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The Game Changing Power of Digital Twins in Oil and Gas

By FutureOn Today

Digital twins are rapidly gaining industry recognition for their game-changing capacity to elevate operational excellence to the next level.

Digital twin technology has come a long way over the past decade. The advent of cloud platforms, cutting-edge analytics and increased computing power combined with greater clarity on how to utilize these innovations has accelerated the adoption of digital twin technology in the oil and gas industry. As the technology continues to advance, so too does the potential for digital twin technology to generate millions in additional revenue for operators through improved field design, more streamlined processes and greater operating efficiency.

Information management is one of the biggest challenges oil and gas operators face in achieving operational excellence. Poor asset information management during operations can result in increased waste in maintenance and operation budgets, increased consumption of resources to keep assets operational, and missed opportunities for incremental improvements.

Having a cloud-based digital twin is the easiest and most efficient way to gather, secure and centralize information in a way that allows asset teams to access project information at any time and from any location. The twin essentially acts as a real-time information management system and gateway that is up to date with key critical operational and asset data throughout its entire lifecycle.

Twinning supports collaboration and decision making all the way up the ladder

With a centralized platform data from disparate resources, including third party sources, can be pulled, validated for accuracy and housed within the twin. Not only will this create a single thread of digital truth it will also ensure asset teams have the most comprehensive and detailed understanding of the field environment, state of existing assets, and the asset’s potential operational capacity.

This level of detail and accuracy provided by a digital twin allows for better planning during the FEED stage (front-end engineering and design), thereby reducing unexpected costs, better allocation of budget, and fewer revisions.

The accessible nature of cloud-based digital twin platforms enables data to be shared and updated in real-time across multiple departments. From engineering, procurement, contraction, commission through to operations, the twin helps to break down data silos, supports better planning, collaboration and communication, and ensures everyone is working from a common dataset.

This more holistic and collaborative approach ensures that projects are more streamlined, work gets done more quickly, better quality decisions are made, and that no information is lost along the way. Inclusive data sharing will help ease information bottlenecks and ensure that key executives have the information they need to make evidence-based operating decisions that impact the bottom line.

Keep assets working better for longer with real-time monitoring

Whether a brownfield or new asset, the digital twin continuously consumes, analyzes and updates information automatically, providing operators with a real-time view of the health of their facilities.

Users can use the tagged meta-data stored in the digital twin to search and easily find a particular asset and see how it’s functioning; a traditionally time-consuming process that would often lead to critical issues being missed, potentially causing failure or production outages.

The twin enables operators to be more proactive rather than reactive when it comes to identifying pain points and troubleshooting issues. Being proactive towards asset operation and maintenance reduces downtime, minimizes impact on production, and reduces the risk of a catastrophic failure that could result in billions of lost revenues. In addition, this approach will enhance production and extend asset lifecycle by identifying opportunities for ongoing incremental improvements.

FutureOn provides a single real-time data interface

FutureOn’s software provides users with a single integrated interface to access all asset data, negating the need for multiple platforms and consolidating all project information into one easy to access online space. Our digital twin technology provides our users with a framework that supports operational excellence through a model-focused approach that can transform vast amounts of data into actionable insights that drive value to the business.

With its intuitive design and powerful 3D visualization tools, our platforms make it easier for businesses to identify hidden revenue opportunities, predict pitfalls, and continuously improve in an ever-changing and competitive marketplace. If anything, the past year has demonstrated just how important cloud-based tools, like digital twin technology, is to business continuity and resilience.

Oil and gas companies cannot afford to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to managing and improving their assets. Instead they need to be always looking for ways to do things better with less capital, which is why a real-time digital twin is rapidly becoming an essential tool all operators should be investing in.

To find out more about how FutureOn’s cloud-based digital twin solutions can support your company in achieving its performance and production goals or for enquiries about partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo.


FieldTwin Design: Digitizing the Entire “Life of Field”

By FutureOn Today

We’re excited to share with you our new feature development that includes a suite of dedicated online applications designed to support the Entire Life of Field concept from design, installation, operation, maintenance and ultimately abandonment through digitalization.

Our new FieldTwin Design 6.1 release brings two new major features and some minor features to the application in addition to bug fixes and optimization. The major features are Shape Support in the new vector layer and Project Linking capabilities.

Shape Support

The new vector layer will be the layer that naturally includes our support for all kinds of vector elements and entities. The initial release enables you to create various shapes, but over time we expect to add other functionality such as markup, redline etc.

At present the following vector shape primitives are available in 2D and 3D: Box, Sphere, Triangle, Circle, Rectangle, Cone, Cylinder, Ring, and Torus. This ability to create new shapes allows project teams to easily create safety-drilling and drop zones, or mark areas for safe sailing access. Users can add various shape input values into their newly created shapes.

Parent Sub Projects

Parent Sub Projects allows project teams to link different sub projects together into a child project. This feature allows for the creation of a sub-project that only includes as an example bathymetry and reservoir data, while another sub-project may contain wellbore trajectories.

By linking these projects to the child project, engineers can focus on field design and layout whilst having the bathymetry and well data as a project backdrop. If the sub-project with bathymetry/reservoir data gets updated with more or better bathymetry then your project is updated automatically.

Furthermore, by using FieldTwin User Roles and Project Permissions you can easily control who can upload, modify and/or remove 3D Surfaces, and only allow the projects to be linked into other projects.

To find out more about this feature please see our online documentation.

Users have greater control over metadata

We’ve added back in Sample Frequency and Elevation Change threshold settings to the Connection Profile module. Now users can also export selected profiles directly from the module; this will now append the multiple selected connections into a single continuous profile. Users can now also control which metadata items that are displayed in the metadata infobox that is shown in the Viewport.

New ‘Asset Statuses’ feature added

We have added a new setting entry to the Account Settings option, Asset Statuses. This section allows users to create visual status conditions that can be applied to an asset to indicate an asset state that can be defined by the user e.g. obsolete, to be installed etc. The Asset Status can also be set and modified using the API. Click here for more information.

To find out more about how to navigate and make the most of FutureOn’s new features please get in touch or contact us or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo.


Digitalization and Addressing the Great Crew Change

By FutureOn Today

Hundreds of thousands of mature, highly experienced and knowledgeable oil and gas workers are expected to retire within the next five to seven years and take with them valuable project and asset information, creating a significant knowledge and skills gap.

‘The Great Crew Change’ is a term commonly used to describe the oil and gas industry’s ageing workforce. It’s estimated that 50% of the industry’s personnel are part of the ‘older crew’ category, who will be eligible to retire within the next ten years. With such a large portion of the industry’s personnel set to exit, there is an impending age and skills gap on the horizon.

Organizations should have in place or be developing a succession plan to ensure they are able to meet the challenges and opportunities that will accompany the exodus of their most experienced employees. Mentoring programs, workforce training initiatives and new employee engagement strategies will go a long way to addressing the skills gap. However, this does not address the loss of valuable asset and project knowledge when retirees depart.

Digitalization helps preserve asset data

Forward thinking companies are investing in smart cloud-based technologies such as digital twins that can help them capture and securely store data. Real-time online platforms, such as FutureOn’s FieldTwin and FieldTwin Design, gather and maintain data within one single central digital space. Centralizing data this way helps to break up traditionally siloed data streams whilst making them more accessible.

Advanced digital twin technologies provide users with real-time data from design concept through to decommissioning and ultimately abandonment. Teams from across different disciplines and at various stages in the project’s lifecycle can access the same up-to-date information no matter where they are in the world.

Digitalization not only helps secure and preserve asset knowledge, it also supports the next generation of engineering talent in designing smarter and cleaner assets. Digitalization strategies are already, or are soon to be, a top priority for organizations across the industry where there is mounting pressure to increase the value of assets and deliver higher revenues.

Boost engineer satisfaction and develop your talent

 Losing talent to retirement is not the only challenge facing oil and gas employers. There is also a major skills shortage looming and there simply isn’t enough top talent to go around. Attracting, securing and retaining skilled and experienced workers has never been harder, which is why employers should be focusing on creating a modern forward-thinking work environment where people feel able to thrive and expand their skill-set.

Digitalization has an important role in helping build this type of workplace. According to research by Accenture, digitalization can help boost engineer satisfaction and improve retention rates because workers are eager to upskill into the new roles created through digitalization. Stephanie Rogers, managing director at Accenture, said that employers who do not embrace the digital-era or provide training opportunities risk losing their best people to companies that do.

FutureOn’s E-learning portal provides users with the opportunity to continue their education by providing users with a comprehensive learning and development path to become an expert in the use of FieldTwin Design. On successful completion of the course, users are offered the option to become certified in the software. Having opportunities for career growth and development are often identified by HR managers as a key factor when it comes to determining employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Similarly, workers are more likely to favour a role where they have the digital tools they need to excel at their job rather than one that is significantly more laborious due to management’s resistance to digital progress. Digitally mature workplaces with a focus on the future of work will scoop up the very best workers the oil and gas’s shrinking talent pool has to offer.

Contact FutureOn today to find out how our cloud-based platforms can help your company preserve asset knowledge, speed up your path to digital maturity and offer your employees the opportunity to develop their skill-set.


Oil and Gas to Focus on Optimization Despite Price Boom

By FutureOn Today

Oil and gas companies are unlikely to loosen their exploration and development purse strings anytime soon as the future remains uncertain. It’s predicted that they will instead focus on production and operations optimization while investing heavily in energy transition strategies.

As we emerge from Covid-19 the demand for oil has rebounded – crude oil prices have more than doubled in the second quarter of 2021 from a year earlier. Market analysts predict that prices will reach $78 a barrel, their highest in almost three years and may even reach $100/bbl by next year, a trend fuelled by a predicted surge in travel once pandemic restrictions are lifted. However, despite this positive outlook, oil and gas operators are acutely aware that this boom could also mark the final surge in oil prices.

Due to the recent market volatility coupled with the overall market downward trend over the past decade, oil and gas companies are less inclined to splash billions on new projects that could take upwards of ten years to deliver a return on investment. Although the demand for oil is unlikely to abate in the near future, there is also considerable pressure on companies to speed up their journey to Net-Zero and to ease off developing new greenfield projects.

Generating high returns is a top priority

A demand for better cost efficiencies, increased production and cleaner energy is making optimization a more attractive investment than exploration. Similarly, the pull towards lower-carbon fuel provides companies an additional incentive to explore options to modify existing assets for green energy production.

“Higher oil prices allow us to extract more value from our existing businesses, which in turn will generate more resources for our spending on transformation in line with our energy transition roadmap,” Repsol Chief Executive Josu Jon Imaz told Reuters in a statement.

Supermajors, such as Shell and BP, have made big promises to anxious investors about high returns from the sector, which has been performing poorly over the past decade, and are therefore unlikely to throw the spending discipline they’ve practiced during the pandemic to the wind any time soon. Research by McKinsey & Company predicts that discipline in finance, capital allocation, risk management and governance will be critical to the future success of the oil and gas industry.

Drive value through the adoption of digital solutions

It’s estimated that throughput from existing assets could be improved significantly – in upstream, average performers have more than 20% opportunity, and even top-quartile performers could improve production by 3% to 5%. These figures suggest leading companies are likely to prioritize scaling up investments in technology, digital tools and data-driven solutions.

Oil and gas technologies are evolving so rapidly that they now offer the industry a myriad of digital solutions to help them achieve their performance goals. Advanced technologies, such as digital twins, IoT sensors, AI powered analytics, and 3D modelling will transform how companies operate for the better. 

The Covid-19 crisis, in which demand for oil almost stalled completely, has also prompted many company leaders to reconsider how their teams collaborate, deliver projects and the management processes needed to run a more efficient oil and gas project. Greater connectivity through cloud-based platforms and the digitalization of data and processes enables teams to work more effectively no matter their location and in real-time.

Optimize your digital tool box

Digitalizing the toolbox needed to deliver an oil and gas project on budget and ahead of schedule is an investment companies should be giving serious consideration, given the current situation. With the future uncertain and the possibility of a re-emergence of Covid-19 or a more virile variant, business leaders should not discard the lessons learned during the crisis – adaptability and resilience is paramount.

Even before the pandemic, the energy industry was in a period of transformation, but now the industry fundamentals have changed and things are likely to get tougher. To be able to compete in this new business landscape companies will need to embrace a new way of thinking, champion innovation and adopt superior operating models.

With its powerful 3D visualization tools and central data hub, FutureOn’s FieldTwin and FieldTwin Design makes optimization, planning, and decision making easier and faster. FutureOn’s cloud-based tools enable projects to continue despite social distancing and help minimize the need for crew to be offshore. Taking this approach addresses many of the issues the industry has faced since the first lockdown in early 2020 and will continue to face until we reach mass Covid-19 vaccination, which could potentially take until 2024.

To find out more about how FutureOn’s cloud-based digital twin solutions can support your company in achieving its performance and production goals or for enquiries about partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo.


Digital Transformation in Upstream Oil and Gas Can’t Wait

By FutureOn Today

If the oil and gas industry is to survive in the current market and thrive in the Net-Zero market of tomorrow, companies cannot afford to drag their feet when it comes to digital transformation and embracing digitalization. To speed up their maturation up companies need to start cutting through the digital deluge to streamline their digital tool box. 

It’s important companies adopt a future-ready mind-set now if they want to stay ahead of the pack in an increasingly competitive environment. Operations need to be smarter, more efficient, cleaner and increasingly responsive to changing economics. As the cost of digitalization drops and a wider range of advanced technologies become available, companies who play the digital revolution right could gain a serious advantage over their upstream oil and gas competitors. 

Supermajors such as Shell, Equinor, Exxon and Total are already aware of this advantage and are investing heavily in technologies that will enhance their operating excellence while securing them a foothold in a market where fossil fuels will eventually ebb away. Market downturns and moderating operational gains have provided an extra incentive, or push some might say, for companies to save millions from their operating costs, and most importantly, make their assets work harder for longer. 

Consolidate your digital tool box

The digital world is a fast moving sphere with a web of interdependencies between technologies and it seems that every year more and more digital solutions reach the market. According to Gartner, out of the more than 200 technologies listed on Gartner’s Hype Cycle from 2000 to 2016, over 50 individual technologies appeared for just a single year.

Due to the capital-intensive nature of the oil and gas industry and high costs associated with switching, companies cannot adopt a trial-and-error approach to digital transformation. Oil and gas operators tend to be reluctant early adopters, preferring instead to wait and see how others fare with the technology, but it’s this hesitancy that slows down progress. In addition, previous digital failures may also be adding to this hesitancy on the part of management to invest further in digital new digital tools. 

Other companies, who are keen to progress to digital maturity and operational excellence, often take a multi-technology approach, resulting in a digital deluge that leads to information being spread across numerous different systems. This distribution of data means workers often waste time trying to find, access and transfer the data they need to do their job. It also means that workers may start to suffer digital fatigue and grow cynical towards new tools. Where there is no consistency towards digital upgrades, people will prefer to stick to what they know. 

Oil and gas players need to shift their mind-set and take a top-down approach to consolidate their digital tool box and data into one open API based platform, akin to FutureOn’s FieldTwin and FieldTwin design. 

Digital twins can help streamline your digital solutions

Digital twin technologies can help organizations speed up their digital transformation through digitalization of their processes and data at every stage of project lifecycle. FutureOn’s online platforms bring siloed data together to create highly detailed visualizations that are accessible and can be updated in real-time by team members. 

The digitalization of under-utilized data can also unlock value through increased operational excellence, a deeper understanding of production assets and streamlined workflows. 3D modelling, similar to a gaming environment, provides a real-life, immersive subsea experience from the desktop, thereby making it easier to plan, design, and create assets, which can significantly speed up the time to profitability.

GIS mapping data, bathymetry, topography, existing infrastructure and other physical constraints are combined with proprietary information such as reservoir data and well data and drilling can be used via a single platform to enhance project planning, design and operation. Metadata can then be introduced based on cross-industry standards. The result, built using FieldTwin API technology, is a virtual twin of a future project that can be utilized in planning and also allows for the creation of meaningful production and operational forecasts over time.

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