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The great data transformation: how the industry is capitalising on digitalisation (Part 2)

Real-life examples from Shell, Transocean, and SBM Offshore. In the first part of this paper, we explored how TransCanada, Petronas, and ADNOC Onshore have successfully embarked on a digital transformation with real-time operational data.

Russell Herbert
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Article Summary
Now, we’d like to share the success stories from such leading industry players as Shell, Transocean and SBM Offshore who are achieving similar transformational gains from real-time data using the OSIsoft’s PI System.

Shell’s journey towards advanced analytics   
For many years, Shell has been an innovator and leader in the application of digital technology for improving oil and gas operations. Two decades ago, Shell installed OSIsoft’s PI System to collect sensor-based data from its assets. By 2009, the PI System was at the very heart of Shell’s digital oilfield solution known as “smart fields,” enabling asset modelling, hydrocarbon accounting and real-time collaboration.

Four years later, the Anglo-Dutch super-major signed an Enterprise Agreement with OSIsoft to accelerate the benefits from the PI System across the entire company.

Today, the PI System plays a critical role in managing Shell’s huge repositories of operational data as part of its ‘Smart Foundation’ platform. So reliant is Shell on this technology – with over 7.5 million connected devices and reporting a significant amount in cost benefits – that in 2017 the company extended its existing Enterprise Agreement with OSIsoft to encompass even more areas within its operations.

Shell is increasingly recognising the huge value that can be realised by applying advanced and predictive analytics to its operational data. The oil and gas giant now has a team of 80 data scientists who are focused on solving complex operational problems.

Shell’s data scientists work very closely with PI System experts at the company’s PI Centre of Excellence (CoE), managed by Peter van den Heuvel, throughout the process. The PI CoE team relies on OSIsoft’s Asset Framework (AF) to take raw operational data from the field and apply meaningful structure and context to the data streams coming from millions of pieces of equipment. With Asset Framework, data is presented in terms of a uniform, easy-to-build hierarchy of assets, rather than as constantly measured strings of sensor readings, which can be hard to understand and use.

Once the data is contextualised through Asset Framework, it is delivered to the data science team for advanced analytics and machine learning. The results of advanced analytics are then deployed back into Shell’s Smart Foundation platform, allowing other applications and users to leverage the advanced algorithms and valuable information on which they can act.

Rather than leaving the pursuit of advanced analytics entirely to data scientists, PI System experts and engineers are also bought into the process. “Magic happens in the blends of discipline,” said Dan Jeavons, the General Manager for Advanced Analytics at Shell, who spoke at the OSIsoft Users Conference in London.

Recently, Shell’s Advanced Analytics team and its PI CoE successfully collaborated on several projects.
One of the example projects Peter presented is the project for a carbon capture and storage system in Canada. The system is designed to store injected CO2 underground in depleted wells to minimise carbon emissions into the atmosphere. A laser sensor monitors CO2 levels rising to the surface while accounting for changing weather conditions, such as wind, rain or snow. The team deployed Asset Framework to structure the sensor data, which is now fed to Shell’s data analytics tools to calculate real-time emission levels at the surface. Advanced mathematical models are running behind the scenes, but the operations manager in Canada views a simple dashboard showing the critical information required to ensure Shell’s compliance with Canada’s regulations.

Today, Shell runs several interesting projects to prove the commercial potential of advanced analytics. It’s a cooperative effort on which the oil major relies to gain continuous insights that can be deployed back into the workflow for better business decisions. The PI System lies at the heart of this ongoing, highly creative forum.
Transocean pursues the ‘Gold Standard’ well

When you’ve got up to 250 people on a drilling rig, as does Transocean, their productivity becomes a burning priority. In early 2017, Transocean embarked on a company-wide strategy called “Performance Through Data.” The ultimate goal was the pursuit of what the group called ‘Deepwater 4.0’ or the gold standard well. To reach its new standard, Transocean turned to the PI System.

In a remarkably short time, Transocean has seen impressive gains with real-time data, such as a 40% reduction in non-productive time during drilling, even in the most challenging ultra-deepwater locations.

Transocean’s impressive results are the result of enhanced visibility into tens of thousands of sensors across its fleet. All operational drilling data is now centralised in the PI System, and Transocean crews have a consistent way of getting the data they need. Technical staff can pore over downtime readings from any of the group’s wells and quickly identify the root cause. It’s easy to see the depth of the bit position at any time, and engineers can measure the relative performance of drill crews using events tables that identify how different shifts are working.

As José Gutierrez, Director of Technology and Innovation at Transocean points out, such analysis can now be done onshore far away from the dangerous drilling environment and allows the company to put less people out to sea.

 For Transocean, the Deepwater 4.0 journey is just the beginning. Realising that information for its own sake does not necessarily result in better decisions, the company now puts all its operational data through several stages of refinement. First, the raw data is cleaned and normalised. Then it’s structured and contextualised using OSIsoft’s Asset Framework (AF), which make the data more meaningful to the crews.
Finally, the data is interpreted and converted into the kind of knowledge that goes straight to the bottom line.
SBM Offshore and Veolia’s creative partnership allows for increased water injection   
Two years ago, SBM Offshore, the world’s largest lease operator of 14 large floating production vessels (FPSOs), began thinking about new ways of deploying digital technology across its fleet. Consequently they approached key partners and service providers to discuss how to achieve its goals for operational optimisation. There was a lot at stake for the Amsterdam-based group whose fleet of vessels process over a million barrels of oil per day.

One area for improvement was the water treatment and injection facilities critical for deep water production, a process in which, as the industry saying goes, “water in equals oil out.”

Working with its partner Veolia Water Technologies (VWS Westgarth) to improve water treatment and injection, SBM concluded that both parties needed a much more accurate, real-time oversight of the highly complex and expensive process where problems can result in costly downtime with hefty contractual penalties.
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