The early phases of asset development are critical. Concept evaluation, equipment selection, design validation are processes that can and should increasingly be the focus of optimization improvement. The later phases of project and asset development also present fantastic opportunities for business advancement.
In today’s dynamic environment, it’s increasingly important to ensure that investments are diligently considered, and risk is minimized. The ability to simulate and study production performance, apply machine learning specifically trained on appropriate legacy data from previous projects and physical models in the Pre-FEED and FEED studies, can contribute to higher levels of confidence and reduced levels of risk profile of Major Capital Projects. Doing so can/will also reduce the level of effort required to come to a Final Investment Decision.
Optimizing the decision-making process, improving internal workflows and creating repeatable procedures for teams to practice will reduce cost, scheduling and uncertainty as the project is developed over time.
During Pre-FEED and FEED, a Digital Twin will assist with determining the feasibility of a project. Using the known data and existing equipment information, we can greatly optimize the cost of these studies, designing field lay-outs with increased efficiency and higher degrees of confidence for project success. Additionally, this process can be a catalyst for identifying existing design specifications and standardizing equipment, greatly reducing the demands for engineering, qualification and material specifications elements for the project (more on that later). All these things equate to reduced risk with known applications / proven equipment and lead to faster positive cash flow due to earlier first oil dates. Tooling requirements become standardized, easier to plan, maintain, etc.
During the project execution phase, Digital Twin shines as a collaboration tool in addition to providing many other functions. The twin assists with design validation processes, project team visibility and workflows, data and document unification and project tracking KPI’s. The project engineering and systems integration team can simulate and visualize equipment configurations, communications protocol and controls through virtual commissioning solutions. Reduced design and engineering time with improved design quality through improved cross-discipline collaboration, results in fewer changes in later phases like construction, commissioning and installation.
For example, in the early design phases for an offshore platform, the design engineer must take into consideration aspect such as material cost, subsea topography, well placement, flowline placement, etc. Without the appropriate tools or process, flow assurance is not necessarily prioritized or can be overlooked completely. But it doesn’t have to be, thanks to Kognitwin® Energy. Importing data and models into the twin allows for streamlined, multidiscipline reviews. Together with the reservoir engineer, design engineers can make sure that the wells are accurately located, moving the planned assets like pieces on a chessboard, but using simulations and integrated material requirement knowledge to output the ‘what if’ results. Working in collaboration, these normally independent teams can share and learn in a shorter amount of time, potentially avoiding costly time and mistakes.
Because the system can be fully simulated so early in the project, Operations and Maintenance philosophies can be developed well before any equipment hits the water. Tooling requirements, offshore scopes of work, number of personnel required (which could also be minimized by remote operations), vessel and schedule needs, etc can be planned for much earlier and much more effectively than historically done. It’s also worth mentioning that because these activities can be considered so much earlier, with standardized equipment, the likelihood of “unforeseeable” or overlooked situations is greatly reduced, resulting in smoother commissioning and start- up activities.
While there will always be specific requirements and specifications for production equipment depending upon reservoir characteristics, water depth, pressure and temperature constraints etc, there is a massive opportunity within the industry to standardize the equipment that is procured for major capital projects. The level of effort required for engineering, analysis, testing and qualification is a significant part of project costs. What if we could identify existing equipment specifications, plug and play with simulation to validate equipment, and make use of already existing part numbers for a development project.
Standardizing equipment not only benefits the capital investment on the front end of the project, but it can pay dividends over the life cycle of multiple projects.
Every time a new tree, or new manifold is designed, we have to recreate lifting procedures, reconsider splash zone dynamics, and installation procedures etc. Now, there will always be a level of analysis and review that has to be completed for these projects but there are significant opportunities for how we select equipment and design the layout for offshore projects.