Digital twins are rapidly emerging as an essential player in the disruptive wave of technologies that are reshaping the oil and gas landscape. By replicating a physical process in a virtual environment, digital twins are helping to resolve key operational issues for operators.

Kongsberg Digital AS has taken a proactive stance to drive the impact of this technology with the recent debut of its Kognitwin Energy Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, including partnering with supermajor Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Kognitwin Energy integrates and contextualizes real-time sensor data, historical data, engineering information and other transactional business data across a variety of data sources. The new software combines data-driven analytics with physics-based models to produce accurate predictions for production optimization and predictive maintenance.

By providing a range of value through visualization processes and applications, the Kognitwin Energy software will be “the working surface of the future,” Hege Skryseth, president of Kongsberg Digital, told Hart Energy.

“We definitely see it as the working surface of the future,” Skryseth said. “You have the opportunity to incorporate physics-based models or simulators that not only map out the details of facilities with rich engineering data representation, but also include processes that represent production. With Kognitwin Energy, operators can substantially enhance collaboration and there are multiple opportunities to develop applications on top of the platform.”

By improving cross-functional collaboration, operators can improve visualization, decision making and also the lifecycle of assets. Kongsberg’s deep industry domain and digital expertise are key differentiators that set this SaaS solution apart from other digital twins in the market, according to Skryseth.

“Our competitive advantage is contributing deep domain knowledge of the energy industry into the digital age,” she said. “There's a lot of confusion in the market because everyone has their own definition of what a digital twin is, but there are different levels of maturity when it comes to digital twins.”

“We provide a solution that is more expansive and inclusive when it comes to infusing all of the processes and combining the data-driven part of the business with the hybrid model,” she continued. “That sets us apart from other solutions on the market and gives customers both initial value and a rock-solid foundation for greatly expanding use of the solution when they are ready. We are focused on generating value in the short and long term.”

With digital twin software, analysts project that operators may reduce capex by up to 30% and opex up to 60%, while increasing production between 10%-15%.

“This is the beginning of an industry transformation,” Skryseth said. “And it will make all aspects of a production facility or refinery more efficient and ensure that you can have data-driven decision making.”

In late August, Shell entered an enterprise agreement with the company to deploy Kognitwin Energy across its global assets and capital projects. The Anglo-Dutch company plans to use Kongsberg’s software to improve its work processes and optimize facility performance, providing access to its portfolio assets from anywhere and expanding the scope of remote operations.

As a frontrunner in the space, the move builds on Shell’s multifront digital twin adoption strategy for its upstream, integrated gas and downstream manufacturing business lines.

“Shell is a frontrunner when it comes to utilizing new technology, and in this area they are leading the way,” Skryseth said. “So, everyone is looking at Shell and how they are moving at the moment.”

Since January, Kognitwin Energy has been actively deployed on Shell’s Nyhamna onshore gas plant facility following a digital partnership formed by the companies in October 2019.  

The Nyhamna digital twin project with Shell initially took 90 days to deploy due to the complexity and size of the gas plant. However, in their latest collaboration, the companies have been able to reduce the time down to weeks, according to Skryseth.

“I think what will define the success for this is really the close collaboration that we have with Shell,” she said. “Shell has put effort toward establishing tremendous digital competencies, which is important. It's an ongoing partnership that both sides need to invest into just as a good recommendation for other companies to evaluate.”