Oil and gas industry’s future lies in technology

To continually safeguard the oil and gas industry, companies must look to technology advances such as digital twins, smart pipelines and more.

By Henry Berry March 18, 2021

Large-scale chemical manufacturing. The advent of vaccines. The Industrial Revolution. Electric power generation. If you were to plot mankind’s technological innovation on a graph, you’d see a scale of growth that is close to exponential.

In this time of global turbulence, it’s clear that the future of any area lies in staying ahead of the curve with innovation, so we should remain hopeful. To continually safeguard the oil and gas industry, we must look to technology advances.

Digital twin technology

Some of the highest running costs in our industry come from employee training, risk assessment, and process management. How do we minimize costs without compromising quality? Extended reality – be that augmented reality on your mobile phone, or virtual reality using a headset – has a place in almost every vertical and horizontal market, and ours is no exception.

Digital twin technology essentially creates and visualizes a mock-up of an environment or equipment for use in situational simulations, presentations to investors, and training for engineers. That’s just the start of its applications. With industry leaders, such as BP and Shell, taking up this technology, it’s clear that the investment would be considered by smaller firms too.

Smart pipelines

From smart TVs to smart toasters, pipelines are the latest on the list of smart solutions. Any opportunity to streamline and enhance your practice should be welcomed.

These pipes, developed by the Japanese steel firm, Marubeni-Itochu Steel, Inc. and Tri-D Dynamics, will have the ability to monitor environmental information around the pipe, and accurately track the working condition of the whole length of the pipe to keep on top of improvements. Optimization ultimately leads to cutting costs, so it’s great to see tech innovators, like Tri-D Dynamics, working on continuous improvement and modernization.

Wearable exoskeletons

Although it might sound like you’re stepping into a sci-fi novel, employees may soon be stepping into full-body exoskeletons to assist with a whole range of areas in the oil and gas industry. The Guardian XO is manufactured by Salt Lake City-based robotics firm, Sarcos Robotics, which undoubtedly has a bright future in everything from assistance in manual labour to risk management. In what is still a labor-intensive industry, in spite of increased automation across a range of tasks; assistance in warehouse work, construction and rig maintenance comes in the form of a full-body suit for employees, that requires minimal training and can support a maximum load of over 200 lbs.

If your task is significantly more complex and dangerous, the Guardian XT might be the better option. A tele-operated robot allows the operator to complete intricate and dexterous tasks – normally only to be carried out by humans – at a safe distance, whilst the robot carries out orders on risky jobs or at height.

New technologies, once restricted to the confines of the imagination, are edging closer and closer to becoming reality, and it is important that the industry progresses and takes advantage of these new technologies. This is the only route that will get us back on track to exponential levels of innovation.

– Learn more about TriStone Holdings, a CFE Media content partner.

Original content can be found at Oil and Gas Engineering.

Author Bio: Henry Berry, director, Tristone Holdings, https://www.tristoneholdings.com/