Leveraging data for digital asset management

Collecting data is not enough, says Anne-Marie Walters of Bentley Systems. Energy companies must learn to manage digital assets to improve operations

Data collection is only one part of the asset management equation
Data collection is only one part of the asset management equation

Considering the asset-intensive nature of the oil and gas industry, the safe, reliable, and efficient operation of assets is critical to an organisation’s value and profitability. This industry gathers a large amount of digital data focused on maintaining secure and dependable operations, and key players have made a decided effort to eliminate the traditional reliance on marked-up PDFs and drawings to describe the asset base.

Owner-operators, among other stakeholders, are looking to manage and maintain a digital asset across its lifecycle with complete information integrity and continual operational readiness. These stakeholders also want to gain insights from their operation and condition data, effectively and efficiently, to improve productivity, and to safely and reliably extend asset life.

To meet these goals, oil and gas organisations need to turn toward innovative digital technologies that offer a federated source of trusted, complete, and consistently accurate engineering information in a connected data environment across the lifecycle of oil and gas assets.

Asset management

Having the right information at the right time is a major challenge that oil and gas producers face. In an industry where faulty equipment could lead to catastrophic consequences, oil and gas owner-operators can’t afford to fail.

To avoid this, stakeholders need a single point of entry to view all operational and asset information in a connected data environment. This is critical, as data held in different systems is often inconsistent, incomplete and out of date.

Software that creates a central information store on capital projects helps manage and maintain information that is needed for operations, including documents, tags, associated metadata and 3D visualisation.

Another critical technology: Construction management tools, which improve project performance by integrating people, data, and processes throughout the project lifecycle spanning multiple systems and organisations, providing complete visibility into the path of construction. They enhance the ability to visually plan and execute work safely and remove constraints that negatively impact the project.

Data can also be used more visually, to simulate and visualise existing asset conditions through reality modelling, to minimise downtime and bring new capacity online quickly and seamlessly. This process uses photogrammetry capture using unmanned aerial vehicles to obtain information about existing asset and site conditions, creating a 3D engineering-ready reality mesh. This aims to lower construction risk and improve handover to operations.

Points of conflict

Oil and gas companies have generally experienced intermittent success using digital technologies. The main issue is that IT departments struggle to decide what internal successes they should focus on, and which digital trends or technologies are right for their business.

While some are doing better than others, every company has different challenges to scale these successes and are at different maturity levels depending on location, the extent of IT investment and their organisational structure.

This was made clear at the recent Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, where many attendees tried to understand how digital technologies fit into their organisation; some had established new personnel roles dedicated to digitalisation offshore.

One solution that has scaled across organisations: structural design software that supports code compliance standards for offshore structures and engineering information hubs used by major oil companies for information handover from their EPCs to construction and operations. Now, the challenge is to incorporate these successes into enterprise systems, helping leverage the power of engineering information for improved asset performance.

Case studies

Going digital is different in practice than on paper. QGC wanted to provide cleaner hydrocarbon energy in the form of liquefied gas in the Queensland Curtis LNG project. It needed a way to manage and maintain more than 2,600 production wells, 24 field compression stations, six central processing plants, two water treatment plants, and a two-train LNG export facility for ongoing operations.

The project team developed a master tag register and engineering warehouse and consolidated more than 20 million pieces of information. It converted the engineering design data into a format that improved collaboration among team members, so users could identify every location where an item was installed and had a complete history of every item in the warehouse. Ultimately, the digital asset management system helped provide transparency and traceability in data ownership, organising information and making it more accessible.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) currently operates more than 265 offshore fixed jacket platforms off the coast of India that have outlived their 25-year design life. Installing new platforms would cost the company $25mn per platform.

Instead, ONGC used digital asset management solutions to determine the value of asset life extension. It invested $150mn to assess its jacketed platforms for extended fit for user and strengthen the platforms as required to meet industry safety standards.

This solution helped ONGC perform design-level analysis to carry out more detailed structural and strength analyses. The analyses included dent modelling, member/joint component strengthening, additional pile modelling, soil convergence as well as extensive load modelling to recommend equipment removal if necessary. The technology became part of ONGC’s methodology for platform life extension/requalification, which added 10-15 years to the average lifespan of each structure.

Shell and its ProjectVantage program, a multi-vendor integrated data approach to capital project delivery, is another example of digital asset management. The program delivers safer, better projects faster by improving cross-discipline and supplier collaboration, controlling data throughout the capital project lifecycle and applying standards and enabling replication.

Shell selected an advanced work packaging system as the foundation of its construction management system. The system helps Shell visually plan and execute work safely, while avoiding premature downtime and removing constraints that can impact safety, logistics, materials, labour availability, permits and documentation.

The system also helps Shell ensure more effective engineering readiness through the application of advanced work packaging to improve constructability. Lastly, the solution optimises schedule reliability, maximises time on tools, increases safety and mitigates risk, resulting in substantial cost savings and improved field productivity.

With digital asset management systems in place, oil producers get better visibility into the path of project construction and see an improvement in project handover. These digital technologies give owner-operators the tools they need to assess their own digital maturity and help them leverage existing investments in digital information, providing a deeper understanding of the physical asset.

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