OSLO, Norway—The concept of the digital oil field has been on the technology radar in earnest since the turn of the century but it remains a tantalizing vision, seemingly always just out of reach. The ability it would deliver to maximize oil recovery and increase profitability has increased its importance in the new world of lower oil prices. The advances in software, IT and engineering have placed this within reach but until now the implantations were very much in narrow applications.

In the buildup to the Subsea Valley Conference in Oslo, Norway, Kongsberg unveiled Kognifai, its open and collaborative digital platform that places a portfolio of applications into the cloud. Kognifai focuses on optimizing data access and analysis for customers across maritime and energy industries, and it also provides an integrated development and distribution platform for efficiency enhancing applications.

At first glance it is a message that has resonated around press conferences across the globe for many years, but this time there is a fundamental difference.

“We have a more holistic view on this; we have the entire value chain covered with this from the maritime operations side right through production on the platform,” said Andreas Jagtoyen, vice president of energy at Kongsberg Digital. “There are other companies that cover parts of the value chain, but we are covering it all.”

Working With Digital Twins

Kognifai is an open ecosystem for customers, partners and suppliers that allows them to harness the power of data on their own terms. According to Jagtoyen, this will allow them to reap the benefits of the digital transformation in an easier and more efficient way.

“We understand the entire value chain,” Jagtoyen added. “We have supplied automation equipment to the drilling rigs and production platforms. We have our dynamic simulators that simulate the process plant and the pipeline flow in the wells. By combining all these elements, we can produce a digital twin of the entire system.

“The digital twin is interesting because it can allow you to verify whether the real-time data is actually a sensor failure or a value that has never been seen before. You compare the digital twin to the real world to gain an understanding of whether it is the output error or something wrong in the process. With this you can also predict what will go wrong in the future when you see parameter changes.”

The Kognifai ecosystem is built on a core of cybersecurity, customers’ ownership of their information and data integrity, but the open standards make it easy to add and integrate both Kongsberg and third-party applications. “We are amazed to see the cross-industry innovation and sharing that is already ongoing in our open ecosystem, and we are actively working with selected customers and partners on core business transformation challenges where new solutions are appearing due to the platform,” Jagtoyen said.

Although the basic technological building blocks are in place to deploy a digital oil field strategy, pulling these together in a coherent platform has yet to be realized. The advent of cloud and edge computing, big data and improved connectivity have increased opportunities, but the big question remains—is the industry ready to implement it?

Jagtoyen feels that day is fast approaching, but he believes it is the business mentality and processes that will hold up its development rather than the technology itself.

“I don’t think this industry is totally ready for this approach yet, but they are moving towards it,” he said. “Unmanned platforms are still some way off. The oil companies have a lot of work to do internally to get their organization ready for it, then the governments and local authorities need to accept it.

“It is also putting the technology together in a new way; there are a lot of products available, but the solutions are not there today. To make the next step you need to put all this technology together and this needs to be supported by work processes and organisation. That is still some way off.”