Centrica Storage and Vodafone have entered a partnership that will build the “gas plant of the future” at their Easington site, providing a 5G-ready mobile private network (MPN) for the facility, which will be the first of its kind in the UK’s oil and gas sector.
The new 5G infrastructure will enable Centrica Storage to automate, monitor, and centralize much of its critical maintenance and engineering operations. Real-time data will enable Centrica Storage to monitor its facility, streamline operational resources, and reduce costs. And the 5G network will even improve safety, enabling engineers to use virtual reality headsets to undertake training and critical maintenance tasks.
“The mobile private network will provide Centrica with a conduit through which we can connect a myriad of internet-enabled devices which now range from handheld personal devices to augmented reality headsets,” said Greg McKenna, CEO of Centrica Storage. “This will improve safety, verification, asset performance and remote monitoring which ultimately leads to a safer, more reliable and cost efficient plant.”
Improved efficiency and safety
The 5G mobile private network will be built by Vodafone using Ericsson equipment, and will enable a number of industrial 5G use cases, such as connecting workers to digital data and applications across the entire site, increasing productivity whilst reducing cost, and all in a much safer environment.
“Mobile private networks will revolutionise the way oil and gas plants are managed by increasing efficiency while also improving workers’ safety,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “Thanks to this powerful technology Centrica Storage can now start building the gas plant of the future and we are really excited to be with them on this journey”.
The mobile private network will enable industrial internet of things (IIoT) sensors to be placed around the facility, with full support for time-sensitive networking (TSN) thanks to the low latency of 5G, whilst providing real-time data on the condition and status of the various elements of the facility. This will ensure improvements across the plant, not just in productivity, but also to safety, as connected workers will be alerted of potential gas emissions which will be rapidly identified and managed in line with industry guidelines.
“The mobile private network we are building at our Easington terminal will help us address 1970s problems with a 21st Century solution, taking our business to the future from the moment it’s live,” said Paul Stevens, Information System and Technology Director at Centrica Storage. “Safety is a critical measure of success at Centrica Storage and the solution we are putting in place in Easington will reduce risk for everyone on our site. By using this technology ahead of our peers, we will establish ourselves as leaders in the future of oil and gas processing.”
And so, despite all the fake news, conspiracy theories, and unfounded claims surrounding 5G dangers, the reality is that the next generation of mobile communications will actually save and protect lives, not take them.