The Future Digital Twin 2023 conference, organised by Cavendish Group International in collaboration with Shell, brought together energy and technology professionals from around the world to discuss digital twin technology as an enabler for the energy transition, open collaboration and digital innovation in the oil and gas and other industries.
Appropriately, the event, held on 17 October, was held at Shell’s Energy Transition Campus in Amsterdam, a technology centre founded with the goal of bringing experts together to find solutions to the world’s biggest energy challenges.
Future Digital Twin 2023 attracted a high-level gathering of more than 250 innovators and thought leaders from over 150 organisations to exchange ideas on how to speed up and improve of implementation of Digital Twin and AI-related technology, which is already proving its worth in opening up business opportunities, improving efficiency and cutting costs in the energy sector.
Speakers sharing their insights included leaders from major upstream and midstream players including bp, CEPSA, Chevron, OMV, Petronas, Repsol, Saudi Aramco , Shell, and TotalEnergies, along with other experts and technological innovators from around the world.
Digital Twins enable organisations to create digital replicas of physical assets, processes or systems, carry out predictive modelling and improve their operations. They are already changing the way in which energy companies operate, but the challenges of implementation are sizeable, requiring a huge shift in working and data management practices.
In the spotlight at FDT 2023 were themes such as how Digital Twins and other digital technology, such as generative AI, are impacting innovation, the industrial metaverse, decarbonisation, and collaboration among oil and gas operators and vendors, among many other topics.
Haavard Oestensen, CCO of digital twin developer Kongsberg Digital summed up a key strand running through the day’s agenda – the need for greater collaboration if digital technology is to be deployed effectively.
“The energy transition is really complicated to do, so you need to look for good partners and good insights into how you apply your technology," he said. "Different companies have different analytical models, visualisation capabilities, subject matter expertise, and transformation capabilities. It's about bringing them together in a village to do something good.”
Adam Soroka, CEO of event organiser Cavendish Group International, said: "The oil and gas sector is under extraordinary pressure to reach its carbon neutral goals. Energy transition will continue to dictate the pace at which oil companies deploy innovation as technology becomes a fundamental tool to measure emissions and carbon output. Digital Twin technology can play a major role in this process."
Rik Sneep, Director of Strategy & Transformation, CEPSA, explained how Digital Twins are playing a key role in the energy transition, by, for example, modelling how a biofuels plant can be added to an existing refinery, or ensure that the global scale up of hydrogen production is successful.
“Digital Twins can help get it right from the start and provide a safe space for experimentation and learning,” he said,
Ingrid Sternhoff, OPS Digital Twins Program Manager at Aker BP said improved data sharing in the oil and gas industry depended to a large extent on changing mindsets, rather than technological limitations or lack of data.
“It's not the tech that's stopping us, it’s more around how we are sharing. Are we being bold? Are we being transparent and open? Are we changing some of these business models that bring it together? There's more than enough data. The tipping point is whether we are able to use it,” she told the conference.
Steve Higgon, CEO of no-code application developer TAAP said the Digital Twin revolution was likely to speed up as AI and easy-to-use interfaces made the technology simpler for end users.
“Application of AI and No Code technologies will allow subject matter experts to leverage the power of the Digital Twin sooner, more effectively, and at a lower cost, surfacing actionable insights, from which you can make data-backed informed decisions,” he said.
Mark Enzer, Vice Chair of the UK’s Digital Twin Hub explained how connecting Digital Twins together turbo-charges their usefulness.
“The market for individual digital twins is taking off and it looks like nothing will stop that. But there remains a challenge in making connections between digital twins, which would release massive value in energy transition in oil and gas and a lot of other sectors. To do this, we need a data-sharing infrastructure – we need to collaborate on the rules and compete in the game,” he told attendees.