This paper will show that visualization technology, more particularly, spherical photographic visual asset management (VAM) has positively impacted the offshore oil and gas industry by maximizing uptime via the creation of a wide array of efficiencies. It will illustrate the key role that visualization technology has to play in reducing Operational Expenditure (OPEX), improving collaboration, increasing efficiencies and thus maximizing uptime across the E&P industry throughout the asset life cycle.

This paper will demonstrate, through the use of industry case studies that in a period of uncertainty with a low oil price and high uplift costs, Visual Asset Management (VAM) technology is positively impacting on the oil and gas sector. VAM technology is demonstrating a tangible return on investment in both financial and time savings, HSE benefits and encouraging a culture of innovation and improved collaboration. The technology is maximizing uptime by helping operating companies and their contractors spend less time and money to get jobs right the first time, and more often.

Innovative operating companies have been successfully adopting this technical solution in order to improve resource efficiency, to reduce bed space requirements andto enhance work pack quality – ultimately reducing the need to survey, thereby increasing collaboration between operators and their contractors, and between disciplines.

The case studies referenced in this paper will demonstrate that VAM technology has been credited with providing operators with technical, competitive and economic advantages – with reduction of risk, increased safety of personnel, tangible cost savings that can amount to millions of dollars(most evident in the reduction of offshore transits) and man-day savings stretching into the thousands.

VAM technology provides office-based personnel with a high quality, detailed view of the operational asset and, for those who have not visited it, provides very useful visual context. This detailed view of the facilities affords the ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, partners or clients in any location, including on the asset, about specific areas of interest or concern, such as asset life extension. The use of the technology reduces travel and improves access to key information, creates a virtual environment that is quicker and less costly to create than, for example, laser scanning and is more realistic by showing actual asset condition. [See Fig. 1]

Recent case studies, highlighted in this paper, also demonstrate how operators (and their contractors) are gaining technical advantage from an improved knowledge of their assets. Through the use of measurement capabilities, tags placed within images to identify equipment and links to documents and other systems already in use for the asset, operators are able to achieve greater efficiencies and collaboration. This, in turn, provides greater assurance, planning and readiness with relevant application of the technology throughout the asset life cycle – from front-end design to commissioning through to operation and eventual decommissioning.

In revolutionizing access to information, improving technical advantage and enhancing collaboration at both micro and macro levels, new applications for visual asset management (VAM) technology are frequently being recognized, making this one of the most exciting technologies in the energy industry of our time. Rarely before has the need to revolutionise oil and gas operations been so crucial.

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