This individual case study is graded. Case study assignments are designed for you to apply concepts from the module and perform analysis in the context of a real-world organization.
This case study explores IoT in oil and gas operations.
Please ensure that you have completed and submitted this case study prior to the live session.
Please read the following to learn more about the details of this case study:
Rockwell Automation is one of the world’s largest providers of industrial automation and information solutions. It has customers in more than 80 countries worldwide, and the company has around 22,500 employees. One of its business areas of focus is assisting oil and gas companies in exploration. An example is Hilcorp Energy, a company that drills oil in Alaska. The equipment used in drilling, extracting, and refining oil is very expensive. A single fault in the equipment can cost the oil and gas company around $100,00 to $300,000 per day in lost production. To deal with this problem, technology that can monitor the status of such equipment remotely and predict issues that can likely happen well ahead of time is required.
Rockwell Automation considered it an opportunity to expand its business in the oil and gas industries by gathering data from the exploration sites and analyzing it to improve efficiency and drive better performance. The company is bringing its vision of Connected Enterprise using Microsoft’s IoT to provide monitoring and support of oil and gas equipment placed in remote areas. Rockwell is now providing solutions to predict the failure of equipment using the petroleum supply chain, monitor its health and performance in real-time, and help prevent its failure in the future. They are providing solutions in the following areas:
- Drilling. Hilcorp Energy has its pumping equipment stationed in Alaska, where it drills oil 24 hours a day. A single failure in equipment can cost Hilcorp a lot of money. Rockwell connected electrical variable drives of pumping equipment to the cloud (see next section) so that these machines can be controlled thousands of miles away from the control room in Ohio. Sensors capture data, and through Rockwell’s control gateway, this data is passed on to Microsoft Azure Cloud and then reaches Hilcorp engineers through digital dashboards. Dashboards provide real-time information about pressure, temperature, flow rate, and dozens of other parameters that help engineers monitor the health and performance of the equipment. These dashboards also display alerts about any likely issues. When one of Hilcorp’s pieces of pumping equipment failed, it was identified, tracked, and repaired in less than an hour, saving six hours of tracing the failure and the cost involved in lost production.
- Building Smarter Gas Pumps. Nowadays some delivery trucks use liquid natural gas (LNG) as fuel. Oil companies are updating their filling stations to incorporate LNG pumps. Rockwell Automation installed sensors and variable frequency drives at these pumps to collect real-time data about operations of equipment, inventory of fuel, and consumption rate. This data is transmitted to Rockwell’s cloud platform. Rockwell then generates interactive dashboards and reports depicting these details using Microsoft Azure and sends it to the appropriate stakeholders. This gives the stakeholders a good idea about the health of their capital assets.
The Connected Enterprise solution by Rockwell has accelerated growth for many oil and gas companies like Hilcorp Energy by bringing their operations data to the cloud platform and helping them reduce costly downtime and maintenance. It has resulted in a new business opportunity for industrial age stalwarts like Rockwell Automation.
After reading the case study, please answer the following:
- What type of information would likely be collected by an oil gas drilling platform?
- Does this application fit the three V’s of big data (Volume, Variety, Velocity)?
- Which other industries could use similar operational measurements and dashboards?