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Generating Value With Digital Twins in Oil and Gas

By FutureOn Today

Technology is evolving faster than ever before: what used to be incremental steps is quickly becoming leaps and bounds. And, as digitalization spreads throughout the industry and new digital tools emerge, no industry or market can avoid the march of progress.

Digital technologies have transformed the way we work by solving some of the biggest challenges today’s market faces such as how to cut-costs while optimizing performance, and boosting production. 

Markets are more fluid and susceptible to fluctuations than ever before, a state exacerbated by the recent global pandemic. GlobalData analysts reported in a recent review of industry contracts that the number of global oil and gas contracts decreased by 28% between 2019 and 2020.

While oil prices are tentatively recovering post-Covid, hitting a session peak of $77.84 for its highest since October 2018, other external pressures are still squeezing the industry to find better and cheaper ways of doing business. 

Transformative digital technologies, like digital twins, can help operators solve these key business problems by enabling them to unlock an enormous amount of hidden value in their assets. Digital technology is already at work for the oil and gas industry in areas such as flow assurance, digital subsea mapping, IoT sensors to name just a few. However, we’re still missing a trick when it comes to data integration and data unity. 

The challenges to unlocking value 

Offshore oil and gas assets are highly complex facilities with very expensive equipment, numerous processes, and multiple digital applications. On top of that, they operate in a high risk environment that is physically difficult to access. Scoping, planning, building, operating and maintaining an asset requires a whole host of people from across various different disciplines e.g. engineers, specialized system experts, project managers, and maintenance crews to work together in sync to ensure it’s a smooth journey to profitability. 

Facilitating project teams collaboration, optimization of planning, and a more holistic understanding of the asset in a real-world context is where disruptive technologies can create value and support operators in reaching key milestones quicker. By creating an identical digital copy of an asset in a virtual environment, project teams are able to make faster and better decisions. When the quality of planning, execution and operation is increased so too is the value generated by the digital twin. 

It’s worth noting that digital twin technology isn’t the new kid on the block. In fact, digital twins have been used in oil and gas operations for a while. However, what the industry has been failing to do is use them to their full potential and, as a result, are missing out on the true value they could create. Too often when a digital twin is used, management fails to secure buy-in from the end users within the company and the twin sits there under utilized. When a tool sits there creating no value, management may then blame the tool and view it as a bad investment. 

Another problem can be company culture and the historic way projects have been carried out before. Department, data and application silos hinder value creation, and again leave the twin unable to reach its maximum potential. Everyday work hours are lost when people have to access multiple, most likely, isolated systems just to do their job. 

The limited data interaction between these applications makes this process even more time consuming and could lead to inaccuracies. Gathering data from different disciplines or production activities also eats into work hours that could be better spent on other aspects of the project and can delay decision making. 

Digital twins create value through optimization 

We have seen in our customer use cases that digital twins can help oil and gas companies to create value in the following ways: 

  • Reduce time-to-first-oil 
  • Accelerate production 
  • Reduce capital expenditure 
  • Enhance health and safety
  • Reduce need for revisions
  • Increase recovery rate
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Eliminate bottlenecks 

By allowing companies to accurately simulate and optimize an asset in the virtual environment before creating it in the real world, a digital twin reduces both guesswork and uncertainty of executing an oil and gas project. 

This digital twin allows planners to test risky what-if scenarios onshore thereby minimizing the likelihood of the unexpected happening in real-life. These simulations will help improve concept selection, increase accuracy in cost-weight estimations, reduce the time needed to determine project parameters and to identify opportunities to optimise asset value against capital expenditure. 

Digital twins also drive value through enhanced collaboration between disciplines, project life cycle stages, operators and contractors. Housed in the cloud, teams from anywhere in the world can access tools and data, update models and collaborate with each other using a digital twin platform. The virtual environment helps break down traditional barriers to collaboration and communication. 

Identify both opportunities for optimization and potential obstacles 

A centralized and integrated digital twin platform like FutureOn’s offerings creates an open ecosystem of applications via an API-driven integration; that is, based on an open approach to the standardization of data. This means our end users do not have to login to multiple systems and can access everything they need from one central and secure online hub. Centralized data will help to ensure project continuity and to identify the resources needed for each asset. 

Legacy systems and new upstream projects can both benefit from the application of digital twin technology. Companies can use a digital twin to gain a deeper understanding of a legacy asset enabling them to assess the asset’s maturity and identify opportunities and obstacles as to where optimizations can be made to improve production. Similarly, for new projects, the digital twin enables planners to invest capital more efficiently and accelerate the time to first oil. 

Gartner predicts that half of major industrial applications will be using digital twins by 2021, potentially increasing their operational effectiveness by 10%. So, it’s safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before the industry starts realising the full value of digital twin technologies. 

To find out more about how FutureOn can help your company leverage optimize its operations or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please  contact us or book a demo.


Safely Leveraging Brownfields and Ageing Assets With Digital Twin Technology

By FutureOn Today

Price pressures and market uncertainty in the oil and gas industry are pushing companies to focus on driving operational excellence on existing assets to increase profitability through improved efficiencies.

It’s no secret that operational times in the oil and gas industry are tough. Financial pressures coupled with market uncertainty and increased geopolitical tensions are making the already arduous task of executing an oil and gas project much harder.

In this challenging environment there is an urgency for oil and gas operators to find ways to produce more with less resources. Striving for operational excellence is one route to achieve this; in other words, getting more bang for their buck from their existing assets.

Extending the life of brownfield sites or optimizing ageing production assets is one way to achieve this. Driving operational efficiency will be pivotal to unlocking the value from brownfields, tackling rising costs and helping to meet new environmental goals. Redevelopment also presents a major opportunity to access and accelerate reserves as fields mature.

Experts believe that the world may have reached a point globally where the potential for enhanced recovery from known hydrocarbon resources exceeds the potential from new discoveries, which makes the role of brownfields even more important for meeting the world’s growing energy needs.

One of the world’s leading supermajors estimates that optimization technologies have contributed to a 40% increase in their production at the world’s second largest field. While another says that redevelopment of the 30 year old Valhall field in the Norwegian North sea has been so successful it has increased the lifespan of the field by 30 years. However, developing an existing site or asset can be extremely challenging and dangerous without the right digital tools.

It’s vital to establish asset integrity before upgrading an asset

When looking at undertaking such a project, companies will need to consider the following: how they will design projects around existing complex infrastructure and how they will safely move machinery and teams around limited and sometimes hazardous spaces. It can be a lengthy, complicated and dangerous process.

There is also a risk that historic asset information integrity may be compromised, particularly if it is an older brownfield. Throughout its lifecycle, which can be upto 20 years or more, the field is likely to have been upgraded and adapted numerous times; however, records may not have been updated or are spread across a number of legacy platforms or different formats or they may be inaccessible.

So, for whatever reason, key project data may have been permanently lost along the way. Information gaps like this can cause major problems when it comes to planning projects; for example, a planned equipment upgrade may not fit safely.

Hiccups like this can delay projects, impact other planned upgrades and even necessitate revisions, all of which can lead to downtime and unexpected costs. More importantly, it can lead to a major mishap where worker safety, the environment and equipment is put at risk.

Digital twins form the baseline for life extension and optimization projects

High-tech solutions such as laser scanning, 3D modelling, visualization software and bathymetry data can be utilized by sophisticated software to create an identical digital copy of the asset.

The digital twin can be compared with the real-world asset to identify integrity discrepancies, allowing engineers to accurately simulate how upgrades will impact the asset and its operations. This will help them to determine whether the asset will last another five or more years and if it will be cost-effective to upgrade it.

Teams can use a digital twin to gain a deeper understanding of the asset within the context of their operations and in understanding the asset’s limitations; for example, the amount of weight a structure can safely carry.

An accurate digital twin provides a solid foundation for better decision making and for identifying the best way to optimize performance while reducing risk.

Digital twin platforms, like FutureOn’s offerings, bring together siloed data, including surface, map, well, reservoir, bathymetry, industry asset and historical data from a variety of sources together in a single interactive interface.

The real-time nature of our tools ensures that data is always up-to-date and accessible regardless of location, making it easier for project teams to access the information they need and to communicate changes across teams and departments.

Streamlining workflows and planning like this will lead to improved efficiency, enhanced project management, better costing calculations and fewer revisions. As digital twin technology advances and the urgency of life extension products increases, platforms like FieldTwin and FieldTwin Design are destined to become industry standard tools.

To find out more about how FutureOn can help your company leverage the value of brownfields or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please  contact us or book a demo.

Hywind floating offshore wind farm illustration

Improving Floating Offshore Wind Farms With Digital Twin Technology

By FutureOn Today

Digital solutions have the potential to drive value through improved efficiency, reliability and output capacity in the wind-power sector.

Floating offshore wind-power is a rapidly maturing technology with the potential to become a serious contender in the global green energy portfolio. With space for onshore and offshore wind farms (in waters up to 60 feet) dwindling, floating wind farms present a viable solution to open up swathes of ocean to developers. 

Around 80% of the best offshore wind real-estate, where the winds are strongest and most consistent, is located in waters up to half a mile deep where traditional bottom-fixed wind farms become economically unfeasible. 

The EU Blue Report estimates that 3 million MW of floating offshore wind farm capacity could be installed in sea areas with a depth of more than 100 metres, generating the potential to open up new markets for wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and even the Black Sea.

The report also predicts that floating offshore wind farms could take a share of 14% of the total offshore wind market in Europe and approximately 3% of Europe’s total power supply by 2050 with an installed capacity of around 40 GW612. The world’s first full-scale floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland, is proof that the technology could be a real game-changer. 

Floating offshore wind farms are exceeding expectations 

Launched in 2017 by oil giant, Equinor, Hywind Scotland is located in more than 300 feet of water and has, for a third consecutive year, produced the highest average capacity for any wind farm in the UK. With an average capacity factor of 57.1% in the twelve month period to March 2020, Hywind has set a new record in the UK. 

However, for floating offshore wind to reach its full commercial potential it’s vital that operators embrace digital tools that can help optimize performance, boost power production and minimize downtime. Improving both efficiency and reliability, while driving down costs will be key to unlocking the full potential of floating wind farms and making them a competitive green energy solution. 

Digital twins can help increase efficiencies while driving down costs

Digital twin technologies can help achieve this by facilitating more precise and optimal planning to reduce the need for revisions and to avoid problems further down the line. During the concept and design phase, engineers can use a digital twin to analyse and predict floating wind farm asset costs for operation and management. Creating a digital field twin can also provide a better understanding how the asset will withstand varying wave power, soil and environmental conditions. 

One Oil and Gas super major, who is considered a leader in floating offshore wind farms, deployed FutureOn’s FieldTwin online platform to plan and develop the entire scope of its latest floating wind farm project, including the positioning of its assets. FieldTwin provided project teams with an interactive method to position wind farm assets over unexplored hydrocarbon fields so as to allow future access by drilling rigs. 

Our 100% cloud-based approach to field design and asset management, provides teams from different disciplines with easy access to the right data and industry tools needed to deliver a complex engineering project such as a floating offshore wind farm. 

To find out more about how FutureOn’s digital twin field products can help or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo. 


Digital Twins Are the Future of Asset Management

By FutureOn Today

Advances in digital twins are making the use of this technology a business imperative in the oil and gas market where efficiency, cost-savings and speed is paramount.

The oil and gas industry is on the cusp of transformation, propelled by the availability of new technologies, market volatility and a changing public sentiment towards fossil fuels in favour of green energy – there’s no denying the industry has to evolve. 

As we are in the midst of the ongoing Fourth industrial revolution, it seems only natural that the industry is exploring digital solutions to their very modern problems. Oil and gas operators have either already embraced or are turning towards digital twin technologies to provide the tools they need to extract more value from their projects. 

According to a study by Gartner, 13% of organizations from various industries that are implementing Internet of Things (IoT) projects already use digital twins, while 62% are either in the process of establishing digital twin use or plan to do so. 

Digital twin technology is already being used to manage the growing scale and complexity of oil and gas projects by providing operators with an accurate real-time overview of asset integrity and operation conditions. 

Oilfield and asset data can be better utilized to optimize operations 

Digital twin technology harnesses the power of field data in an unparalleled way that is generating in-depth insights into oil and gas operations, which in turn is enabling operators to upgrade and optimize projects and their assets from start to finish. 

Detailed digital twin models of complex production assets in offshore and upstream oil and gas operations allow engineers and planners to design fields, simulate scenarios and test infrastructure fidelity in a matter of hours instead of days. This not only speeds up decision making, it also improves the quality of decisions made, which results in better outcomes. 

The ongoing incorporation of technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things) devices, Cloud platforms, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning into digital twin technology is expanding the twin’s functionality significantly. Engineers now use the technology to optimize performance, assess real-world impacts, identify potential hazards, and reduce the need for revisions thus enabling them to deploy capital more effectively. 

In an industry where errors can cost billions in recovery, time is a precious commodity and efficiency is an imperative of business success; engineers and operators cannot afford to ignore the time and cost saving benefits of digital twins in the management of oilfield assets. 

Faster and more accurate simulations cut engineer time significantly

Having a digital twin allows engineers to test and assess how assets will be impacted by harsh operating conditions, such as those found in deep waters offshore, allowing safety and performance to be improved without compromising assets or putting workers at risk.

The detailed nature of the real-time insights created by digital twins provides a more holistic understanding of the asset so that engineers can determine the best way to handle an existing asset. Should it be optimised to extend its lifecycle or should it be modified to produce green energy? Digital twins can help answer these difficult questions. 

Using a digital twin model, engineers can determine what the best solution is and when, or if, an intervention should be implemented. With a digital twin, engineers can more effectively estimate the cost of implementation, and by comparing historical asset data to the up-to-date model, they can also more accurately predict future changes, maintenance, and operation costs. 

Workflows and data management are streamlined 

Greater connectivity and accessibility is changing how offshore and onshore teams work together and how operators interact with suppliers. Digital twins support greater collaboration by breaking down traditional data and application silos that have typically delayed or hindered projects. 

Digital twin technology, which is typically delivered via a cloud-based approach, creates a central hub where data and visual assets can be managed more efficiently. Centralized information allows the easy utilization of information and ensures that data is always available to all relevant stakeholders of the asset. 

Another benefit of centralized and integrated data is that it generates a single source of data truth that is accurate and up-to-date, making it easy to track the history of an asset throughout its lifecycle. It’s easy to see how digital twins will consolidate information in a way that addresses the historical problem of asset information being distributed across multiple platforms, formats, and locations. 

FutureOn’s cloud-based platform brings together proprietary technologies, digital tools and industry asset data within a single platform. Engineers use our platforms via a web browser to easily access gathered industry data from solution providers and operators. Our online platforms ensure that engineers have access to the right data and digital tools they need to monitor, manage and augment the assets under their supervision. 

At present, the capabilities of digital twins are only limited by the willingness of solution providers and operators to share their asset data. But, as digital twins become more sophisticated and widely accepted as an industry standard they will transform both oilfield development and the future of asset management.

To find out more about how FutureOn can help or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo. 


FutureOn Partners With Cloud-based Well Planning Company Oliasoft

By FutureOn Today, News

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve partnered with cloud-based well planning company Oliasoft to launch a new integrated solution that will revolutionize subsea well planning – Well Assist.

Well Assist combines our digital twin technologies, including our newly launched FieldTwin Design, with Oliasoft’s engineering well planning software, which is designed to connect every link in the well planning calculation chain. 

This new feature offers field planners and drilling engineers the ability to design, visualise, test and accurately cost field concepts from the topside to the target zone via a real-life, immersive subsea experience using a desktop. 

With its immediate insight into well design options, Well Assist supports better decision making, team collaboration, risk reduction, all while maximizing cost efficiencies.

Features, which can be enhanced by asset operator input and tailored to specific project requirements include:

  • High-level algorithms – Well Assist has integrated a series of recognised mathematical methodologies that deploy increased levels of intelligent automation to create the optimum well path. The feature is based on documented standards that support and build on directional drilling primitives. 
  • Well-head placement – Well Assist can guide the ideal placement of well heads by generating a heat map based on factors including the cost metric. The feature can be used to compare the economics of various solutions based on the economics of a series of wells reaching specific targets. 
  • Bespoke data sets – Big data provides a wealth of options to create user-specific modelling based on operational requirements. 

“By leveraging the building blocks of subsea design, specific coordinates, incline and azimuth – with the power of digital twin technology and industry-specific algorithms, Well Assist offers an unprecedented level of capability for field planners and drilling engineers.

“It will revolutionise field planning and well design by providing sophisticated and proven insight at the earliest stages of any subsea project. In a time of tight margins and increased competition, that is an advantage that no operator can afford to ignore.”  – Jostein Lien, Senior Vice President of Products at FutureOn

To find out more about Well Assist or about what FutureOn’s technologies can do for your field development operations and well planning, or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo.