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RFID, GPS Bring Visibility to Construction of BP Oil Platform

The oil company is utilizing Mojix's STAR 3000 RFID system and noFilis' CrossTalk software to track the locations of billions of dollars' worth of goods used in the construction project.
By Claire Swedberg
May 08, 2013

Global oil and gas company BP is employing a combined solution utilizing radio frequency identification and GPS technologies to track every component that it ships from its European warehouses to South Korea, as part of a $10 billion project to build a new offshore oil platform for use in the North Sea. Blaine Tookey, a senior technology consultant to the chief technology office of BP's information technology and services (IT&S) division, described how the solution is being used for the Clair Ridge project at the RFID Journal LIVE! 2013 conference and exhibition, held last week in Orlando, Fla.

BP's chief technology office has conducted 37 different projects to demonstrate the value of using electronic tracking to locate goods and personnel, implemented over the past two years. This, Tookey indicated, has saved the oil company millions of dollars in costs related to locating equipment and ensuring safety. For example, he explained, the technology is used to identify personnel and assets offshore during an emergency, and to optimize the inventory of equipment within a specific region, which can reduce unnecessary reordering or equipment rental.

BP's Blaine Tookey

In the case of the Clair Ridge project, BP wanted to ensure that materials were delivered as needed, on time, to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the company building the top side of the platform.

The new Clair Ridge platform will be deployed in the North Sea, west of the United Kingdom's Shetland Islands, in approximately 500 feet of water. BP has an existing platform there, while the upper (above-water) portions of the new platform—to be installed a few miles from the existing rig by 2015—is currently under construction in South Korea. As part of this process, BP orders parts as needed from vendors worldwide. It then receives those components at one of two consolidation centers in Europe, and ships them to its warehouse near the manufacturing site in South Korea, for staging until each part is required for construction. The components amount to billions of dollars' worth of equipment from hundreds of vendors, Tookey reported.

Before the project began, BP started looking for ways in which to track these parts, in order to ensure they do not end up missing, and that they are available when HHI requires them. The company selected a solution from Mojix, consisting of both GPS and RFID technologies, as well as Mojix's STAR 3000 RFID reader system (see Mojix Announces the Availability of Its Next-Generation RFID System) and noFilis CrossTalk software. GPS units with satellite communication capability enable the firm to track the location of large equipment while in transit on roads, on rail or at sea, while Mojix's STAR RFID solution is installed at the South Korean warehouse to locate goods as they enter the facility, and to identify their location.

According to Tookey, BP's suppliers are attaching a variety of passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to such items as skid-mounted equipment compressors, pumps, electronic paneling, vessels or heat exchangers, as well as to smaller items, including valves or instrumentation packed and delivered in crates. "We want to track everything to HHI," he stated.

USER COMMENTS

Joe McKinney 2013-08-12 06:07:31 PM
The details of the article are very interesting, and very instructive. But for the growth of the entire field of Supply Chain Visibility, the most important statement in the article is this one: "BP opted for a combination of UHF RFID tags to track goods within its warehouse, and GPS tags for use during transit". It is HIGH TIME that the GPS and RFID worlds acknowledge the strengths of the other, and that both acknowledge the important contributions of "old-time" EDI and other data transmissions as the third leg in the total field of Supply Chain Visibility. The best systems will use each component for its highest value contributions, and will cease forcing inapprorpiate usage for the sake of short-term sales results. Thank-you BP, and thank-you RFID Journal. - See more at: http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?10659/2#sthash.SKz5UGbB.dpuf

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