Oil and gas sectors drill for connectivity

For Matt Loh, senior facilities manager for Northstar Energy in Calgary, accessing data from his company’s remote, often unmanned oil wells generally required someone to physically go out and get it. Now, a solution from Calgary’s Wireless Matrix is easing him of that burden.

Dubbed IP Anywhere, the offering is an asset monitoring and control solution that has caught the attention of the oil and gas industry in Western Canada, the company said.

According to Ward Garven, vice-president of marketing for Wireless Matrix, the goal of IP Anywhere is to make any remote device accessible from anywhere you can access the Internet.

“It allows (users) to put the information that is at an (unmanned) remote site…on the desktop of anybody who has access to the Web,” Garven said. “In the past, it required someone to travel out and gather information and would take days or longer to get it back to headquarters. Now they can do it immediately and in real-time.”

Wireless Matrix said that with IP Anywhere, data originates at a remote site data device. Using IP Anywhere’s PAC (Processor Assisted Communicator) technology, the solution communicates directly with controllers and transfers data over a variety of different communications media, such as satellite or terrestrial networks.

“We gather the data. We transport the data across the backbone and we deliver it to clients,” Garven said.

According to Loh, IP Anywhere allows him to access the company’s wells via the Internet.

“Everyone we have out there on the system communicates solely to the satellite and the satellite turns it around and fires it down to Wireless Matrix, who in turn populates the Internet for us,” Loh said. “I can get our data and I can actually control the well.”

Loh said that with IP Anywhere, he has been able to access Northstar Energy wells from all over the world.

He added that with other solutions available, he would have to keep using the same remote devices from the same contractors. IP Anywhere gives him the freedom to use different remote devices and keep up to date on the latest technology.

Garven noted that access to data is based on the rules and regulations established by the company using the solution.

“The solution is completely user-defined and user-managed,” he said.

Garven added that the energy sector is currently the primary rollout target market. He explained that the energy sector has been a leader in terms of adopting new technologies, and above all, it is a sector geared to remote activities.

“The goal is to provide a very powerful service to companies that need critical information delivered to where they make decisions (in real time),” he said.

Wireless Matrix recently announced that it has received orders for an additional 140 IP Anywhere sites in the oil and gas industry. Garven said that 140 sites in the Western Canadian oilfields reflects a very high adoption rate.

“Capital budgets in the energy sector have gone up substantially this year,” he said. “There is a need now for solutions that return value over a period of time. We provide the cost-reduction and the ability to enhance their revenues.”

Although IP Anywhere is primarily targeted to the energy sector, Garven said Wireless Matrix is expanding deployment into other broad vertical markets, including utilities, transportation and environmental control.

IP Anywhere is available now and pricing is based on a nominal cost with a service annuity stream contract. For more information, visit www.wirelessmatrixcorp.com.