Putting Digital to Work: IoT for Pipeline Monitoring in Oil & Gas Industry

Nov 10, 2021
Energy and Resources | 5 min READ
IoT Pipeline Monitoring
Pipelines are one the most effective and efficient means of transportation for oil and gas products. The pipelines are spread across the country and are recognized as one of the safest and cost-effective solutions. However, when exposed to natural calamities or manual intervention, it can damage and affect the functionality of the pipeline. Pipeline monitoring is quite important to keep track of any loss by leakages of hydraulic failures. Internet of things offers a feature that feeds real-time pipeline monitoring status to curb product wastage during the supply process. IoT uses intelligent sensors that are placed along the pipeline involving extensive planning and resources.
Todd Wolfe
Todd Wolfe


OT, Energy & Utilities Vertical


The world holds more than 2.5 million kilometers of hydrocarbon pipeline, IoT sensors are now quite accessible and cheap. Smart devices coupled with IoT sensors can help capture a broad category of parameters and configure an end-to-end system. That can detect and locate any potential leak in the pipeline system. Based on SCADA's network ideology, by working with pressure and flow analysis to trigger any leak. A chain of sensors installed at regular intervals can help with leak detection, and this helps operators detect and pinpoint the exact location. In addition, smart sensors and communication channels can speed up the troubleshooting process and cut down any overhead losses caused by potential leakages.
Pipeline Monitoring System Market
The growth in globalization and industrialization is one of the key drivers of the pipeline monitoring system market. The growing trend of smart devices and solutions that can monitor, manage and optimize operations are factoring in for the rise in the market. The next-generation technologies that include IoT, acoustic sensors, and connected pipelines are set to disrupt the market.
Oil and Gas Pipeline Maintenance
Oil and gas companies are extensively working to safeguard their pipelines from saboteurs and natural impacts that affect the operations. Maintenance is the backbone of the pipeline industry; traditional methods require tiring manual pipeline leak detection followed by conditional repairs or replacements to avoid major damages.
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Top Business Painpoints
Oil and gas companies operate in quite physically and politically exhausting environments. In addition to that, the constant change in volatile market prices, demand ratio, and global regulatory regime affect the overall performance. Moreover, to cover extensive pipelines, it involves third-party suppliers, skilled workforce as any mistake or inefficiency can cause a cascade of failures with constant effect.
Employee management, i.e., onboarding and training, and the occasional training, is a critical underlying issue in this industry. The society of petroleum engineers estimates that close to 50% of skilled workers are on the verge of retirement. It is a labor-intensive industry that requires a regular management system to function effortlessly.
Why Digitalize Pipeline Maintenance?
Data-driven insights can improve midstream operations and generate significant operational gains as midstream companies deploy digital solutions during pipeline design and construction, reducing the industry's high capital intensity. In addition, the natural gas industry is beginning to use technologies to maintain and expand systems with investment time and budgets that offer data collection capacities and innovative solutions.
Oil and gas companies need to rely on the IoT's inherent data analysis capabilities to compete in an industry where the need to make quick decisions is critical with massive data sets. Companies implementing big data analytics, sensors, and other new technologies are well-positioned to meet their industry's challenges. The extent of digital adoption in the midstream sector will depend on the company's capacity for change.
Still, they all need to recognize that only 50 percent of existing companies consider data management a high-priority item. Understanding the value of a digital and data-driven approach can reduce annual downtime by 70 percent and reduce unplanned costs to 22 percent of the total compared to 50 percent today. Therefore, maintenance is of paramount importance for midstream companies on the road to digital transformation.
Oil and Gas Pipeline Monitoring System
Technology is the ultimate enabler in managing this complex ecosystem that can efficiently address all the industry's pain points. Embracing IoT and intelligent solutions will eliminate the need for constant routine checks and support. The IoT framework automates the checking process and enables real-time sensor data to initiate effective pipeline systems management.
IoT solution collects and integrates sensor data to get live information at each valve with the remote operation to prevent damage with an immediate alert sent to operators' devices. The major advantage of the IoT platform is the ability to read and analyze pressure pulse from ultrasonic and acoustic patterns and moderate these pulses to the analytics platform.
Putting Digital to Work: IoT for Pipeline Monitoring in Oil & Gas Industry
Putting IoT to Work
IoT works on trend-based predictions to trigger any anomaly in the system; the intelligent pipeline monitoring system continuously scans for patterns and predicts a failure in the pipeline network. With automated mechanisms, the opening and closing of valves trigger intelligent decision-making at an instant alerting emergency services and operators by taking instantaneous safety precautions.
Business Benefits
IoT sensors and remote controls will promote a monitoring solution that can automate all steps by replacing the traditional methods to allow oil and gas pipeline infrastructure to be controlled remotely. This includes overall management of alerting pipelines and dispatching technicians to the pinpoint location.
Lower Environmental Regulatory Non-Compliance
The oil and gas drilling sector has come under scrutiny based on environmental issues such as air and water quality, offshore regulation, and chemical management. While the courts continue to review and challenge federal and state regulations, private parties have filed various lawsuits about pipeline leaks, infrastructure and plant expansions, endangered species, oil and gas drilling, and more.
Putting Digital to Work: IoT for Pipeline Monitoring in Oil & Gas Industry
Lower Financial Losses
Oil companies effectively cut costs, and IoT integration and automation is the most effective solution to control any existing overhead costs. IoT can manage multiple roles in an instant, cutting down the additional labor and management costs. 
Improved Pipeline Uptime
AI and IoT-powered pipeline management can help construct an effective strategy to monitor and operate pipelines. Oil and gas data collection and timely insights can help detect any blind spots and help operators pinpoint the exact cause and following effect of failure and leaks. In addition, predictive maintenance and data insights combined with remote monitoring can help reduce downtime of the companies.
Safer Workplace
Worker safety is important with improved visibility in work environments and regular checks conducted for radiation, exposure, or heat signs. Effective solutions can transform data into information and knowledge that can then be used to improve maintenance operations. Data-driven mapping and digitized data can help any midstream company meet or exceed its own needs and expectations.
IoT technology possesses immense potential monitoring solutions, with a wide scope to expand conventional technology to revolutionize pipeline maintenance. Like SCADA, remote-controlled operations can help optimize operations across the oil and gas industry and reduce failures with immediate effect.
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