AT&T and Accenture prep private 5G network for Phillips 66 refinery
AT&T and Accenture have teamed up on private cellular for US oil company Phillips 66. The trio are developing a bespoke industrial LTE and 5G setup for low-latency refinery automation and analytics, they said. The solution utilises AT&T’s public network and edge compute infrastructure.
The story goes that Phillips 66 invited Accenture to address “cellular performance gaps” with its existing public cellular network near one of its refineries in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. Accenture brought in AT&T to provide local spectrum for a private cellular proof-of-concept to afford “increased mobile connectivity” for Phillips 66’s digital transformation initiatives.
The proof uses licensed spectrum from AT&T, plus various multi-access edge components to enable low-latency local compute functions.
In a press statement, Accenture commented: “During the proof of concept, teams were able to bring dedicated private cellular infrastructure onsite and record speed improvements at the refinery. In addition, the cellular reference signals showed the potential for improvement in signal strength at selected process units.”
It said a number of technical hurdles around “operational requirements at the refineries” are still being worked through before the network can go live across the Louisiana facility, and be considered for wider replication.
Zhanna Golodryga, senior vice president and chief digital and administrative officer at Phillips 66, commented: “Mobile applications are central to our day-to-day business activities. We use them for safety inspection forms for oil distillation units, capacity tracking and more. SO connectivity is critical to keeping our operations running.
“The results of the proof of concept are promising. This private cellular network can address existing coverage gaps today and potentially lays the foundation for pervasive connectivity to enable upcoming use cases based on industrial IoT and 5G.”
Chris Penrose, senior vice president of advanced solutions at AT&T, said: “Reliable connectivity is accelerating business transformation and enabling companies to innovate faster than ever before. Our multi-access edge compute solution will help give Phillips 66 the control, performance and security they need from their private network today, while also giving them the flexibility to expand to their other locations in the future.”
Mary Beth Gracy, client account lead at Accenture, said: ”The proof of concept of this private network will enable Phillips 66 to selectively deploy connectivity and enable future digital opportunities across the refineries. We will also work with Phillips 66 to bring ecosystem partners to their private cellular network to give a complete end-to-end view of what is happening across the refineries and its supply chain, so that they can continue to innovate.”