Photo: Gjøa platform; Source: Neptune

Neptune creates digital twins for North Sea platforms

Oil and gas company Neptune Energy has announced the digitisation of five of its operated offshore platforms in the Dutch, Norwegian, and the UK North Sea. This will enable approximately 90 site inspections each year to be carried out from onshore.

According to Neptune’s statement on Monday, the digitalisation of these North Sea assets will accelerate work schedules, reduce, costs and cut carbon emissions associated with offshore travel.

The digital twins were created for Neptune Energy’s K9-A, L5-D and F3-B platforms in the Netherlands, Gjøa in Norway, and Cygnus in the UK Southern North Sea.

Cygnus platform - Neptune Energy
Cygnus platform in the North Sea; Source: Neptune Energy

Neptune has also recently entered into a scientific collaboration to test an approach for measuring oil and gas methane emissions from offshore oil and gas facilities. As a result, drone, aircraft, and methane sensing technologies will be deployed on the Cygnus platform to provide a close-up view of operations typical of a North Sea offshore facility.

When it comes to digitalisation, Neptune explained that working with the platforms’ digital counterparts, engineers and integrity specialists will be able to carry out an estimated 4,100 hours of work from onshore locations, without the additional time and costs associated with flying offshore by helicopter.

The latest digital twins were created in partnership with a UK-based 3D technology specialist, Eserv, as part of Neptune Energy’s investments in the digitalisation of its operated assets.

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Neptune Energy’s VP Operations Europe, Pete Jones, said: “Using exciting 3D technologies such as digital twins demonstrates how we and the wider industry can increase productivity while reducing operational costs and the overall carbon footprint of traditional upstream production operations.

“The technology is continuing to evolve to the point that onshore teams will be able to visit the platforms virtually and ensure operations are running safely, smoothly and efficiently from anywhere in the world. They will be able to plan work, inspect plant equipment and monitor changes in the physical structure, or identify potential issues early and accurately. This is especially important given the need to reduce the number of individuals on offshore platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Given the maturity of the Dutch sector assets, digitising the platforms has provided technicians with dimensional data accurate to one millimetre while, traditionally, they would have relied on older, paper-based technical documents when planning activities.

Neptune Energy pointed out that digitising operational assets to improve safety, productivity, and reduce environmental impacts is a key component of its digital strategy. It also seeks to reduce the time associated with oil and gas exploration, enhance asset integrity and provide employees with tools and technologies to collaborate with colleagues globally.

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