Low oil prices might be here to stay, according to many top CEOs. With revenues likely to remain low, oil companies are looking for ways to cut costs and become more efficient in order to stay profitable. And the Industrial Internet is playing a major role.

Analytics, feeding off smart machine data, are contributing to lower expenses in two ways:

  1. Asset optimization, where they maximize asset value and reliability
  2. Operations optimization, where they make operations more efficient and profitable

Asset optimization

An exciting example of asset optimization in oil occurred when the GE Measurement & Control center in Bergen, Norway, created the “birdcage." Also known as the GE Measurement & Control Subsea Monitoring System, the device measures sound and electrical signals from subsea equipment, like oil drills, “listening" for early warning signs of developing leaks and other malfunctions.

In a case study with Shell, the birdcage and data analytics system detected an unexpected transformer shut-down, alerted unstable compressor conditions, and tracked machine speed and load.

Oil equipment on this massive scale is incredibly costly. Preventive maintenance and monitoring through analytics can save businesses from devastating replacements and disasters.

Operations optimization

Efficiency is the other side of cost savings. If oil and gas operations can maximize their output while minimizing their resources, they would be able to increase profitability even as oil prices stagnate.

GE's Field Vantage system is an innovative Industrial Internet solution that's working to optimize electrical submersible pump (ESP) wells. The system not only provides a real-time view of all pumps, it assesses well performance, and ranks wells in terms of financial impact. This allows operators to prioritize the highest performing wells - leading to better efficiency and profitability.

Macroeconomics might create certain conditions that businesses can't change. But through Industrial Internet technology, businesses can retain control and profitability, even in the most seemingly uncertain circumstances.

About the author

Suhas Sreedhar

Strategic Writer at GT Nexus