Evolving RTU capabilities facilitate expanding oil and gas production

With the growth of unconventional sources, more production assets are being created and put into production. Monitoring and integrating thousands of sites requires a high level of sophistication.

10/03/2013


About 50,000 oil and gas wells—around 40% of the world’s total—are drilled in the U.S. each year, and of these, approximately 10,000 wells are in shale. Increased shale oil and natural gas production is having a ripple effect throughout manufacturing, pushing industrial users to consider natural gas in a different light.

With unconventional exploration, drilling, and production becoming more cost-effective, a large number of assets are being purchased and consolidated. Shale operations are also becoming more mature, shifting from the pioneers to the oil majors, who are bringing standardization of assets, as well as a higher level of sophistication and automation to the process. These initiatives are intended to optimize management of upstream and midstream facilities.

Along with the development of the oil and gas market, RTU (remote terminal unit) technology has advanced to offer enhanced communications, database, and signal transmission capabilities. RTUs serve as bridge points to sensor networks as well as access points to mobile users in the field. They also respond to users’ queries and collect data from specific sensors.

Today’s RTUs help oil and gas companies effectively deal with large distributed operations encompassing hundreds or even thousands of remote production assets. These operations involve complex remote automation and control applications such as gas flow metering, data concentrator and communications integration, wellhead control, pump and compressor control, block-valve automation, and gas stations.

In addition, integration of RTUs with SCADA systems allows operators to visualize what they need to know to simplify management of pipeline and upstream assets while integrating wellhead and production data with refinery-side controllers. With the latest RTU solutions, users are realizing the production potential of distributed assets through efficient remote monitoring, diagnostics, and asset management capabilities. A key feature for these applications is built-in, onboard HART I/O with integration of field device management for interrogating smart instrument diagnostics through the RTU.

Suppliers have made significant strides in improving the overall user experience with RTUs. For example, incorporating removable, plug-in terminal blocks—which simplify wiring and shorten the time required for cabinet assembly—eases installation and configuration requirements.

Additional improvements include modular designs for future expansions and bulk replication capabilities. For example, robust batch configuration tools allow a user to copy the configuration from one template to multiple RTUs, as well as create multiple RTUs in one task. Unique RTU parameters can then be updated from a single page across all copies.

At exploration, drilling, and production facilities, the ability to perform backup data log collection and interrogate field devices over radio-based networks that may not always be reliable, is particularly beneficial. This helps eliminate on-site trips for troubleshooting and maintenance, and enables better decisions around the health of a wide range of remote assets.

Senthil Balasundaram is a product manager for Honeywell Process Solutions.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.