Photo: Bonga FPSO; Source: Akselos

Akselos deploys digital twin for Shell’s Bonga FPSO

Digital twin solutions provider Akselos has deployed a structural digital twin for Shell’s Bonga Main FPSO located offshore Nigeria.

A digital twin is a physics-based model of the asset, which represents its entire physical counterpart in absolute detail and accuracy.

The model is updated with loading conditions and inspection data regularly, providing the ability to carry out structural assessments based on the ‘as is’ condition, from anywhere and at any time.

Akselos said on Tuesday that the structural digital twin, based on its RB-FEA technology, was selected by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, and the operator of the 225,000 oil barrel capacity FPSO located some 120 kilometres southwest of the Niger Delta.

According to the company, the technology was chosen due to its unique ability to realise several operational objectives.

These include the identification of critical areas for prioritised inspection, maintenance, and repair; a reduction in personnel onboard the asset; reduced necessity for physical inspections in hard-to-reach areas such as cargo tanks; and to support scenario planning for extreme weather events and asset modification.

Akselos added that the deployment of the simulation technology would also enable safe asset life extension by replacing the over-conservative estimates made with conventional simulation software, with accurate assessments that reflect actual remaining fatigue life.

Elohor Aiboni, asset manager for the Bonga FPSO, said “The Bonga Main FPSO heralded a number of innovative ‘firsts’ when it was built back in 2004, so it’s fitting that it’s the first asset of its kind to deploy something as advanced as a structural digital twin.

We are very excited about the new capabilities that Akselos brings and believe it will create a positive impact on the way we manage structural integrity. It is also a great example of digitalisation coming to life”.

The Bonga Main FPSO, which became operational in 2004, has a capacity of 225,000 barrels per day and weighs over 300,000 tonnes, making it the largest asset in the world to be protected by a structural Digital Twin.

David Knezevic, CTO and co-founder of the company, added: “We are very proud to have reached this important milestone, which represents many months of complex engineering work between Shell and Akselos.

To have the opportunity to deploy our breakthrough technology on a 300,000-tonne asset is the kind of technical challenge that Akselos was founded to solve. I’d like to thank the Shell Nigeria team and the wider team within Shell for sharing our vision and for their commitment to digital transformation”.

Shell has been working with Akselos since its technology scouts were introduced to the company as a start-up, as part of the MIT Industrial Liaison programme in 2015.

Since then, the integrated energy company has supported Akselos’ technology deployment on many of its assets and become a minority shareholder through its venture capital arm Shell Ventures.

The partnership has played an important role in the company’s development to become an international scale-up operating across the energy sector.