IoT Blog
IoT Blog

Drilling Down on Oil Rig Data: Connecting Oil Drilling Sites in Remote, Harsh Locations to Improve Operations

Like most companies in most industries today, oil drilling companies want to take advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to digitally transform their businesses. The benefits of IIoT oil and gas well remote monitoring solutions for widely dispersed, remote oil field operations include the streamlining of business processes, business insights from real-time data, fewer site visits and increased worker productivity and safety. However, to deploy IIoT solutions that can provide these benefits, companies need reliable internet connectivity at remote drilling sites, which typically lack the connectivity options available in more built-up areas. Without dependable connectivity, inconsistent connections or extended outages can make using these IIoT solutions frustrating and diminish the benefits they deliver.  

Pason Systems Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, faced this dilemma on a global scale. The company helps oil drilling companies accelerate their digital transformations by providing them with fully integrated solutions for accessing critical drilling information – anytime, anywhere. These capabilities make it easy for clients to collect, manage, analyze and report on drilling data in order to optimize the performance and cost-efficiency of their operations. 

Consistent internet connectivity to their client’s oil field operations is foundational for the success of Pason’s solutions, but drilling sites are often located in remote areas and relocate frequently. This means that Pason typically has to contract with multiple carriers to ensure cellular carrier connectivity to their clients’ drilling sites. This, along with the fact that Pason also has to manage internet connectivity for devices located at thousands of sites across a large geographic area, makes carrier flexibility and remote device management essential if the company hopes to avoid high operational and maintenance costs. In addition, these sites are often located in harsh physical environments, from Northern Canada where temperatures routinely reach -40°C in winter, to the southern United States where temperatures can exceed 50°C during the summer.

Determined to ensure connectivity at its clients’ sites and reduce operational complexity, Pason evaluated several IoT-enabled connectivity solutions, looking for rugged and reliable equipment able to deliver the speed they needed. The company chose to incorporate the Sierra Wireless AirLink® RV50X Industrial LTE-A Gateway into its North American communications services. The industry’s lowest-power and most rugged LTE gateway, the AirLink RV50X is a dual-SIM device, which means Pason can install the same hardware at every site while also improving connectivity by utilizing the carrier service that provides the best connectivity for each particular site. The AirLink RV50X also features Cat-6 LTE connectivity, which supports higher speeds. In addition, carriers are expected to continue to support cellular LTE networks for many years, ensuring the longevity of the solution. The AirLink RV50X’s small form factor also helps simplify deployment, while its rugged design can withstand the wide temperature ranges and other harsh conditions often found at oil drilling sites.

In addition to the AirLink RV50X Gateway, Pason selected the Sierra Wireless cloud-based AirLink Management Service, which enables Pason to remotely manage and update each AirLink device at every client drilling site. Through the AirLink Management interface, Pason monitors the performance of each device, deploys software and security patches as required, and troubleshoots any issues from their office without needing to dispatch technicians.

With the Sierra Wireless AirLink RV50X LTE-A Gateway and the AirLink Management Service, Pason has been able to overcome the internet connectivity challenges associated with remote drilling sites, improving its ability to provide its clients with reliable, end-to-end drilling rig data management solutions. Pason has now deployed AirLink RV50X Gateways on its entire Canadian fleet and much of its United States fleet and anticipates eventual full adoption of AirLink devices across all Pason-equipped North American land-based drilling rigs.

If Sierra Wireless can help companies like Pason overcome the extreme IIoT application internet connectivity challenges of oil rigs in remote and harsh environments, imagine what it can do for you. Read the Pason case study and be sure to Start with Sierra to learn more about the technologies that will enable you to optimize connectivity for your IoT solutions.