Photo: Source: DNV GL

DNV GL looking to prove value of oil & gas digital twins

Classification society DNV GL has issued an international call to oil and gas operators and the supply chain to pilot a methodology that could prove whether the data generated by digital twins can be trusted and if the technology is delivering value.

DNV GL said on Thursday that companies manufacturing hardware across the oil and gas value chain must prove the safety, quality and integrity of components, equipment and assets through recognised quality assurance principles.

However, no standard process exists to provide the same mechanism of trust and value for digital representation of a physical asset and its behaviour.

The classification society is currently developing and testing a methodology for the qualification of digital twins which will provide that assurance, and ultimately encourage wider adoption of the technology in the oil and gas sector. An initial partnership with TechnipFMC has led to the creation of the pilot, which is now being opened to the wider industry.

Digital twins are a rapidly developing technology widely expected to become a significant contributor to the future management of major industrial sites. The digital twin market is estimated to grow from $3.8 billion in 2019 to $35.8 billion by 2021. 

According to DNV GL’s Technology Outlook 2030, a research report identifying transformative technologies in key industries, a digital value chain run by machines and algorithms is a prevailing trend for the oil and gas industry in the decade ahead.

The research expects cloud computing, advanced simulation, virtual system testing, virtual/augmented reality and machine learning to progressively merge into full digital twins which combine data analytics, real-time and near-real-time data on installations, subsurface geology, and reservoirs.

Liv A. Hovem, CEO of DNV GL – Oil & Gas, said: “Solving the digital trust challenge will be key to the dramatic evolution that we expect to see in digital twin technology in the years to come. If more sophisticated digital twins are to be widely accepted and developed at scale by the oil and gas industry, they need to be supported by accurate, valuable and trusted technology.

Technology decision-makers in our sector will increasingly offer support to the use of digital twins when they see the technology provide consistent, accurate information which brings tangible value against the investment needed“.

The company stated that its methodology would address the fact that many digital twins – some created at the point of the construction or completion of a new asset – currently represent an asset’s initial form and struggle to reflect developments in their physical counterparts as the asset matures.

At present, the use of twins and trust in their accuracy is restricted by the fact that the data they contain does not always reflect the most up-to-date condition of the physical asset.

Kjell Eriksson, VP of digital partnering at DNV GL – Oil & Gas, added: “Our methodology is a process of providing evidence that a digital twin will provide valid information, predict system performance within well-defined limits and to a stated level of confidence over time. Following our process, you should have a twin that creates value, and that you can trust”.