AI Digital Twin Technology Poised to Transform Oil Exploration and Production

AI Digital Twinning in Oil Exploration and Production (Image: Hart Energy)
AI Digital Twinning in Oil Exploration and Production (Image: Hart Energy)

Global Adoption of Digital Twin Technology in Oil Exploration

In June, “Oil Price” shared news that China delivered its first-ever smart floating production storage and offloading (FPSO). This platform has a high-tech system that uses Digital Twinning tech, which includes artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, cloud computing, big data, and the internet of things (IoT). They even made a digital copy of the platform in Shenzhen City, 1,000 kilometers away.

But it’s not just China doing this. The U.S. company Halliburton is teaming up with the Libra Consortium, led by Petrobras, to create a digital twin for the Mero pre-salt field system in Brazil. This digital twin will use sensors, 4D seismic models, and smart completions to show a real-time view of the oil reservoir, wells, and facilities. It will help plan operations, understand assets, monitor the reservoir, and make things work better.

The Mero Field is a big oil field far from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s one of Brazil’s biggest oil finds, with a lot of oil estimated there. Halliburton’s senior vice president, Nagaraj Srinivasan, says this system will help the consortium get continuous insights to optimize things, reduce costs, and handle uncertainties during the life of the oil field.

Now, let’s break down what exactly a digital twin is

In simple terms, a digital twin is like a virtual copy of a real plant or system. It mimics the whole life of the actual thing it represents and uses simulation, machine learning, and reasoning to help with decision-making. It stays up-to-date with real-time data.

Even though the idea might sound a bit fancy, digital twin technology has been around since the 1960s. NASA, the space agency, has been creating physical copies of its space mission systems on Earth for years and using them to test equipment virtually.

But it’s only recently that digital twinning has become more common. A report from three years ago predicted that the global digital twin market would grow a lot, from $3.1 billion in 2020 to $48.2 billion per year by 2026. This is a big deal, especially in the oil and gas industry.

When a digital twin of something like an oil platform is made, anyone—whether it’s a contractor, consultant, or employee—can use a mobile device to access a bunch of data points instantly. This includes things like engineering details, maintenance history, operating parameters, and physical constraints.

Digital twins are a game-changer for oil and gas companies. They create a secure place for all documents related to an asset and can seriously boost operational efficiency, cut costs, improve reliability, and make companies more agile. One study even says that using digital twins and smart data systems can save up to 15% on the total cost of decommissioning projects for oil and gas operators.

The oil and gas industry has always been a hub of innovation. Over the last three years, more than half a million patents have been filed and granted in the industry. GlobalData, a research company, has outlined 40+ areas of innovation that will shape the future of the industry. They’ve pointed out that robotic drilling machines and digital twins are disruptive technologies still in the early stages but likely to grow quickly.

Surprisingly, out of the big oil companies, Halliburton is the only one currently diving into digital twin technology. But with over 40 companies, including established ones, tech vendors, and startups, working on digital twins, it seems like this tech is catching on across the industry.

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Source(s): Oil Price

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