How Sinopec Deploys Drill Pipe Tracking On Its Oil Rigs With Xerafy RFID

Updated: Jan 12

The RFID drill pipe tracking system deployed by Sinopec at its Shengli oilfield is thought to be the first of its kind in the world.


RFID Tracking For Drilling Rig

Chinese petroleum and chemical corporation Sinopec Shengli oilfield is using Xerafy Xplorer RFID tags to track downhole pipes on its onshore oil site, believed to be the first drill string tracking application leveraging UHF RFID in the oil and gas industry.





Drill Pipes On Oil Rigs


Shengli oilfield did not have an efficient way of managing its drill pipes. The pipes were counted manually before and after the drilling process, which resulted in inaccurate inventory management, inefficient asset utilization, and potential safety risks.


Leveraging RFID traceable drill pipes, the Shengli oilfield can track 1,380 drill pipes at seven well sites using RFID handheld readers and management software supplied by VictorySoft. The pilot operation took around three months, with every well operating at depth of approximately 2,500 meters.


For the next stages, Sinopec will put a well-centered antenna in place to read the tag as the pipe moves through it while being tripped. With the pilot's success, the Shengli Oilfield expects to substantially expand the deployment of Xplorer tags to additional drill strings and sites.


Managing Costs and Risks in Drilling


Drill pipe management with RFID

“Sinopec Shengli oilfield has been on the lookout for many years for the implementation of an intelligent solution to identify and manage drill pipes to improve performance and reduce costs,” said Xu Haiting, general manager of VictorySoft’s technical development department.


Sinopec selected the Xerafy Xplorer to tag its drill pipe, capitalizing on the in-metal embeddable tag

developed by Xerafy for the oil and gas industry.


Xerafy Xplorer is a patent-pending, UHF RFID tag constructed with high-strength steel and polymer and is specially designed to be embedded in a hole milled into the drilling joint to track each pipe. Using RFID is key to improving the previously impossible task of tracking and capturing data on the individual pipes.

“Xerafy’s Xplorer has opened up many important possibilities by allowing the operator to have traceability and advanced information of their processes throughout the tripping operation. The success of this RFID program validates the readiness — and value — of Xerafy Xplorer UHF RFID technology for drill pipe tracking.”

Solutions For The Oil And Gas Industry


Each string is retrofitted with an Xplorer RFID tag, that links to its ID number, steel number, size and weight, production information, last usage information, asset maintenance records, and other important information. The stored information is transmitted to VictorySoft’s management system using a handheld RFID reader. The scanning allows the staff to access key information in the field quickly and reliably, creating real-time visibility on status updates for cleaning and maintenance, including when the drills need to be scrapped. This greatly reduces the risk of leakage and rupture accidents which can cause the expedition to fail. With the timely collection of raw data, management can use the data on-site to make quick and accurate decisions. 


The ability to now track individual drill pipe joints has opened up new possibilities for improved documentation and process efficiency resulting in cost savings and risk reduction. Regulatory requirements, weather, and operating conditions make China’s oilfields one of the most challenging asset management environments on earth. The drill pipes are exposed to high temperatures, extreme pressure and vibrations, and chemical corrosion during tripping operations.


Xerafy is a pioneer of RFID in Oil and Gas, bringing to market several innovations that enable advanced identification and automation capabilities.

In addition to a complete range of field-proven RFID tags available off-the-shelf, Xerafy offers Custom RFID Tags services, covering everything from a personalization service bureau to custom-design engineering capabilities.