DIG­I­TAL TWINS FOR SMARTER DRILLING

Dig­i­tal twin tech­nol­ogy could re­shape the way op­er­a­tors per­form main­te­nance, train­ing and, ul­ti­mately, the way they un­der­stand their com­plex op­er­a­tions.

Oil & Gas Middle East - - TECHNOLOGY FOCUS -

Vi­su­al­i­sa­tion has long been an in­te­gral part of the up­stream oil and gas sec­tor. With im­prov­ing tech­nol­ogy, its im­por­tance is only grow­ing. One vi­su­al­i­sa­tion tech­nol­ogy be­ing lever­aged by op­er­a­tors is the dig­i­tal twin.

Dig­i­tal twin tech­nol­ogy cre­ates a dig­i­tal ver­sion of a phys­i­cal as­set, or a whole op­er­a­tion. Vis­i­ble and in­ter­actible in 3D, dig­i­tal twins make it far eas­ier for op­er­a­tors to un­der­stand their op­er­a­tions and see what is work­ing. More im­por­tantly, it al­lows them to see what is not work­ing.

Although this tech­nol­ogy has ex­isted for around a decade, it has be­come much more so­phis­ti­cated in re­cent years, and with the oil and gas in­dus­try’s push to­wards dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, dig­i­tal twins have found them­selves in the spot­light.

It is ul­ti­mately a vis­ual means of data an­a­lyt­ics, and Siemens’ Mindtwin Por­tal mixes stan­dard data an­a­lyt­ics with dig­i­tal twin tech­nol­ogy.

“The Mindtwin Por­tal is a com­bi­na­tion of two sys­tems,” says Joachim Eil­ers, sales man­ager of oil and gas plant engineering soft­ware at Siemens. “On the left side of the screen it’s a vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of the 3D op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment, the rig, on the right side you see op­er­at­ing data.”

Data is col­lected through typ­i­cal au­toma­tion sys­tems like SCADA, as well as engineering sys­tems and doc­u­ment man­age­ment sys­tems. The data is col­lected and dis­played in real time. It is pre­sented as a se­ries of KPIS, which “you can in­ter­link and con­tex­tu­alise into the 3D world.”

Put sim­ply, if a KPI is clicked, the 3D vi­su­al­i­sa­tion goes to the as­set in ques­tion and pro­vides a full view of the part and any is­sues it might be en­coun­ter­ing.

“You have a very good, spe­cial view, you could add some CCTV cam­eras to it that would al­low you to see ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing on site and that raises the ef­fi­ciency of the op­er­a­tion,” Eil­ers adds. “It is re­ally ef­fi­cient if you are in an op­er­at­ing case and need to op­er­ate away from the en­vi­ron­ment.”

For main­te­nance and in­spec­tion teams, it could al­low a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the as­set, the is­sues it has, and how those is­sues might be solved.

The sys­tem al­lows users to ‘walk through’ the site, and check dif­fer­ent as­sets. Once an as­set is clicked in the 3D vi­su­al­i­sa­tion screen, all of its data ap­pears on the right side of the screen, so op­er­a­tors and main­te­nance crew alike can hold vir­tual inspections much like they would on site.

The ad­di­tion of a live video feed could fur­ther re­duce the need for on site in­spec­tion; some­thing which star­tups and large com­pa­nies are ac­tively try­ing to do us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence-en­abled drones.

“The ben­e­fit of the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is that it re­ally con­tex­tu­alises the in­for­ma­tion, and the next step is you write al­go­rithms to pre­dict things,” Eil­ers says. “This is the foun­da­tion, that you grab all of the in­for­ma­tion that you re­quire to do a com­pre­hen­sive data an­a­lyt­ics study and main­te­nance.”

But he is quick to con­cede that this is only a first step, and says that the true value of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion lies deeper still.

“if you would like to pre­dict that fail­ure will oc­cur with a par­tic­u­lar as­set, then you need to have the in­for­ma­tion from all the sen­sors and all the other in­for­ma­tion stored in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions, you need to col­lect them, ag­gre­gate them, con­tex­tu­alise them, and then write smart al­go­rithms to make pre­dic­tions,” he says. “That is the fu­ture, and then you have the true ben­e­fit of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion.”

Com­pa­nies are al­ready un­lock­ing the value of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, and these types of so­lu­tions can be used in con­juc­tion with ex­ist­ing sen­sors in the field, which op­er­a­tors have re­lied on for a long time.

“In the past, ev­ery­one talked about dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion,” Eil­ers says. “Now it is re­al­ity.”

“YOU NEED TO COL­LECT [THE DATA POINTS], AG­GRE­GATE THEM, CON­TEX­TU­ALISE THEM, AND THEN WRITE SMART AL­GO­RITHMS TO MAKE PRE­DIC­TIONS. THAT IS THE FU­TURE, AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE THE TRUE BEN­E­FIT OF DIG­I­TAL­I­SA­TION.”

Dig­i­tal twin tech­nol­ogy is al­ready be­ing used to im­prove op­er­a­tions

The Mindtwin Por­tal al­lows users to sim­u­late be­ing on a rig, with an im­mense amount of data mak­ing re­mote in­spec­tion and re­pair eas­ier

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