Alaa ElShimy, MD and VP for Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East spoke to Pipeline Magazine’s Julian Walker about the opportunities for Huawei with the growing digitalisation of the energy industry
How can greater digitalisation help the oil and gas sector?
Based on the report and white paper presented by Accenture and the World Economic Forum at the beginning of 2017 about the oil and gas industry in digital transformation, the report shows that the digital maturity of the oil and gas industry is far lower than that of heavy asset industries such as transportation, telecommunications, banking, and industrial manufacturing.
The former has only a small portion of the data available for decision-making and helps the oil and gas industry develop. Digitalisation can improve the value of the oil and gas industry, such as predictive maintenance, remote operation centre, dynamic energy selection mode, omni-channel retail, and interconnection business. On the other hand, digitalisation can also improve the social value of the oil and gas industry, such as helping customers save energy, increase productivity, reduce water consumption, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. From 2016 to 2025, the report indicates that the digitalisation is expected to bring a new value of US$1.58 trillion for the entire oil and gas industry.
The digital transformation of the oil and gas industry is urgent. Innovative ICT technologies play an important role in digital transformation of the oil and gas industry. As a leading global ICT solutions provider, Huawei has been committed to providing a more efficient and secure one-stop ICT solution for the oil and gas industry, covering the top, middle, and downstream of the oil and gas industry. These innovative ICT solutions include IoT technologies, digital pipeline solution, high performance computing & operation management, and smart distribution solution. To date, Huawei’s oil and gas solutions have been applied in 45 countries and regions around the world, serving 70 per cent customers in top 20 international oil and gas companies worldwide.
How are you bringing more digitalisation to the energy sector?
Oil and Gas exploration: With the deepening of oil and gas exploration, the surface and underground geology of oil and gas explorers are becoming more and more complicated. The seismic exploration technology must be dedicated to improving the signal-to-noise ratio, resolution, fidelity and accurate offset imaging. At the same time, with the deepening of oil exploration, oilfield development has higher requirements on the precision of seismic data. Seismic exploration gradually develops towards high density, wide frequency band, and full wave field.
The amount of seismic exploration data is increasing.
The original data is only hundreds of GB. However, the original data in a working area can reach 100-500TB. Huawei adopts scale-out fi le distributed storage and high-performance servers to help oil and gas exploration and development, shorten the drilling cycle, shorten the service processing period from average hours to minutes, and reduce the data calculation error rate from 10 per cent to 2 per cent.
At present, customers such as KFUPM Petroleum University have adopted Huawei HPC solution to meet the requirements of high-performance computing. Operation Efficiency: Huawei provides a full series of HANA appliance solutions, with the world’s first HANA Benchmark performance. The all-fl ash HANA appliance accelerates HANA read and write operations by 3~6 times, and supports agile and real-time decision making. This feature meets customers’ diversified requirements.
For example, customer transaction (OLTP) scenarios such as CRM, ERP, PLM, SRM, and SCM. Huawei HANA solution helps their data processing time by shortening from 4 hours to 30 minutes.
The average monthly settlement service processing efficiency is increased by 3~5 times. One of our customers - CNPC chose Huawei’s SAP HANA Appliance Solution to address their challenges. This solution is built on Huawei’s FusionCube appliance with its hyper-converged infrastructure. As part of this solution, industry-leading SAP HANA memory database software running on Huawei’s innovative software and hardware platforms brings unprecedented user experience with high-speed performance. IoT for Oil & Gas: Oilfields are located in remote areas, have poor communication infrastructure, and pose higher requirements on bandwidth and data security.
At the same time, hundreds of new oil wells are added every year, and the number of wells that are difficult to monitor and control is increasing, bringing huge production safety risks and personnel safety risks. More and more oil companies have realised that wired and wireless technologies will become effective value-added solutions to monitor oil well production, ensure production safety, and increase production. Huawei provides an industry-leading ICP platform that integrates video, voice, and data services.
It supports cross-platform and multi-terminal linkage production scheduling, improving production management and decision-making efficiency by 50 per cent. The eLTE wireless technology is used to carry oilfield services, and the data collection period is 24 hours to seconds. Digital Pipelines: The biggest challenge for oil and gas pipeline operation is pipeline security. The construction of digital pipes and the informatisation of pipeline transportation have become an important strategy for oil and gas enterprises to implement remote control and efficient operation of long-haul pipelines. Huawei digital pipeline communication solution uses ICT technologies as the service assurance and bearer system for digital pipelines, covering basic networks, converged communications, and comprehensive security. Highly reliable communication network convergence and SCADA, achieving visualised operation and real-time monitoring of oil and gas channels, reducing operation costs by 30 per cent, and reducing 80 per cent of pipe loss.
AGP (Asian gas pipeline), with a total length of more than 1,300 km, has a rugged terrain, harsh climate, and remote locations. It is difficult to build a network along the road and has high security requirements. This poses a great challenge to the pipe builder. In addition, traditional pipe operation, manual operation, and manual periodic inspection cannot meet the requirements of modern pipe management.
Therefore, at the beginning of the pipeline construction in 2009, the construction party requires the construction of the infrastructure, including the communication network and SCADA, at the same time. To meet the preceding requirements, Huawei provides a pipe integrated communication solution, which implements voice, data, and video transmission on backbone transmission devices along the pipeline.
The communication system supports interconnection with devices from multiple vendors and provides a flexible open platform to connect to various security monitoring systems, providing a basis for the construction parties to build its own digital pipeline.
Since the end of 2012, the China Kazakhstan natural gas transmission pipeline had fully realised intelligent comprehensive security management. Pipeline managers can monitor the running status of pipes in real time thousands of kilometres away, collect network running parameters in real time, learn about pipe operation status in a timely manner, and prevent faults in advance. In addition, alarms can be received through short messages, emails, and audible and visual alarms for quick troubleshooting and quick decision making. This greatly reduces management and operation risks and ensures secure, stable, and efficient operation of transmission pipes, the real realisation of the digital management of this energy large artery.
What is your eLTE-DSA Solution?
eLTE-DSA is based on 4.5G and future 5-oriented technologies. It leverages wireless narrowband Discrete Spectrum Aggregation (DSA) technology to help the oil and gas industry build an energy Internet of Things (IoT).
For the oil and gas industry, wireless eLTE technology has become an effective means of communication to support real-time monitoring and mobile inspection of systems and devices, especially in remote and dangerous areas.
The new eLTE-DSA solution overcomes the challenge of insufficient continuous dedicated spectrum resources around the world by using 4.5G technology to aggregate traditional VHF/UHF narrowband discrete spectrum into broadband spectrum resources. The solution supports a minimum latency of 20 milliseconds and mass connections of 4,000 users per cell to enable IoT technologies within the oil and gas industry. This will help oil and gas enterprises drive operational efficiency, seamlessly add new services and help customers achieve energy savings.
What areas are you focusing on in terms of digitalisation of the energy industry?
Huawei is committed to bringing digital technologies to every energy company. Huawei focuses on ICT infrastructure and leverages its technical advantages in cloud computing, Big Data, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate digital transformation of the oil and gas industry.
We provide customers with an open, flexible, and secure ICT infrastructure platform for device-pipe-cloud collaboration to simplify the transition of digital transformation for the energy industry. We are also actively working with ecosystem partners to achieve win-win results, reduce digital transformation costs, and jointly create value for customers.