Vee Technologies has already seen the benefits of digital twin modeling within the energy modeling world, but it is becoming beneficial to other disciplines throughout engineering. The digital twin is a virtual representation of any existing object or process and analyzes the data and any other systems involved as a brand-new concept before they have ever happened. It is a link between both the physical and digital world. It allows simulations and predictions to be made on any physical object by adjusting inputs and acting out various scenarios.
With the industry at the forefront of technology that already works with dynamic software models, oil and gas can take advantage of this concept, both in ensuring efficient and safe ongoing operations and in designing new techniques and facilities. Gartner predicts that In the near future, half of large industrial companies will use digital twins, resulting in those organizations gaining a 10% improvement in effectiveness.1.
Digital Twins in the Oil and Gas Industry
Cloud computing, advanced simulation, virtual system testing, virtual/augmented reality and machine learning will all progressively merge into full digital twins which combine data analytics, real-time and near-real-time data on installations, subsurface geology, and reservoirs.
Several best practices in this area are emerging among the major engineering and oil and gas firms:
- Involve the entire value chain.
- Establish well-documented practices for constructing and modifying digital twins.
- Include data from the multiple sources (as-builts, operational data, costs, maintenance program, engineering detail, physical constraints, behavioral patterns, operating parameters, customer demands, and weather patterns).
- Look beyond the normal software development cycles to consider asset lifecycle issues.
Savings Realized Through Digital Twins
Digital twins can enable automatic improvements and decision making (for example, by using an algorithm to alter valve settings).
Customer value can be created through quicker response times, deeper insights into how to optimize production and maintenance, and a more integrated service. A fully integrated digital twin could simulate hydrocarbon flows from the reservoir to the receiving facility using real-time data. This would provide the operator with a bird’s-eye view of flows throughout the pipeline at any time.
For new developments, companies can use digital twins to make better use of capital and accelerate the time to first oil. Digital twins allow work once done offshore to be moved onshore, eliminating the need to mobilize offshore to see and inspect the asset. This reduces the number of personnel mobilizing offshore, resulting in lower emissions and the cost of executing work.
In 2017, BP attributed more than 30,000 additional barrels to optimization efforts from its digital twins. Much of this increased production came from simulations, using digital twin data to anticipate well yields.
There is a digital twin of a gas-collection facility in snowy Alaska, used to plan maintenance, identify equipment for decommissioning and perform planning for equipment installation – all from the warmth and comfort of an offsite office.