It’s become a common refrain for industrial companies considering a dive into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Start small. Don’t try to boil the ocean or eat the whole elephant or whatever other kind of metaphor you want to attach to the endeavor. The point is to prove it out in one place, then you can roll it out further once you see the payback.
Of course, it’s all relative. For oil major BP, starting small meant deploying advanced analytics on its Atlantis platform in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, first aiming to show that the technology could help prevent unplanned downtime on the offshore oil rig. Now the Plant Operations Advisor (POA), a cloud-based advanced analytics system developed with Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), has been successfully deployed across all four of BP’s Gulf platforms. It’s working across more than 1,200 mission-critical pieces of equipment and analyzing more than 155 million data points per day.
BP has dipped its toe in the water, so to speak. Now that the technology has been successfully installed and tested at BP’s Atlantis, Thunder Horse, Na Kika and Mad Dog platforms, the plan is to roll it out to more than 30 upstream assets around the world.
This is a positive step for BP individually, but it’s also an important move for the oil and gas industry as a whole. Offshore platforms are used to dealing with huge amounts of data. But the ability to use quickly advancing digitalization technologies to get the most value out of that data is essential to operating in a world where the price of oil still falls well below $100.
“BP has been one of the pioneers in digital technology in our industry, and co-development of Plant Operations Advisor with BHGE is a key plank of modernizing and transforming our upstream operations,” said Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s global head of upstream technology. “We expect the deployment of this technology not only to deliver improvements in safety, reliability and performance of our assets, but also to help raise the bar for the entire oil and gas industry.”
BP and BHGE first announced their plans to jointly develop POA in 2016, and have since built a suite of cloud-based IIoT solutions specifically for BP’s oil and gas operations. Built on Predix, GE’s cloud-based data analysis platform, POA applies analytics to real-time data from the production system and provides system-level insights to engineers so operational issues on processes and equipment can be addressed before they become significant. POA helps BP’s offshore assets operate within safe operating limits to reduce unplanned downtime.
“The partnership between BP and BHGE has resulted in a unique set of capabilities that quickly find valuable insights in streams of operational data,” said Matthias Heilmann, president and CEO of digital solutions and chief digital officer for BHGE. “Together, we are creating leading-edge technologies to automate processes and increase the safety and reliability of BP’s upstream assets. As we extend the solution globally, this will become the largest upstream Industrial IoT deployment in the world when complete.”
BP is in the process of deploying POA to its operations in Angola, with additional deployments in Oman and the North Sea scheduled for 2019. As BP continues to expand POA beyond its Gulf of Mexico assets, it also plans to augment the analytical capabilities in the system.