| Use Case: Oil & Gas
Headquarters: Houston, TX
Petrolog provides IoT solutions for oil well automation and remote monitoring, helping operators increase production and reduce operating costs.
Petrolog’s main product is a POC (pump off condition) controller. The controller detects when a well enters pump off condition, which occurs when the fluid in the well is too low for the pump to lift it to the surface. The POC controller then automatically shuts down the well, allowing more fluid to flow into the well until the pump can function properly again. This lengthens the life of the well and reduces energy costs by avoiding unnecessary pumping.
The POC controller has a sensor that sends the status of the well to a Raspberry Pi sitting in a control box above ground, which then sends the status to Petrolog and its customers over a 3G/LTE network.
Petrolog was looking for ways to remotely interact with their devices in the field when they first discovered balena. Now the team uses balena to configure and manage their entire fleet.
Balena has proven particularly useful when troubleshooting devices. These Raspberry Pis are installed on oil wells that are often hundreds of miles away. The Petrolog team used to drive 4+ hours to troubleshoot and, if needed, restart devices. Now, they can see all of their devices from the balena dashboard and take action without having to travel out to the well.
“The biggest benefit that we see is that we can do almost everything remotely.”
“The biggest benefit that we see is that we can do almost everything remotely,” says Carlos Labrado, a software developer at Petrolog. And with first class support for cellular connectivity now included with balenaOS 2.0, Petrolog is able to use their own custom 3G/LTE modem based on the SIM5320A, making their product even more robust to challenging network conditions.
Plus, balena has enabled Petrolog to rapidly develop and test new product ideas for the oil and gas industry. For example, the team has built a beta version of a thermal camera that senses the temperature of a rod in the well, so they can detect when the rod overheats and shut down the well.
With the help of balena, they’ve been able to deploy prototypes in a matter of weeks. Carlos explains that “in order to really test devices we have to put them in the field. Most of the time something unexpected happens, and with balena, we're able to just update the code remotely.”
“Balena is now a core part of our business,” Carlos says.
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