How Is RFID Being Used in Oil and Gas?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Is RFID Being Used in Oil and Gas?
RFID Journal Staff asked 6 years ago

Can you please provide some examples of radio frequency identification technology being employed in this sector?




There are many different uses of radio frequency identification in the oil and gas sector. The most common is improving inventory and supply chain visibility. Below are some articles we've written covering oil and gas companies using RFID in this way, as well as examples of some other applications in the energy sector.

Improving Inventory and Supply Chain Visibility
Weir applies RFID to its fracking equipment for servicing and has introduced an app, along with hardware, to enable its oil and gas company customers to digitally track inventory and manage certificates linked to each asset (see Fracking Companies Track Iron via RFID-enabled App).

Swire Oilfield Services, a provider of cargo-carrying solutions, modular systems, offshore aviation services and fluid management, uses RFID to improve supply chain visibility for its energy customers, enabling them to improve operational efficiencies while minimizing costs (see EPCIS Technology Improves Visibility for North Sea Oil Service and Supply Companies).

BP deployed a solution that used RFID and GPS technologies to track components shipped from its European warehouses to South Korea, when it was building a massive offshore oil platform in that country. This helped to ensure that the materials were delivered on time to Hyundai Heavy Industries, which was building the platform for BP (see RFID, GPS Bring Visibility to Construction of BP Oil Platform).

Bechtel is using RFID in the construction of three liquefied natural gas processing and export facilities on Curtis Island, an ecologically fragile mile-long speck of land off the coast of Gladstone, Australia. The company selected RFID to serve as the data-collection heart of a new cutting-edge localized materials-management system (see RFID Helps Bechtel Manage a Megaproject).

JV Driver Group, a provider of industrial construction services to the oil and gas, energy, petrochemical, forestry and mining sectors, has employed a system that utilizes rugged active RFID tags, chokepoint readers, vehicle readers and handheld interrogators to automate the receiving and locating of materials anywhere at its large industrial construction projects throughout Canada (see Using RFID to Locate Materials in Rugged Conditions).

FMC Technologies, one of the world's largest oil-field product manufacturers and service companies, uses radio frequency identification tracking technology to identify parts as they move to and from a well site and into service centers and laydown yards (see Wellhead Manufacturer Tracks Products Via RTLS).

Sempra Energy, a $12 billion Fortune 500 energy services firm that consists of Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric, is saving money by improving its ability to track gas meters using UHF RFID. Before implementing the RFID system, gas meters installed on an estimated 3,300 Southern California Gas customers had not been officially recorded by technicians, a process required to initiate billing. The RFID solution ensures that customers are billed, thereby reducing the paperwork and time spent tracking down unrecorded meters—and learn how the technology saves the company more than a million dollars annually, providing an almost immediate return on investment (see Sempra Finds RFID Energizing Its Revenue).

National Oilwell Varco, one of the world's largest producers of oil-field equipment, has employed radio frequency identification to track mooring, surface and sub-sea assets (see Case Study: National Oilwell Varco).

Tracking Hazardous Materials
The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has developed an RFID system in its effort to track barrels containing sensitive nuclear materials within the DOE's storage facilities. The agency is now able to monitor the barrels' status, 24-7, and issue real-time alerts in the event of any abnormal conditions (see Argonne National Laboratory Tests New Radiation-Sensing Tag).

Dow Chemical employs transponders that combine sensors, a two-way satellite communications modem and GPS positioning. Information transmitted by the device is forwarded to the asset-management platform, enabling the firm to receive regular location alerts and notifications in the event that something goes wrong or violates a defined business rule. This approach allows Dow to monitor thousands of shipments on an exception basis, and to share that information with any necessary agencies (see Web-based System for Monitoring the Location, Security and Status of Hazardous Material Movements).

Improving Safety and Security
Viridis Technologies, a manufacturer of alternative fuel dispensers based in Toronto and Ohio, is using RFID to facilitate safe fueling for green transportation technologies, including natural gas and hydrogen. The system reduces the number of fatal accidents due to faulty equipment on vehicles (see RFID to Ensure Safe Refueling of Natural Gas Vehicles).

BP International has developed an RFID-based control-of-work solution that makes refinery "isolation" work safer and more efficient, and that maintains accurate records updated in near-real time (see BP Refines Maintenance Operations).

Southern Company, an energy company that runs nuclear power plants, has dramatically enhanced the realism of worker training by providing a system for employee monitoring and intervention. The company uses a real-time location system to automatically correlate a worker's actual location with a simulated instantaneous radiation dose, to minimize exposure, reduce health risks and lower utility costs (see Nuclear Plant Operator Uses RFID to Promote Safety).

Dow Chemical, the world's second-largest petrochemical company, tracks remote maintenance workers along 4,000 miles of its Gulf Coast Pipeline, using intrinsically safe RFID technologies (see How Auto-ID Is Being Used to Track Remote Workers Across 4,000 Miles of Gulf Coast Pipeline).

Technology provider GPS Chile is offering a fleet-management solution using Agorabee active RFID technology to link each trailer with a truck, identify the location of the truck and trailer, and gain visibility into when the vehicle leaves its expected route or stops (see RFID Tracks Fuel Trailers to Prevent Theft in Chile).

Tracking Drill Pipe
Petrobras is tracking five-inch-wide drill pipe tagged by Weatherford and shipped to an offshore oil rig operated by the Brazilian energy company. The aim is to more easily verify that the correct pipes are being provided, inspected and maintained (see Petrobras Opts for RFID to Track Drill Pipe).

ProStar Geocorp is deploying RFID technology to offer a holistic solution to track the GPS-based locations of pipes and other equipment in storage and in field installations, using RFID tags and handheld readers (see Geolocation, RFID Companies Selling System for Pipe and Equipment Tracking).

Asset and Tool Tracking
Speedy Services, a provider of rental tools and equipment to the construction and industrial services industry within the United Kingdom, has created a self-service equipment storage and rental solution. The RFID-enabled onsite mobile equipment pod offers flexible hours to accommodate customers, and enables workers to rent the equipment they need, while unused tools remain in the trailer (see RFID Helps U.K. Tool-Rental Company Better Serve Customers).

ENGIE Fabricom tracks nearly 90,000 assets at eight locations with RFID (see Belgian Company Gets an ROI from Its Warehouse-Management Solution).

Downhole Tool Activation
Weatherford has developed a drilling reamer that employs RFID technology to enable multiple, on-demand activations or deactivations any time during the drilling or tripping processes. This smart drilling reamer reduces operating time, as well as risk. Overall drilling efficiency is increased and development economics are improved (see Oilfield Services Company Embeds RFID in Drilling Reamers).

Condition Monitoring
National Oilwell Varco has deployed an RFID system to enable condition-based maintenance in the upstream oil and gas sector (see Advanced Rig Technology and Rig Condition Monitoring).

I hope you find these articles and videos helpful.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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