Intelligent Assets is SCADA 4.0 for Oil and Gas Operators By Aaron Allsbrook

August 3, 2021

The oil and gas industry has always been a leader in adopting new technologies and processes, especially where it helps to improve overall operations. This culture of innovation has proven to create opportunities previously thought impossible, drive amazing growth, and huge efficiencies.  This culture has also built a strong focus on using technology that transforms processes to drive real savings. Technology for the sake of technology has little room in the oil and gas operations.  With a long legacy of SCADA systems in place in collaboration with many complex pieces of equipment, the industry is now well-positioned for Industry 4.0 and where it offers real value.  


In the industry, Intelligent Assets is often called SCADA 4.0. It is built to provide similar capabilities, but also expand those capabilities beyond the core SCADA data limitations and to allow the data to go well beyond the confines of the field but back into IT and the cloud.  Removing these data silos allows field processes to benefit from existing software investments and makes available new capabilities from AI and big data. Most importantly, Intelligent Assets is designed to hide the complexity of technologies like IoT, Edge, and AI while making them easy to leverage on whatever devices are available.  


With every activity that takes place, safety is always the first concern. Remote monitoring, automation, and predictive maintenance all help ensure that a workplace is functioning as designed and is an ideal environment for workers to perform their jobs. Even more interesting, remote monitoring prevents a truck roll entirely, reducing the exposure and risk we subject employees to.


Regulatory bodies around the world are working hard to understand the impact humans have on the environment. In order to minimize that impact for a sustainable future, they are constantly imposing new regulations. These regulations can limit the amount of venting that may be done, require closeout and clean-up activities, or impose penalties for leaks. In every case, proving compliance with these regulatory requirements is an opportunity for Intelligent Assets to simplify the complexity of generating reports, remove the risk of penalties, and reduce the cost of compliance all while making data available to the public in a standard format. Intelligent Assets provides us the opportunity to be involved with the local communities and to give confidence to all involved that responsible practices are being deployed.  


Day-to-day activities of the drilling, pumping, transporting, and refining of the oil and gas industry can also be simplified with Intelligent Assets. The ability to automate and predict the refill and replenishment of tanks and consumables can reduce the inventory and burden of supplying a remote field.  Applying artificial intelligence to drilling for bit weights can reduce the wear and tear on equipment and drill at lower costs.  Monitoring of equipment with legacy protocol ingestion or modern machine vision for error codes, anomalies, and nonnormal behaviors can reduce outage with quick fixes vs full machine failure.  Tracking and tracing pumps and generators can make sure employees can find equipment when they need it and also provide utilization reports to ensure fleets are optimally sized with tools and supplies.  Finally, advanced sensors from flows to pressures to synthetic microphones allow for understanding where leaks may be occurring.


Intelligent Assets recognizes the complexities of the field.  Its hardware-agnostic approach allows for users to get data from any device in the harshest of conditions using the best-of-breed technology.  Its open data policies allow operators to get the data where they need be it a legacy enterprise asset management system, a critical SCADA system, or on a mobile device via a ServiceNow order.  The protocol flexibility allows for data to be communicated over diverse networks whether it’s public internet, satellite for offshore comms, a private LTE cellular (CBRS) network for secure open field connectivity, or LPWAN for long life battery open field monitoring.  


Understanding that the success of IoT and Edge are dependent on rapid adoption by end-users, Intelligent Assets has taken an operations-focused interface.  From defining assets to creating rules to building out the process lifecycle – no coding is required.  End users themselves are empowered to implement their own processes with simple familiar forms on their desktops, laptops, tablets, or phones.  The technology is focused and accessible for whoever is tasked with improving the field operations. 


As the oil and gas industry moves into the next wave of Industry 4.0 and digitally transforms not just their IT processes but their OT processes, Intelligent Assets is ready to support.  The simplicity, flexibility, security, and openness are providing value in the field today across the operator activities.

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