Digital twin is key to digital transformation of the oil and gas industry

September 06, 2018

The concept of Digital Twin is not new and it has been around for more than a decade. A digital twin is a complete 360-degree digital replica of a physical asset such as a pump, compressor or entire plant that enables analysis of data and monitoring of systems to catch problems before failures occur, preventing downtime and developing new opportunities for business improvement. Only in recent years, the improved technology and greater clarity on the use cases have accelerated the technology adoption. Oil and gas companies are starting to realize the benefits of Digital Twin that can enable unprecedented real-time insights of their operations and raise their operational excellence to the next level.

Building a Digital Twin

To build a Digital Twin for an asset, description tags and data – such as geometry, layout, connectivity of key components and process data - have to be created around the asset. This common set of data and information is then shared across departments throughout its asset and operations lifecycles – from engineering, to procurement, to construction, to commission and to operations. As the operational life continues, the digital copy is updated in real time, enabling performance monitoring of operations, such as well integrity, gathering systems, process or facilities. The data and information can be fed into analytics to model process behaviours and optimize operations from wells to processing facilities, improving production while reducing operating costs.

One major hurdle to enable Digital Twin

As a Digital Twin has to display the current performance of the working assets, keeping the engineering information and process data about the asset up-to-date at the same frequency is often challenging for most oil and gas operators. The data, drawings and other attributes along with their maintenance and performance documentation are often out of date or different to locate in the system. This gap between the real physical asset and digital replica can led to increased risk exposure and suboptimal performance of the asset. If the engineering information and process data are out-of-date over several months, this can pose safety and economic risks to companies. Keeping track of maintenance changes over time is often difficult and time consuming. Engineers often have to spend a lot of time searching and checking for information before they can perform any tasks. This not only impacts the operating costs but also poses safety risks due to lack of mechanism to aggregate up-to-date engineering information and data around the asset; decisions based on inaccurate information could endanger the plant and engineers working within it.

Steps to achieve Digital Twin

The safe and efficient operation of complex assets relies on the accessibility and validity of huge volumes of data. A comprehensive Information Management solution with detailed visualization of asset information that enables users to capture, connect, access, visualize and asset data from all possible sources is key to achieve a Digital Twin, allowing the users to manage information across the entire life cycle of the plant easily. At the start, AVEVA PDMS enables the creation of 3D model based on the original as-built documentation. It handles interface engineering between civil/structural, electrical, mechanical, control and instrumentation disciplines efficiently. This 3D model, tagged with all the necessary attributes and documentation, will serve as key information source for the asset. The next step is to implement a robust information gateway that can collate information from various source systems and other third-party systems. AVEVA NET – with its object-centric Information Management capabilities- validates and links the data and documents to offer critical context to the information around the asset, providing controlled, real-time access to correct and consistent information, irrespective of geographical location. This allows operations and maintenance teams to access to this information at remote sites, anytime, anywhere, resolving potential asset issues quickly before failure occurs. Coupled with AVEVA Engage, the integrated solution with instant, touch-controlled access to contextually filtered information raises asset visualization to a new level and sets a new benchmark for collaborative engineering decision support.

Fantastic Return on Investment

Oil and gas operators have since reaped significant benefits leveraging AVEVA Information Management solutions to achieve Digital Twin. The robust system enables efficient management of a wide range of document, including 3D models, 2D process schematics, as-built documents, instrumentation data and other business and safety critical Engineering & Design information. Now, their engineers can access information and health of an asset easily through tag searching. Previously, the tasks would take considerable time and effort, leading to missed opportunities in addressing any flagged issues before failure occurs, resulting in production outages.

Are you ready to leverage Digital Twin Strategy to take your Operational Excellence to the next level today?

Get ahead of your competition and accelerate your digital transformation journey with AVEVA today!

Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.