The Oil & Gas industry is characterised
by far-flung production sites, adverse environments and demanding operating conditions. Monitoring and managing the equipment and teams that keep production flowing can be made easier and more cost-efficient with low-power, long-range networks of sensors that report conditions back to a central control centre.

An upstream gas production site in a remote location continuously measures operational parameters and transmits them to a control room where a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system adjusts set-points and provides control settings. The network running from the remote well-site to the control centre is powered by solar panels. If there is a failure in power generation of the solar panels or transmission equipment at the site, the entire production process grinds to a halt with a significant cost implication.

An Inmarsat IoT sensor network 
is installed at the well-site to monitor performance of solar panels, health of point-to-point radio links, router up-time and micro-level environmental conditions. Data captured by the sensors is transmitted to the central control room where it is analyzed and acted upon to improve efficiency, safety and site management practices. Adverse events trigger alarms and mobilize the appropriate level of response.

The Inmarsat IoT solution provides centralised access to site-specific conditions that can improve efficiency and operational practices, identifying failure points before they occur so that staff may be deployed and preventative maintenance performed. Furthermore, it reduces the need for manual checks of equipment and for staff to visit distant production sites, generating significant operational savings in addition to the low cost of network installation and operation.

How it works

The Inmarsat IoT solution operates on LoRaWAN™ Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) that are designed to optimise for battery life, range, indoor-outdoor coverage, bi-directionality and cost. It also utilises sensors and applications that are built to send small amounts of data over long distances, a few times per hour from varying environments, in addition to sensors in the field, which collect data and send short packets (chirps) of data to the gateway(s) with which it is associated and which are also located in the field.

The gateway in turn functions as a transparent bridge to forward/receive packets from the sensors to a cloud-based network server via backhaul (satellite, Ethernet, cellular, Wi-Fi). Inmarsat Satellite technologies are used to backhaul data – typically collected in remote regions where traditional terrestrial networks are lacking and/or unreliable. Additionally, as a singular operator, Inmarsat removes the burden of dealing with multiple carriers across geographical dispersed regions and countries.

The Network Server manages the data intelligence and network complexity and will filter redundant received packets, perform security checks, schedule acknowledgements through the optimal gateway, and perform adaptive data rate management (ADR enables capacity scalability). If an end-node is mobile, no handover is required from gateway to gateway, a critical feature to enable asset tracking applications (a major target application for IoT).

The integrated platform provides an end-to-end solution that transmits site-specific data to applications in the cloud for analysis, delivering insights and supporting decision making, and creating value for the end-customer.

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