3 digital innovations that make “affordable satellite monitoring” a reality. 

Remote wellhead monitoring sure sounds nice. But it’s almost too good to be true.

Article · 2 min read

Historically, oil companies have had to choose between “reliable” wellhead monitoring solutions that are difficult to install, “affordable” well monitoring solutions that don’t offer reliable coverage, or “global” well monitoring solutions that cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Satellite has traditionally been too expensive to be practical for well monitoring. The power requirements make it impractical for remote oil fields. And most operating systems have a limited gateway-to-sensor distance.


But, new technology is changing the game. Here are the three big innovations that are reshaping well monitoring (and remote oil operations) as we know it. 


1: Long range networks.

One of the reasons satellite technology has been impractical for many remote oil fields is a seemingly ridiculous reason. Most sensors (which collect the data) and gateways (which transmit the data to space) can’t be more than 200 metres apart.


For some use cases, that’s not a problem. But for oil fields? Your wells might be kilometres apart from each other. Which makes it prohibitively expensive to install a gateway at each well. Long-range networks change things, though. Emerging tech makes use of LoRaWAN, a long-range protocol that extends the distance between sensor and gateway to 10 kilometres. 

2: Small data transfers.

Another innovation that makes satellite monitoring more affordable? The amount of data collected and sent to space. Traditional satellite monitoring solutions need a lot of power to collect data at the wellhead, because they want to transmit that data 24/7. That’s pretty inefficient though, especially if you don’t have a reliable power supply.


Instead, new technology looks at what the most important data is to collect. And it collects it in an innovative way. Instead of beaming data 24/7, the sensors can collect data every few minutes, then transmit it every hour. So, while you won’t get “real time” data, you’ll get regular updates at an affordable price. 


3: Power optimisation

Smaller, more efficient data transmissions mean one big thing: better power optimisation. Instead of being a power-hungry monster, new satellite well monitoring solutions simply use less energy. This translates into big savings for you. Seriously.