Phillips 66 tests 5G, internet of things tech at Louisiana refinery

Houston pipeline and refinery operator Phillips 66 is testing a private 5G cellphone network to control sensors at one of the company’s facilities in Louisiana.

Phillips 66 tapped consulting firm Accenture and AT&T for the project at its Belle Chase refinery south of New Orleans.

The 5G towers provide wireless service to sensors placed throughout the refinery. Known as industrial Internet of Things technology, the wireless network monitors equipment and provides alerts.

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The network’s launch comes as the oil and gas industry adopts increasingly sophisticated digital tools that require more bandwidth and faster internet service. It will help it reduce costs and provide more remote operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Mobile applications are central to our day-to-day business activities — we use them for safety inspection forms for oil distillation units, capacity tracking and more — so connectivity is critical to keeping our operations running,” Phillips 66 Chief Digital and Administrative Officer Zhanna Golodryga said. “The results of the proof of concept are promising.”

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