Introduction to Level Monitoring in Oil and Gas Sector
Oil and Gas is not a small industry to scale. From crude exploration to transportation to refining and distribution, it encompasses a myriad of complex operations and processes that facilitate the transformation of raw crude into useful petroleum products.
The oil and gas sector lies beyond the international boundaries and provides a massive contribution to the global economy.
Its field of applications can even cross ground-based terrestrials and require the workforce to indulge in offshore oil production practices.
Volatile market conditions and continuously fluctuating oil prices also impart a tremendous amount of pressure on oil and gas segments to boost the production rate.
Furthermore, it is prone to other challenges associated with oil theft, meeting regulatory compliance, and unexpected accidents like gas leaks. To address and counter these challenges, oil companies are in constant search of new methods and tools.
Internet of Things is one such technology that the oil and gas segment can use to optimize their processes and elevate their operational methodology.
In this blog, we will only discuss IoT powered level monitoring solution and comprehend the benefits that this single application of IoT can present to the oil and gas industry.
So why Choose an IoT Level Monitoring Solution Indeed, there are already several other level monitoring systems that either run on SCADA or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).
However, these wired systems are quite complex and are only accessible within the vicinity of an enclosed facility. Moreover, they present numerous challenges in terms of difficult integration, topographical limitations, and high maintenance cost.
IoT, on the other hand, offers advanced telemetry functionalities that allow users to monitor different variables from far-off locations.
Benefits of Level Monitoring Solution:
Let us look at some of the benefits that the wireless level monitoring solution provides to the oil and gas industries:
1) Improved Operational Efficiency
Plant efficiency and operational excellence are among the essential factors that affect the production rate and quality of products in any industry.
In oil refineries, even a small change in efficiency can make a massive difference in optimum resource utilization, cost reduction, or meeting regulatory compliance.
Level monitoring solution, along with other IoT based systems, can be used to boost the operational excellence of an O&G facility drastically.
The integration of specially built sensors and devices can remotely measure several parameters like temperature & humidity of various equipment along with the fluid level in tanks.
These parameters can be compiled via analytics systems to develop trends and patterns, based on which companies can plan their scheduled inspection and maintenance tasks. This data can also be analyzed via data processing systems and AI/ML algorithms to automate processes conduct predictive maintenance.
2) Tank Farm Management
It is the most common application of IoT based level monitoring in the oil and gas industry. Oil refineries require numerous tanks of varying sizes to store their refined petroleum products.
The volume of liquid that these cylindrical tanks store in them can range from 5000 to 16 million gallons! They are the backbone of the oil and gas companies as they help them to maintain a buffer stock and prepare for a sudden change in supply & demand conditions in the market. Managing a large farm is not an easy feat to achieve.
Various parameters are to be read and continuously watched to make sure that the quality of the products stored in them do not change. Along with the amount of fuel in these tanks, the tank level monitoring system can also be used to measure parameters like temperature and humidity.
The real-time alert system of IoT allows oil companies to gain alerts whenever a particular variable cross the pre-determined threshold limits. This helps them to focus on other essential tasks while leaving the tank inspection tasks on the IoT system.
3) Theft Detection
Fuel theft is not a new challenge for the oil and gas sector. Either through illegal bunkering, pipeline tapping or in some other form, oil thieves have always found a way to get away with the stolen petroleum. Theft of crude and products from trucks is another illicit method that put the economic condition of refineries in turmoil.
In most cases, the truck drivers and handlers are directly indulged in these criminal acts that make theft detection even more difficult. By embedding the level monitoring sensors on the tankers of the truck, the oil companies at all time can monitor the quantity of fuel being conveyed from distant locations.
Moreover, the companies can also monitor other aspects associated with secure fuel transportation, such as the route taken by the trucks and their real-time location. This helps the oil companies to make sure that the fuel is securely transported to petroleum dealers.
The oil and gas sector is the engine of the global economy. It facilitates the flow of valuable crude and its products for various industrial and commercial applications.
However, the industry is reluctant to face several challenges associated with improper resource utilization, theft of oil, and inefficient operation & management.
IoT is one such technology that can be infused in the architecture of the oil and gas industry to counter these challenges. The above-discussed application of IoT based level monitoring shows the potential of IoT in this sector if it is implemented extensively at a large scale.
Moreover, its flexible nature makes it a perfect fit instead of a wired system as it can be extended to other scalable applications if required.
IoT can be blended with other industries associated with different verticals as well.
It is a major driving force that will add automation, analytics, and cognition capabilities in a connected industrial infrastructure and help companies to enhance their revenue streams.
Let us know what you think of Oil level monitoring and its benefits in the comment section below.