Inside Huawei's plans to make offshore oil platforms safer - and more sustainable

Huawei has unveiled new technology to make oil and gas platforms safer - and more environmentally-friendly. But will the industry catch on?
Oil, Gas, Sustainability, Environment, Huawei, Tech, Technology, Comunications, IoT, Internet of Things, Safety, Moscow

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Oil platforms. Let’s just state the obvious: they’re not exactly the safest places, and are often in pretty remote – and inhospitable (the Arctic, anyone?) – locales. If something goes wrong, it’s pretty tough to quickly get help. Needless to say, there’s a reason they’re one of the most dangerous workplaces in the world.

Surprise, surprise: better mobile networks and faster communications can help in such places and situations. And a number of companies are working on just that.

Take Huawei. The Chinese communications titan has unveiled its latest 4.5G tech that can help folks working on oil and gas platforms more easily monitor what’s going on – and send and receive help more quickly.

Showcased at the 15th Moscow International Oil and Gas Exhibition (MIOGE) on June 21, the tech is for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and has a “latency” – or the amount of time it takes a message to get from one place (such as the person sending a message) to another (like the person receiving a message) – period of 20 milliseconds. In other words: almost instantaneous. That’s especially helpful, too, because of the risks of fires or explosions spreading extremely quickly, or the simple fact that any amount of oil leaking into the sea has horrific environmental consequences.

Naturally, Jerry Ji, Energy Sector President for Huawei’s Enterprise Business Group, is pretty excited about the possibilities, not just for saving lives, but for minimising the environmental damage that can result from accidents on offshore platforms. “We provide customers with an open, flexible, and secure ICT infrastructure platform for device-pipe-cloud collaboration to simplify the transition of digital transformation for the energy industry,” he said.

But it also goes further than that. “We are also actively working with ecosystem partners to achieve win-win results, reduce digital transformation costs, and jointly create value for customers.”

That’s a pretty big deal considering Huawei’s reach in the oil and gas industry. After all, the company’s oil and gas solutions are used in at least 45 countries and regions around the world, and are used by about 15 of the world’s 20 largest oil and gas companies.

But more importantly, with thousands of people working on offshore oil and gas rigs at any one time all over the world – despite the danger – every life saved is a success. And let’s be honest about this: less oil polluting our oceans is also a very good thing.

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