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.