This article is brought to you by Gaurav Sharma, Forbes contributor and author of Oilholics Synonymous.​

Visiting oil and gas sites in the United States these days would reveal a palpable shift toward operational digital tools and automated kit across the production chain. Head downstream, and you’ll find ‘digital twins’ of Honeywell’s old workhorse of a plant control system – the TDC 3000 – improving productivity by as much as 10 times over.

Head midstream and ABB’s Mobile Leak Detection system and drones would offer precision “3000 times” greater than legacy systems. Look upstream and oilfield service giant Halliburton’s Integrated Asset Management system might be hard at work gathering copious amounts of site drilling data and feeding it to project managers like never before, leading to a halving of well drilling times.

These are just some of the ‘Industry 4.0’ or the fourth industrial wave technologies currently in play stateside, and rivals of the aforementioned companies are also churning out solutions of their own in a competitive sphere. Unquestionably, the impetus came when the oil price slump squeezed margins of US independents, forcing beyond the box thinking.

The innovators accepted the challenge and the industry was better for it, making the US the epicentre …

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