ADIPEC 2017 show interview: McDermott

McDermott plans to offer its digital twin system to its customers after it has fully digitised its own workflows

Jeff Stroh, senior manager engineering, McDermott
Jeff Stroh, senior manager engineering, McDermott

As an expert in the digital-twin campaign that McDermott is leading, what are you doing to build that culture of digitalisation within the company, and what initiatives are you undertaking?

We have a multi-phased approach to digitalisation at McDermott. What we are involved in right now is Phase 1, which is the internal focus, and that is digitising our work processes. Even though we’ve had 3D models and that sort of thing, oil and gas hasn’t really digitised its workflow. We are still married to documents, we still love our MS-Excel spreadsheets, and things like that. Our efforts are now towards the digital manifestation of the work process.

What we are doing is the implementation first; digitising the project life-cycle management – engineering all the way though to construction and installation. That’s taking our workflows to a new level, and helping us understand where we can cut out waste, where we can add efficiency by making things digital. That’s what we are trying to do in the implementation phase.

The second phase is about taking that design twin that we create in the first phase into the operations of our customers – implementation for the actual asset offshore. We will do all the engineering and construction, and we will handover this package to our customers. What happens a lot of times is that our clients take a lot of that data and put it on the shelf. They operate the asset, the document and model the asset, but the data just kind of dies. But there’s a huge amount of value by creating this operation process, by collecting the data offshore, and running an analysis on it. 

Our view is that analysis isn’t enough. You have to make recommendations for action based on that. That’s what it is all about – triggering action and making value for the operators.

When do you expect the entire digital twin exercise to be complete?

Our target from the beginning was called Vision 2020. We have a multi-phased approach, so we will have various rollouts. But we are always open to discussions with potential customers to accelerate that timeframe.

When you get to the end of the digital twin exercise, will you offer that platform to be used in your clients’ projects, or is it for internal usage only?

No, we definitely want our customers to be on it as well. Our view is that this is a lifetime offering; it doesn’t die at the EPC [stage]. Phase 1 of the digital twin project is about internal implementation, but Phase 2 is when we start looking at boosting the life of a field. We want this to live, as this is a valuable digital asset. We obviously don’t want this to be a McDermott thing. We wish to float this for our customers.

In terms of the overall project management side, do you think implementation of the digital twin is going to make decision-making a lot faster?

Absolutely! One of the issues that I mentioned was about having silos in the data. When we break down those silos, we bring the information on to the platform. The transparency within the organisation with regards to issues such as where the project is, where the delays are, what the potential opportunities are, is ensured, making the delivery of projects faster and safer.

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