Get ready for smarter and digitised oilfields in Middle East

jackOil and gas companies in the Middle East are exploring ways to make oilfields smarter as the global digital oilfield market is expected to reach US$33.3bn in terms of revenue by 2022

According to Chinese technology firm Shenzhen, integrating smart technology will help enhance recovery rates for the hydrocarbon sector in the region. About 85 per cent of oilfields have been running on systems using analogue technology for operations and communications.

Michio Kaku, keynote speaker of ADIPEC 2014, said that technology will soon dominate the oil and gas sector in the Middle East. “Various pumps can be monitored while data is continuously stored detailing when it was last maintained. Combine that with handheld technology such as iPads and everyone from operations to process engineers are equipped to make better decisions,” he added.

Norman Gilsdorf, president of Honeywell, noted that there is a rise in customers looking to upgrade oilfields. “Many of the region’s large oilfields were developed during the analogue era. As digital technology arrived on the scene, it was more applicable to newer fields. People are not necessarily in a position to go back to the oilfields because investments are in the new fields, but the region is poised to soon take the lead in the digital oilfield revolution,” he said.

Honeywell is currently working with Al Hosn Gas, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Occidental Petroleum, for the UAE’s Shah Gas Development project. The onshore sour gas field is expected to be operational early 2015 after removal of the sulphur element.

“Sour gas contains a high amount of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which makes the processing more difficult. Not only is it expensive, it is also dangerous. Even in small amounts, H2S can prove fatal. Honeywell has supplied an integrated solution from automation to security for gas detection. The company is equipping workers with the gas detection unit that can be used when doing any maintenance, which alerts employees immediately to gas leaks,” said Gilsdorf.

With a large amount of gas supplies in the UAE deemed sour, technology and safety will be a major focus, the Honeywell head added.

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