Driving offshore longevity
Savvy producers increasingly recognise the operational benefits of using digital technologies to extend asset life
Life expectancy of offshore assets is critically important for upstream operators. Being able to develop fields to maximum production capacity, while sustaining operations for as long as possible, is fundamental to driving greater revenues and business value. And those capable of safely squeezing more life out of assets, beyond initial design capabilities, stand to hold a distinct edge over industry competition.
When companies think about asset life expectancy, one of their core concerns is maintenance. Identifying potential failures before they occur is crucial to reducing costly repair work and helps preserve the health of assets throughout their design life. Operators that can implement a predictive approach early in the lifecycle of assets stand to benefit the most by addressing asset deterioration from the get-go.
Leveraging stored asset data is often the key to preventing downtime and operational failures. Operators can exploit buried data by applying digital technologies to better understand operational performance and asset condition. Using third-party providers and leveraging their digital tools also allows firms to discover valuable insights at much lower cost and with greater scalability than if they were to build such tools solely in-house.
Leading from the front
Texas-based classification society and technology innovator ABS works with offshore operators to enhance asset life expectancy through digitalisation. And maintenance is a core focus for the firm. ABS has built corrosion detection tools that utilise AI and are capable of defining what percentage of assets have been subject to degradation.
By applying digital tools to operational data, ABS strives to reduce asset downtime and lessen the financial strain of maintenance. The company helps operators develop predictive models that track the health of offshore assets, reducing lost time and driving significant efficiency gains across facilities.
“The new digital technologies available to us today provide an opportunity to get a better understanding of the asset condition and the corrosion, fatigue or structural stresses that the vessel has been subjected to" Tremblay, ABS
“The new digital technologies available to us today provide an opportunity to get a better understanding of the asset condition and the corrosion, fatigue or structural stresses that the vessel has been subjected to,” says Matthew Tremblay, senior vice president of global offshore at ABS. “These days, with the reduction in capex and the need to get more value out of existing assets, there is a growing need to extend the life of an operating asset beyond the original design parameters.”
The ABS My Digital Fleet™ risk management platform is one of many digital solutions the company has recently developed. Multiple real-time data sources are used to construct a single visualised web application that operators can use to track asset health, available through a user-friendly interface. “The suite can automatically monitor the fatigue and structural loads that are applied to a floating offshore structure and provide you with a forecast of the remaining asset life,” adds Tremblay.
Improving asset sustainability and lowering emissions is another key priority for the sector. ABS has worked with operators to develop automated dashboards that monitor and showcase emission levels, an important resource for clients and stakeholders involved in offshore projects.
Similarly, ABS is using digital twins—virtual representations of assets updated to reflect changes to the system over time through the exchange of data—to help operators use data to better manage their offshore assets, in particular for better understanding of the asset’s integrity.
This ultimately allows for better forecasts of the evolution of future risks over the asset’s lifespan. This also supports a shift from a calendar-based, prescriptive inspection regime to a data-informed, condition-based inspection model.
Tremblay adds: “All of these digital strategies, particularly when combined, have the potential to significantly extend the useful service life of an asset as well as deliver ongoing operational benefits such as increased asset availability and safer operations.”
This article is taken from our forthcoming Digitalisation Review, which will be published in November.