Equinor is an international energy company headquartered in Norway. With over 22,000 employees in 30 countries, they are committed to long-term value creation in a low-carbon future. They aim to turn natural resources into energy for people and progress for society using innovative solutions. In this context, they’ve collaborated with Vidya Technology on two offshore Oil and Gas projects. The first result of the collaboration is the DFM application of the Wellhead Platform, which started in 2021.
Vidya and Equinor first joined forces through the Equinor Bridge 2021 innovation program. The project’s initial challenge was to optimize rope access inspection with drone use for corrosion monitoring of the spider deck structure. To do so, Vidya and Equinor had to deal with offshore, windy, and confined spaces in the Wellhead Platform scope of work. These conditions generated high accident risks with a high demand for People on Board (POB) in inspection activities. In this context, the objective of this project was to:
- Reduce POB numbers for rope access inspection,
- Automate and standardize anomaly classification and inspection results;
- Contextualize the location of anomalies for further treatment.
To solve these challenges, Vidya Technology implemented the DFM (Digital Fabric Maintenance) application. The solution incorporated reality capture to collect images of the spider-deck structures, which later were processed by the AI Computer Vision, to autonomously locate, map, and identify visual anomalies in a 3D model. In addition, a Digital Twin of the WHP was built, generating an easier way to locate anomalies in the field or virtually through an intuitive interface. Between the results, we can highlight:
- 80% less rope access inspection: The adoption of the DFM application led to a significant reduction in rope-requiring manual intervention, reducing costs and increasing safety;
- 55% fewer POB for inspection: This reduction in workforce minimized the operational risks associated with inherently hazardous offshore spaces;
- 41 days to 8: This time-saving improved productivity and accelerated the work release progression.
After the successful pilot with the WHP, the rollout goal was more extensive: scaling the application for the integrity management of the Topside, Flare, Cranes, Lifeboat, Living Quarters, Offloading Structure, Helideck, and the FPSO external hull, covering a total area of over 250,000m² of coated surfaces.
The conventional inspection methods involve mapping anomalies manually, which is time-consuming, costly, and risky. In addition, Oil and Gas operations frequently face the dilemma of offshore areas with limited accessibility, necessitating the use of rope and industrial climbers for inspections in various areas, such as the Flare and the External Hull. In this sense, Equinor saw the chance to innovate on an opening beyond professional allocation, encompassing Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) risks, including the asset’s degradation state and the eminence of ecological impacts.
Therefore, the Digital Fabric Maintenance application was also implemented to this challenge. The application integrates Artificial Intelligence, Digital Twin technology, and reality capture to autonomously locate, map, and identify visual anomalies in a 3D model. Thus, providing operators with simulations, predictions, and intervention insights while reducing the inherent risks of inspecting an FPSO.
Deploying the Digital Fabric Maintenance solution yielded several outcomes for Equinor’s maintenance strategies. With a focus on enhancing integrity assessment on the FPSO, the project achieved significant milestones:
- Over 90% accuracy in AI Computer Vision, successfully identifying and classifying visual anomalies such as pitting, corrosion, and potential discontinuities. This precision streamlined the inspection process.
- The need for climbers for corrosion visual assessment was drastically reduced, enhancing safety and operational efficiency. Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) standards were greatly improved.
- Traceable and auditable results that generate greater control over maintenance progress and precision, optimizing budget allocation for coating management tasks.
- Savings in terms of People on Board (POB), rework, and manpower/hours (M/H) planning for coating activities annually.
In conclusion, through Equinor’s initiatives to implement the DFM application in two different company assets, it was possible to develop innovative data-driven solutions for the problems they were facing. In this context, Vidya and Equinor’s response contributed to building a more sustainable, safe, autonomous, and efficient environment.
Equinor is an international energy company headquartered in Norway. Energizing the lives of over 170 million people and companies around the world, their ambition is to be a leading company in the energy transition. As a long-term pioneer in solving challenges in the North Sea, they became the largest supplier of energy to Europe. Equinor’s goal is to make energy sustainable and available to all.
Vidya Technology is a global oil and gas technology provider committed to supporting heavy-asset industries. Its mission is to make industrial operations more efficient, safe, autonomous, and sustainable. Vidya accomplishes this by joining engineering experience with the development of AI-driven solutions for Asset Integrity and Performance Management.
Business Development Representative, Vidya Technology
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