Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): An Important Source of Innovation for BP

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BP discusses its ongoing work with RFID, Texas A&M, and the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group.

We are committed to working with industry leading organizations such as BP, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, FMC Technologies, and many others, to develop a common platform to deploy RFID Technology.

BP has always been a leader in innovation and RFID technology is no exception. The oil and gas conglomerate uses various types of RFID technology, ranging from passive Ultra-High-Frequency for equipment inventory management to active Ultra-Wide-Band for people tracking.

As part of its ongoing work with this next-generation AIT technology, BP has selected Texas A&M University to support the evaluation of Real Time Location Software packages available in the market today. BP is leveraging RFID tracking systems to improve safety, streamline operations, and optimize asset utilization, and software plays a critical part of such systems. For instance, a key differentiator in software packages for Real-Time-Location-Systems (RTLS) is the backend resolution engine. The resolution engine provides statistical adjustments to signal readings to provide accurate location data. Performance of these resolution engines stems from the ability to handle the reflections and interferences inherent with oil and gas facilities such as production platforms.

Curt Smith, Applications Director in BPs Chief Technology Office, comments “Visibility of people on board and emergency evacuation are key safety initiatives for us. We are working with Texas A&M to leverage their test facilities and staff knowledge as a means of supporting these goals.”

Texas A&M University is a leader in both RFID and petroleum technology development. Its 52-acre live-lab facility supports organizations, such as the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group, in their ongoing RFID development work.

Dr. Ben Zoghi, professor at the College of Engineering at Texas A&M and Director of the RFID sensor lab , says “Evaluations, such as the one we are doing for BP demand a deep understanding in a very narrow niche. The ongoing work we have done at our facilities makes us a unique candidate for such research and development initiatives.”

The Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group (OGR), who’s work includes the development of comprehensive value assessments and deployment support of RFID technology in some of the world’s most recognized oil and gas companies, is also very much a part of BP’s wider RFID perspective.

BP, who is also a founding member of the group, supports the OGR’s standard and best practice development. They believe that “standards result in plug-and-play [capability] and ultimately lower implementation and operating costs,” adds Mr. Smith.

Standards play a unique and important role for open-looped global implementations. BP’s Gulf-of-Mexico RFID initiative, intended on reducing man-power, improving visibility, and reducing required inventory needed, is an example of such an open-looped system.

“We are committed to working with industry leading organizations such as BP, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, FMC Technologies, and many others, to develop a common platform to deploy RFID Technology. This includes both data, hardware, and operational best practices and standards. A unified approach amongst the industry will mean quicker and more successful adoption of RFID technology across the petroleum supply-chain,” adds Sam Falsafi, Co-Founder of the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group.

Curt Smith, Dr. Ben Zoghi, and Sam Falsafi will all be presenting their ongoing RFID work at the RFID Journal Oil & Gas preconference on April 14th, 2010. Joining them will be industry recognized subject-matter-experts Steven Clarke of Savi Technology and Konrad Konarski of the OGR.

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