Originally developed as an enhanced entertainment technology, advancements in augmented and virtual hardware catapulted the development and adoption of these tools for industrial applications and, more recently, the oilfield. These tools have vast use potential—from training to solution creation to operations. The benefits of newly developed applications for rigsite virtual mapping and holographic model viewing and the improvements they introduce for service provider/operator collaboration are discussed.
Conventional methods for rig survey execution and optimization for separation solutions, which include solids control and waste management technologies, can be time consuming, technically challenging, and costly. This can be particularly true for offshore operations where weather, logistics, drilling programs, and environmental regulations can rapidly increase project complexity. Additionally, the equipment selection process commonly involves communication and collaboration with multiple subject matter experts (SMEs) and operator representatives globally in an iterative and labor-intensive process that lends itself to the opportunity for miscommunication and errors.
The preliminary use of rigsite virtual mapping and holographic model viewer applications is to demonstrate improvements to cross-organizational collaboration. Using rigsite virtual mapping allows specialists to conduct a rapid wide area scan (RWAS) to accurately map the rig space to create fully functional and scaled three-dimensional (3D) models that can be used in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to develop more robust visualization of system design and placement. Using rigsite virtual mapping allows the separations solutions team to more safely, efficiently, and accurately measure and scan a rig space to achieve the optimal equipment orientation and integration. The improved visual assets enable better alignment with operator teams.
Using the holographic model viewer allows 3D models of where separation equipment can be placed within the physical space at the rigsite or in the office. On location, rig surveys can be enhanced by enabling personnel to more effectively identify obstacles that might impede installation. For the office, the service provider and operators can more effectively discuss technologies and technology solutions using enhanced visualization. Bringing the technology "into the room" enables more dynamic solution creation and ideation.
A renowned global research and consulting firm lists AR/VR as a major emerging technology trend that has the capability to influence how companies do business. The application of these technologies can revitalize remote engineering collaboration and personnel optimization and reduce service/product delivery costs. Already successfully introduced in other markets, AR/VR in the oilfield has the potential to expand rapidly and become an essential tool for more efficient operations.