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29 September 2020 | Technology

Recab: Bringing digitization to oil and gas – Reduce cost by up to 20 percent

The offshore energy industry, whether it is oil and gas or offshore wind, is one underpinned by remote and distributed assets, critical operations and harsh environments. As such, it is one of the prime sectors to benefit from digitization and embedded technologies to support improved maintenance and monitoring. Let us guide you through the topic - Bringing digitization to oil and gas

Oil exploration and oil and gas production require analysis of enormous amounts of seismic and geological data. Therethrough the need for advanced and reliable analysis tools is growing – both in terms of sustainable and value-creating decisions.

To maintain a high oil and share price, one is dependent on investments from the financial markets. Therefore, the oil companies must be able to prove that they do things in the best possible way.  And that the oil droplets from the wells go to the least possible polluting purpose. To succeed, the industry must dare to use the latest tools that new technologies bring to the table. And therethrough bringing digitization to oil and gas.

Create “data lakes”
New Technologies, is used to collect and analyze data for future innovation and supports the digital transformation. In the past, there were applications for everything, but now we see increasingly more people choosing to utilize the cloud. By doing this they create “data lakes”, which you can connect to with analysis tools. In this way, the customer can get the most possible business value from the enormous amount of data that exists.

International Data Corporation (IDC) made a prediction in 2014. They suggested that ten times the amount of data already created would be created in the next seven years..  At the same time, technology is constantly developing. And the development makes it possible to process and apply data through even faster processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Enormous increases in the amount of data has also made cyber security climbed higher on the oil companies’ priority list.

Cyber security in embedded systems
There will be an increased focus on predictive maintenance and cyber security, for sure. New standards for implementing cyber security in embedded systems are evolving, and soon to be ratified. We will see that more and more people move home services to have better control of their data. As well as that the insurance industry launches new products that insure companies against computer crime.

In order to collect all this data, modern embedded systems and Industrial IoT are required. The industry must dare to use the latest tools that new technologies bring to the table – bringing digitization to oil and gas.

The main application areas for embedded systems in the offshore industry

The nature of all offshore operations lends itself well to the potential benefits of embedded computing and digitization. Interestingly, one of the areas where we at Recab have seen a lot of projects recently is in offshore wind generation. Wind farms are high-tech and are an ideal Internet of Things (IoT) use case.

Only last year, a report commissioned by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult highlighted the offshore wind sector as lagging behind in adoption and understanding of digital technologies. We are certainly seeing evidence that operators are now addressing that and investing in edge servers for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

Involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
We also see projects for mapping the seabed using lidar scanners and/or cameras, often involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). When using UAVs, the ability to process the data as effectively as possible is very important. We also have more traditional projects for ships, either for navigation or for transmitting data. The value of embedded systems and digitization truly spans all offshore operations.

The key with each of these projects is to consider the environmental conditions. These conditions are arguably the biggest challenge for the development of embedded computing in offshore environments. These systems need to be IEC 60945 compliant, IP67 rated to protect against salt mist and water ingress. As well as being able to operate in a wide range of temperatures and pressures. Subsea projects in the North Sea, for example, will need to function effectively in the very low temperatures, as well as subsea pressure changes.

The reason why more businesses in this area are turning to embedded solutions – Reduce cost by up to 20 percent
The International Energy Agency estimates that digitization can reduce production costs in the oil and gas sector by up to 20 percent. According to auditing and consulting firm PWC, there is great potential for savings through more efficient maintenance and better operation of assets.

Both the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors are characterized by distributed assets and infrastructures in harsh environments. They therefore require ultra-robust embedded platforms for the digital transformation challenge that offers a huge potential for cost savings. There is also further potential for savings in the supply chain. This is through the use of artificial intelligence and integrated platforms that connect organizations with external partners.

By digitizing save up to $1 trillion in capital and operating costs
By digitizing these processes, companies in the upstream and midstream sector can potentially save up to $1 trillion in capital and operating costsBy digitizing. Realizing this potential requires extremely robust embedded edge server technologies, such as those offered by Recab. Our IoT and solution-ready system platforms for solution providers, system integrators and end users are based on these technologies.” The industry must dare to use the latest tools that new technologies bring to the table – bringing digitization to oil and gas.

Our offer to offshore and oil and gas companies
In late 2019, Recab’s partner Congatec introduced a new rugged class of embedded edge server technologies designed for the digitization of the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry. The new embedded edge computing platforms are designed for extended temperature ranges, with optional conformal coating to protect against the effects of salt water or condensation caused by large temperature fluctuations.

In addition, they offer comprehensive server class RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability) features that enable OEMs to dependably manage thousands of devices remotely. As multicore designs with currently up to 6 cores and a particularly low 25W TDP, they are suitable for completely fanless and therefore maintenance-free 24/7 operation in hermetically sealed housings with the highest IP protection classes.

Recab´s Expertise in embedded edge technologies for harsh environments.
For us at Recab, we support with our expertise and experience in  We have been able to design and deploy embedded systems in several maritime projects where there is a need for an IEC 60945 compliant computer that is IP67 rated and resistant to salt mist. The sea simply is not the best environment for a computer. Therefore a lot precautions are necessary for a computer to keep functioning for many years.

We are supporting the offshore business with different flavors of embedded systems, including cost-effective and SWaP (Size, Weight, and Power) optimized solutions based on our baseboard solutions for our COMexpress modules. These projects can be in a variety of applications. Examples are remote operated vehicles (ROVs) for transmitting data from cameras or lidars to process the data before it is sent to the main server. It can also be controlling the sensors in an offshore wind turbine as well as traditional oilrigs.
Choosing the right technologies and system partners will prove essential to success
In recent years, the oil and gas industry has reduced its staff and therefore some companies either do not have the in-house competence or do not have the time to do the development themselves and therefore they turn to us for a helping hand.

The number of units needed in the offshore business is usually small- to mid-size volumes. This is one of the reasons why it makes sense to work with a company like Recab. It is also a sector that is heavily regulated and that appreciates close contact and cooperation with the developing party.

The potential benefits of digitization in the offshore industry are clear: reduced production costs, improved maintenance efficiency and lower capital expenditure. As more offshore companies move to digitize their processes and operations, choosing the right technologies and system partners will prove essential to success.

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