Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group created | Automation.com

Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group created

July 20, 2008 - Exceptionally high crude prices and surging global demand have led the oil & gas industry to seek out technologies such as RFID as a means of gaining operational insight within their organizations. Everything from streamlining product procurement to enhancing safety and reliability of field equipment can be automated or improved through an RFID technology backbone.

Leading this wave of industry support is the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group. An alliance of subject-matter experts, academic researchers, and technology providers consisting of Texas A&M University, University of Houston, Avery Dennison, Merlin Concepts & Technology, Shipcom Wireless, Motorola Inc, and a handful of leading petroleum companies. This multi-disciplinary field of experts is helping exploration, drilling, and production organizations identify, define, develop, and deploy RFID systems to address fundamental issues that are inherent to their respective fields.

“The group has been created as a means to unify the industry’s direction and synchronize its efforts with respect to product and standards development. Serving as a think-tank and research and development center to build the next-generation of RFID systems for the petroleum industry. We are here to assist and work hand-in-hand with the oil & gas market space to achieve successful and value-added deployment of this technology by supporting these organizations through our comprehensive set of field-experts, our RFID lab facilities, real-world test environments, and standards development roadmaps,” says Dr. Ben Zoghi, Director of the Oil & Gas Solution Group & Professor at Texas A&M University.

The solution group offers an arena for the petroleum industry to communicate their underlying needs and align them with the technology. It offers petroleum companies the ability to voice their requirements for specific applications of RFID and have the experts in the solution group deliver on these requirements. It also offers a way of building a consolidated methodology of exchanging and interpreting information related to the collected RFID data.

“One of the objectives of our group is to provide a concise and clear direction for how the petroleum market can use radio frequency identification technology. This entails defining best-practices, operational processes, data-models, and application architectures. Outlining these steps is a critical precursor to industry adoption. Building this foundation provides a clear view of where and how RFID technology can be used,” says Konrad Konarski, a founding member of the Oil & Gas Solution Group and Vice-President of Merlin Concepts and Technology.

Standards development can embody defining the data-schema of an RFID tag but it can also involve understanding operational conditions. For instance, how the cocktail of chemicals inserted into a drill string affects readability and survivability of a tag. Hydrochloric acid for acid fracturing, hydrogen sulfide from down hole corrosive gases, or barite in the drilling mud, are all factors that determine how RFID technology can be used and how it needs to be designed and developed to work effectively. Understanding these environmental factors helps define best practices that integrators can use to interpret critical components of system development and thereby successfully build RFID technologies for these application areas. EPC Global, the international standards board for RFID technology, is also playing an active part in accelerating this industry’s move towards RFID. The standards board is currently working in collaboration with the Oil & Gas Solution Group to achieve these underlying objectives and develop the next-generation in RFID Systems for this industry.

“A thriving [petroleum] market space brings with it great complexity. Supplier networks have become more intricate, drilling locations more diverse, and consumer markets more wide-spread. As such, there is fundamental need to leverage next-generation technologies such as RFID to enhance asset utilization and streamline operational processes. RFID technology clearly possesses the ability to support the industries growth and address some of its critical pain-points,” adds Alex Heredia, Vice-President of Oil & Gas for Shipcom Wireless and member of the Oil & Gas Solution Group.

With these new RFID systems capable of storing more information, in extreme environmental surroundings, while being read at longer distances, and maintaining lower price points, the industry is in line for a variety of new and revolutionary application areas of the technology. Current uses of the technology include drill-pipe validation, circulation sub actuation, perforating gun triggering, personnel geo-fencing, and supply chain visibility, among others. The list will continue to grow and the adoption rate increase as the Oil & Gas Solution Group and others drive RFID as a business tool that enables process intelligence by revolutionizing procurement, production, and process control.

The Oil & Gas RFID (OGR) Solution Group brings together select industry subject matter experts, academic researchers and technology service providers to identify, define, develop, and deploy cutting edge solutions for Exploration, Production, Drilling, and Product Manufacturing in the Oil & Gas market. By educating and refining the customers understanding of what the technology can do for them, and developing systems with the help of a consolidated effort of Oil & Gas professionals, the solutions group is creating scalable application systems and data standards, and helping generate understanding and adoption of Radio Frequency Identification within the Oil & Gas Industry.
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