With rising worldwide demand, volatile prices, changing political situations and an increasing focus on renewable energy, it is fair to say the oil and gas sector faces many challenges.

Another pressing issue? The struggle for companies in these sectors to put effective electrical systems in place that can handle their energy requirements — without compromising on safety.

In the gas and oil industry, products must be robust and reliable enough to function perfectly every time — any amount of downtime can be costly. Parts and components in this sector are also exposed to severe temperatures, shock, pressure and ingress, so they must endure under the most extreme conditions…

As a result, many products require strong technical and logistics support capabilities, and today’s electrical infrastructures must combine safe and reliable power supply with state-of-the-art information management systems.

So, what kinds of modern electrical solutions are being used, and how are they designed to handle the pressures and demands of the gas and oil industry?

Signal, alarms and surveillance

Organisations in the oil and gas industry are among the most hazardous environments to work in and require constant monitoring and surveillance to ensure safety and security.

For instance, the flammable nature of hydrocarbons and the high operating temperatures of on-site equipment are constant risks for fires and explosions.

By using thermal cameras, organisations can get ahead of the threat and minimise the risk of damage and disruption. These cameras can detect abnormal heat patterns, pinpointing potential issues like faulty electronic connections or dangerous leaks in equipment. Once identified, automated alerts are sent to security teams in real-time to support an efficient response that ensures the safety of personnel and the surrounding environment.

Oil and gas companies also often operate in vast and remote operational landscapes, so highly effective, explosion-proof CCTV is needed to reduce the risk of unauthorised intrusions, vandalism and further security violations…

Made of durable materials such as polyester, fibreglass and stainless steel, the casing of explosion-proof cameras does a great job of stopping combustible gases and dust particles from entering it. Securely mounted by brackets that can hold five times the camera’s weight, explosion-proof CCTV also benefits from a closed-loop positioning system set to reset the same camera angle without delay to capture all footage.

Designed to work in extreme environments without disruption, other electrical devices — like strobes, emergency lighting, fire alarms and public address (PA) systems — can also trigger a process shutdown and send broadcasted alerts and messages.

Motor control and electrical distribution

As the oil and gas organisations rely on drilling rig equipment to extract oil and natural gas from reservoirs, which often use electric motors as their power source, the electronics in this equipment must withstand vibration, extreme temperatures and corrosive environments.

A motor starter is an electrical component designed to safely start and stop a motor.

It is generally comprised of two main components that work in tandem to control and protect the motor: an electrical conductor, which starts and stops the power supply to the motor by breaking the contact terminals, and an overload relay, which monitors the current and protects the motor from potential damage.

High-power electronics in motor controllers can create serious surface-temperature problems. To alleviate this, electronic devices must be made explosion-proof and flameproof by enclosing the motor’s internal parts so that air cannot circulate.

An enclosed fan-cooled motor is then attached externally to the casing to keep its temperatures down.

Electronic instrumentation

Flammable and combustible gases in production and storage areas can be lethal in this field. That is why oil and gas instrumentation, providing monitoring and control, is essential for ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

There are three primary components of industrial instrumentation: sensors, transducers and transmitters…

Sensors provide a constant measurement to detect and monitor gas and gas emissions, whilst transducers convert changes in temperature, pressure, flow or level into an electrical signal that is then picked up by a transmitter. The transmitter then serves as an interface between sensors and measurement instrumentation, such as level sensors, flow meters and pressure sensors.

This equipment is responsible for sending a digital signal to the central control system and, when integrated into automation systems, helps manufacturers increase productivity and product consistency by delivering data regarding process efficiency and product quality. 

How can Swan EMS help you?

Whether we are manufacturing parts and sub-assemblies for down-hole devices and systems for oil wells or renewable energy systems, our number one priority is always to provide our customers with reliable electronic products that consistently perform — even in the most demanding conditions.

That is why, at Swan EMS, we only manufacture electronics to the highest quality levels and IPC-A-610 and IPC/WHMA-A-620 standards of workmanship.

Since oil and gas sites are such explosive atmospheres and high-risk or high-pressure environments, we ensure our Quality Management System (QMS) is certified to EN ISO/IEC 80079-34:2018 in line with IECEx and ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU. This means our equipment and systems are intrinsically safe — meeting every requirement for use on potentially explosive sites.

Do you need first-class electronics manufacturing services for your upcoming project? From cable and PCB assemblies to electronic box builds, we deliver various solutions to the oil, gas and water sectors. To discuss your requirements, get in touch with our team at 01495 320 989 or email info@swanems.co.uk today.