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ITF supports Akselos to accelerate digital transformation in oil & gas industry

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) and Akselos S.A. have announced they will work together to investigate the potential to revolutionise asset management in the oil and gas industry.

The initiative will bring a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to ITF member companies and beyond, that will prove the transformative impact of the use of a Digital Guardian for ageing offshore assets.

Akselos uses MIT-licenced technology to create the world's most advanced engineering simulation technology - or digital twins. The tech is based on algorithms that are 1000 times faster than those typically used in conventional design technology, enabling detailed and accurate structural simulations of large-scale operational assets.

The company's vision is to combine the simulation software with sensors and big data analytics to create an exact virtual replica of an asset in its current environment, which the company describes as a Digital Guardian. This will allow operators real-time access to the condition of their asset from anywhere at any time and allow a move towards predictive and preventative maintenance. It will also better inform the decision making process with Asset Life Extension, using data to reassure operators that assets are safe to continue operating beyond their design life.

Dr Patrick O'Brien, CEO of ITF, said: 'The creation of a Digital Guardian or twin of an offshore asset is a huge step forward for the oil and gas industry and will reap long-term benefits to enhance operational and cost-efficiencies as well as significantly reduce risk. It will also advance information management and collaboration, where the experts and operators can work together, preventing costly mistakes and rework.'

The partnership with ITF will see the global technology facilitator leverage its considerable network and expertise from previous projects and activities to bring together forward-thinking operators to the JIP. ITF will play a significant project stewardship role throughout the two year project to not only maximise the benefits to the companies involved, but also to facilitate advancements in the industry as a whole.

Thomas Leurent, Akselos' Chief Executive said: 'It's fantastic to be working with the industry at a time when there's such a movement behind transformative technology. ITF has an outstanding track record of bringing frontier technology to the industry over the past 20 years and we're delighted to be working with them. They have delivered tangible and meaningful results for the industry, and their role in addressing challenges with innovative technology has never been more important. We also have leading industry engineers on board from LICengineering in Denmark, who bring unrivalled oil and gas expertise to the table.

'Our vision for a Digital Guardian to protect assets and infrastructure would have been science fiction before the technology breakthrough in 2011, which we have patented and validated across industries. We're conducting this particular JIP to obtain data that will help illustrate the impact to the oil and gas industry. It's a huge opportunity to create efficiencies and slash operating expenditure.'

The $2million JIP has been partly funded by Eurostars and the Swiss Commission for Tech Innovation and will last two years. Akselos has partnered with leading design and engineering consultancy, LICengineering to deliver the project. In the first year of the JIP, members will receive a condition-based model of their selected assets, enabling them to analyse structural integrity with more accuracy and detail than ever before. In the second year, Akselos will combine this with sensor data to allow operators to monitor the health of their asset in real-time and predict its future condition.

Thomas Leurent commented: 'While our technology is relevant at all stages in asset management, it has huge potential in Asset Life Extension (ALE). With over half of the platforms in the North Sea operating beyond their design life, a Digital Guardian will allow operators to understand the remaining structural capacity of the asset and make informed decisions about ALE.'

One supermajor operating in the North Sea has already signed up to the two year JIP. ITF is now actively seeking other operators from both its international membership and project participants to take advantage of this leveraged funding.

Dr O'Brien continued: 'The JIP is an exciting opportunity for pioneering players in the sector to learn and share solutions. Ultimately, it is a chance to be part of an initiative which will revolutionise the industry and bring it on par with the medical, automotive and aerospace industries.'

Since its formation in 1999, ITF has strived to support and fund game-changing technologies across the global energy industry, through a strategic process in close collaboration with its members.

Eurostars is a billion dollar fund aimed at supporting international projects that develop rapidly marketable innovative products and services to improve the daily lives of people around the world. It is funded by the European Union's Horizon2020 fund and individual participating states' national budgets.

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