Expertise - 5 minutes reading

The Benefits of LoRaWAN for Oil and Gas Industries

by Roman Nemish
The Benefits of LoRaWAN for Oil and Gas Industries

The 21st century has brought a digital transformation in the energy markets. Find out the main benefits of LoRaWAN for the Oil and Gas industries.


In the past, the oil and gas industry relied on satellite Internet to track key points in its pipelines and extrapolate the results to determine the performance of the entire system. Now, with the emergence of digital technologies, the situation has drastically changed. Smart remote monitoring applications and solutions can monitor more key points in oil and gas companies cost-effectively with low power consumption. IoT in oil and gas can even delay routine maintenance, and pump and filter replacements.


LoRa-based remote monitoring IoT technologies link oil platforms, industrial equipment, pipelines, and storage tanks. LoRa-compatible connectivity solutions are transforming the oil and gas industry. With a few simple steps, companies involved in oil and gas production can start using LoRaWAN applications and alternative technologies to keep their equipment and operations in tip-top shape, which can help with better decision-making on industrial processes. With the help of LoRa-compatible products, oil and gas companies can effectively monitor their assets and reduce operating costs, avoiding lost revenue with the minimization of downtime possibility.


Critical Facts about the Oil and Gas Industry


The 21st century has brought a digital transformation in the energy markets, presenting intelligent sensors, cellular coverage, oil and gas IoT solutions, and other elements of creating smart low-cost infrastructure. Digital technology has the potential to offer cost savings and efficiencies that oil and gas firms can use to their advantage, especially during an uncertain economy and global pandemic. Oil and Gas (O&G) operations are some of the most complex and mission-critical, partially because of the remote areas and hazardous environments where business is conducted, partially because of the engineering and technical expertise necessary for return on investment, and because of the critical nature of the product and its distribution.


The industrial sector is transitioning from the ISA-95 model of supervisory communications and data acquisition (SCADA) to the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, which brings a new set of asset management technologies to enable the Internet of Things (IoT) and more importantly the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Industry 4.0 began with manufacturing but has become essential for all industrial vertical markets.


Industry 4.0 involves digitally connecting computers and networks to automate systems and ultimately make decisions without human involvement. Sectors such as energy are capitalizing on Industry 4.0 technologies to ensure they can cost-effectively receive more data to boost efficiency, productivity, and safety.


O&G firms have unique applications from pipeline monitoring to predictive maintenance to asset tracking that can benefit from digital technology. Although each operation is unique and has specific requirements, technology providers are stepping in to help address the industry's needs, bringing long-term benefits. The global pandemic has sped up the sector's transformation to digital and heightened the need for devices to improve operational efficiency and productivity.


Influence of LoRaWAN Infrastructure on Oil and Gas Companies


LoRaWAN® oil and gas technology is bringing a transformation to the energy market by allowing it to automate and digitize the vast amount of data and assets that are part of its production and manufacturing operations. As a result, LoRa-enabled sensors lead the way for long-term implications for O&G cost efficiency, worker safety, pressure and risk-free environment, and reliable operations, creating the foundation for numerous energy use cases. The equipment built to LoRaWAN® specifications offers an optimal trade-off of device density, long battery life, and range with secure AES-128 encryption. Built on a sturdy RF link budget of 154 dB in the United States means LoRaWAN® has plenty of capability to coexist and communicate in noisy environments such as an oil field. LoRaWAN® has many advantages compared with other emerging and established wireless technologies; the long-range of the technology without vast infrastructure or the need to manage complicated mesh networks being one of them.


Furthermore, the protocol is effective for propagating RF signals within dense industrial environments such as refineries and greater than 16 kilometers (10 miles) in open upstream oil fields. Equipment runs at low power, which results in IoT devices' battery life of up to 10 years. The price of the sensors and mobile data plan is much less than more traditional options, particularly proprietary wireless technologies often used in energy and cellular 4G and 5G network equipment, not to mention the installation and maintenance fee. Not all IIoT applications require the broadband low latency performance of 5G technology, making LoRaWAN® a more cost-effective and efficient choice.


IoT Deployments for Asset Monitoring


LoRaWAN systems are ideal for asset tracking in manufacturing and production companies. They can track energy use, equipment functionality, and even air conditions, including temperature, humidity, and other valuable information about environmental safety. LoRaWAN IoT sensors and solutions can be placed anywhere, and gateways can handle hundreds of messages per second.


IoT Solutions for Remote Connectivity


LoRaWAN devices can be installed in remote areas and make them more productive due to the ability to transfer data on long distances with low power consumption and affordable cost. LPWANs also provide companies with the possibility to lower overall costs. With low total costs, LPWANs connectivity systems offer cost-effective solutions that significantly improve the productivity and efficiency of infrastructure. Most offshore O&G production is done in remote locations where traditional communications are not available. Low cost and long battery life make LPWANs an excellent choice for these types of operations. The ability to track equipment remotely is essential for minimizing downtime and increasing safety and compliance.


IoT Technology for Predictive Maintenance


Using IoT sensors and cloud connectivity, O&G companies can make use of a variety of IoT technologies. IoT sensors can help them reduce non-productive time, which is an expensive part of the entire drilling process. With IoT technology, these devices can monitor pipeline pressure and oversee drilling processes. They can also detect leakages, and temperature changes, and monitor machinery conditions in the early stages. By integrating IoT and increasing connectivity, oil and gas companies can better manage their assets and save billions of dollars.


What Can TEKTELIC Offer for Industrial IoT Sector?


TEKTELIC has developed a range of gateways and sensors for the industrial sector. For example, TEKTELIC offers KONA Mega Ex Gateway for the industrial IoT sector. KONA Mega Ex is a rugged, highly scalable gateway that supports up to 500 LoRaWAN devices. It features an integrated Cellular 3G/4G Modem and GPS receiver for location tracking. The KONA Mega Ex Gateway is designed to accommodate high flow rates and provide accurate data collection for industrial applications. It offers a wide range of features including flow rate monitoring, data storage, and remote access.

                                   KONA Mega Ex Gateway

Another device, TEKTELIC can offer is Enterprise Ex Asset Tracker. It is a rugged and reliable tracking device that is perfect for industrial IoT applications. It features optional temperature and humidity tracking, asset management, and an accelerometer. Besides, it has a battery life of up to 15 years, which makes it an incredibly money-saving solution.

                                  Enterprise Ex Asset Tracker

Both of the abovementioned devices are equipped with TEKTELIC's proprietary LoRaWAN technology, which offers long-range connectivity and low power consumption. This makes them ideal for industrial applications where battery life is usually a critical factor.


To Sum up


LoRaWAN® technology is the perfect fit for automating tasks that don't require high data rates but do require a wide area of reach and secure data transmission. The low data rate of LoRaWAN® and long-range IoT communications uses a license-free RF spectrum in the sub-GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band. In the United States, the ISM band is at 915 MHz, while European Union ISM is at 868 MHz and 433 MHz in some regions, and 920 MHz is generally the ISM spectrum used in the Asia Pacific region. The LoRaWAN® protocol provides bidirectional communications in a simple star network topology, ideal for connecting sensors & actuators capable of localization for tracking.


TEKTELIC Communications, in turn, is ready to become your partner and guide to the Internet of Things technology. For further information and help, contact our support team.

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