The effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been experienced globally, even remote locations like oil and gas industry facilities have not been immune to the effect of the coronavirus on the global economy. Asides its effect on oil prices, the pandemic has also had a major effect on industry operations. To address this obstruction, the industry is adopting the internet of things, digitalisation through edge, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and digital twin technology.
There is a myriad of ways to create a digital twin. According to GlobalData’s report on digital twins in the oil and gas (O&G) industry, neither a standard template nor a specific platform exists for creating digital twins.
A digital twin is basically technology developed to shield the physical environment. It combines simulations and visualisations with real-time analytics. Digital twins also lower operational expenses and elongate the lifespan of equipment via the use of predictive maintenance and troubleshooting. This technology can be found not just in the O&G sector but also in the automotive, defence, healthcare and construction.
Digitalising oil and gas operations
Equipment in the O&G industries can be connected to meters and smart sensors that gather data for the management of smart energy. The Internet of Things (IoT) enables remote connection to these networks, enabling metering. power distribution infrastructures and smart grids. Digital twins are then utilized to enhance the effectiveness of these smart devices.
The advent of digital twins in the O&G industry is as a result of a huge decrease in income across the sector. While the pandemic is instrumental to the decrease, the main factor was the decline of readily available resources. the Russian oil corporation Gazprom has provided a sustainable solution to this challenge.
Dealing with downtime
Kimberlite’s 2016 study pegged the expenses related to unplanned downtime partially due to gas flaring in the Q&G industry at $38 million per year. Gazprom is addressing this using digital twins. By lowering downtime, digital twins can guard against environmental hazards resulting from excessive gas flaring, while also reducing costs for the industry.
Digital twins can depend on cloud data to supply all users with the data required. This often translates to big data computing in data centres, requiring a substantial amount of energy. For context, a standard oil platform is able to gather as much as 2TB daily.
How edge computing helps
Another challenge with the O&G industry’s Big Data supply is that several of the offshore facilities utilize satellite communications with very limited bandwidth. A clear solution springs up from leveraging edge computing because computation and data storage is carried out very close to the location where the data is required. This allows simulations to be updated in real time and provides the benefits of real-time data streaming and decentralised control.
Digital twin technology allows assets to be available in real time, from any location. Adoption of this ground-breaking technology by the O&G industry is a pointer to continual progress in the sector.
Combining cloud computing, augmented reality, edge computing, artificial intelligence and digital twins reveals an imminent digital revolution is the O&G industry.
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Olamide is a technology consultant with cognate experience providing digital transformation services for small and large-scale clients globally. With a focus on emerging technologies like IoT, Extended Reality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, he has spent three years developing numerous articles on these knowledge areas for different platforms online and offline.
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