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Industrial IoT case study: Shell uses the IoT for pipeline monitoring

Oil company Shell is taking advantage of an internet of things (IoT) connectivity solution to improve the company’s monitoring capabilities for its operations in Nigeria. Last year, U.S. IoT connectivity provider Ingenu and Croatian producer of industrial electronics and power electronics devices Koncar Inem delivered an IoT connectivity solution to provide digital oilfield capabilities to the Shell Nigeria pipeline facility.

The Digital Oilfield (DOF) solution provides pipeline surveillance and wellhead monitoring capabilities to remote infrastructure in the Niger Delta.

The DOF solution combines IT automation and instrumentation technologies to provide a support platform to use remote field data while optimizing operational efficiencies. This integrated technology platform offers faster analysis and more efficient data management to provide insight into field processes, resulting in safe and efficient oilfield operation, Ingenu and Koncar Inem said.

In addition to Ingenu’s Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) network technology, Shell evaluated communications solutions including satellite, PI to SMS, and GPRS, which required significant infrastructure investment for towers, radios, data communications equipment, battery banks, logistics and installation.  Ingenu said that its low-power, wide-area RPMA network solution required minimal infrastructure, which resulted in a total project cost savings of more than $1 million over the alternatives.

Utilizing end-point devices enabled with RPMA, Koncar provided Shell Nigeria with a collection of field data pertaining to pipeline pressure, temperature, and flow. The Koncar Remote Terminal Units and wireless pressure and temperature transmitters were installed in flow stations, manifolds, and wellheads to provide connection from the field to the back office, with the aim of ensuring reliable information transmission.

The IoT communications solution was integrated and supported by Upland Consulting, a technology services firm based in Nigeria.

“Upland evaluated several communication technologies to present Shell Nigeria with a solution to replace its manual oilfield data collection processes,” said Bola Awobamise, president and CEO, Upland Consulting Nigeria, Ltd. “The key criteria for selecting a solution were the technology’s ability to cover difficult terrain, power performance, and long-range transmission as well as network scalability, two-way communications, and secure data transmission.”

Ingenu is currently building what it claims to be the world’s largest IoT network dedicated to connectivity for machines only. Operating on universal spectrum, the company’s RPMA technology is a proven standard for connecting IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices around the world, with 38 private networks deployed over seven years, the company said.

Headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia, Koncar Electronics and Informatics is one of the Koncar Group companies. The firm specializes in the development, engineering and design, production, testing, commissioning and maintenance of industrial electronics devices and systems.

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