Use of Drones for Oilfield Equipment Inventory
- T. Freed (California Polytechnic State University) | M. M. Medizade (California Polytechnic State University) | A. Duong (California Polytechnic State University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Western Regional Meeting, 22-26 April, Garden Grove, California, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Inventory Data Collection, RFID Tag, Remote Operations, Drones, Remote Inventory
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 125 since 2007
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Oilfield tubulars (typically metallic pipes) and other types of oilfield equipment are typically stored in outdoor areas and may be scattered around the field. Managing these types of inventory is challenging and costly, as it requires significant labor resources. Therefore, inventory inaccuracy is common, and data-driven decisions may not be possible in a timely manner.
We propose the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) for tracking oilfield tubulars and similar, outdoor-stored, equipment. Our proposed application utilizes passive ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID technology that enables capturing unique serial identification numbers that are attached to inventory items from a distance of several meters.
Passive UHF RFID tags require no batteries to operate. Typical tag cost is low. Each tag is placed on an inventory item and corresponds to a database entry containing specific information about this item. The tag communicates its serial number using power provided by an RFID reader radio transmission. The RFID reader is securely mounted to the underside of a UAV flown over the field. Captured RFID tags are either stored locally and retrieved once the UAV lands, or are wirelessly transmitted to a constantly updating inventory database. In addition to tag ID, the captured data typically includes time and date stamp, as well as location data.
This research project included the design and manufacturing of an enclosure to house a RFID reader system which includes a host computer, embedded reader, antenna, power source, and necessary components for user interface. Specialized mounts were designed and manufactured to attach the enclosure and antenna to the UAV. The project incorporated the development of "middleware", specialized software installed on the host computer to communicate with the reader. The reader handles low-level communication with the antenna. To reduce network traffic, event management and data filtering are efficiently performed.
The results of several UAV flights in experimental areas are presented and discussed. Various brands of passive RFID tags for oilfield applications were tested. Particular attention was given to population density of the items, stacking configuration, vertical altitude distance between reader and tags, and time to collect inventory data for a given area of surveillance. As RFID applications are increasing in the oil, gas, solar, and other sectors of the energy production industries, UAVs can effectively be used to get important operational and inventory data. UAV use is particularly appealing in inaccessible and remote locations.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||12|
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