October 15th, 2013

Mobile apps in oil and gas and other hazard environments

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Oil and gas is one of the most advanced industries in terms of IT technology but yet adoption of mobile solutions by some of the biggest companies in the world has been slow. In this blog we will elaborate about why, how this will change going forward and some good examples of how mobility solutions are being used today.

So what’s the reason that the oil and gas business has been slow?

There are four key aspects:

  • The hardware requirements on devices due to safety standards (ATEX) are only met by a few old devices and not the iPad or newer Android tablets. Specifically ATEX Zone 0 devices.
  • The existing IT infrastructure doesn’t easily support mobile solutions (lacks web services)
  • Security and safety is always top of mind creating barriers to entry for new solutions to be tested
  • In most cases the CIOs and CTOs have been in their jobs for a long time and are not particular open to change

In a survey conducted by Oil and Gas IQ, mobile technology was number 2 of the top ten priorities, and 55% of respondents felt it would greatly enhance their operations, however only 16% have employed a mobility strategy.

What are some of the advantages of mobile solutions?

Benefits

  • Elimination of Paper based data capture and redundancy
  • Promote Condition based Data Capture and Automation
  • Attain Real-time Data Monitoring at Decision Support Centers
  • Provide Real-time Data Accessibility in Fields for Performance tuning

And here are some examples of the type of mobile apps that exist today:

  • Marketing material centric (e.g. Aker Solutions and TenarisLibrary)
  • Computations (e.g. eRedbook, eChartbook and Smiths Bits Quick Hydraulics, Wellcontrol.com, Leak-Off Test, etc)
  • Reference material (e.g. Baker Hughes Rig Count, Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary, Pipeline regulations, etc)
  • Magazine (e.g. e Journal of Petroleum Technology, The Way Ahead, The Oil & Gas Journal and Oil & Gas Gazette)
  • Events (e.g. OTC and SPE Anntual Technical Conference and Exhibition)

Case studies of how enterprise mobility solutions are being used today by oil and gas companies

Examples of where apps can be beneficial in oil and gas.

Example 1: Chevron UWT Mobility

Challenge
Replace paper with a mobile application for remote field data gathering to increase efficiency, speed and reliability

Solution
Chevron’s UWT Mobility is providing real-time dashboards embedded into their business processes and workflows.
Integrates with Sharepoint and Osisoft PI system to collect and expose data

Example 2: BP Device Management and Enterprise Appstore

Challenge
BP needed infrastructure to manage and support 100,000 globally distributed mobile devices, and rapid ramp to large scale deployment including an enterprise appstore.

Solution
DMI implemented MobilIron and a a Mobile Enterprise Application Store.

Result

  • Ramp from 1,000 to 50,000 devices over a 90 day timeframe
  • Almost 100,000 devices currently under management
  • Over 100 enterprise apps selected and available on the BP appstore

Example 3: Oil and Gas apps on the appstore

There are currently a few of off-the-shelf oil & gas related apps available on the appstores demonstrating more genereric solutions including Schlymberg InterACT, Quick Calc Hydraulics, Greasebook, Halliburton eRedBook and Landmark’s OpenWells. These are all fairly simple apps but can be used as inspiration.

What the industry is saying?

How do the companies themselves expect mobile solutions to be used going forward? See illustration at the top of this page on what what executives in the oil and gas industry answered end of 2012.

For production environments many of them have specifically said that they will wait for robust ATEX Zone 0 Android and Microsoft Windows 8 tablets.

Conclusion
Although initial take-up has been slow we expect investments in mobility to accelerate in 2014. According to one forecast by ChaiONE investments will reach as much as $8 Billion by 2014. This is thanks to a combination of a maturity in terms of understanding of enterprise mobility services and advances in technology both on the IT infrastructure side and with rugged device hardware.

Now lets go and help the oil and gas industry make the most out of their mobility investments!

Tags: App development enterprise mobility mobile enterprise strategy Mobility Strategy

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