Where is the Digital Oilfield, and What Does It Look Like?

Where is the Digital Oilfield, and What Does It Look Like?

What springs to mind when you think of a digital oilfield? Maybe a dedicated physical location somewhere? Some kind of control room or building filled with screens and technology? It’s tough to visualize the digital oilfield because it’s not so much a destination or place as much as it is a process. So, in this sense, maybe the digital oilfield may not look much different. However, if you look closely you can see the digital oilfield elements starting to pop up everywhere from company headquarters to well sites. 

Here’s what to look for:

There are three main components of the digital oilfield. Firstly, there is the electronic equipment that serves as the basis for data collection—devices like sensors, cameras, and microcontrollers for monitoring remote systems in real-time. Secondly, there are the physical networks. Although many networks in a digital oilfield are wireless, they still require hardware to transmit high bandwidth data. Thirdly is the software. Managing and processing huge amounts of data requires special cloud solutions and applications to handle the workflows and analytics. So, the digital oilfield is an all-around energy company operations. How do these components come together, and what kind of outcomes do they produce? The big three ways the digital oilfield is emerging are in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and the industrial internet of things (IIoT).


Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the energy sector depends on data science efforts to extract and evaluate information from many different parts of the business. Through machine learning, AI can analyze numbers independently to make decisions. These AI-led interpretations may come in the form of predicting risks from fault patterns, calculating drilling torque, or detecting malfunctioning pipelines.


Oil and gas automation aims to increase productivity by delegating mundane, repetitive tasks to machines, jobs like pipe handling, and pressure drilling. Removing skilled labor from these jobs frees experts to apply their knowledge to more complex, analytical tasks. Because of the increase in data to be evaluated this type of collaborative, critical-minded work will become more important and more common in the digital oilfield.


IIoT oil and gas applications are a final example of the way the digital oilfield manifests itself. Operational efficiency and risk management can be greatly improved through online devices like GPS technology, oil and gas video surveillance, and RFID detection. With oil and gas industry asset management now online, operational processes like measuring oil pressure, tracking deliveries, and detecting leaks can be done remotely, in real-time.


So, these are what the components of the digital oilfield look like, and the processes they assemble to create. But what are the results? Can you see the digital oilfield by looking at the end product? The obvious goals and optimizing production and increasing operational efficiency. But are there other, finer-grained outcomes where you can see the digital oilfield at work?

First of all, the digital oilfield enables heightened communication and enhanced collaboration across and within teams. With tools like cloud-based productivity apps and PTT oil and gas companies can incorporate data across departments and sites quickly and easily.

Secondly, oil and gas organizations will produce improved environmental outcomes. The more effective field operations and AI-powered intelligence of the digital oilfield results in environmental compliance that is more easily achieved.

Thirdly, oil and gas safety and health measures are improved through digital oilfield initiatives. Wearable tech like biosensors can monitor worker safety, and situations, where a worker may be at risk, will be reduced in the first place through fewer site visits and data-enabled safety protocols.

So, what does the digital oilfield look like? From its components, processes, and outcomes we can see that the digital oilfield is not just all around, its here to stay. To learn more about how Redline’s connectivity solutions support digital oilfield solutions, click here for our ebook.