American Oil and Gas Reporter - May 2017 - 25

TECHCONNECTIONS
RFID Technology
Is Beginning To Impact
U.S. Oil Operations
I came across an article the other morning that highlighted
radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology use in the oil
field. RFID is all around us in our everyday lives, and it has
been making its way into the oil patch during the past several
years.
As the name implies, radio-frequency identification uses
electromagnetic fields, or "radio waves," to transmit information
from one device to another. This system uses tags that are
attached to objects that are intended to be identified by the
reader. The reader is a two-way radio transmitter that sends a
signal to the tag and reads its response. The reader decodes this
information and acts according to its designed task, which can
include things such as identifying inventory, tracking athletes'
times at sporting events, and even opening your hotel door.
Because tags are small-sometimes as little as a grain of
rice-and are not required to come into physical contact with the
reader to be read, applications for use in common devices are
almost endless. In fact, RFID technology surrounds us all. The
day I read the article over coffee, my new "per-cup" coffee
maker used RFID technology to identify its own unique cups,
and won't work with others. As I headed out for the day in the
busy traffic, my RFID Ez-Tag opened the gates on the tollway
and charged my account so I could avoid traffic. Back home,
even our little pooch is implanted with an RFID chip that we
can use to find her if she ever gets lost.
In the Journal of Petroleum Technology's April issue, Special
Publications Editor Adam Wilson highlights how RFID technology
is being evaluated to handle deepwater drilling and completion
challenges. Sourced from a paper titled, "Leveraging RFID
Technology for Deepwater Drilling and Completions Challenges
(SPE 181012)," Wilson discusses how RFID tags can be attached
to individual sections of drill pipe to track inventory, joint dimensions, and inspection information. These tags also can be
used to create an automatic pipe tally as sections on their way
down hole are scanned with a reader mounted below the rotary.
Wilson also highlights how RFID technology can be used
during the offshore completion process, where its use is complicated by high pressures, fluid debris, and fluctuating temperatures. In this application, an RFID-controlled stimulation sleeve
is used in the proppant/fracture environment. The tool is activated
when the atmospheric control module is actuated by means of
an RFID tag.
According to another article in the Oil & Gas Journal, RFID
technology has been slow to move into the oil field, with
offshore operations being the first to embrace it. The article
goes on to suggest that the offshore environment is more open
to new technology because incremental improvements in safety
and efficiency often can have immediate payouts. Generally, as
these components become more commonplace and basically
more affordable, they become more attractive to onshore
operations. Essentially, they need to be cheap, reliable, and easy
to use. Over the last several years, RFID is proving this to be a
reality.

"Wireless technology, including RFID, can
improve business intelligence as well as provide

"

a safe working environment.

In The American Oil & Gas Reporter's May 2012 Web exclusive titled, "Trends Reflect Evolving Industry Needs, Challenges," authors Neale Johnson and Hemme Battjes discuss the
ongoing technology investment that companies will need to
make to create efficiencies and reduce costs as pressures rise.
Johnson and Battjes assert that the key to these investments is
to filter out the technologies that provide the greatest value to
an organization.
They go on to say that ongoing use of wireless technology,
including RFID to tag people and assets, can improve business
intelligence as well as provide a safe working environment.
Sensor devices that provide continuous real-time monitoring
capabilities can improve the quality and efficiency of operations,
and tracking and tracing of technologies and employees can increase control and reduce the amount of errors and accidents
for operators.
RFID technology has been making its way into the oil field
for the last several years. It is becoming a more cost effective,
established solution that is being integrated into tools and
products designed to create a more efficient, safe and profitable
oil field. This technology is being integrated into the downhole
tools used in drilling and completion. It is used to track inventory
and supply chains. It's even used to keep employees safe during
operations.
The next time you check into a hotel, or zip through a toll
booth, remember how RFID has evolved and changed so many
things around us, and how it will continue to impact our industry
moving forward.
r

JEREMY VISCOMI is the Mid-

Continent regional lead for
the Petroleum Technology
Transfer Council. He has more
than a decade of experience
in developing and organizing
technical conferences and special events, primarily in the
oil and gas industry.
MAY 2017 25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - May 2017

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - May 2017 - 1
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