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Annual ECC PerspECCtive conference discusses - Digitization in our industry: now is the time!

By- Sumedha Sharma, Technical Editor, Hydrocarbon Processing

ECC’s Annual PerspECCtive conference on October 1, witnessed an interesting forum focusing on digitalization, benefits, associated challenges, and examples from not futuristic but implemented present day digital twin in operation. Adam Douglas, Project manager – Engineering, KBR introduced the speakers Greg Withers, Global Projects Modernization and Transformation Director, BP, and Jim Purvis, VP of Digital Solutions Delivery, Worley.

 Jim introduced the EPC and owner directed value statement for dynamic digital twin. He educated attendees on how a digital twin enables CAPEX and OPEX cost reduction, safe operation, information accessibility, ease of maintenance, and efficient data driven approach. Greg described a digital twin as a 3D scaled model of an asset, based on physical models and using real time or historic data acquisition through systems and sensors to evaluate a process, analyze, and draw insight upon which action can be taken by communicating with the physical plant.

Greg presented examples of working with a digital twin for an offshore asset. He illustrated the significant simplicity, speed, efficacy, and safety in performing a root cause analysis compared to performing the same operation in a physical environment.  Jim further discussed the stages approach recommended for building a digital twin and highlighted - defining requirements, digitalization strategy, data capture, commissioning, and validation as important stages for creating the lifecycle of a facility.

Sustainable operation and readiness of a digital twin relies on a well-defined process, training, and regular maintenance and hence requires adequate budgeting for updating the system. Jim discussed other implementation challenges such as – clear definition of project requirements and cost advantage, visible support from leadership, technical support from EPC and owner, and ensuring supply of vendor data. The speakers closed the presentation by emphasizing early definition of project requirements for successful implementation of a digital twin and stating that it is important to “begin with the end in mind.”

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