Necessity, the mother of invention
Data security should provide protection from threats of all sources – both friends and foes alike. Typically, we think of the classic foe: the “hacker”. These attackers can be smart, adaptive, determined, and even well-funded. They think like you think and know what you are likely to do.
However, a commonly overlooked threat comes from your own employees. In the end, people are people – we all get lazy and make mistakes. Sally can delete a database she meant to copy. Jimmy can leave a door unlocked.
Remote monitoring systems are most valuable when they provide accurate and timely data to the user. Even the best visualization and analysis tools are useless if the source data is missing or incorrect. In computer science, this is known as "garbage in, garbage out". Data quality breakdown can happen when communication paths are unreliable, when sensors fail, or when batteries die. Data gaps or inaccurate readings are almost a certainty when these failures occur. Graphs can become choppy or unreadable. Erroneous alarm notifications, both false positives and false negatives, will
Over the years, I have had many conversations about how to best handle critical alarms. Most recently, a customer from a company in West Texas experienced an oil spill where an alarm notification failed to let him know that a tank was too full and it ran over. The root cause was identified and the reason a notification wasn’t sent was due to communications failure between the HMI and PLC. In this case, the register list in the HMI was being polled by a host system. To mitigate the risk
As any engineer or operator can tell you, operating a midstream gathering system can be a challenge. Along with all the regulatory duties, midstream systems require just as much attention as their upstream counterparts, wellhead production. The geographic expanse of a midstream system presents a fundamental problem: how can I know what is happening on one end of the pipeline while I’m on the other end? With pipelines stretching over multiple counties, states, and even countries, the ability to access data in a timely manner is of the utmost importance.
Technology is rapidly changing everything about how we lead our lives. Can you remember what your life was like before cell phones? computers? microwave ovens? Few industries have remained untouched by the marvels of modern technology, and the oilfield is no exception. From electronic flow meters (EFMs), to emergency shut down equipment (ESDs), to pump off controllers (POCs), there are monitoring and control devices for every function on the modern well. All of this equipment has to be controlled and monitored, which falls in the realm of "SCADA" – an