Innovation in wireless measurement technology presents a significant opportunity to improve wellsite safety and operational efficiency.
Existing wellsite measurement and monitoring systems
The modern oil and gas industry wellsite represents a hazardous environment, in which safety is a paramount concern. During wellsite operations they can present risks to personnel when they’re rigged for a range of different interventions and processes, many of which will require a multiplicity of sensors for load and pressure monitoring.
The majority of these sensors currently use cables to transmit data to the terminal operating system and these cables represent a real and significant trip hazard to wellsite operatives. As an illustration of this risk, in a 2015 article by the International Association of Drilling Contractors on slip, trip or fall risks, electrical cords topped a list of potential wellsite tripping hazards.
Many of the monitoring systems currently in use also consist of legacy equipment which merely monitors the real-time load measurement data and doesn’t capture that data for further analysis, meaning companies working in well intervention are missing opportunities to improve the efficiency of their operations. These same ubiquitous sensor cables are also a cause of both direct cost and, more significantly, of non-productive time.
The strategic case for wireless measurement
The implementation of state-of-the-art wireless load and pressure measurement technology and Internet of Things (IoT) style data capture and processing will deliver tangible benefits in safety and wellsite efficiency while simultaneously leveraging the data generated from multiple sources. This wireless technology, which is based upon available technologies that can be applied in systems that are fully compliant with hazardous area regulations, can make work sites safer for operatives, reduce costs and improve efficiency while increasing the accuracy of load measurement and providing a robust method of archiving data for subsequent processing.
The challenges for digitalization and innovation in the oil and gas sector
There are some clear challenges to innovation in the form of the very necessary hazardous environment regulations applying to the workplace in which detonators and explosive charges are used, and hydrocarbons are extracted. These regulations require that any products, systems or new technologies brought into the wellsite environment must be hazardous area certified.
However, by using proven and trusted wireless technology that is globally hazardous area certified to remove cables from sensors and conveying data wirelessly to the terminal operating system, Strainstall - a world-leader in the development of innovative monitoring solutions, is able support oil and gas wellsite owners and operators in realizing these considerable benefits.
Wireless measurement at the wellsite
Strainstall’s state-of-the-art wireless load cells, pressure transducers and other sensors can communicate directly with wellsite control, monitoring and handling systems while removing the trip hazards of cables and improving the accuracy of data. This wireless technology also eliminates the initial cost of cables and the cost of replacing damaged cables, both directly and indirectly by eliminating a common cause of non-productive time and delays to production.
Reliable and accurate data is perhaps one of the greatest potential benefits of the move to wireless from cabled connected sensors at the wellsite, providing an opportunity for IoT-style data capture, processing and analysis. With direct data logging on the sensors themselves, combined with the fact that both the sensor’s transponder and the handset are self-powered, Strainstall’s systems ensure operational data is always recorded and captured, even if other systems fail. This not only allows users to view records of any overloading the unit may have experienced, extending the useful life of sensors, but also allows service companies to capture lessons learnt and improve their service offering.
Strainstall’s wireless approach to measurement has been proven in applications such as wireline, slickline, and measurement-while-drilling pressure monitoring. But with many further potential applications, this really represents just the beginning of the utilisation of wireless measurement technology in the oil and gas sector. The significant benefits in safety and operational efficiency may be realizable in many further areas of wellsite operations for those willing to embrace this new application of a well-proven, robust and available technology.