BP teams are constantly connected. Offshore teams have 24/7 support from onshore experts, so we have extra sets of eyes on our wells every day.
Once people are trained and on the job, BP uses leading-edge technologies to help its teams see things their naked eyes can’t. These technologies help the company predict where safety challenges might arise so that it can prevent incidents from occurring.
BP’s objective is to identify potential issues and intervene before they become actual problems. For example, in the company’s Upstream business (which explores for, develops and produces oil and gas):
- BP’s Houston Monitoring Center provides round-the-clock support for deepwater well operations in the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that offshore personnel receive 24/7 assistance from onshore experts — and extra sets of eyes on the company’s wells. Specialists in the Monitoring Center are in constant communication with rig teams to help analyze real-time data, focusing on pumps, pits, flow pressures and rates.
- BP employs “downhole” telemetry technology — which enables workers to collect and transmit temperature, pressure and other data from remote subsea locations — to monitor conditions inside its deepwater gulf wells as it prepares them for production.
- BP has tested the use of magnetic “crawler” robots to inspect the pipelines that connect its deepwater gulf wells with its production platforms. The robots take continuous laser measurements of the pipelines, measuring for thickness, corrosion and damage to the protective layering.
- BP has developed a suite of intuitive computer consoles — known as BP Well Advisor — that use sensory technology to gather data about the company’s well operations and then translate the data into simple, real-time indicators to help rig crews and office-based experts enhance safety and performance.
- BP is partnering with GE Oil & Gas to create a new integrated system called Plant Operations Advisor. It applies principles of what is sometimes called “the industrial internet of things” — over which objects and devices can communicate — to provide early warning of potential facility issues and suggest corrective actions. BP is piloting this technology in the Gulf of Mexico during the second half of 2016.
- BP uses infrared cameras to detect leaks from joints, valves and connections that are not visible to the naked eye.
BP also has deployed advanced technologies in its Refining and Renewables businesses. For example:
- At its Cherry Point refinery, BP uses phased array ultrasonic testing to confirm the safety and soundness of piping systems and pressure vessels. This technology allows BP to explore for interior corrosion and other damages, while also assuring weld quality.
- At its Whiting refinery, BP has used unmanned aerial vehicles — or “drones” — to provide early warnings of safety risks.
- At BP Wind Energy’s Houston-based operations center, employees centrally and remotely monitor all 14 BP-operated U.S. wind farms, harnessing innovative technologies to identify and remedy potential issues.