LUMEN provides continuous quantifiable methane detection and real-time cloud-based data for operators
Wireless ground-based and aerial drone-based solutions provide flexibility and cost-effectiveness
Among a range of innovative technologies demonstrated at BHGE’s 20th Annual Meeting
On the first day of its 20th Annual Meeting in Florence, Italy, Baker Hughes, a GE Company (NYSE: BHGE) unveiled a host of industry-leading technologies designed to “move energy forward”, including a new digital integrated platform, LUMEN, to provide continuous and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) methane monitoring for oil and gas operators.
The technology was among a range of innovations being demonstrated at the event which brought together more than 1,000 senior oil and gas leaders and energy ministers from around the world to discuss and debate the latest trends and challenges facing the sector, including tackling the industry’s carbon footprint.
“Methane leak detection is one of the most pressing needs in the oil and gas industry today, and we believe LUMEN is a game-changer for highly-effective methane emission monitoring,” said Diarmaid Mulholland, CEO of BHGE’s Measurement & Sensing business. “Using advanced sensors and industrial software, LUMEN helps operators to protect the environment by detecting harmful methane leaks, and by using advanced data analysis, this technology helps identify and reduce emissions while also increase safety for operators. The applications within oil and gas are just the beginning.”
“In a carbon-constrained world, minimizing methane emissions is a critical path issue for the oil and gas industry. No operator can afford to sit still as service companies and others bring ever more innovative methane solutions to market,” said Isabel Mogstad, a methane solutions expert with the Environmental Defense Fund.
LUMEN includes a full-suite of methane monitoring and inspection solutions capable of streaming live data from sensors to a cloud-based software dashboard for real-time results. The platform consists of two seamlessly connected formats – a ground-based solar-powered wireless sensor network, and a drone-based system for over-air monitoring, – ensuring methane emissions are monitored as efficiently and accurately as possible.
Innovative monitoring strategies like LUMEN go beyond meeting safety and regulatory requirements – which remain extremely important – and can also help increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and minimize pollutants for customers globally.
LUMEN’s ground-based sensor system, LUMEN TERRAIN, is a solar-powered, wireless system that creates a “digital mesh” network around a facility, outdoors, and indoors. BHGE can also take LUMEN SKY airborne with an integrated, multi-faceted UAV system using a state of the art, a combination of TDLAS and OGI technologies, along with high-definition aerial video streaming for unmatched data visualization.
Using proprietary algorithms and machine learning, data, LUMEN provides methane concentration data (PPM), as well as the location and rate of the leak. The data is available in real-time at the touch of a button via a computer or smartphone, giving operators the ability to make quicker, more reliable decisions for their operations.
Visit https://annualmeeting.bhge.com to learn more about the Florence event including the conference agenda and speakers guide, and where the full proceedings from the Annual Meeting will be shared at the close of the event. Visit http://bhge.com/methane to learn more about LUMEN.
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Managing complicated repairs remotely saves oil companies time and money
Replacing parts of an outdated Baker Hughes turbine at a petrochemical plant in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, is about as fun as it sounds. The chore was supposed to halt operations at the facility for at least 10 days and cost $50,000 to fly a specialized U.S. work crew about 9,000 miles. Instead, once the equipment upgrade began last year, it took only five days and zero air travel—just an on-site technician wearing a dorky helmet camera and a few American engineers supervising remotely. They watched and coached the local crew through the helmet from a Baker Hughes site in Pomona, Calif.
Augmented-reality headsets, which overlay digital images on a real-world field of vision, are driving advances in industrial technology a few steps beyond FaceTime. While the likes of Apple, Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft race to develop mainstream AR consumer gadgets in the next couple of years, they’ve been outpaced by oil companies looking for ways to cut costs. Some are simply buying the goggles and building custom software; others are investing directly in AR startups; still others are making the hardware as well. Baker Hughes, a General Electric Co. subsidiary, calls its rig a Smart Helmet. “Traditionally I would have to pay for two people’s travel, two people’s accommodations, and so forth to visit the customer’s site to do the mentoring,” says John McMillan, a regional repairs chief at the company whose team uses the helmet regularly. “It’s saved me a lot.”
Baker Hughes co-created its AR headset with Italian developer VRMedia S.r.l. and wrote its own software. BP Plc says it’s using AR glasses to bring remote expertise to sites across the U.S. Startup RealWear Inc.says it’s signed two dozen other energy companies, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp., to test its $2,000 headset. On March 6, AR software maker Upskill announced a fresh $17 million in venture funding from Boeing Co., Cisco Systems Inc., and other investors.
Remote gear can help experienced workers stay on the job even if they can no longer handle the travel or other physical demands of rig maintenance. “With these technologies, it’s more about the people than the hardware,” says Shell Executive Vice President Alisa Choong. Janette Marx, chief operating officer for industry recruiter Airswift, says remote work is also a good sales pitch to skilled technicians who might be lured by cushier gigs in Silicon Valley.
The bigger prize for oil companies is reduced downtime for equipment. Each day offline for a typical 200,000-barrel-a-day refinery can mean almost $12 million in lost revenue. Offshore oil and gas facilities often halt operations while waiting to fly specialists in by helicopter and, according to industry analyst Kimberlite International Oilfield Research, shut down 27 days a year on average. Little wonder, then, that analyst ABI Research estimates energy and utility companies’ annual spending on AR glasses and related technology will reach $18 billion in 2022, among the most of any industry.
Remote AR work doesn’t always go smoothly. Oil rigs often lack reliable wireless networks, and many headsets don’t yet meet the strict standards for areas near hazardous materials or high-risk jobs. Under certain conditions, for example, the headsets might emit dangerous sparks. That’s one reason many of the oil companies’ pilot programs remain just that for now.
Baker Hughes hasn’t had to worry about those issues yet, says John Westerheide, director of emerging technologies. In Malaysia, engineers were able to view equipment, send images to the headset screen, and talk directly to the on-site workers with few hiccups. “The way that we currently go to work,” Westerheide says, “that’s going to become much more virtual, interactive, and collaborative.” —With David Wethe
BOTTOM LINE – Energy and utility companies’ annual spending on AR and related technologies, which reduce travel and equipment downtime, is expected to hit $18 billion within five years.