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TECH TALK: Digitalization, optional or necessary?

There is an ongoing debate about the speed in which the oil and gas industry has adopted technological innovations. Has it been a slow or a timely adoption? Some argue that the industry has been a pioneer, leading the development of supercomputing techniques for reservoir modeling, seismic processing and 3-D imaging for drilling and other upstream businesses. Others refute that there is a palpable apprehension from the industry towards technologies that involve information shared across cyberspace.

Most people will agree however, that the oil and gas industry requires a continuous evolution of increased safety, reliability and efficiency. The natural course seems to be one that will eventually involve many digital solutions, working together in a holistic manner.

For this to occur, increased connectivity will be a requirement. The wave of IoT has only just begun and organizations are evaluating many ways in which they can harness the benefits. The use of shared information located in a secure ‘cloud’ environment should not be seen as a threat but as the standard for better internal communication, integration across departments and quicker decision making. As companies become more comfortable with the idea of being connected, more digital solutions will appear and collaboration will rapidly escalate, occurring as a part of the natural workflow between parties.  

Regional Perspective

Amjad A Musallam, Regional General Manager Middle East & Africa, amusallam@jpglobaldigital.com
Amjad A Musallam, Regional General Manager Middle East & Africa, amusallam@jpglobaldigital.com

In my 27 years living and working in the United Arab Emirates, I have seen this region grow like no other, surpassing even its own expectations on many fronts. And the oil and gas industry is no exception. As the world moves toward the digital age, many emerging technologies have been on the rise such as Blockchain, IoT Platform, knowledge graphs, and digital twins to name a few. These and others are having a major impact on digitizing the ecosystem.

As mentioned above, the Upstream sector has been investing in computing power and models for decades, using 3D models to understand reservoirs and implement this data into overall field management. Hardly any operator drills a well now without knowing their targets in 3D space and how it will impact the reservoir. Producers are implementing ‘smart fields,’ and ‘intelligent completions.’ And unconventional operators are using microseismic and other measurements to model the frac results in 3D. How this data is shared and incorporated is, of course, unique to each operator, but the investment is significant.

The Midstream and Downstream sectors are by no means exceptions. The power of digitalization is strong and getting stronger as they capitalize on the benefits of digital twins to design, maintain and extend the life of their valuable capital assets. 

Smart Digital Twin

While there are many definitions for Smart Digital Twin, I like to define it as a complete and accurate 3D digital representation of the physical asset. All the details are captured and rolled into the model with millimetric accuracy. It offers benefits for just about all work being done in onshore plants, offshore platforms and floating facilities. And the fact that it can be tailored results in a digital twin that will look and perform differently from operator to operator, but will always address common challenges across all industries including oil and gas.

Quality is Key

The most noticeable difference between our Smart Digital Twin and others in the market is the quality which we provide at all levels. We have a team of professionals which provides valuable input to the development of our Smart Digital Twin from start to finish. They understand how to gather the highest quality data in the most efficient manner from the field which is then utilized to build up into the Smart Digital Twin in house by our engineers. Their experience in producing complex models brings the perspective of what is needed during the data gathering process, ensuring we have what we need to build the best 3D digital model in the shortest amount of time.

And this approach is not unique to the data acquisition, gathering and building of the Smart Digital Twin. We also have our own in-house developers who build and support the JP Interactive Viewer, our unique, web-based visualization component for our Smart Digital Twin. I can confidently say that there is no other company that delivers the same quality and provides an end to end solution as we do.

Digital Twin Applications

Digital Twin applications are expanding rapidly, enabling the capability to accomplish many tasks much faster than they had been done previously. A good example would  be any plant or facility which is performing manual inspection of pipelines, valves, pressure vessels, hydraulic connections, etc. The time and cost of the labor to accomplish this can be extraordinary. Of further consideration is the HSE exposure from the required driving distance and man hours in the field. Further, as the field crews walk the lines they often discover discrepancies between the actual, physical status and that which is recorded in their records. The Smart Digital Twin enables increased efficiency and HSE by eliminating the majority of this work. The operator is presented with a fully up-to-date, 3D model of the existing facility. A model which is fully immersible, able to generate accurate BIM's, ISO's and P&ID's of the actual equipment in each of the lines within minutes. The applications and benefits are enormous from this simple concept. This extremely accurate model can now be tied into real life challenges and requirements such as leak detection, corrosion monitoring, work permit systems, plant security, shut-down or other operational procedures.

Empowering the Middle East Region

Digital Twins are rapidly being embraced across the Middle East and JP Global Digital is working to lead the way. Recently, we expressed how pleased we were with the outcome of the World Heavy Oil Congress 2019 and the interest in digital transformation in Oman’s heavy oil industry. To continue this momentum towards Industry 4.0, we will be attending the Abu Dhabi International Exhibition & Conference 2019 (ADIPEC). Find us at the Digitalisation Zone, booth 14342, Hall 14.  

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