Enabling Digital Transformation in the Hydrocarbon Processing Industry with MQTT

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Enabling Digital Transformation in the Hydrocarbon Processing Industry with MQTT

Over the years, Hydrocarbon Processing Industry (HPI) is being pushed towards sustainability and towards reduced dependency on fossil fuels given the global rise in energy prices and political uncertainties. COVID-19 has led to demand uncertainty and supply chain constraints. All of this has accelerated the HPI focus on Digitization, Industry 4.0 initiatives, and factory modernization. Data availability is at the forefront of this.

In this pursuit, MQTT and Sparkplug have emerged as the clear leaders given their ability to enable data connectivity, break data silos, and create data interoperability between OT and IT systems.

There are several questions related to digitalization in the hydrocarbon processing industry that I will address below:

What are the most common use cases for IIoT/MQTT in upstream oil and gas?

The common use cases we see for IIoT for upstream O&G are remote asset performance management, predictive maintenance, increasing safety, reducing costs (including travel costs to remote sites), and reducing environmental impact. For more details, check out our white paper.

What separates MQTT from other similar standards-based protocols when it comes to enabling O&G IIoT data connectivity?

MQTT when compared to other protocols (including proprietary ones like Modbus) is lightweight, uses publish-subscribe (compared to polling that is commonly used), more bandwidth efficient, can transfer data much faster, can provide various levels of quality of service, and much more. For further details, check out MQTT essentials page.

What benefits are provided by an Enterprise MQTT broker over the community brokers like Mosquitto?

Community brokers offers a lot of great MQTT features to get started on the IoT journey.

When the solution needs to be scaled with high reliability, security, with a need for extending the data to other applications like Kafka etc, is when an enterprise broker is really beneficial.

How will the growing Metaverse Virtual 3D Initiatives Impact the Digitization in the Hydrocarbon Industry?

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies have a huge role to play in the Hydrocarbon industry. Imagine a worker that is working on oil wells wearing a VR headset that can get help remotely from another experienced technician who can see exactly what the worker can see for example. – Another could be an augmented reality simulation of an oil well where the system can be checked with peak loads without actually investing in hardware. This can then be combined with the digital twin technology to make changes/upgrades to systems without impacting operations.

Will Sparkplug change with MQTT-5?

Sparkplug is an add on to MQTT and builds additional features that are manufacturing use cases specific. Sparkplug should be compatible with both MQTT 3 and MQTT 5. Not all Sparkplug implementations are the same.

Is there anything stopping this being used with certain field devices or would it work with everything?

The MQTT/Sparkplug solution should work on any field devices which can act as an MQTT client or connect to an Edge of network(EoN) node which is part of the Sparkplug ecosystem. For a list of vendors that can offer EoN services, please visit the Sparkplug community section here.

How do you prevent cyberattack in Sparkplug and associated cloud systems?

There are multiple things that can be done with MQTT/Sparkplug and associated cloud systems to prevent cyber attacks. Some of the best practices are encryption, Application-Layer Authentication and Authorization. For more details, check out this article.

Have you tested the HIVEMQ limit of signal management without service degradation?

When it comes to IoT Scalability Tests for an MQTT Broker, we recommend the following topics (which we do ourselves before we launch our software):

MQTT Clients Connections, Subscriptions and Topics at Scale, Testing MQTT Message Throughput, Quality of Service Levels, Queued messages, Shared Subscriptions, Retained Messages, Large-scale Client Disconnect Scenarios, Infrastructure Outage, Prolonged Outage. Please refer to the following blog for more information. Find out how MQTT Enables IIoT Security Best Practices within the Purdue Model.

Read the full post here.


About The Author

Director of Industry Solutions for Manufacturing, HiveMQ

Ravi is a product marketing and management leader with extensive experience delivering high-quality products and services that have generated revenues and cost savings of over $10B for companies such ...