The Opportunities Edge Offers to Midstream CIOs
Due to the nature of their assets and operations, CIOs in midstream companies need a new IT architecture to drive digital transformation. That’s why they need edge computing to move computing resources to where they’re needed — at the industrial edge, says Jason Andersen, vice president of business line management, Stratus Technologies
For midstream CIOs responsible for overseeing the storage, processing, and transportation of petroleum products, operational excellence begins right at the edge—which must be managed in real time, even when resources or staff are limited. Corresponding McKinseyBy 2025, the deployment of digital technologies such as edge and IoT devices can be worth over $1 trillion for oil and gas companies, their customers and society.
Due to the nature of their industry, CIOs of midstream companies need a new IT architecture to drive digital transformation due to the process of production line of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. To realize the full potential of these emerging digital technologies, CIOs must address unique challenges such as: B. Applying solutions to geographically dispersed and often remote facilities; insufficient computer infrastructure in remote areas; data latency that prevents effective performance and transaction monitoring; equipment availability; minimizing unplanned downtime or disruptions; Management of critical infrastructure as well as security risks and cyber attacks. Edge computing offers added value here.
Enable operational excellence with edge deployments
Edge computing platforms can use virtualization to run multiple applications on a single node with high availability – delivering huge cost savings and faster application delivery. Customer gas and liquid movement tracking and billing and regulatory reporting are critical to midstream operations, providing visibility into product movement and clear logistics.
Oil and gas companies implement edge computing platforms to ensure transaction security and provide data flow for data management services. By moving edge computing to terminal stations, organizations have the freedom to provide transparency and real-time insights into operations that support decision making and increase overall customer satisfaction.
As with any process in the midstream industry, unplanned downtime is expensive and unacceptable as it can take a few hours to resume operations and just one hour of unplanned downtime can cost companies up to $5 million a year a study by ITIC.
Edge computing can help here. By providing real-time visibility into on-site conditions such as power disruptions, pipeline integrity failures and other critical issues by collecting on-site asset performance data, midstream companies can proactively identify problems before downtime occurs. In addition, data historians run on edge platforms to collect time-based datasets for comparison to predictable parameters – offering midstream companies the opportunity to increase energy consumption for better energy management. As the use of edge computing enables midstream companies to operate more efficiently, the responsibilities of the employees working within them will be adjusted.
How edge computing will change the responsibilities of oil and gas workers
The move by midstream companies to integrate edge computing into their tech stacks involves changing the roles and responsibilities of existing employees and new job requirements for future hires. Edge computing enables employees to work remotely, eliminating the need for staff to be on site all the time. The technology also eliminates exposure to hazardous conditions and the need to perform tedious and repetitive tasks such as quality control, process and facility monitoring, providing an opportunity to maximize performance while increasing worker efficiency.
As with any new product or machine, companies want to know how to maintain the machine throughout its lifecycle and what skills are required. Because of the nature of where midstream drilling is located, these sites are remote and not well staffed, let alone qualified IT professionals. Therefore, maintainability is key when investing in new technology to ensure ease of use, efficiency and service effectiveness should problems arise. With edge computing platforms, organizations can reduce the risk of downtime while maximizing employee productivity. While maximizing uptime is a major benefit, the cost and effort of maintaining the system is also critical.
The midstream oil and gas industry uses a technology called digital twins. This technology combines the virtual and physical worlds to improve data analysis and system monitoring to improve design and operations, eliminate downtime, reduce costs, and provide new and value-added data throughout midstream asset development. Beyond physical tasks, midstream CIOs can use these digital twins and AI to run through potential scenarios and make better-informed decisions autonomously.
Another area where edge computing can save time and money is in predictive maintenance — using data like temperature, vibration, and throughput collected by sensors, predictive analytics monitors for any red flags, which are then used to predict When Maintenance Should Be Complete Avoid reduced efficiency or potential equipment failures. Edge computing not only has the power to change the responsibilities of oil and gas workers, but it is helping companies reap the benefits of Industry 4.0.
Opening up Industry 4.0 through the implementation of Edge Computing
An effective edge computing strategy provides midstream operators with easier access to advanced analytics and provides a foundation for tracking advanced Industry 4.0 capabilities. Edge computing equips sensors and machines with the necessary calculations. It provides enough processing capacity to select the input data and allows a system to identify the critical data by applying real-time algorithms and eliminate most errors. These technological improvements lower the overall cost of IIoT devices and allow sensors to be built into all types of machines and equipment. This helps midstream producers collect, process and analyze meaningful data in real-time – creating more opportunities for value creation and cost savings, and making better use of growing data. Midstream CIOs have traditionally turned to data analytics when making critical decisions around big data. This is where operational edge providers need to work with the same level of analytics required to thrive through the seamless flow of real-time data.
Autonomous operations are transforming the midstream industry today. Advances in industrial technology can eliminate all kinds of manual effort and perform other tasks autonomously, reliably, and with high precision. With edge computing, midstream companies have the foundation to thrive, increase profitability, and achieve the outcomes that matter most, including employee safety, advanced decision making, reduced carbon costs, and increased employee and customer satisfaction .
Creating Success by Implementing Edge Computing Platforms
The midstream industry is responsible for continuous, safe, reliable and compliant operations. Edge computing platforms extend powerful, mission-critical applications to the operational edge while simplifying IT management, reducing IT footprint and providing zero-touch operations easily and autonomously. Implementing and running edge computing in midstream industry processes can improve reliability, operational efficiency, product quality, and overall workplace safety. Hoping to accelerate their digital transformation, increase device reliability, and capture data at the point of origin with operational insights, CIOs in the midstream industry should consider adopting edge computing platforms into their processes.