emails, and attachments. As these attacks become more sophisticated, it can be more difficult for users to identify the risks and take steps to avoid them. 

Regular security training for employees strengthens the security of the entire organization. Further, ongoing training on the solution can provide more depth into the capabilities of the system while also building on users’ ability to use data, monitor trends, identify patterns, report incidents, and respond to alerts. 

Energy 4.0 Technologies and the Benefits of Continuous Leak Detection and Repair

New Energy 4.0 technologies, including cloud computing and storage, data and analytics, and artificial intelligence are driving new approaches to LDAR that overcome the limitations of existing methods.

Continuous, 24/7 monitoring using fixed OGI sensors provides the operations team with a comprehensive view of facilities, reducing product waste, minimizing emissions, and mitigating regulatory risk. 

By taking a strategic approach to deployment, upstream oil and gas companies can implement effective LDAR programs and monitor multiple facilities from a single remote location, further reducing operations and maintenance costs. 

To learn more about the benefits of continuous LDAR, register to download our recent white paper (registration is required) Overcoming the Challenges of Leak Detection and Repair.