The hottest arena in the smart grid world is machine-to-machine (M2M) technology—an industry worth $1 trillion. M2M refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type. It’s relevance to the oil and gas industry should not be underestimated. Now it’s about to get even bigger because the cost of sensors used to make M2M possible has fallen so much that they are BEYOND commercially viable; and wireless networks are now cheap and everywhere. This is the next frontier in cross-sector technology.
M2M device use in the oil and gas industry is set to more than double, as these technologies (including SCADA Telemetry– supervisory control and data acquisition) emerge as key differentiators in expediting oil and gas exploration and accelerating operational efficiencies.
Adopting M2M early on enables remote monitoring and allows for more flexible control of assets from wellhead to pipeline. It also enables fiscal metering, drilling monitoring and fleet management, as well as worker safety and accident response.
It means higher productivity and eventually, lower costs for the oil and gas industry.
This is the important part: The number of devices with cellular or satellite connectivity deployed in oil and gas applications worldwide is expected to rise more than 20% over the next several years.
The top two applications for M2M in the oil and gas sector are in-land pipeline monitoring and onshore well-field-equipment monitoring.
The drivers are new regulations, rising operating costs (think unconventional drilling) and increasing competition (a lot more players on the field, and the rising ranks of the juniors).