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Oil and gas operations made safer, more efficient, and more secure

The oil and gas industry is going through challenging times. Clearly the reduced price of oil is top of mind, and organizations are therefore accelerating their move towards digital business to address major business concerns such as profitability, market share, cost controls as well as safety and security. Here is a guest blog from our Global IoE Solutions Lead for oil and gas, Serhii Konovalov that addresses many key areas of concern for our clients:


Serhii Konovalov, Global IoE Solutions Lead for oil and gas

When our energy customers discuss business issues, two areas of concern often come up. Across the board, physical and cyber security are top-of-mind. They are also concerned that worker productivity levels should be higher.

Together with Schneider Electric, we have developed a Smart Connected Pipeline solution, which addresses both of these areas of concern. This solution helps to make pipelines more efficient and safer, and can reduce costs from losses and leaks. It will be of interest to oil and gas customers looking to implement green field (new) installations, or brown field (established) installations where they are looking to upgrade existing pipeline infrastructure.

This new solution addresses the broad pipeline infrastructure, including the control center and converged telecommunications systems. Schneider Electric is particularly versed in pipeline control systems and leak detection systems. They’ve combined their strength in operational technologies with Cisco’s experience in IT networking, security, and enterprise infrastructure. Together we’ve developed a solution tailored for the pipeline industry that:

  • Provides pipeline automation across a unified end-to-end network providing improved visualization in real-time, reducing accidents and detecting leaks faster
  • Can be implemented faster and delivers earlier return on investment because it is pre-engineered and validated.
  • Works with third-party intrusion (TPI) prevention and leak-detection systems (LDS)
  • Offers real-time control room visibility and response to out-of-line situations

Who’s using Connected Pipelines today?

A major integrated European oil and gas company that operates in around eighty-five countries around the world is using the solution to address some critical concerns.

The first concern was the risk of leaks: they wanted to detect and manage leaks better along the pipeline.

The second concern was security: they wanted to implement new physical security services along the pipeline itself, reducing theft and lowering losses. They also wanted to optimize the maintenance downtime to improve product throughput.

They had a mature infrastructure, about twenty years old, and wanted a more agile, responsive, and up-to-date digital solution. Read More »

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Tesla Powerwall May Be a Game Changer for PV Energy Production, but Distribution Networking is Vital

During Elon Musk’s presentation of Tesla Powerwall, a battery system that lets you store energy to power your home, he shared a slide showing a small area of the Texas panhandle – with a small blue square representing the land area necessary to produce enough solar power to meet the entire electric power needs of the United States.

“...very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.”  Elon Musk

“…very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.” Elon Musk

As you might expect, this generated quite a bit of controversy about whether or not his assertion is even within the realm of possibility.

Does Musk’s claim pass the smell test? Read More »

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Summary: Five Keys to Success Leading Digital Business Transformation

mriegelHere’s a summary of Mike Riegel’s latest blog on the IoE Blog site that reaches out to all those in the energy industry, both oil & gas and power utilities:

“As we explored in my previous blog, today’s rampant pace of innovation can be likened to a Digital Vortex, where ideas, technologies, and even entire industries are swept to the center of the Vortex — recombining and merging into disruptive new business models.”

In Mike’s blog he talks about how digital business transformation is critical for all industries. However, Cisco’s Digital Vortex research revealed, 45 percent of companies don’t consider digital disruption a board-level concern. That’s worrying. Mike goes on to talk about the level of complacency, and how organizations had better watch out – there’s a disrupter increasingly in your industry!

The blog elucidates of five key areas which, if adopted, can enable success for those wanting to thrive in the new digital business environment:

  • Lead from the top down
  • Create the Workforce of the future
  • Merge Business Processes and Technology
  • Ideate and innovate FAST (FAST IT)
  • Cultivate the Partner Ecosystem

So, the blog concludes, it is the incumbents that can thrive as the agile disrupters if they play their cards right in this business digitization arena. Singular point-digitization is not enough. Comprehensive digitization is the way forward, involving people, process, data, and things. Find out more about the Digital Vortex  by clicking on the link (the subject of Mike’s next blog).

Refinery factory at the Port of Los Angeles, California, USA

Refinery factory at the Port of Los Angeles, California, USA


What do you think – are you ready to be a disruptor in the Energy Industry, or be disrupted?

My take: The good news is that the utilities companies are at lower risk than others, and oil and gas companies even less, according to the report. Those organizations have embraced digitization and recognize the disruption will most likely come from within, probably owing to the large barrier to entry for outsiders (unlike Amazon taking on retail for example).

Still, don’t be complacent – your competitors are waiting to take further digital business steps, and take market share. You can find out more about cisco digital solutions for oil and gas and power utilities by clicking on the links.

Let me know what you think!


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#CiscoChat: Coming Out Ahead in Oil and Gas with Digital Technologies

Cisco_Chat_oil and gas_TWITTER

The oil and gas industry has been digitized since the 1960s – perhaps longer than any other sector. From digital computers to digital oilfields, the industry has evolved from a monitor and react model, to one of real-time and predictive decision making.

Now, change is coming to the industry. Some compare the scale of this change to what was seen in the Industrial Revolution, one of the most pivotal technological shifts in in history. In that transition, new processes and innovative techniques caused industries to change literally overnight.

Today, we are in the midst of a digital revolution. And once again, industries across the board are on the cusp of radical changes to how they operate and innovate.

During our next #CiscoChat on Tuesday, July 28, 9-10 a.m. PST, we’ll take a deeper look at how the oil and gas industry has embraced this digital revolution, why digital technologies are making companies more competitive, and what it means for the future of the industry.

Digital oil fields, with their sensors and industrial control systems, are a marvel to be proud of. Yet, oil and gas leaders increasingly recognize that this model is plagued with process silos that add expense and cripple agility.

The oil and gas companies that see opportunity are integrating IT, industrial controls, and business processes end to end. They’re breaking silos. They’re defying bandwidth constraints by bringing computing to the data deluge being generated in remote locations.

They’re making sure everything is secure end to end, from board room to well head. They’re using digital technologies to communicate better, keep people safer, and collaborate more effectively.

They’re getting immediate data and better information to make better decisions, faster. And they’re looking toward tomorrow, bridging the talent gap and setting the foundation for an even more amazing digital future.

“How is all this possible?” you ask. This #CiscoChat is where you’ll find the answers.

During our #CiscoChat, @EnergyCisco will be joined by Nicolaas Smit, director of Cisco’s Energy Industry Global Industries Center of Expertise, along with Luis Gamboa, oil and gas market development lead at Rockwell Automation, and Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research. Our panelists will answer questions and provide insight into how an oil and gas firm can transform to be a digital integrated organization through the Internet of Everything. Read More »

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Bit Stew shows off Analytics for Utilities with MIx Director at Cisco Live

We caught up with Andrew Miller, Sr. Sales Engineer from Bit Stew Systems at Cisco Live this year. Bit Stew is a Cisco partner that focuses on the analytics space with a platform that they call ‘Software Defined Operations for the Industrial Internet’. Their solution works with Cisco IOx on a number of Cisco platforms. The demonstration in this video shows just a small part of what they do, but does showcase analytics at the edge (Fog Computing) in a practical way with, in this case, an electrical utility customer.

Bit Stew’s Mix Core platform automates data ingestion, applies machine intelligence to learn patterns in the data, allowing industrial companies to discover actionable insights that optimize operational performance. MIx Director™ (formerly Grid Director™) is powered by the MIx Core platform, and is the application that industrial enterprises rely on for a contextual and real-time view of their operations, assets and customers.

In the Video, Andrew talks about the “Fog Computing” aspects of the MIx Director solution. With this solution running in cisco Grid routers at the edge of the network, a lot of the filtering of data can be done locally, without back-hauling to the data center or elsewhere. So long as everything is ticking along nicely, there’s no need to burden central resources or comms networks with unnecessary traffic. But if something untoward should happen, then operators will get alerts and see in real time what’s happening. Service crews or emergency services can be dispatched and potential disasters minimized. Well, don’t let me steal too much of Andrews thunder. Watch the video to see what happens next!

You can find out more about Bit Stew and some of their key people by reading these other blogs:

There’s a great “point of View” document that talks about the business benefits of the partnership here: Read More »

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