Blog Articles

Using GPS & RFID Technologies for the Gas & Oil Industry

The gas and oil industry is currently facing pressure to become more efficient and this push only increases as global demand for oil continues to rise. However, while companies want to speed up processes, they don’t want to achieve this at the expense of accuracy or regulation, since improving efficiency while maintaining safety and meeting regulations is a constant challenge for oil and gas companies. The loss of mission critical equipment also causes severe disruption to the supply chain and has a major impact on timelines, key deliverables, and on profit margins. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, combined with global positioning system (GPS) tracking, can help in many ways, since both technologies provide an extensive network for tracking the location and condition of equipment, pipelines, and other items used by this industry.

When data, security, and logistics networks run in parallel, gas and oil companies are able to effectively manage their key assets on and off site. Both long and short-range active RFID tags can monitor their assets and alert them according to their predefined variables, whether their main concern is asset longevity or a security-based application. Containers and contents can be tagged individually with different variables programmed according to their requirements. GPS and non-GPS tags usually have standard heat and motion sensors, as well as the capacity for a huge variety of other sensors, such as temperature and moisture gauges, liquid level, and gas emissions sensors. In addition, there are switch tags for monitoring electrical equipment such as door and window locks, fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors.

Several gas and oil companies have already started to use this combined technology. BP recently deployed a solution that used RFID and GPS technologies to track items shipped from its European warehouses to South Korea, when it was building a massive offshore oil platform. This helped to ensure that the materials were delivered on time to Hyundai Heavy Industries, which was building the platform for BP. Petrobras, another company, is tracking a drill pipe tagged by Weatherford and shipped to an offshore oil rig operated by the Brazilian energy company to more easily verify that the correct pipes are being provided, inspected, and maintained. ProStar Geocorp is deploying RFID technology to offer a holistic solution to track the GPS-based locations of pipes and other equipment in storage and in field installations, using RFID tags and handheld readers. [1]

Benefits of Combining RFID & GPS Technologies

  • IoT-Enabled Devices: Companies can decrease costs by using these combined technologies on gas meters and other monitoring devices, since tags can read gas meters remotely and initiate an automated billing process. This ensures that customers receive accurate and timely gas bills. It also cuts back on paperwork and reduces human error, therefore also saving time and money in correcting billing errors.
  • Operational Visibility: This combined technology allows companies to manage the data assigned to each piece of inventory. With an enormous industry like oil and gas, this is a lot of data and RFID makes it simpler to sort this data. They can view the way their business operations work, which enables them to improve their processes for managing inventory and finding ways to cut operating costs. This can streamline work processes effectively, ramping up production while cutting back on workplace errors. Since inventory errors not only hurt productivity but can also be expensive, it only makes sense that companies want to use the best available technology to avoid them.
  • Remote Monitoring: RFID and GPS-enabled tags can track miles of offshore pipeline remotely, so that companies know what’s happening to their equipment in real time even if it’s out on the ocean. When valuable assets go missing and staff don’t have the equipment they need to complete their work on time, it diminishes productivity and results in a failure to meet goals. RFID and GPS can be used to track, monitor, and recover valuable assets and secure the safety of a site and staff.
  • Site Safety & Security: Using both RFID and GPS technology allows each unit to be monitored constantly without pause, as well as enables authorities to monitor where broken equipment and dangerous materials, like radioactive waste, are at all times and if safety has been compromised. By tracking staff, companies can also ensure that they’re exposed to as little radiation as possible. Automated tracking, monitoring, and reporting with real-time alerts delivered straight to a mobile device, alert staff of emergencies; improving the speed and security of company assets as they move through the supply chain from warehouse to site.

Backed by 40 Years of Expertise

We contribute our 40 years of design and manufacturing expertise spanning multiple diverse markets, and we look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for OEMs across the globe. Over the years, we’ve designed and manufactured many products that can be used for the oil and gas industry, like smart meters and RFID tags designed for extreme conditions, like for gas and oil pipelines. For example, we have tags that are specifically engineered to sustain full RFID functionalities where direct human interaction is limited, such as areas of high physical impact, presence of corrosive or toxic chemicals, severe temperature variations, or UV light instability.

Our flagship Chennai location opened in 2006 and lies within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for electronics manufacturing, offering economic incentives for imports and exports. This primary facility is within 90 minutes of the Chennai seaport and 20 minutes to the international airport, with additional road and rail, connectivity linking to the rest of India and beyond, as well as infrastructure advantages with faster import and export clearances. We also have labor force availability, both technical and manual, to rapidly scale to client demand.

To learn more about this topic, please contact us.

Rene VarroUsing GPS & RFID Technologies for the Gas & Oil Industry