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Digitalisation enabling transformative plant life solutions for the oil and gas industry

Published by , Assistant Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In the last two years we have created more data than during the whole existence of humanity! And even with all this data, we still do not have enough actionable information available. How can we manage the overwhelming amount of data in the context of facility operations and maintenance, to ensure that we will always have relevant, correct, and up-to-date information available for everyone who needs it?

In the end, data can be endlessly created. What matters is not the amount of data one has, but the ability to create intelligence out of it. With intelligence, better decisions can be made, business processes can be improved, and productivity can be enhanced.

Out of sync

With more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created every day, there is simply too much data for us to handle. For individuals and businesses alike, the key to success is the ability to dissect data and make sense of it, transforming it into actionable information. Especially for business purposes, we are often out of sync with our data. We have different systems creating, updating, collating, and saving data, but being able to find the information needed for decision making is becoming more difficult as we speak.

How can we get back in sync? By having full, digital access to up-to-date and actionable information. The only way to achieve this is to digitalise the existing information.

Digitally transforming businesses

How can the oil and gas industry get started with digital transformation? The good news is that most of the time, everything you need is already there. The documentation and data needed for digital operations of a facility are often there, but probably not organised, digitised, consolidated, or centralised. A cornerstone of digital transformation for facility owners is an intelligent digital twin – a digital representation of the physical facility.

In this context, digital transformation is not an action list, where items are ticked off one by one, but rather the process by which you apply technology to allow information to be easily accessed by the people who need it, when they need it, and in the context of the work they perform. It will also make information available to people, both inside organisations and to those who are part of the value chain.

Overall, the biggest benefits that digital transformation and the creation of a digital twin bring are the increase in efficiency and reduction of risk. It allows users to get the most out of their existing resources by enabling them to find information faster, reducing need for reworking and reviews, reducing idle time while increasing visibility. Similarly, a digital twin will improve overall project performance by enabling consistent and standardised processes, and shorter communication cycles, which in turn lead to fewer changes being needed.

Building your digital twin

How can we build this digital twin? – the easiest way to conceptualise the process is to look at the different stages of a twin. The extent of maturity needed is based on the level of digitalisation already in place.

The first level of the digital twin starts with a basic set of structured data and documents defining the facility configuration. For some of us, this is an excellent start, and enough to power better decision making and data intelligence. For some users, we can introduce a next level of the twin with more intuitive viewing and navigation with 3D models or laser scans.

The third level includes interoperability to exchange information and provide links to other systems in the operations landscape, such as maintenance management and asset performance solutions. The fourth level is where the real digital transformation business benefits will come to play, as the facility owners can leverage the digital twin to manage value added work processes, such as management of change, inspection, and integrated safe systems of work. The final stage of the digital twin can include advanced analytics, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics.

In the end, the goal of any digital twin is to increase your plant’s efficiency. Digital twins offer a digital representation of your current and historic plant configuration, along with related performance information.

Digital twin evolution and asset lifecycle information management maturity curve.


It comes as no surprise that both businesses and individuals struggle with the overwhelming amount of data available. The key for success for both companies and individuals in the increasingly digital world is the ability to create actionable information and intelligence from data.

In the context of the process industry, creation of a digital twin is a cornerstone for digital transformation. With a digital twin, users can make sense of the data and increase efficiency.

Curious to learn more about digital transformation? Click here for more information on Transformative Plant Life Solutions and for a free information package.

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