5G technology to improve four areas in oil and gas industry
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept.22
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
The promise of 5G would fit multiple areas of both upstream and downstream operation from remote monitoring to current efforts tied to predictive maintenance using artificial intelligence (AI), Trend reports citing Fitch Solutions.
The oil and gas industry has long been an early adopter of technology and the shift to 5G and Industry 4.0 is no different. Rather than a singular push into one technology, Industry 4.0 is the wider adoption of multiple technologies including Industrial Internet of Thing (IIoT), cloud and AI.
5G will be a critical lynchpin for the successful integration of the technologies. The collection of real-time data will support the virtualization of facility operations. Recent advances made in modelling the digital twin of operating assets will gain further adoption as changes in site conditions and interventions can be tested prior to action at the physical site to improve outcomes. The promise of Industry 4.0 together with 5G will usher in a new wave of safer and more efficient operations.
In our view 5G technology will best support oil and gas industry by improving the following areas:
1) Communications will be greatly enhanced as data will be sent from a variety of sensors to operators in order to facilitate rapid analysis for a wider set of geographical dispersed users.
2) Decision making will be enhanced as instrumentation feedback and analysis will provide operators with AI driven solutions which will adjust to conditions in real-time or allow for rapid scenario testing.
3) Control over critical processes will allow for greater safety, operational efficiency and an increase in targeted outcomes.
4) Automation of multiple processes will reduce the amount of human intervention adding a higher level of safety and reductions in cost.
However, we do not expect that 5G will have a significant role in oil and gas operations in the next five years as low oil prices having reduced the capital expenditure outlook. The promise of 5G fits the mould of past investments made in ground-breaking technology for the oil and gas industry. The use of advanced supercomputing, data storage and processing, robotics, and remote sensing are some of the technologies advanced by the industry which have improved their abilities find and produce hydrocarbons. 5G will follow this tradition as it provides a link between the currently simmering but small deployments for IIoT sensor arrays and AI predicative maintenance and decision making, which all have the promise of improved efficiency and cost savings. However, the impacts of Covid-19 have seen oil prices decline sharply and the outlook for a substantial recovery in prices looks unlikely which may discourage research and development for practical applications of this new technology in the near-term.
The cyclic nature of oil prices, a common reoccurring theme of the industry, will see this most recent downturn mirror the investment declines of just five years prior though a recovery in investment looks to be muted in absolute terms which will likely delay a wider implementation of 5G. The slowdown in investment, in particular for large mega-projects, will likely delay the roll out of integrated 5G which uses a full suite of IIoT wireless sensors, machine-to-machine communication and automation. Taking the recent history of the roll out of 4G, launched in 2010, slow adoption and implementation use cases really only began to emerge by 2017. This lag in adoption will likely be mirrored with 5G technology although implementation for existing 4G networks will likely take less time given the lower infrastructure requirement needed to upgrade. The existing 4G implementations will benefit from 5G but will likely not be able to take fully advantage of the fully integrated operations envisioned by industry technologists. While we expect 5G to eventually to become integrated into most aspects of operations, nearterm applications will likely be less ambitious in scope to reflect the heavy emphasis on safety and a need for proved test cases for critical industrial equipment. Given the current state of oil prices and the investment outlook, it is likely that the development of 5G operations will be limited to a narrow set of cost conscious companies rather than an industry wide effort.
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