Neptune Energy has successfully completed a virtual reality pilot on its operated Gjøa platform in the Norwegian North Sea, enabling teams to make highly realistic virtual visits to the facility, the company said on June 10.
The technology, developed by PaleBlue and used to train astronauts traveling to the International Space Station, will reduce the need for offshore travel, lower costs and associated emissions and support safe operations.
It is the first time PaleBlue’s technology has been applied to an offshore installation of such complexity. Using a VR headset, offshore workers interact with a realistic 3D model of the Gjøa platform from onshore.
“The new virtual reality solution allows employees and contractors to build up knowledge and awareness of the complex multilevel facility without the need to travel. Planning work operations will be safer and more efficient,” Martin Borthne, director of operations in Neptune Norway, said.
Borthne added: “The initiative will together with other projects see an estimated reduction of 30 offshore trips per year. We expect this to grow in the years ahead as digitalization further enhances collaboration over distance, bringing immediate access to expertise and enabling preparation of activities to be carried out from onshore.”
As a first step, Neptune will use the technology for familiarization and safety training, but the scope will be expanded to other complex operational activities such as simulations related to HSE events or to better understand how platform modifications will appear before they have been carried out. In addition, expansion to a multi-user function will enable offshore personnel to meet onshore personnel in the virtual world.
Digitizing operational assets to improve safety, efficiency and reduce environmental impacts is a key component of Neptune Energy’s digital strategy. The company has created digital twins of platforms in the Norwegian, U.K. and Dutch sectors of the North Sea, enabling offshore site inspections and planning work to be carried out onshore. Neptune also uses laser scan technology to carry out detailed engineering work for subsea productions developments which will be tied back to Gjøa.
The Canadian LNG industry has been slower than its U.S. counterpart to take advantage of soaring gas demand around the world and build export plants, in part due to securing feedstock supplies for the terminals.
A Stratas Advisors analyst said closure of Enbridge Line 5 would cause a disruption of light crude oil supply to some of Eastern Canada.
The train is one of three included in the first phase of the project, which will enable the export of about 12 million tonnes per annum of LNG.