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.