With this expected surge in production and associated operating expenses, it’s up to oil and gas companies to adopt innovative solutions that will ensure they are efficient, cost effective and most importantly avoid deferred production. That’s where the connected field worker capability comes in.
By enabling a connected field workforce that can use smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled assets and optimising artificial intelligence – termed ‘new IT’, whole new levels of operational performance and safety can be achieved. To give an idea of the capabilities and benefits of a connected worker, take a look at a day in the life of a connected worker deployed to repair and maintain equipment.
- The artificial intelligence (AI) planning and scheduling bot picks up from the IoT sensors that a well needs manual maintenance attention and creates a work order. It determines which worker should execute the work.
- The connected worker begins the day by logging on through a smart device and receives their integrated schedule of work for the day and the associated route that they should take. Their control centre knows precisely who has logged on, when and in which location.
- The worker’s device interacts with smart sensors in the work environment to verify that they are in the right location and have the right components, tools and materials to complete the tasks. It will warn them if they need extra safety equipment or if they are not authorised to be in certain areas.
- The worker has easy access to smart operating procedures, and both generic and asset-specific instructions and checklists either on their device or through a wearable that can display pertinent information in the worker’s field of vision. Carrying hundreds of pages of unwieldy manuals is a thing of the past.
- At the point of repair, digital coaching capabilities can be provided through a smart device or wearable, enabling the worker to interact virtually with offsite expertise. It can be a huge step forward in safety and efficiency, especially for less experienced workers.
- Once they’ve completed their tasks, the worker simply updates the work order on their device, captures a picture of the asset and adds any comments. All of this is managed seamlessly in ‘on-line’ and ‘offline’ modes of connection.
- The AI bot then analyses time taken on the work order, where the worker is and what are the highest priority jobs to be done and optimises the workers schedule; either directing the worker to continue their preassigned route or to a higher priority job.
- In hazardous and large industrial work environments, the worker would also wear location and hazmat sensors that can monitor, for example, levels of environmental toxin exposure, as well as the worker’s location. This information is provided to the control centre personnel who have a holistic and consistent view of the safety and well-being of all workers.
This scenario demonstrates how a connected worker would be able to complete tasks in a more efficient manner, saving time and in the long run, operational costs. They would also be proactively directed to jobs that maximise production. Maintenance will become a faster process, reducing headaches for oil and gas companies.