The data necessary for the design, construction and operation of a subsea pipeline system involves many applications and software covering design, construction specifications, fabrication and installation records, inspection database and more. So far, most of the data is exchanged under the format of manually produced reports between clients and contractors, but also to and from manufacturers and subcontractors or other project stakeholders. This was identified as a significant improvement opportunity in terms of cost, time, and quality.

As the industry goes through digital transformation, data structuring is a need faced by all. However, diverging data structure creates the need to re-process the data to a mutually acceptable format at each interface point and many times, with a significant cost, quality, and schedule impact. The PDEF project was started with the aim to agree on an industry-wide common interchange format for all the data that is issued in the design, construction, and operation of a subsea pipeline. The primary objective is to exchange data more efficiently between the different parties involved in a subsea field development project.

PDEF initially covers subsea pipelines and will be extended to encompass the entire pipeline system, including risers, spools and jumpers, in-line structures and more. PDEF covers the entire product life-cycle, from conceptual studies to operation. PDEF is multi-disciplinary, including business domains such as operating data, linepipe, routing, metocean, geotechnical, fabrication, installation, etc.

PDEF is not a common database solution but simply the specification and documentation describing the data format to be respected for data exchange.

PDEF is not intended to replace human readable documents or serve the purpose of applications using such data. It is an interchange format to enable smooth and reliable transfer of data between information between systems or project stakeholders.

The companies who partnered into the PDEF project include oil & gas operators, EPCI contractors, manufacturers, design consultancy firms as well as other industry partners players from all regions of the world.

The project Phase I started in November 2019 and finished in December 2020. The goals and functional requirements were clarified, and the JSON-schema technology was selected as the means for implementation. Thousands of variables were gathered from all partners, classified and structured. Preliminary series of business context objects were developed. A first test of the engineering schema was performed by the partners on real project data, bringing the project to reach the milestone of proof-of-concept.

Phase II started in March 2021 and ran till December 2021. The PDEF specification was written and formally peer reviewed by the partners. An improved version of the schema and associated documentation was produced and published. Further tests were conducted by the partners to have PDEF reaching a status of minimum-viable-product.

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