Digital twins mirroring physical assets are increasingly being applied in the oil and gas industry. Providing a digital twin as part of a component, system or field delivery is more and more often being required by the Operators. Whereas digital twins will impact decisions from early design to decommissioning, the full value of digital twins will only be capitalized if there is evidence that they will function as specified. Lack of trust will limit the use of digital twins, and the value that can be extracted from them.
Up to now, there has not been a common agreed standard that the industry can followed to develop, deliver and operate digital twins. These challenges have recently been addressed by the newly established recommended practice DNVGL-RP-A204 "Qualification and Assurance of Digital Twins" , where the criticality of the twin in terms of input to decision support governs the amount and level of activities to be carried out to assure the quality of the twin itself. This paper presents and details the key features and methodology of the recommended practice.
A key feature of the methodology is to break down the digital twin into manageable parts – so called Functional Elements (FE). The requirements to each of the functional elements are established through a structured approach, by addressing topics like the decisions to be made, the corresponding requirements to data and algorithm quality, and changes to the work processes. Moreover, to be able to take full advantage of the twin during the operational phase, it must be confirmed that the quality of data and algorithm remain within the required limits, and that changes to the physical asset are reflected in the digital twin. An important feature of the recommended practice is therefore an in-operation quality index, able to show the actual confidence level of the output provided by the digital twin.
The new recommended practice has been tested in several pilot studies with operators, digital system providers, EPC contractors and vendors. It was published in October 2020 after an extensive industry hearing process.