Data flow can be just as essential as product flow for midstream oil and gas operators. The operator’s function is to safely transport oil and gas from an extraction point, to a location where it is converted to fuels and then to locations for downstream distribution in the safest conditions. Meter stations, block valves, interconnection points, storage sites and pump stations, capture large amounts of data that can be leveraged to enhance safety conditions and process efficiency during this process.
A single pipeline pump station may contain about thirty field instruments, twelve flow computers and six Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), with each component acting as an origin of valuable operational data insights. Data gathering from pipelines used to be so costly that many oil and gas operators only gathered the minimum data required to be compliant with industrial regulatory standards.
A Solution to Revolutionize Midstream Operations
Midstream operators are now incorporating Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions into their pipelines. New Frontier Technologies and Cisco have partnered to provide a system that combines New Frontier’s technical expertise, the Cisco 1100 Series Industrial Integrated Services Router and Cisco Edge Intelligence. The system is deployed at edge locations like pump stations, gathers data from pipelines and sends it through legacy protocols. The data is transformed at the edge to a form that enterprise applications can process.
The solution is a clear game-changer for midstream operators. Operators previously required four distinct devices to process and route edge data to a cloud server, a network switch, an edge system to convert old protocols to new protocols, and perhaps a firewall to encrypt messages. The solution as a single physical device is sufficient to cater to all these requirements.
Operators are now able to gather exhaustive field data rather than relegating data gathering to those on a polling list. The operations team can attend to new data type requests by the maintenance team by utilizing built-in Edge Intelligence protocol translators.
The solution facilitates continuous data collection, early detection of anomalies. Equipment faults can now be predicted rather than reacted to, for instance, the durability of pump seals is highly dependent on both the peak and regular pressures they experience. This makes it expedient to collect data that includes both parameters, predicting a failure due to pressure spikes can help save pump seal replacement costs.
The solution has been built with robust end to end security to shield sensitive data from security breaches, this installation is complete with TLS encryption, VPN, certificate-based authentication and secure boot. Field engineers possess their own interface to gather, convert and route data from OPC-UA, MQTT, Modbus or EIP/CIP devices while the IT team possesses an interface to develop network templates that ensure secure and consistent device configuration.
The solution has accelerated, simplified, and reduced the cost of deploying a secure industrial network that makes all field data accessible to enterprise applications.
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Olamide is a technology consultant with cognate experience providing digital transformation services for small and large-scale clients globally. With a focus on emerging technologies like IoT, Extended Reality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, he has spent three years developing numerous articles on these knowledge areas for different platforms online and offline.
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