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Dec 12, 2022
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How Can Edge Computing Transform The Oil And Gas Industry?

Introduction

The digital revolution is revolutionizing all business realms. The oil and gas industry makes a great candidate to adopt digital solutions like edge computing, IoT, AR/VR, etc. to meet goals such as operational efficiency and price reduction.

This industry goes through a humongous amount of data generation daily. How this data is collected, consolidated, and analyzed plays a significant role in defining the overall effectiveness of operations as well as the cost incurred.

This blog reflects on the concept of edge computing and how it can be a breakthrough solution for the oil and gas industry leading to improved sustainability and cost-effective business processes.

1. What is Edge Computing?

Edge Computing refers to a new-age computing paradigm where a range of networks and devices is located near the user. Edge is about processing the data at a place where it is generated rather than sending it over to some other place and then getting the results. This helps in quicker data processing and enables faster action on results produced.

2. Importance of Edge Computing for the oil and gas industry

Importance-of-Edge-Computing-for-the-oil-and-gas-industry

Considering the highly competitive nature of the oil and gas industry as well as the unpredictable rise in demand now and then, Digital transformation has become significant in this sector.

The oil and gas industry needs to leverage latest digital technology trends like IoT, AR/VR, edge computing, etc. to open the doors to greater productivity and overall success.

Let’s understand some key processes that edge computing can contribute to in the oil and gas industry.

a. Real-time Data analysis

It is quite tragic that while a huge amount of data is produced in the oil and gas industry daily, a very little fraction of this data is used to get useful insights while the rest of it goes unprocessed. For specification, a single oil rig produces around a terabyte of data every day.

Also, whatever data is analyzed, has to be sent to a remote server where the application is hosted rather than getting real-time data analysis for spontaneous action. The irony is that a single day’s data can take around 12 days to get transferred for analysis. By the time this analysis is completed, the data no longer remain relevant.

The solution lies in Edge Computing. It helps in the real-time analysis of the huge amount of data produced in the supply chain throughout. This solution is valid in varied environments be it remotely located oil rigs, wellbores situated very deep underground or Intense Liquified Natural Gas environments.

Here are the benefits that the oil and gas industry is bound to experience with the incorporation of Edge Computing solutions.

b. Lower Costs

A networking equipment’s bandwidth decides the speed at which data is transferred. Data transfer costs a lot when a large amount of data has to be uploaded to and downloaded from the cloud. Since edge computing allows the processing of data locally, most of this expenditure can be avoided.

c. Lesser Latency Issues

Latency refers to the time taken for the data from the moment it is transferred to the moment it reached its destination and comes back in the round trip. In case of excessive latency, a traffic jam kind of situation occurs. However, edge computing, with its more distributed network, offers real-time responsiveness and removes the entire round-trip journey chaos of transferring and receiving the data.

This way data processing becomes possible near end-user applications like mobile phones, tablets, security systems, etc. Reduction in latency leads to quick and automated decision-making.

d. Increased Reliability

Edge computing ensures increased reliability because of processing data closer to the edge and making security threats and network outages more unlikely. Even without a good internet connection, data can be processed with little to no hindrances. Also, failure at one edge device does not hinder the operations of other edge devices thus ensuring reliability in the entire system.

e. Robust Cybersecurity

Segmenting an edge network is very easy when it comes to security purposes. It is very important to protect network layers because it is the place where all the communication of turning data into information happens to facilitate right and quick decisions. The edge architecture allows cybersecurity so that the data collected remains safe from unauthorized third-party sources.

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3. Major concerns faced by Edge computing

Major-Concern-faced-by-Edge-Computing

Edge computing has some challenges and concerns in the oil and Gas industry sector. Let's have a clear understanding of these challenges.

a. Security

Since edge devices are deployed far outside the data center, security remains a major concern. There is a lack of firm physical security for the data gathered at the edge. Crucial information can be compromised easily with the removal of a disk drive from the edge resource.

Also, with companies deploying more and more edge devices to manage a wide range of operations, tracking and monitoring all these devices becomes difficult. Over time, issues like bandwidth overcrowding can lead to endangered security for multiple devices.

b. Cloud Strategy

If we look at the simplest structure of edge computing, it is a single-edge computer functioning quietly. But this edge computer has to be updated rather frequently to avoid security breaches. And a cloud connection is required for that.

So, a cloud strategy becomes essential for the smooth functioning of edge computers. Not to forget, that while an edge computer certainly adds value, combining data from multiple edge computers and analyzing it is what makes the whole process significant.

So, building a cloud strategy and deciding on factors like which cloud to use and how to analyze data using the cloud is a key element in defining edge computing as a success.

c. Edge Management

Proper management services are required to proliferate edge devices. These management services will need to take care of various functions like calibrating devices, executing repairs, assisting installations, etc. while the edge devices are monitoring the process. The important question is to decide what protocols and practices will govern these services. Also, there needs to be an emerging service industry to facilitate such support.

d. Capital

The oil and Gas industry is lacking in the required capital to invest in edge computing even if it offers perks like greater production, lesser cost, and streamlined operations. The way out can be the incorporation of capital-light business models such that a third party can take care of the capital part in the exchange for some perks.

Conclusions

The whole discussion around using edge computing in the oil and gas industry makes a very strong case because the power of automation when leveraged at the edge or operating front of the oil and gas business can lead to lower costs, and better productivity.

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