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The digital oilfield’s virtual drafting table

Whilst the digital oilfield has become ever more common over the last few years within the oil and gas industry, there are still barriers to its full implementation.

Some of these barriers are related to cost, reluctance to change and/or a lack of available information to adapt the newest technology. Sometimes, the pre-existing image that companies have of the digital oilfield can hold back its potential.

Often, it is thought that the digital oilfield can only assist remotely or on-site near the production facilities. Even the name itself – oilfield – suggests it is near the field and working in the primary area. Yet the digital oilfield is much more than that, it facilitates the processes around oil and gas recovery but there are also solutions that concentrate on work that happens away from the ground field. One solution is a virtual drafting table that assists oil and gas projects in the planning stages and facilitates the successful hand-over from planning to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC).

The hand-over stage between planning and EPC can be complicated and a lack of communication between project teams has been an issue in the past. A survey conducted by Aveva [1] showed that out of 50 interviewed decision makers, 68% did not receive sufficient information at the point of delivery. Within a virtual drafting table, the project plans are spread out over one platform and are therefore easier to navigate as the system synchronises all changes in real time, allowing for the two teams to know of the newest developments instantly. This way, both teams are on the same page and envision one positive outcome. A virtual drafting table not only makes the hand-over process between planning and EPC less complicated but also improves communication.

Dashboard thinks the idea of a virtual drafting table is very intriguing, and should be explored further by both users and developers. We see it working well together with analytics systems and on-field technology: together they would complete the process of easy design, where communication is instant and all-encompassing.

[1] The End of Handover, Aveva, 2017: