IoT & RFID Technology Can Help Ride Out Turbulent Times in Oil and Gas

Oil Refinery

May 6, 2016

The landscape of today’s energy sector is being shaped by complex forces, and as a result, the industry is finding itself in a transformative period. Oil and gas companies are seeking to strike the right balance between cutting costs and spending to preserve production infrastructure and capacity to remain competitive when the market recovers.

The turbulence and complexity of the global market has pressured some organizations to focus on ever greater cost containment. Yet, the wrong cuts can threaten the balance of safety, reliability and productivity, leaving businesses poorly equipped for the next market cycle. In fact, market fluctuations put more pressure on oil producers to make investments to raise output and eliminate unscheduled shutdowns, even while reducing costs elsewhere.

In recent years, the industry has been exploring new technologies to enhance production more cost-efficiently, including Big Data, analytics, cloud and supercomputing technologies. And industry experts believe that technology remains critical to the future of the oil and gas industry.

Wide-Area RFID Technology Enables the IoT

According to the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions, Big Data and emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) offer a new suite of tools to help oil and gas companies maintain efficiency, productivity and safety. IoT solutions enhance and exploit the flow of data from the edge of the network in the field to management, enabling more informed decisions to foster operational excellence and competitive advantage.

Wide-area RFID technology is a key element to enable the IoT. With RFID technology, asset information is available where it’s needed most — at point-of-use with the hardware. Connecting assets in the IoT allows oil and gas operations to track their location at all times whether they’re in the field, on a rig or somewhere in the supply chain. This enhanced visibility not only reduces capital costs and maximizes return, it also helps ensure proper maintenance and certification for improved safety.

But the potential for IoT solutions goes well beyond tracking ‘things’ with RFID. For example, a national oil company deployed an innovative IoT solution that uses low-cost, passive RFID tags to track the location of crewmembers on barges and oil rigs, ensuring that they muster to a safe location in the event of an emergency.


Another example is the use of sensor technology and cloud computing to monitor production in remote and inhospitable environments, mitigating operational risk. Failure of equipment in the field can be extremely costly, both in terms of lost production as well as equipment repair and replacement costs. The application of scalable IoT solutions enables failures to be detected right away, and in some cases to be avoided altogether with advanced analytics and greater visibility into maintenance records.

The key to thriving in the “new normal” of the shifting energy landscape is to focus on the right technologies that make sense for your business. Emerging technologies like Big Data and the Internet of Things allow oil and gas companies to improve production, maintain safety, meet strict regulations and increase operational efficiency.

Are you ready to take the lead when the market kicks back into high gear?

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