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Darrell Knight

time is money concept

EPC’s Industry 4.0 Bidding Process is here

By FutureOn Today

In the oil and gas sector, terms such as digitalization, smart assets, digital transformation, and Industry 4.0 are on everyone’s lips. Whatever the label, these technologies, particularly big data analytics, significantly transform the bidding process for oil and gas engineering firms.

In the past, the basic bidding process captured brainstormed ideas from engineers on flip charts and in PowerPoint, and then converted them into visuals via Visio, Corel Draw, and MS Paint. An outsourced engineering house would then convert these documents into Computer Aided Design or CAD files. The legacy engineering design process limited the EPC firms’ ability to meet tight design schedules and implement late changes quickly.

Save time and money: more field concepts in a much shorter time

Technologies such as FutureOn®’s FieldAP™ and FieldTwin™ have completely altered the way EPC companies are able to conduct business. FieldAP™ generates many more field concepts in a much shorter time and eliminates inaccurate options because data is uploaded into the cloud to visualize the fields and run computations, bringing higher value to oil and gas operators. For example, a Houston-based engineering firm now uses FieldAP™ to build 2D and 3D fields directly in a collaborative web environment to rapidly produce many more concept designs for multiple fields that include essential information, such as flowline data. The company now develops concept proposals in 20 percent of the time it historically took and responds to questions from operators and partners by accessing critical data in FieldAP™ directly.

The additional smart functionality of FieldAP™ eliminates the pre-FEED CAD work during the proof-of-concept stage and the need to hire an outsourced engineering firm, saving tens of thousands of dollars. For example, an outsourced team of four drafters, working for two to three weeks, could cost up to $40,000.

Single data source and greater collaboration

As a single data source, both FieldAP™ and FieldTwin™ house real-time data in one place from design concept to decommissioning. The data is accessible to anyone no matter where he or she sits. The platform creates a space within the engineering process for creativity, without affecting progress negatively, and enables solutions to evolve through a collaborative effort versus a siloed approach as in the past.

To learn more about FieldAP™ and how it drives substantial competitive advantage in subsea field concepts, see the Houston Energy Industry News.

By rethinking the bidding process, FutureOn®’s EPC customers win more bids and drive new revenue in offshore engineering projects. Contact us today to learn how we can help take your bidding process to 4.0.


Digital Twins: How Field Designers And Operators Can Benefit From Visualisation Solutions

By Editorial

InnovOil checks out how field designers and operators can benefit from visualisation solutions

BIG data is becoming an increasingly vital part of oil and gas operations. The companies who harness that data to provide insights into operations and gains in efficiency will ultimately succeed in making themselves market-secure for the next generation, despite any changes to oil consumption.

Visualisation software is a vital asset for turning these disparate data streams into an easily understood format. By laying the information out visually, connections that might be lost in the form of ones and zeroes are rendered lucid to a human operator.

InnovOil spoke to FutureOn senior vice president of global accounts Darrell Knight about his company’s FieldTwin visualisation software and the advantages it can bring to field designers and operators.

“Our visual tools allow people to see and use their data in a way they’ve never really experienced before,” Knight said.

FieldTwin gives a subsea field engineer the ability to create “the digital twin of the field,” a realistic simulation built up of assets and infrastructure. The cloud-based service creates “a living breathing digital document in 2D and 3D that can be accessed from anywhere by anybody,” Knight said.

“If someone has various data files associated with their project, we bring those things into a visual 3D environment,” Knight explained. “We interface on the well planning side in partnership with a number of different companies to visualise where the most ideal location of wells might be.”

Assets have metadata associated with them, providing information about their real world analogue. This may be information about a pipeline’s length, its diameter, material, pressure, etc. Relationships between assets can be gauged and altered to help plan a field.

“The field planners can start laying out their field and click on a pipeline and have all the relevant metadata pooled from existing libraries sent through our integrated ATI directly to their algorithms and get a result back right within the software,” Knight said.

“Click on a pipeline and it’ll give you a flow assurance graph or it’ll give you a production estimate based on what you know right now and it helps you work through the process in a very efficient manner. You don’t have to design a field before you start doing any flow assurance work.”

While FieldTwin was designed for use by EPCs for field planning during the preFEED stage of a field’s life, it can also be used by operators during the later stages as a maintenance tool.

“We’re building out FieldTwin to be more about updating and maintaining a field, with things like operational excellence, asset integrity, maintenance use cases,” Knight said.

“By creating this evolving digital twin of the field, the content itself is much more risk averse,” Knight added. “The value becomes more about reducing risk and reducing liability by making sure that the virtual field representation is constantly up to date and accurate.”

Gaming the system

FieldTwin utilises an intuitive user interface, making it easy to pick up and learn. “Our developers are from the gaming industry, so it’s using the same principles of user interface, of functionality and performance to make it fully optimised,” Knight said. Assets are moved around with a simple drag-and-drop system.

By having a plan for a field sorted, a field designer is able to save time and money by avoiding having to bring in consultants during the pre-engineering phase.

“That’s a very expensive process, and it can take a long time, it can take months,” Knight explained. “Our clients effectively eliminated the need to bring in anyone from the outside because they’ve integrated it with various tools. They’ve got the costing information in there and the accuracy of the data is high enough to feel comfortable about the concepts they bring together.

“The ability to understand at any moment in time what your estimated capex and potentially opex for that field is likely to be helps you make the right decisions as early as possible,” Knight said. “That means the process is significantly sped up on the field planning side. We have clients where it used to take weeks or months to come up with any kind of concept field. Now, in a couple of days, they can knock out two or three viable alternatives and then they can move very quickly into a proposal process into the pre-FEED type area.

“You can present the entire concept field using our tools and so they’ve reduced the times from weeks and months to, in some cases, maybe days. They can put a very quick field together in a matter of hours. Depending on the complexity of the field and the amount of data they have available to build on, a company can save 80-90% of the time, and that of course saves a huge amount of money at the pre-FEED stage.”

FieldTwin also creates value over the lifetime of the field. An accurate digital simulation of a field can see a field de-manned, as physical operators are unnecessary, removing humans from dangerous offshore environments.

“By having much more intuitive access to the field, all the data that’s being generated from sensors is going to allow them to make those offshore platforms a lot less expensive because there’ll be fewer people on them, which is typically the highest cost,” Knight explained.

“They’re able to reduce the risk, which is a lot of the insurance cost, the risk and liability of individuals out in high-risk situations.”


Of course, FieldTwin relies on a client effectively managing its data. This means that a company that both produces a lot of data from its field, through the use of various sensors and monitors, and stores it in an easily accessible manner will have an advantage over less data-savvy companies.

“There are companies that are developing what are called data lakes, which are effectively an internal data aggregation and normalisation of all their data files,” Knight said.

“The ability to make it useful is dependent on a company’s flexibility about how we integrate with their data,” Knight said. “It takes us three to six months to successfully bring a customer on board, although they will be able to use the software from out of the box effectively.

“It takes time and energy to integrate and we do a lot of that work. Part of the challenge in the digitalisation of this industry is that everyone has their own set of data challenges which are quite different from each other.”

FutureOn aims to make FieldTwin the industry standard for oilfield visualisation software. “But it’ll be an open standard,” Knight noted. “What we don’t want to do is to lock into proprietary formats or anything like that.”

Other companies can create and save their own assets for other companies to use. This synergy will assist FieldTwin in providing an immense library of common oilfield equipment, as well as helping EPCs promote their products. As more clients come on board, more assets and more information will come on stream.

“Because of the cost, companies want to use less custom equipment and they want to use lower cost equipment,” Knight said. “Enabling a dialogue as a digital discussion between well planners and field planners is one aspect that we are working with.”

“Subsea 7 are putting all their riser bundles as unique assets to make available to the industry,” Knight noted. “They have begun using our products to be able to make concept fields that use their equipment as opposed to other people’s equipment, so it helps them kind of put together a bid process more efficiently.

“McDermott’s the same: they partner with Baker Hughes as the equipment provider, so they want to be able to showcase a lot of Baker Hughes’ technology as part of their proposals.”

“We are trying to help people collaborate in a more efficient way,” Knight said. “It’s all about driving efficiency and saving money, from the concept phase all the way to production becoming cost-effective and able to support a low per barrel price of oil.”



FutureOn featured in Energy CIO Insights as a Top 10 Digital Oil Field Solutions Provider

By Editorial

We deliver a data visualization platform that integrates with machine learning, production analysis and flow simulation tools to process data relevant to a particular decision-making workflow

A blueprint and a prototype model are effectively equal. They both present their content as a general description of the information an individual is seeking. Only, one is more effective than the other. While the blueprint provides a bird’s-eye view of a subject, the prototype realizes it on a more manageable scale, in 3D. Now, a realistic visualization software introduces a whole new level of graphical capacity, as it presents information more vividly than drawings and numbers alone.

With increasing complexity in enterprise data—by volume, variety and velocity—the need to see the biggest and most accurate picture becomes paramount, most notably in complex industrial settings. The oilfield is one vast system of interconnected industrial assets that generate hundreds of millions of bytes of data every day, meaning that the information to be presented has to be descriptive yet easily palatable. What started out as a vision in 1999, when a group of engineers, came together to provide content including media and visualization, high-resolution graphic imagery, videos, animation, and impressive PowerPoint® presentations, soon became grounds for designing field concepts for bidding processes in oil field operations—and that is FutureOn. To quote Darrell Knight, EVP of FutureOn, “We deliver a data visualization platform that integrates with machine learning, production analysis and flow simulation tools to process data relevant to a particular decision-making workflow and bridge the gap between information and the process with an entirely digital methodology. This is allowing our customers to make real-time decisions based on bringing all their data together in a visual way.”

The Makings of a Digital Twin Visualizer

The company is now helping their customers build concept fields in the Cloud. A potential field or multiple concepts might be in a Greenfield or Brownfield environment. With FutureOn’s solution, every asset in the system is replicated in the Cloud, using a drag-and-drop ecosystem, rendered in full 2D or 3D, where a user can design risers, umbilicals or pipelines. Users can drag in all their assets and bring in all the key data types, including mapping data, to ensure everything is in context and placed in the correct geographical coordinates. FutureOn brings multifarious data into the system and can visualize it for maximum visibility into an oil field’s operations. Knight explains, “When we typically onboard a client, we bring the software, and our next question becomes, ‘What data do you need to bring into your environment to make decisions on developing a field?’”

From a use case perspective on the field development side, FutureOn has assisted clients to integrate a lot of the core data they have, reducing weeks spent in developing a concept field down to a couple of hours with FutureOn, driving a significant ROI for their customers.

Each and every team member, right from the installation team to the person performing the field planning to the well operator overseeing the drilling, would all be fundamentally looking at the same set of data, thanks to FutureOn’s Cloud-based solution. All users will have the right version of the data, in relevance to the decisions they have to make, all the way from the beginning through to the process of planning, to engineering, and up to the operations side.

“We are going to make operations more efficient and faster by helping publish the finished field into their operational dashboard”

The Area of Expertise

In the oil and gas industry, “digitalization” is a concept that can mean different things to different people. To FutureOn, it is all about the data, particularly related to the subsea domain. The term digital twin—which means a digital version of a system’s operating assets—is often applied to the top side of the field. But FutureOn is all about what is under the water with no solution quite as robust as theirs. The FutureOn solution allows operators to understand digitally what is going on under the water. With a plethora of sensor data, the ability to visualize that information in a way that different types of users can respond to is vital. “We call it FieldTwin™, and that is our big message; we have a suite of solutions or a workflow process, that allows you to realize, create, build and then operate and decommission your facility,” elaborates Knight.

FutureOn is introducing a paradigm shift in the way oilfields use software. In a siloed world, with a variety of owned tools, applications and data, one of the earliest documented challenges was the need to centralize the disparate entities, and to make only the relevant data accessible to the people who need it. In order to collaborate, the units have to do so across the various stakeholders involved in a project, who generally will not be in the same room, time-zone or country at the same time. To work with the data and be able to see what is happening in real time, better understand the data and make sound decisions, moving to digital is crucial. Corporate must recognize that the different parts of the organizations are interconnected, and much can be benefited through this transition. People are apprehensive about technology; some will push back, as many processes can be automated such as generating reports from disparate data, although ultimately, the decision is Blockbuster vs. Netflix.

Going Live before the Field

Most companies bring in engineering processes in the pre-engineering stage. When the price of oil was high a few years ago, several operators acquired new leases, and they had enough cash available to invest in the pre-engineering stage.

They could go to a third-party engineering company, invest in their study for that field and then split the expenses among potential bidders and fund it efficiently, to see what works out. Today, there are no margins for error in the current climate, so whoever wants to bid, will have to manage the costs immediately, if they are to have a chance of winning.

What FutureOn’s products have done in the short term, is to eliminate the need for the type of detailed engineering that should be reserved only for the FEED phase. They present the data and position it accurately which makes it usable, in a way that gives precise specifications as opposed to estimates. FutureOn integrates with popular flow assurance software to test the viability of the field before any engineered field is developed. They have taken the process of concept planning from months to days or even hours, resulting in significant cost reductions. Additionally, their clients don’t have to outsource these tasks to specialized engineering groups anymore, and they can retain everything in-house, and tie it into their own costing data to come up with very accurate bids. One such company that FutureOn has worked with is McDermott, which is now using FutureOn’s software to win tenders and outbid incumbents. Being able to do so without any engineering work in the pre- FEED stage, has made them a thought leader in digitalization.

Over and beyond the Digital Oil Trenches

FutureOn’s work has been focused on the Pre-FEED/ Concept stage to date. But the creative process around what data is available, along with the ability to evaluate the possibilities of how that new field could evolve has always been the objective. They are currently working with operator clients that want to take the fields that have been developed in the concept phase, and then bring them into the engineering phase. Knight states, “We are moving into that phase where we can export the data, update to as-builts and make the Digital Twin of the Field available to the clients—the FieldTwin™. This FieldTwin™ would include integration of all the engineering tools that they could want and update the digital fields with the gathered data.” Subsequently, when the clients engineer the pipelines that they put in place conceptually, there are going to be various additions and changes that they have to determine, and they will need to know exactly what kind of pipeline they are going to use, what material availability they have. Pipelines move and change over the life of the field – FutureOn’s solution can make sure you always have all the latest information at your fingerprints.

“We call it FieldTwin™– a workflow process where you create, build and operate your facility with an entirely digital methodology”

FutureOn’s platform can be consolidated into a PLM or content management system where any content can be linked directly to the digital field. Users can then look at the field, which has all the associated documents that can be pulled programmatically from a PLM system to access a complete document set at the user’s fingertips. In the past, users have had a lot of sensor data that they had to compare manually to discover useful information from the data, i.e., the productivity the equipment should be reaching versus what it is actually doing. “We are going to make operations more efficient and faster by helping publish the finished field into their operational dashboard in whatever context that makes sense, along with the ability to access and interact among users, bridging the predictive data with the operational action required,” concludes Knight.

Source: Energy CIO Insights

Cost Management

Digitalization helps manage costs in uncertain times

By FutureOn Today

Oil and gas companies used to consider cost management only during struggling times.

Oil and gas companies used to consider cost management only during struggling times. But now in our new low oil price reality, it is standard operating practice for operators and contractors to constantly find ways to reduce costs in uncertain times.

With the emergence of disruptive innovations such as robotic process automation, analytics and cognitive technology, cost management is morphing into a strategic enabler with the power to disrupt entire industries and fundamentally change business, according to Deloitte.

However, cost management remains challenging

Based on surveys of more than 1,000 senior executives across the globe — Deloitte found cost reduction has become a standard business practice with 86 percent of global respondents saying their companies are likely to undertake cost reduction initiatives. Nearly half of all organizations surveyed are pursuing cost reduction targets of less than 10 percent yet almost 63 percent are failing to achieve their goals.

FutureOn®’s FieldTwin™ technology is an intelligent platform designed to help with cost management by building an exact digital copy of an oil and gas company’s physical assets on a single platform, enabling greater collaboration among teams working at a higher speed on an oilfield project from development to decommissioning. In fact, FieldTwin™ deployed operationally in real-world fields reduces pre-front- end-engineering design time and investment by as much as 60 percent.

Single platform

FieldTwin™ enables engineering companies to effectively design early concepts of offshore oilfield projects that are then handed off seamlessly to the construction teams and oil and gas operators to construct and maintain. This process happens all in a matter of weeks, as opposed to months or longer because teams are working from the same single data platform. This results in cost savings for both contractor and operator.

For example, our customer McDermott recently designed and delivered four early design concepts to an oil and gas operator using our technology. Before implementing FutureOn®’s technology, McDermott’s team would likely only have delivered one design because of limitations of its traditional design methods.

Budgeting FieldTwin™

In our new reality of a barrel of oil fluctuating in price unpredictably, the oil and gas industry is looking for new tools, as well as new approaches to budgeting, forecasting and reporting, according to Deloitte. Oil and gas operators can budget FieldTwin™ as an operational expense rather than a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to avoid carrying over the expense on the company’s balance sheet year after year like other technologies such as robotics or Internet of Things (Iot) sensors.

Cost solutions based on next-generation technologies such as FieldTwin™ are only emerging and have the potential to deliver increasing savings over time. Contact us today to help you achieve your cost reduction goals.


Oil & Gas Innovation talks with FutureOn about their Digital Oilfield Technology

By Editorial

Oil & Gas Innovation sits down with Darrell Knight, EVP- Global Accounts of FutureOn to learn more about their visual engineering solutions, as they apply to the oil and gas industry. 

There are opportunities out there for companies, which could improve their bottom line by driving down costs.  Once implemented, software tools such as FieldAP™ and FieldTwin™ help different decision makers and stakeholders collaborate more effectively on a project while increasing visibility for everyone involved.  FieldTwin™ is particularly exciting, as it provides the user with a digital replica of ones assets and has the potential to revolutionize the industry.  We ask Mr. Knight to go into more detail about these tools.

OGI:  Could you start by explaining FutureOn’s credentials and experience in terms of your products and services for the Oil and Gas sector? Could you tell our readers the breadth of your experience, how long the company has been active, and its reach?

Knight:  FutureOn® emerged from Xvision – a part of the EXP investment group in Norway – with more than 15 years of experience as a provider of state-of-the-art visual engineering for clients worldwide in the oil and gas subsea domain.

Four years ago, Xvision saw field data usage and visualization as a huge opportunity for offshore oil and gas companies. Xvision spun off and launched Xvision Software as an independent venture in summer 2016 to create a product to solve our oil and gas clients’ needs in the subsea environment called FieldAP™. Earlier in 2018, Xvision Software rebranded as FutureOn®.

Our team has 50 years of cumulative industry knowledge in software development, oil and gas project management with first-hand experience in subsea equipment and field development.

OGI:  FutureOn has a few different product lines, what sectors within the oil and gas industry do you primarily help?

Knight:  Field Activity Planner or FieldAP™ supports the offshore subsea field development process while FieldTwin™ is the digital field of the future, creating a digital copy of any oil field from pre- FEED to operations to decommissioning. We support the offshore environment exclusively, but the FieldTwin™ platform has the capability to support onshore fields.

OGI:  Could you tell the readers more about your Field Activity Planner, FieldAP?

Knight:  FieldAP™ is an offshore, cloud-based platform which digitizes the entire pre-FEED and FEED subsea field planning process. FieldAP™ enables companies and teams globally to see more of their assets, be more critically involved in the planning process, and make more profitable decisions about equipment placement and vessel movement based on digital equipment comparisons.

FieldTwin™ is what we are most excited about at the moment because the technology could revolutionize the offshore oil and gas industry. FieldTwin™ is also a digital, cloud-based platform, but the difference is FieldTwin™ creates and maintains a digital twin — an exact digital copy of an oil and gas company’s physical assets — enabling producers to maximize asset performance and value across the entire life-cycle of a field. FieldTwin™ maximizes Big Data by bringing in IoT data visually, creating the digital twin and transforming field operations.

OGI:  Why is it so important for engineers to make timely decisions and what are some aids that can help expedite that process?

Knight:  If you want to know the value of a minute, ask the person who just missed the bus isn’t a cliché in the oil and gas industry. Time can cost millions of dollars and lead to potential safety risks for the industry. Through our revolutionary products, we place visual, time-relevant, and accurate information at the fingertips of engineers at any stage of the field’s lifecycle.

FieldTwin™ enables engineers to make timely decisions by visually representing critical operation data on specific assets, as well as provide warnings or notifications when set parameters are exceeded. Our customers are creating safer and more responsive operating conditions, lowering risks and better preserving the longevity and integrity of field equipment. By visually supporting offshore asset inspection, maintenance and repair programs become more effective as access to more robust, real-time information informs priorities, timing and the expertise needed in planned maintenance.

OGI:  If possible, could you elaborate a bit on digital oilfield technology? What is it, what does it do etc?

Knight:  Digital oilfield technology seems to be a catch-all for digital trends in the oil and gas sector.

We identified two main areas of digital oilfield technology. The first area is the traditional digitalization approach focused on deploying IoT devices, SMART sensors and robotic tools. This approach involves significant upfront CAPEX expenditures, expensive new equipment investments, employee training and retrofitting of existing systems.

The second area of digital oilfield technology is a more effective and immediate approach to digitalization and improve operations. We have found software technologies that can be implemented quickly create data-driven solutions immediately to improve work processes, increase data accessibility and data usability. Forrester Research estimates that between 60% and 73% of data that enterprises have access to goes unused for business intelligence and analytics. There is incredible potential to maximize your company’s potential by simply efficiently using the information you already possess.

OGI:  Finally, could you enlighten our readers of a case study where you helped a client with your solutions?

Knight:  A Houston-based engineering firm serving the subsea oil and gas industry uses FieldAP™ to visualize new subsea drilling and well construction projects in a collaborative, cloud-based environment. The platform incorporates the necessary engineering data to allow asset managers to make sound business decisions. The additional smart functionality eliminates the pre-FEED CAD work during the proof of-concept stage and the previous requirement to engage an outsourced engineering firm.

By implementing FieldAP™, the company has streamlined its entire field design process, so it can rapidly produce concept designs for multiple fields that include important information, such as flowline data. This is a huge step up from the company’s former process of capturing information via flipcharts and PowerPoint, then converting them into static visuals using Visio, Corel Draw and MS Paint.

OGI:  Thank you for your time.