Technology, Innovation & Decarbonisation in the Energy Sectors

Digital Twin proves its worth in a unique region

London UK – 2nd June: 

The Future Digital Twin Middle East 2023 digital conference organised by Cavendish Group International, brought together 400 oil, gas and energy professionals from 250 organisations to discuss digital twin planning, implementation and operation in the Middle East on 23 May 2023.

A line-up featuring the leading innovators and thought leaders shaping the evolution of Digital Twins in the energy industry explained to delegates at Future Digital Twin Middle East how the technology was transforming management of assets, revolutionising working practices and promising even greater benefits in future.

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 built into the operations of many energy companies.

Speakers told delegates that there was a growing body of evidence showing how using Digital Twin  technology improves safety, enables smarter working, makes operations more efficient, allows faster progress towards sustainability and emission targets, and frees up the workforce from routine operations to focus on more interesting and innovative aspects of their jobs.

At the inaugural event speakers from major upstream and midstream players including ADNOC, Chevron Phillips, Petronas and Saudi Aramco, joined experts from oil and energy service companies and technology innovators to provide delegates with in-depth insights on the opportunities and challenges of implementing Digital Twins.

The main talking point for the industry is no longer whether to invest in the technology but how best to incorporate it into their business.

That shift was reflected in the wide-ranging conference agenda, which covered best practice in harnessing Digital Twins to enhance remote operations, the role of Digital Twins in underpinning the shift to the enterprise metaverse, and how developments in artificial intelligence are augmenting the capabilities of the technology, among other topics. The potential of large language models, such as GPT, to take the industry to new levels was another theme that ran throughout the conference.

Shane McArdle, CEO of Kongsberg Digital, told delegates:

“We used to talk about a digital twin as an optional add-on layer, but now it's an embedded part of the landscape for operating and maintaining an asset, which is central to how we work. What seemed futuristic two years ago, we are actually doing today. For example, we are already piloting innovations based around large language models to make use of the vast amount of industrial data we have to power some of our decision-making and capabilities.”

The need for greater collaboration and exchange of ideas within and between organisations that have traditionally tended towards secrecy was another key topic. Linked to that was discussion of the importance of implementing comprehensive cybersecurity measures right from the start of the digital journey.

The conference also hosted the first Digital Twin Middle East Excellence Awards, which recognised ground-breaking innovations and outcomes of digital technology implementation in the region.

The prize for Pre-FEED Digital Twin of the Year went to Aramco Overseas for the Safaniyah and Manifa Increment Project Development; Construction Digital Twin of the Year was awarded to Saudi Aramco for the ZULUF Offshore Water Injection Facilities; and ADNOC Group took away Operations Digital Twin of the Year for the Al Yasat Petroleum Intelligence and Wisdom Center (IWC). The judges said their work “truly shows what operational excellence looks like”.

Adam Soroka, CEO of event organiser Cavendish Group International, said:

“The Middle East Region is a major epicentre for technological innovation and home to mega projects, solutions, disruptive exhibitions, research centres, futuristic cities and innovative universities.  The region is known for its scientific prowess so it’s a natural progression to take this conference to a place where the technology landscape is constantly evolving.”


Here's what some of our panellists had to say during Future Digital Twin Middle East 2023

Wassim Ghadban, VP Global Innovation and Digital Engineering at engineering services firm Kent and Chairman of the conference, explained how the Middle East was leading the way on adoption of digital technologies:

“The Middle East is renowned as a pioneer in adopting cutting edge technologies and developing innovative solutions to address the region's unique challenges. Digital Twin is one the most transformative technologies making waves across multiple sectors in the region, from oil and gas to healthcare, to construction, smart cities, mobility and other activities. It provides unparalleled insights and facilitates data-driven decision making. The rapid adoption of this technology demonstrates the Middle East’s commitment to harnessing the potential of digital innovation to drive sustainable growth, enhance operational efficiency and improve overall performance across industries.”


Khaled Al Blooshi VP, Digital Projects & Innovation at ADNOC, highlighted how remote operations enabled by digital technology were transforming the energy industry:

“Reduced carbon intensity and enhanced safety are just some of the key benefits of remote operations. By  allowing our employees to make decisions from  safe locations, we remove their exposure to potentially hazardous environments. Across ADNOC’s sites, digital twin technology has also enabled us to cut the carbon emissions associated with moving people and equipment to facilities for operations and maintenance activity .”


Dr. Abdullah Al-Halafi, Corporate Digital Twin Project Manager at Saudi Aramco said:

“I believe the technologies are mature and have great capabilities. We are in the frontline of developing these technologies and we make an immense effort to contribute to knowledge sharing across all end users. Upskilling the workforce to actually utilise these technologies is what makes the difference. They need to understand that the technology is there for them to optimise how they work and that using the intelligence provided will save them a lot of time and effort.”


Dr. Michael Grieves, Executive Director and Chief Scientist at the Digital Twin Institute is one of the pioneers in the field. He sees a key role for the technology in augmenting human decision making:

“The predictive role of the intelligent Digital Twin is very important. We're going to move to a stage where the digital twin is an advisor to us. We don’t need it to be a replacement for humans – we’ve already got plenty of those – rather we need its assistance to help prevent failures and catastrophic incidents.”

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