Market dynamics in the energy industry are changing rapidly as key drivers including the economic cycle and oil supply are impacted by various international conflicts. At the same time, stakeholder expectations for sustainability and safety are soaring. This calls for safer, smarter and greener ways of working supported by digitalisation. All energy industry stakeholders can take inspiration from three use cases in upstream O&G that demonstrate the real-world value add of digitalisation for maintenance, operational and management teams.
A production coordinator typically spends several hours each day to obtain a clear idea of the location of planned work at a plant and to assess accident potential before approving work permits. The coordinator may have to go to a separate building to search for the right physical P&ID tag and may not always be able to find it.
A digital twin provides a broad perspective of the plant and fast access to all information related to work permits. Work items can be easily grouped by areas. Any information on the tag, system or area is instantly visible in a single place. Notifications, deviations, ongoing work, and the elevation in a module where work will be performed all provide a shared situational awareness of operating conditions.
This significantly accelerates the approval of work permits, improving productivity for production coordinators and operations teams. Conflicts with simultaneous operations are avoided and risks are mitigated as far as possible, supporting safer operations. Optimised planning of simultaneous operations enables higher throughput, resulting in increased uptime that can save over $16m in three years (according to our own calculations).
Reliability engineers typically spend lots of time working in huge Excel spreadsheets to check several parameters in preparation for surveillance meetings. Having to manually move data between several tools and the spreadsheet adds to the complexity. It is also challenging to keep this monster spreadsheet up to date.
A digital twin picks up all the relevant data in real-time so that the engineers no longer need to manually move data between app windows. Instead of checking every single parameter, the digital twin provides an exception-based view so that the engineer can instantly focus on only the right parameters. By setting alarm limits for various equipment and parameters, instant alerts can be provided on bad actors, enabling more rapid identification of issues before they escalate.
Take the example of a bearing failure on critical rotating equipment. Great cost savings can be achieved from calculating the exact right time to perform maintenance work to avoid a turnaround or pit stop. This is just the beginning of how digitally enabled PTM can enable smarter ways of working. Imagine how much more productive reliability engineers and maintenance teams will be when supported by tools that are moving towards autonomous optimisation of an entire plant. In fact, improved collaboration and productivity can lead to savings of over $4m in three years according to our own calculations.
For energy nomination, engineers typically check several applications, ERP systems, and documentation like spreadsheets every morning to calculate how much energy a plant will use. They trend historical data and maintenance records and integrate plant data from planned throughput. Then bespoke offline models and assumptions are used to calculate several scenarios. This leads to offtake nominations that need to be manually inputted back into a gigantic spreadsheet. The process could take hours every day for major works like a pit stop.
Based on several data inputs and using advanced machine learning in combination with synthetic data from 1stprinciples physics-based simulation models, a digital twin can predict the plant’s energy consumption and test various operating scenarios to fine-tune nominations accuracy – all in one place, in just a few clicks. An integrated production profile drawing from a larger dataset combined with Artificial Intelligence capabilities helps simplify energy nominations in line with actual plant needs.
By operating closer to the actual consumption of nominations, the business can avoid penalties for selling overcapacity or buying back excess energy. This empowers management teams to work greener, cutting energy consumption across the board by 2% (according to a customer survey). The digital twin will be a must-have for new generations of workers, who will no longer need to learn 15 different programs to complete their daily workflows.
These three examples are just a few of the many ways in which digitalisation can add value and support the energy transition. With the right foundation of digital technology and new ways of working supported by an experienced energy digitalisation partner like us, the sky is the limit. Discover how our energy industry solutions can help you meet your safety, efficiency and sustainability goals, just like how they’re helping Shell and Chevron.
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