From our Oil & Gas development partner
Vol. 241 No. 4
Unique application of digital technologies improves operational efficiency
Augmented and virtual reality systems reduce rig time usage and mitigate uncertainties, while improving accuracy of rig surveys for offshore solids control and fluid management installations.
Until recently, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies were used primarily as entertainment products in the gaming industry. However, during the last 12 months, operators and service providers have increased AR/VR adoption for collaborative problem-solving, planning, and design applications to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency. AR represents a group of technologies that employ enhanced visualization hardware, techniques and methodologies. The combination of technologies creates new environments, wherein digital and physical objects and their data coexist and interact with one another, enhancing the user experience of the real world.1
VR represents a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and while there, can manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.2 Together, these technologies form the core of immersive experience and a new paradigm in industrial interaction. Halliburton Baroid has taken a lead in the adoption of this technology, in its strategy to help drive the industry’s digital transformation through lower costs and improvements in operational efficiency to help companies maximize asset value.
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Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications for Separation Solutions Improve Service Provider-Operator Collaboration and Technology Placement
Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, 11-14 November, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Originally developed as an enhanced entertainment technology, advancements in augmented and virtual hardware catapulted the development and adoption of these tools for industrial applications and, more recently, the oilfield. These tools have vast use potential—from training to solution creation to operations. The benefits of newly developed applications for rigsite virtual mapping and holographic model viewing and the improvements they introduce for service provider/operator collaboration are discussed.
Conventional methods for rig survey execution and optimization for separation solutions, which include solids control and waste management technologies, can be time consuming, technically challenging, and costly. This can be particularly true for offshore operations where weather, logistics, drilling programs, and environmental regulations can rapidly increase project complexity. Additionally, the equipment selection process commonly involves communication and collaboration with multiple subject matter experts (SMEs) and operator representatives globally in an iterative and labor-intensive process that lends itself to the opportunity for miscommunication and errors.
The preliminary use of rigsite virtual mapping and holographic model viewer applications is to demonstrate improvements to cross-organizational collaboration. Using rigsite virtual mapping allows specialists to conduct a rapid wide area scan (RWAS) to accurately map the rig space to create fully functional and scaled three-dimensional (3D) models that can be used in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to develop more robust visualization of system design and placement. Using rigsite virtual mapping allows the separations solutions team to more safely, efficiently, and accurately measure and scan a rig space to achieve the optimal equipment orientation and integration. The improved visual assets enable better alignment with operator teams.
Using the holographic model viewer allows 3D models of where separation equipment can be placed within the physical space at the rigsite or in the office. On location, rig surveys can be enhanced by enabling personnel to more effectively identify obstacles that might impede installation. For the office, the service provider and operators can more effectively discuss technologies and technology solutions using enhanced visualization. Bringing the technology "into the room" enables more dynamic solution creation and ideation.
A renowned global research and consulting firm lists AR/VR as a major emerging technology trend that has the capability to influence how companies do business. The application of these technologies can revitalize remote engineering collaboration and personnel optimization and reduce service/product delivery costs. Already successfully introduced in other markets, AR/VR in the oilfield has the potential to expand rapidly and become an essential tool for more efficient operations.
SPE Offshore Europe Conference and Exhibition, 3-6 September, Aberdeen, UK
AR and VR Applications Improve Engineering Collaboration, Personnel Optimization, and Equipment Accuracy for Separation Solutions
With the most recent industry downturn still fresh in many minds, the oil and gas E&P sector is approaching this recovery with a commitment to long-term cost discipline. As a result, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are being adopted by operators and service companies alike as a means of cost savings while driving operational efficiency.
AR technologies employ enhanced visualization hardware, techniques, and methodologies to create new environments wherein digital and physical objects and their data coexist and interact with one another, enhancing the user experience of the real world (Kunkel and Soechti 2017). VR refers to the full immersion of the user intoand interaction with a completely digital environment. Together, these technologies form the core of immersive experience and a new paradigm in industrial interaction.
Until recently, these technologies were primarily applied as enhanced entertainment products, most notably within the gaming industry. However, during the past several years, and thanks to the introduction of hands-free, head-mounted display (HMD) technologies, such as Microsoft® HoloLens™ and now HoloLens 2, AR and VR are migrating into the enterprise sector.
While the oil field has not been as quick to integrate AR and VR as other sectors, such as medicine, defense, and aeronautics, operators and service providers alike have increased adoption overthe past 12 months. Motivated by a mandate to keep operating costs low and improve efficiencies in terms of field processes, operators have begun implementing AR/VR applications as collaborative problem-solving, planning, and design tools.
For example, some operators are initiating AR concepts to promote internal use development and prototyping for both oilfield applications and remote refinery inspections. Additionally, service companies are embracing the use of smart glasses and wearable technologies to help improve remote work and collaboration to help increase in-field safety and reduce downtime.
As part of its strategy to help drive the oil and gas industry's digital transformation, one major service provider is developing AR/VR applications to create digital representations of physical oilfield assets on the Microsoft® HoloLens device. One area of focus is the planning, design, and deployment of solids control, fluid separation, and handling technologies for offshore drilling applications.