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Digital twins: the heart of the digital transformation

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Oil and gas leaders have recognised that digital solutions, combined with engineering innovation, can create value and bring operational performance benefits. However, refineries still face challenges in a frequently volatile market, such as reducing costs, complying with regulations, optimising asset performance, and minimising environmental impact. With the influx of operational data from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), coupled with increasing silos of engineering data, a key strategy for operational excellence is adopting digital twins.

Digital twins consolidate data from operations, enterprise, and engineering technologies. A trusted system of systems, digital twins are federated sources of data that allow you to contextualise, validate, visualise, and analyse all plant data, no matter what format or where it is stored, all from within a single view. This federated model provides a collaborative platform that allows engineering, maintenance, and operations to work together and solve refinery challenges.

Leveraging digital twins to enable a risk-based reliability approach to asset performance management can help ensure refinery performance targets are achieved. Refineries can be positioned for success using reliability-centred design (RCD) for operational readiness and reliability-centred maintenance (RCM) for superior performance once in operation. Over the life of an asset, typical bottom-line results from incorporating digital twins include:

  • Reducing maintenance costs by 10% – 20%.
  • Increasing equipment availability by 2% – 10%.
  • Reducing spare parts inventory by 10% – 30%.
  • Reducing insurance costs by 10%.

Designing for reliability at the beginning of a project is key for a more dependable, resilient, and successful operation. Including a digital twin in one’s asset performance work is the key to sustained performance…

Written by Sandra DiMatteo, Bentley Systems Inc., Canada.

This article was originally published in the June 2020 issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering. To read the full article, and other great technical articles in this issue, view the full issue here. You can also register to receive a free regular copy of the magazine here.

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