Interview:

Driving Energy Innovation With Digital Twins

This interview was created by and originially seen in the online magazine of E&P, January 2020. 

  • Text:Faiza Rizvi, E&P, HartEnergy

Advancements in 3-D modeling, data storage and analytics are rapidly increasing the adoption of the digital twin concept in operations across the oil and gas value chain, ranging from condition-based maintenance of equipment such as top drives and artificial lift systems to predicting stuck pipe issues and bit wear.

Kongsberg Digital AS is at the forefront of bringing digital twin technology to the oil and gas industry. The software company, which is a subsidiary of Norwaybased Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, has agreed to debut its Dynamic Digital Twin technology through a recent partnership with an oil major in the Norwegian North Sea.

“While designing the digital twin, our focus was not only optimization of production, operations and maintenance, but also to reduce EPC cost,” Hege Skryseth, president of Kongsberg Digital, told E&P. She said that the concept of Kongsberg Digital’s Dynamic Digital Twin technology was launched in 2017.

In October 2019, Kongsberg Digital signed an $11 million agreement with oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc to deploy its Dynamic Digital Twin technology at the Nyhamna facility, a gas processing and export hub for various fields connected to the Polarled pipeline in the Norwegian North Sea. The agreement aims to equip Shell, Nyhamna gas plant’s technical service provider, with the ability to simulate what-if scenarios and uncover new options for optimization of its real-life counterpart.

Skryseth explained that the motivation behind the debut of the digital twin was the realization that operators can bring significant efficiency and cost reduction in their operations. Furthermore, a study conducted by Kongsberg found out that financial benefits of utilizing the digital twin concept were compelling. Capex and opex improvements were projected at up to 30% and 50% respectively, with production revenue enhancements of 10% over the lifetime of the facility.

Kongsberg plans to utilize its Dynamic Digital Twin to establish a dynamic virtual representation of the Nyhamna gas plant and its behavior by continuously updating integrated information, reflecting the status of the facility in real time. In addition, with the full scale dynamic digital twin of Nyhamna, Kongsberg aims to establish end-to-end operational insights across disciplines, remove bottlenecks in operations and leverage digital technologies for optimization

Skryseth said Kongsberg has heavily invested in high-fidelity dynamic simulators or physical models, which enable accurate simulation of process data combined with real-time and historical data, enabling advanced machine learning, AI and higher levels of autonomy.

Dynamic process simulation helps prepare for plant start-up and optimal operation and improves efficiency in all project phases, reducing cost and saving time. Kongsberg’s K-Spice software suite is a solution for detailed design and verification of processes and control  systems throughout all life-of-field phases of an oil and gas field development. The company has provided about 100 installments of the software solution to international oil companies and major operators worldwide.

As Skryseth pointed out, the simulators and physical models served as the building blocks for the Dynamic Digital Twin. “We combined the physical model with the data-driven model and machine learning algorithms to build a complete solution for operation, maintenance and different applications such as production optimization, predictive maintenance and collaboration, and energy management,” she said. The digital twin enables monitoring of operations, provides warning signals on remote devices or onshore operational centers.

With the technology, Kongsberg will provide Shell will full overview of the gas plant, along with insights and warnings. Since digital twin is built from process simulators and flow simulators, whenever there is a change in the facility, it will be automatically updated in the digital twin, Skryseth said.

She added that customers can also plug in and run third-party applications in the digital twin. “We have several applications that we are constantly developing and also seeking third-party applications to incorporate into the digital twin. We are open to collaboration,” Skryseth said.

This interview was created by and originially seen in this online magazine of E&P, January 2020