It’s a difficult time for the oil and gas industry by any measure.
In addition to low demand during the pandemic driving prices – and profits – ever lower as well, addressing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues have now become indispensable to the industry’s future.
This is partly due to the prominence of ESG scores for public companies, which measure their progress and compliance with ESG standards. These scores are being closely monitored by investors, with investment giants such as BlackRock recently warning they will withhold financial support from companies that don’t do enough to fight climate change.
This development has fundamentally changed the oil and gas industry’s approach to ESG – it’s no longer a worry for tomorrow, but a requirement for companies hoping to stay fiscally viable today. Fortunately, technological advances using AI, IoT and the cloud have forged a remote asset management solution for O&G companies that can not only reduce emissions and accelerate decarbonization but increase efficiencies and production volumes as well.
Passive data collection, active problem-solving
Remote asset management opens many new possibilities for both physical infrastructure and workers that boost efficiencies while reducing pollution, waste and the company’s overall carbon footprint.
On the infrastructure side, one of the clearest examples can be seen in how remote asset management platforms can be integrated within a plant’s control systems.
By applying a wide range of sensors throughout a plant, the system can monitor for irregularities using real-time data. At every plant, there are telltale signs of pending equipment failure that regularly go undetected due to staggered maintenance schedules – minor fluctuations nobody would notice until it’s too late. By monitoring this data against a baseline, or digital twin, the remote asset management platform can produce an alert that a heat exchanger, pump or other piece of equipment needs attention before it causes unplanned downtime.
This technology can also greatly increase the rate at which plants are able to detect fugitive gas and pipeline leaks. In a recent McKinsey report, it was found that the O&G sector needs to reduce emissions 90 percent by 2050 to meet current ESG goals. The study showed that approximately 47 percent of those emissions stem from “fugitive” gas and pipeline leaks – unseen and unaccounted for.
With the help of the real-time data being fed into the system and an AI-assisted response, remote asset management systems can cut the time to detect a leak from the traditional average of two months down to less than 24 hours, reducing emissions dramatically.
Connected workers to the rescue
Relatively recent breakthroughs in 3D laser-scanning technology have enabled the creation of 3D “digital twins” – complete digital replicas of a facility within a quarter-of-an-inch accuracy.
With the help of these digital twins, operators can streamline work and reduce the on-site presence required for many standard operations. Basic walkthroughs and measurements can be taken from a web browser anywhere in the world. Planning and coordination jobs that once required teams of people to converge on a site can now be handled with the ease of a virtual meeting. Experts who previously would have had to make trips to a remote site to assist a field worker can now do so via a live feed through a headset offering “see-what-I-see” real-time views and interaction.
Connected workers contribute to ESG efforts as well. It’s common for facilities to be hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers away from a company’s headquarters. Remote asset management solutions can cut travel time by up to 50 percent, and for every 1,000 kilometers of travel eliminated, 20 kilotons of CO2 are prevented from being released from the atmosphere. Depending on the size of the company, these emissions reductions can quickly add up.
There are further benefits for field workers, as well. Safety is also a big part of ESG, and the easy access to experts, heightened communications and close monitoring provided by these connected solutions ensure on-site workers can do their jobs more efficiently and safely than ever before.
All of these benefits and more can be found in mCloud’s AssetCare platform. mCloud has years of experience providing advanced technologies to the oil and gas industry and have proven success at improving efficiency, lowering waste, cutting cost and boosting ESG compliance for our customers. Visit our AssetCare page to see how we can help you today.