Various industries have started to take advantage of the advanced technologies, such as analytics, Big Data, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). These technologies are helping industries automate operations, increase production, reduce cost, enhance safety and improve asset integrity. Long considered slow to change, the oil and gas industry have also started to implement these technologies and capture the related benefits. Implementation of these advanced technologies is often referred as digitalization or digitization or digital transformation (which term is correct, is a completely different debate). Digitalization is helping the industry improve and transform business operations and processes in numerous ways.
Digitalization offers many benefits for exploration and production, as well for efficiency improvement. In recent times, when the oil and gas industry is adjusting to a new market environment of oil price of around $50 per barrel, improving efficiency has become a top priority for many owner-operators. To this end, digitalization brings improvement in many areas, one key among these is asset health and integrity.
Digitalization Bridging the Digital Gap
A huge data gap exists in the oil and gas and other process industries. Most process industries are asset intensive and generate huge amount of asset data every single day. However, most end users struggle to get the most out of their data; they find it difficult to manage and model this data. Most end users realize that data is becoming critical in today’s competitive environment and therefore, looking at data analytics to gain an insight into how to best utilize this asset data. End users can take advantage of data analytics platforms to aggregate this data from disparate sources. They can apply analytical models to this data to predict failures of critical equipment components and use the information to prioritize maintenance activities. Data analytics along IIoT and machine learning, will help end users close this data gap over time and better maintain critical assets.
Digital Twin for Deeper Insight
With digitalization, end users now have the ability to produce a digital replica of a particular asset, known as the Digital Twin. A Digital Twin is virtual representation of a physical asset or a collection of assets working together. This can include an archive of historical and real-time data, drawings, models, bills of material, engineering and dimensional analysis, manufacturing data, and operational history that can be used as a baseline when benchmarking performance. A Digital Twin enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a virtual environment before committing actual resources. While the concept of Digital Twin can help any industry save cost, it is especially useful for the oil and gas industry, as this industry uses large pieces of highly instrumented equipment and even minor project changes can cost millions of dollars in this industry.
Assets’ digital information obtained through Digital Twin can also be combined with other software and technologies such as Big Data and IIoT for deeper analysis. When combines with other technologies, Digital Twin concept can help companies gain deeper insight about asset health so that they can move from reactive to predictive maintenance strategies. Companies can then proactively plan and maintain assets to optimize their performance and ensure asset integrity.
New Service Models
Advanced technologies such as IIoT also offer the potential to further improve asset health and performance through new service models. Capabilities, such as remote monitoring and remote services, can help end users leverage the expertise of suppliers to help manage their assets across the entire lifecycle. These new service models are also helping end users move to consumption-based service structures. Instead of paying for technologies and services upfront, users can pay for the capabilities and services they actually consume. In all, these technologies are helping technology suppliers and users establish a more collaborative relationship.
End users are constantly seeking ways to maximize asset output while maintaining asset integrity in a cost-effective manner. In numerous ways, digitalization is helping users with their asset integrity management (AIM) initiatives to ensure that assets deliver the required function and level of performance in a sustainable manner without compromising safety.
More information on trends and market environment relating to AIM is covered in the ARC’s recently released, Asset Integrity Management Software and Services Global Market Analysis Report.