^ Oil and gas supply chain

Article by Daniel Sweet

“Addressing the oil and gas industry’s efficiency, decarbonization, and safety needs will help to solve the global energy trilemma: how to provide a secure supply of affordable, decarbonised energy for the long term,” says Dr. Frank Børre Pedersen, programme director – oil and gas, DNV GL Group Technology and Research. The report also states that it will depend on various factors whether the oil and gas sector will transition into a lean, mean and green machine by the end of this decade. These factors are technology development, regulatory change, industry standards, policy development to leverage these technologies and organisational/ cultural change within the oil and gas sector.
Powerful enabler
Digitalisation and automation is a powerful enabler in transforming the oil and gas supply chain; the report states.
‘Machines will continue to replace people in oil and gas operations, as traditional improvements involving automation, robots, and software modelling are further blended with novel digital opportunities. The opportunities will come from sensor data, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced use of simulation models and virtual testing.’ “Digital technologies are accelerating and enabling the development of other technologies at a pace never seen before. The oil and gas industry needs to seize technology opportunities to boost its efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint to retain its relevance in the energy transition,” says Liv A. Hovem, CEO, DNV GL – Oil & Gas. Additional benefits of digitalisation are increased transparency in the supply chain, new business models for supply chain efficiency and improved data sharing throughout the supply chain and within O&G-companies.
Important tools include cloud computing, advanced simulations, virtual system testing, virtual/augmented reality and applications of machine learning, a subset of AI. “We expect tools like these to merge in full digital twins combining data analytics and realtime data on installations, subsurface geology and reservoirs,” says Pedersen.

Impact underwater
DNV-GL has also identified electrification as a means to decarbonise the offshore sector, subsea, and down into the well.
Currently, gas turbines that are fuelled by gas from the wells are used to power oil and gas platforms. This use accounts for some 80 per cent of CO2-emissions offshore. Using clean or renewable electricity could reduce the carbon footprint of operations. Some platforms already receive power currently by subsea cable from shore, but full electrification offshore will require new power infrastructure, the report states.
The authors note that high-voltage direct-current power transmission systems may be needed for long distances, requiring (costly) transformers onshore and offshore.
Alternative ways of providing renewable power locally to platforms are being considered, including offshore wind power projects.
The report expects electrification offshore to have the most impact underwater. It notes that electric and electronic applications for subsea control systems, choke valves, and production valves, have proved to be highly reliable, and have focused so far on production parts of subsea systems.
‘Safety-critical parts, including Xmas trees and downhole safety valves (DHSVs), still operate by hydraulic power from the topside.’
Hydraulics are costly to install and maintain, which the authors see as good reasons to replace them with all-electric systems in which the primary elements will be Xmas trees, DHSVs, and subsea modules. While cost-efficiency is seen as the main driver for all-electric subsea solutions, other advantages include removing high-pressure topside equipment (a safety risk to personnel) and eliminating the risk of hydraulic fluids spilling into the environment.
Technology Outlook 2030 is a recent report from DNV GL. The global risk management and quality assurance company has identified the ten technology trends, and their associated risks, that will shape industry and society in the coming decade. The summary of the report can be downloaded at https://www.dnvgl.com/to2030

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