Shell joins digital twin JIP

A Eurostars-funded joint industry project (JIP) led by Akselos and LICengineering has announced the signing of Royal Dutch Shell as the first operator to participate in the two-year digital twin initiative. 

The JIP is focused on advancing the structural integrity management (SIM) of offshore assets by combining fully detailed structural simulation models - or digital twins - with sensor data and big data analytics. The insights from the project will revolutionize the way operators manage their assets, enabling them to predict the future and ultimately, safely improve asset integrity management.

Engineering modelling and simulation technology company Akselos, and design focused LICengineering, have partnered to deliver the JIP for oil and gas operators, starting with one of Shell’s assets in the Southern North Sea. The Eurostars funding will allow two further operators to participate in the project at a significantly reduced price. 

Thomas Leurent, Akselos chief executive, said: “We have been developing our offering for around six years, building on technology patented in 2011 by MIT. During that time we have delivered game-changing solutions for partners in the mining and renewables industries. We’re delighted to have secured the Eurostars funding, ranking ninth out of 269 applicants, to allow us to bring our world-class technology to the oil and gas industry at a time where creating efficiencies is paramount. Our patented algorithms come from some of the best mathematicians and computer scientists in the world, and allow for simulation that’s 1000 times faster than anything else on the market. This enables a level of detail and accuracy that’s unheard of with conventional digital twin technology.” 

In the first year of the JIP, members will receive a condition-based model of their selected assets, enabling them to analyze structural integrity with more accuracy and detail than ever before. In the second year, Akselos will combine this with sensor data to allow operators to monitor the health of their asset in real time and predict its future condition. This sensor-equipped model represents the next step in digital twin technology, which lets operators interact with their assets virtually and in real time, giving them 24/7 eyes on their assets.

Leurent said: “Shell has an extremely forward-thinking approach to the adoption of new technologies, which will help to reduce its cost base and improve safety and efficiency against a sustained low oil price. We hope to expand the JIP to include two further North Sea operators in 2017.”

Shell Global Manager Fluid Flow & Reactor Engineering Lourens Post said: ”Shell is committed to overcoming technology challenges across our global energy portfolio by supporting innovation through research and development. As one of the largest oil and gas industry investors in R&D, the Akselos and LICengineering JIP is a great fit for our strategy. Collaborating with world-class companies and experts is crucial if we are to drive real innovation in the oil and gas sector and create a safer and more efficient industry. We have seen great results working with Akselos so far, and we look forward to seeing the outcome of the big data analysis in the second year of the JIP.”

Eurostars is a billion dollar fund aimed at supporting international projects that develop rapidly marketable innovative products and services to improve the daily lives of people around the world. It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon2020 fund and individual participating states’ national budgets.

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