Extending the Office Experience to the Oil FieldIncreases CollaborationField teams connected to office voice, video, & email system.Seamless connectivity = Seamless collaboration throughout the operation.Disseminates InformationField teams have access to all company databases and tools Equipment manuals – Contractor contacts – HSE Training Docs, etc.Improves reporting frequencyReports can be done from the field – in Real TimeOil Field Visibility and Management from the OfficeOperational Video SurveillanceComplete visibility of strategic activities.High resolution video enables advanced security.Process & Control ConnectivityMonitor & Control Equipment Docs, etc.Improved KPIsReports Real TimeEnabling Enhanced Oil Recovery TechniquesEnhanced Oil RecoveryInjection processesInsituCombustion – Polimer injectionFrackingSmart DrillingHigher ROP (Rates of Penetration)Lower NPT (non-productive time)
On a departmental level the goals are much more project-focused. These are the requests we probably hear more about, but they fit squarely within the three Management categories we just discussed.
Because of the many different groups that will use the network, the Intelligent Oil Field should be segmented into logical network groups based on data flow, not on geography. The first logical group is Data Acquisition …Then Data Gathering …Then Data OptimizationAnd finally Data CollaborationThe value of an Open-Standards (Cisco) IP Network is to be able to leverage a single physical network infrastructure on which all of these virtual domains reside. Within each domain there are a myriad of applications, and each of these have different QoS requirements and security levels. We also need to be mindful of security: Points of access to the network, who accesses the network, how, and from where…
From a physical perspective, there are three main portions to the Oil & Gas network. The Core network connects all main and regional offices and holds all servers and field control units. The wireless backhaul network (or TRANSPORT NETWORK) connects the field operations to the Core network. The field operations will include all sensors and SCADA or DCS networks at wells, drilling rigs, and collection sites. Other common applications in the field are Wi-Fi mobile field connectivity, and Operational Video Surveillance networks.The concept is right in line with management’s goals:Extending the office applications into the fieldAndBringing field connectivity into the office.
The number one challenge for any device installed in the oil field is absolute reliability in the harsh environments where oil fields are located. This is especially true for telecommunications equipment since only a few manufacturers are building equipment that meets industry standards for operating temperatures, precipitation, corrosive elements, and intrinsically secure certification. These standards are important because when a communications link fails in the oil field the consequences are dire. There are immediate repercussions to everyone that depends on the information from this link. Additionally, security and safety can be compromised. And because of the remote nature of the operation, it may be days before the link is repaired. In contrast to this, most telecommunications services providers are accustomed to their customers returning faulty cable modems, or cell phones to their office for replacement. This stark contrast in business case explains why it is so difficult to find telecommunications equipment that complies with industrial specifications for reliability.
The next challenge in the oil field is security, and this is a big one. Again, the benchmark for security in most telecommunication products is whatever is requested y service providers. Wi-Fi has WEP and WPA, while 4G has AES encryption and Radius authentication. But the focus of these standards is to keep people from getting free service. In the oil field we are concerned with anyone that has access to our information or who can cause a service interruption. Equipment vulnerabilities allow for threats such as “man-in-the-middle” and “Denial of Service” attacks as well as simply accessing the device through an open data port, or tampering with an existing port. The United States military in conjunction with the Canadian government have developed a standard for security known as FIPS 140-2, where four levels of security are validated through ten categories of tests. Included are cryptography, authentication, switching intelligence, port access, tamper evident enclosure, and multi-layer remote management. FIPS 140-2 is available for export to most all countries and has allowances for lower level cryptography for limited-access countries, without compromising the other nine categories of security. There is no reason that all Oil & Gas operations should use anything less secure than FIPS 140-2 military security in their communications network.
Another rather simple, but important challenge is that of the uplink nature of the data flow.When a radio in the field is receiving, or downloading data, the traffic flow goes from the base station to the remote radio. This is called DOWNLINK TRAFFIC.When a radio in the field is sending data up to the base station it is called UPLINK TRAFFIC. SCADA and ESP control data is primarily UPLINK. Video Surveillance is almost 100% UPLINK. In fact the whole digital oil field consists predominately of uplink traffic. This is important because most Broadband Wireless Access radios (Like WiMAX, LTE, and Wi-Fi) are manufactured for the purpose of Internet service. In these networks, the remote radios are almost always downloading data, like email, photos, or web pages. These systems are not designed for high capacity uplink. When evaluating communication systems for the oil field always evaluate the uplink capacity for data.
The final challenge to the digital oil field is selection of a radio spectrum. The useable spectrum for wireless communications runs from about 600 MHz (used for Radio & TV) to 80 GHz (used for point-to-point microwave). In the middle we have everything from cellular to Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and scientific bands. The physics of radio waves dictate that the lower frequency spectrum (which has long waves) the easier that it will penetrate obstacles permitting Non-Line-Of-Sight capabilities. CLICKWhile higher wavelengths require better line-of-site between antennas in order to function. Another interesting point is that within the many frequency bands are a number of unlicensed frequencies that can be used without a spectrum license. CLICKNotice that the many unlicensed spectrums available are located within the full range of spectrum options. The only difference between using an unlicensed spectrum as opposed to a licensed spectrum is that you are required to share the spectrum with other users. Since most oil fields are very remote the unlicensed spectrum offers all of the advantages of licensed spectrum without the complications of spectrum sharing.
When everything comes together, reliability, performance, and security the results are amazing! The Tatweer Petroleum website shows some key statistics from their first year of smart field operation…145 new wells commissioned 4 deep gas (2 Km) wellsDrilling time reduced from 31 days to under 8 daysImproved security, Health, Safety, and Environmental standards.