New technologies will help exploration- expert

Hany Fahmy Aly, executive vice president, Enterprise Business, du, says technology is making waves in the search for new reserves

Hany Fahmy Aly, executive vice president, Enterprise Business, du.
Hany Fahmy Aly, executive vice president, Enterprise Business, du.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology is emerging as a key differentiator in accelerating exploration within the oil and gas industry.

As a decisive enabler for Smart Cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), M2M technology will transform data collected from sensors at different locations into real time information. Different industries are going to take advantage of this technology such as automotive, utilities, security, health, and especially oil and gas.

One of the primary benefits of adopting wireless M2M technology is that they can be retrofitted to the existing infrastructure, or incorporated in new pipeline projects across the world for real-time pipeline monitoring.

M2M products can be used to monitor remote locations within the oil and gas industry effectively. Products can be found in applications such as the monitoring and control of drills, wells and pipelines providing operational efficiency, avoiding downtime, plant and facility shutdowns, thereby increasing production throughput.

For example, a petrochemical producer can rely on predictive maintenance to avoid unnecessary shutdowns and keep products flowing. Apache Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company, is using this approach to predict onshore and offshore oil pump failures to help minimise lost production. Executives at Apache claim that if the global oil industry improved pump performance by even 1%, it would increase oil production by half a million barrels a day and earn the industry an additional $19bn a year. Take a mining operation, where the ability to quickly conduct an assay of the ore when a drill bit unexpectedly hits hard rock enables miners to resume work in a fraction of the time required before.

Furthermore, other services such as the remote monitoring of storage tanks have been found to be an effective use of the tools. In addition, M2M products can be used to improve the safety and security aspect of the industry by providing a mechanism to monitor the fundamental risks apparent within the industry. While there are inherent risks involved in the extraction, transportation, and management of resources in industries such as oil and gas; the telecommunications sector, with the advent of M2M, can provide services and technology to monitor, in near real time fire alarm systems, thermal fire, radiation, and hazardous chemical detection devices.

In addition, remoteness remains one of the main challenges in providing connectivity to locations within the oil and gas industry, especially where the operator footprint does not extend. Various access mechanisms, other than fibre and mobile M2M connections, are provided for M2M such as satellite and managed Wi-Fi to support these remote wireless services.
Currently the UAE is the frontrunner with M2M technologies in the MENA region competing with top market leaders leading this transformation.

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