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November 11, 2019updated 29 Nov 2021 8:02am

Wearable technology in oil and gas: The leading companies

Wearable tech is still in its infancy in the industrial space, and much of the developments today are largely catering to the demand of the consumer markets. However, oil and gas companies have started evaluating the possibilities of deploying wearable devices in day-to-day operations.

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Initial research on wearable technology is focused on enabling real-time monitoring of field technicians to ensure safety and provide them with audiovisual assistance in performing asset maintenance. The eventual goal is to adopt lightweight, yet rugged wearable devices to improve safety and efficiency in oilfield operations.

Below is a list of some of the leading oil and gas companies that are deploying wearable technology in their operations.

BP Plc

Ever since the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010, BP has increased its efforts to improve workforce safety. As a part of these efforts, BP is contributing to the development of wearable technology for frontline workers. The company is conducting a pilot program for the use of wearable technology under extreme weather conditions of Oman or the Arctic region.

The research is on a special-purpose vest that can monitor and transmit the wearer’s vital health parameters. BP aims to develop wearable devices for its on-field technicians as a substitute for industrial-grade smartphones. Moreover, BP is encouraging its employees to focus on their health and wellness by offering them ‘Fitbit’ fitness trackers at discounted rates.

Eni

Eni, an Italian oil major in active association with MIT lab, has designed an array of wearable sensors. These can be fitted to vests for monitoring health data. The vest is also designed to capture ambient environment data. This helps to provide a holistic view in evaluating the health and safety of the field crew. By adopting the wearable sensor system, Eni is trying to mitigate the risks of working on oil and gas platforms.

Marathon Petroleum

Marathon Petroleum, a US-based oil refining company, is deploying wearable gas detectors at its refineries to improve worker safety. The company has partnered with Accenture in the development of a system that incorporates wearable technology for real-time gas detection, alarm generation, and tracking of the workforce.

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Royal Dutch Shell

Shell has adopted wearable technology that includes a head-mounted computer system from RealWear. This improves collaboration and knowledge transfer between frontline workers and onshore experts. The company believes that off-the-desk workers would benefit more if they were equipped with portable gadgets. These include wearable devices for enhanced productivity and efficiency.

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco has deployed wearable technologies to inspect pipelines and plant machinery in its Uthmaniyah Gas Plant (UGP). With the application of digital technologies, the company is aiming to enhance operational efficiency, safety, and reliability.

This is an edited extract from the Wearable Tech in Oil & Gas – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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