It’s tough to manage thousands of distributed assets.

In the U.S. alone, there are over 1M producing oil & gas wells, more than 67,000 wind turbines, and over 2M residential, commercial, and utility scale solar panels.

So how do you keep all of these assets up and running? 👇
Historically we’ve just thrown more contractors at the problem.

The contractor to employee ratio in oil & gas is 4:1. In renewables, it’s 1:3 (but rapidly increasing as the number of renewables assets grows)

Oil & gas wells don’t just flow. They plug, corrode, can shut “off”, and even freeze in the winters (as we just saw in Texas).

During my work in Wyoming, wells would shut down because the wind would blow out a pilot light on a nearby heater.
Similarly, renewable assets like solar and wind also require maintenance. Wind turbine blades can crack, gearboxes can lock up. Solar panels can degrade, and heat cycling can affect solder bonds.

So what's the process for managing these today?

1) In the O&G industry, operators will drive to each well on a regular basis. If an operator in the field sees an issue, they’ll submit a work notification into a system like SAP.
2) Work notifications are then processed by a company specialist who knows how to use SAP. The specialist speaks with the field foreman to create a list of work for the next day.
3) When the next day comes around, the foreman will look at his/her list and pick up the phone to call an approved third-party contractor to go do the work.
Because O&G wells are so distributed, the contractors will often have a small paper booklet with the information on which dirt roads to take to get to any given well.

In Step 1, it takes operators all day to survey each of their wells. A well may be shut “off” for hours before the problem is ever identified.
In Step 2 & 3, it’s quite the manual process to sift through work notifications, prioritize work, call the contractor, and then receive a paper invoice from the contractor.

New software startups can now connect to SCADA systems for remote asset monitoring. If an O&G, wind, or solar asset were to fail, the software can immediately generate a work order, dispatch a contractor, and process the field invoice.
Auto-prioritizing work can remove the dependence on the operator to find issues in the field, thereby increasing uptime and production. O&G companies have even seen a 30% reduction in dispatching costs by eliminating these manual processes.
As the buildout of solar and wind continues, SCADA connected work management software will become an even more important part of managing distributed assets.

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