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August 24, 2016
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An Industrial IoT Offshore Drilling Solution Delivered in Less Than 90 Days



Baker Hughes CEO Martin Craighead says: “If a typical deep water well is like going to the moon, then the Gulf of Mexico ultra-deep water frontier is like going to Mars.”* Safely performing these kinds of complex and high risk operations requires many people to collaborate, share information and make informed decisions quickly.  When great distance separates those performing work from those in supporting roles the challenges are even greater. NASA pioneered the technologies necessary deal with such remote operating challenges during the early space program. The basic principles NASA developed are still practiced today by NASA and many other organizations under the remote operations concept. The importance of remote operations to offshore drilling has recently been recognized by BSEE the governing body for offshore drilling in the United States.  BSEE proposed new regulations that require offshore drillers to monitor safety critical equipment in real-time and archive the data at an onshore facility.  This is a challenging requirement but it’s also serves as an opportunity to use innovative new technologies to enable more safe and efficient operations.

In order to be successful in implementing a remote operating philosophy energy businesses require fluid and flexible data platforms that can quickly integrate raw data and deliver actionable intelligence to people and processes.  Offshore drill ships are minimally manned and operate in very remote parts of the world, where network connectivity with the shore is intermittent, latent and provide minimal bandwidth. For comparison the Apollo missions relied on a 51.2 KB per second back haul, 50 years later a drill ship operating in the Gulf may only have twice that capacity.  Conventional remote monitoring technologies do not perform well under these conditions.  Large volumes of data being end up stranded offshore out of reach for onshore analyst and support team.  Without access to real time / near real time data off shore drillers operate with a limited capacity for remote support, leaving the crew to run one of the most complex and risky operations known to industry on their own.  As a result, many remote drilling operations operate reactively and suffer from unnecessary downtime, equipment failures, efficiency losses, and safety risks.  Bringing the data to the onshore teams increases the collective expertise available to support safer and more efficient operations.

Hortonworks and the Partnerworks community are working with oil and gas companies across all segments of the industry to provide open source solutions for oil and gas related data challenges. Hortonworks and Kepware delivered an Industrial IoT solution in less than 90 days for acquiring and storing time series measurements and related safety equipment data from an operating drill ship.   Hortonworks Data Flow (HDF) was used to aggregate, prioritize, compress and encrypt control system before sending it over a 64 KB/sec satellite link to shore.  This meant they were able to gather real-time operating status from their drill ships, which was previously thought to be too costly due to operational complexities, logistics challenges, and bandwidth constraints.

With data from top drives, BOPs and other equipment now available from the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), every data consumer in the organization from data scientist to BI users can be serviced using a wide range of data access paths available in HDP.  Key data consumption patterns planned include KPI dashboards, condition-based monitoring and maintenance, event-based surveillance, and traditional BI reporting; ensuring safer more efficient offshore operations.  Hortonworks 100% open, enterprise-ready Connected Data Platforms enables the collection and long-term, redundant storage of time-series data and other files pertaining to drilling operations, facilitating integration of data from historically siloed systems for remote operations support and delivery of advanced analytic solutions in oil and gas.

If you would like to learn more, please join us at the IoT in Oil and Gas conference in Houston September 14th – 15Th where we’ll be delivering a presentation on the use case, or email me at


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