connectivity matters
Oil And Gas Private Network April 2, 2015  |  Written by

Between Oil’s Booms and Busts – A Private Wireless Network to Save the Day

There’s been a lot of debate recently on the direction of oil prices over the next 12 months. At the end of February, U.S. crude oil was slated to achieve its first monthly gain in eight months and its biggest monthly gain since 2009. Favorable news for the industry, right? Not so fast.

A recent Forbes Magazine analysis suggests oil trading in a range of $40 to $80 a barrel over the next few years. While we’ll be enjoying lower gasoline prices, traders won’t be experiencing much excitement.

For the Oil & Gas industry itself, the prognostication means confronting a new reality. But help is on the way — since the cost of gathering the next unit of data toward better decision-making is going down. And Kinetic Mesh networks, a type of private wireless network, are among the technologies helping businesses across industries drive down these costs.

Kinetic Mesh networks offer real-time access to critical applications in voice, data and video. While traditional mesh networks are capable in stable environments, kinetic mesh networks have demonstrated greater reliability and security for industries, like Oil & Gas, that require high-levels of mobility, throughput and scalability. Those benefits derive from the fact that adding nodes to the mesh network do not trigger degradation of the network. Rather, the more nodes added, the more paths for communication are established. Each node is independent will full routing capabilities – unlike other networking technologies on the market.

That’s really important, considering Gartner forecasts 4.9-billion connected things will be in use this year, up 30 percent from 2014. That number will reach 25-billion by 2020. That’s a lot of remote equipment to monitor and commensurate data to analyze.

Stagnant oil prices and the sheer growth of connected things are just some of the challenges. The industry also faces more regulations at each level of government – and even internationally. More information is needed in real-time about those connected things – pumps, valves and the like – to make better decisions – and to maintain and secure equipment from real-world and cyber-world villains.

It’s all about communicating in real-time – between and among professionals, but also between and among machines and equipment. Effective process control, production control, platform and vessel communications, equipment surveillance, vehicle and routing dispatch, and employee and contractor communications are crucial elements to a successful business strategy.

A Kinetic Mesh network can facilitate the reduction of non-productive drilling time costs, which equate to about 1/3 of an operator’s average annual drilling budget. It can eliminate manual processes to optimize production. It can increase visibility into safety issues. And create a mobile communications network without boundaries. A combination of sensor technology and mesh networks keeps companies apprised of events in real-time so they can make the crucial decisions necessary to achieve business success – even when markets want to dictate otherwise.

One of the world’s largest producers of synthetic crude oil from oil sands has deployed a Kinetic Mesh private wireless network to reduce costs, expand the number of applications accessible to personnel, and to expedite replacement of older technology – all in an effort to meet target capacity requirements of 350,000 barrels per day.

Moreover, these Kinetic Mesh networks reduce downtime, optimize filled operations, increase asset utilization, and increase safety compliance. Those are comforting benefits for an industry confronting a new world reality.

What’s your perspective on the industry? Feel free to drop me a note at dbaumann@rajant.com.