Application of Profibus Technology to Oil & Gas Drilling Monitoring Systems
New Bus System Saves 20% Rigging Costs in a Drilling Rig Monitoring Unit
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    23 Manufacture of refined petroleum products
OIL&GASTEK is situated in Leoben, Austria. The company was founded in 1993 to provide modern electronic process monitoring and control system services for the international oil and gas drilling industry. Currently it employs 12 persons in Austria, 5 of which are master-level graduated engineers. In this project PROFIBUS technology was introduced for the development of an application for monitoring of deep oil and gas drilling processes ("Mud Logging"). The system previously on the market and still utilising analogue signal transfer was introduced in 1995, and has in the meantime acquired 50% of Austria's drilling monitoring market, with strong interest by companies from Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary as expressed during two recent trade show participations (European Petroleum Conference/Milano, Intl. Geothermal Symposium/Bad Kleinkirchheim). It represents, however, a constant source of potential signal transmission problems due to the extensive cabling requirements and repeated D/A and A/D conversion processes, with the obvious impact on overall signal accuracy. Experience with installed systems has shown the vulnerability of a large number of signal cables running through harsh environments like an onshore drilling rig. Currently, no competitor offers digital sensor communication for the applications described here. Integrating Profibus technology shall increase the flexibility in communicating with decentralized A/D modules distributed over the rig. The new PROFIBUS structure shall in the long run be connected to the overall environment by implementing PROFIBUS functions mapped on Ethernet and TCP/IP. The new technology definitely provides a market advantage over existing competition. Especially the integration of state-of-the-art sensing systems with latest generation database applications on the MS Windows NT platform provides a powerful sales argument and is viewed as a valuable asset by the client. Due to the oil price collapse this application experiment was necessary to allow the company to survive. This way the operating costs could be reduced significantly and the price of the monitoring services could be decreased. The experiment started on April 1st 1998 and has been completed by September 6 1998 after a duration of 5 months with AE costs of 38 k. All equipment has been performing satisfactorily under field conditions being implemented in plant. The increased knowledge on PROFIBUS communication in hazardous envionments represents a significant market advantage. Both sensor availability as well as applicability of this new technology to the oil&gas exploration drilling market can safely be taken for granted. The expected payback period for this application experiment will be approximately two years. The return of investment over the product lifetime (five years) is expected to be fourfold of the investment been taken. But it has to be mentioned that the product lifetime also depends on the availability of remote controlled sensors. When using remote controlled sensors all wire based systems will be invalid because there is no need for connecting all sensors. To be competitive OIL&GASTEK will have to develop a new product when remote controlled sensors are available.
Ingenieurbuero f. Erdoel- & Bergwesen GmbH
65-67, Johann Sackl Gasse
A-8700 Leoben/AUSTRIA

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Profibus technology provided Oil&Gastechnik with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
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Research Institute for Integrated Circuits Altenberger Strasse 69
A-4040 Linz Austria