Schlumberger Ltd. is taking its reservoir technology and combining it with industrial automation and information created by Rockwell Automation to help oil and natural gas customers improve the value of their investments.

Sensia, the joint venture with Milwaukee-based Rockwell, is set to begin serving customers this summer as the first fully integrated digital oilfield automation systems provider, according to Schlumberger. Among its abilities would be measurement solutions, domain expertise and automation, with scalable, cloud and edge-enabled process automation, including information and process safety solutions. 

“Oilfield operators strive to maximize the value of their investments by safely reducing the time from drilling to production, optimizing output of conventional and unconventional wells, and extending well life,” said Rockwell CEO Blake Moret. 

“Currently, no single provider exists that offers the end-to-end solutions and technology platform that address these challenges. Sensia will be uniquely positioned to connect disparate assets and reduce manual processes with secure, scalable solutions that are integrated into one technology platform.”

Oil and gas producers “strive to improve productivity,” he said. “Sensia will provide complete lifecycle and process automation solutions from well to terminal, including industry leading oilfield technology and expertise.”

Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard predicted Sensia would “further drive optimization” for exploration and production (E&P) assets. “This joint venture is the next step in our vision to offer our customers smart, connected devices with rich diagnostic capabilities, coupled with measurement, automation and analytics that improve oilfield operations, facilitate business decisions and reduce total cost of ownership throughout the life of a field.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Sensia, to be headquartered in Houston, would operate as an independent entity, with Rockwell owning 53% and Schlumberger 47%. Annual revenue forecasts put the JV at $400 million. As part of the transaction, Rockwell agreed to pay Schlumberger $250 million. 

Nearly 1,000 people would work within the JV to serve customers in more than 80 countries. The management team is to be led by CEO Allan Rentcome, who now is Rockwell’s director of the global technology, systems and solutions business.

Rockwell is considered the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information. It now employs about 23,000 people in 80 countries worldwide. Schlumberger is the No. 1 oilfield services (OFS) provider in the world. It has operations in 85 countries and employs close to 100,000.

The vision behind Sensia is not entirely new. Three years ago when General Electric (GE) became majority stakeholder in Baker Hughes Inc., the impetus was to create a “digital, industrial” OFS giant. The 70,000-member workforce of Baker Hughes, a GE Company, operates in more than 120 countries and draws from GE's technology expertise to provide physical and digital technology solutions for customer productivity.

Two years ago Halliburton Co. combined its OFS wizardry with Microsoft’s data capabilities to drive a “digital transformation” across the oil and natural gas industry. Learnings are applied by the partners to reservoir characterization, modeling/simulation, visualization for mixed reality, interactive applications and digitizing E&P assets.