Digitalisation could transform oil and gas pumping
19 Mar 2019
The concept of reliability is both a watchword and in some ways a curse for the oil and gas sector.
It is risk averse because it cannot function in a climate of uncertainty; daring innovation brings with it all manner of unwelcome possibilities for an industry that must place the greatest emphasis on safety – of the environment, its people and for its operations.
Even the need for energy efficiency must accord with this overriding concern. The dilemma is that, where long-term reliability and commercial health are concerned, efficiency will assume an increasingly important role.
There are substantial savings to be made that can generate subsequent reinvestment potential, faster processes and ultimately less downtime. For an oil and gas sector facing greater regulation and rising competition from renewables and overseas sources, this cannot be overlooked.
Advances in what is on offer are helping to tip the balance in favour of efficiency and cautious change
Pumps of course are central to the energy efficiency issue, accounting as they do for such a large proportion of energy use. Likewise, the associated valve and flow control technology and systems.
Advances in what is on offer are helping to tip the balance in favour of efficiency and cautious change. This is in turn encouraging innovators to pay more attention to the oil and gas sector as an arena for product development.
Key developments have included the variable frequency drive and the advent first of intelligent and then fullyintegrated smart pumps. Allied to this, the growth of artificial intelligence and augmented reality have enhanced the prospect of improving efficiency while maintaining reliability levels and maintaining limits on downtime – or maybe reducing it.
And let us not forget that one aspect of greater control is the potential for better process security. Not only in the sense of guarding against day to day workplace stoppages, upheavals and dangers, but also protecting against the sort of hostile intrusions that key industries must guard against with far greater regularity than in the recent past.