Can digital twin technology help the oil and gas industry go green?

Written by Vanessa Erickson, Global Marketing Lead, AVEVA

The oil and gas company of tomorrow has a big job to do. Faced with increasing regulatory and public pressure, the oil and gas industry has set ambitious net-zero targets to keep global temperature increases below 1.5°C. Some oil and gas companies like the French giant, Total, now TotalEnergies, have rebranded to signal their commitment to a greener future.

Tomorrow’s energy company needs to reduce the emissions of existing operations as well as transition investments to deliver greener outputs (such as blue and green hydrogen). It also needs to optimize current operations to stay competitive during this transition.

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As we head toward this new green future, we will need smart solutions to empower companies and help them identify ways to minimize environmental impact and costs. That’s where digital twin technology comes in.

Slimming down operations with digital twin technology

According to Better Business, investors now accept the growing link between increasing environmental sustainability and better financial performance. Ninety percent of the studies in this area show that high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards ultimately reduced companies’ capital costs. Meanwhile, 80 percent show a positive correlation between good sustainability practices and stock price performance.

Digital twin technology offers data-based insights that enable operations to become leaner. With newfound operational visibility and oversight from digital twins, companies can reduce waste, ensure timely delivery, and ultimately, reduce capital investment risk. By connecting users to the data from the start of a capital project, whether greenfield or brownfield, the digital twin improves information sharing and fosters a culture of collaboration.

Data in context means confident decision-making

Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that in July 2021 AVEVA found that 85 percent of industrial organizations plan to increase their investment in digital transformation over the next three years. Companies that pursue a data-centric approach − in which a secure, cloud-hosted hub stores all engineering data and tools centrally − empower their teams to make better, faster decisions and identify improved procedures. Process simulations enable teams to optimize plan design and performance. And, with a complete digital twin, workers benefit from training on a replica of the as-built facility before they ever step foot on site.

From the Front End Engineering Design phase of a capital project through the long-term operational and maintenance of an asset, digital twins optimize users’ decisions. Digital twins aggregate physical, behavioral, and process data, and after aggregation, digital twins can further process this data, visualize it, and then extract additional context. By empowering its users with the right data, processes, and tools to make informed decisions faster, this technology can help the oil and gas industry keep its net-zero promises.

Digital twin technology is proving to be a key tool in the drive to become leaner and greener. Discover how AVEVA can support your sustainable ambitions in our latest whitepaper, Engineering the Plant of the Future: Balancing sustainability, digital transformation, and efficiency.