03/03/2022 – Energy / VR / Oil & Gas / Virtual Reality / Visualisation / Training / GlobalData / Simulations
Pandemic boosts adoption of VR in oil & gas industry
The pandemic triggered a shift to remote working, which has boosted the adoption of virtual reality (VR) by oil & gas companies for training, collaboration, and data visualisation, according to GlobalData, which expects this shift to persist despite employees now returning to the office.
Ravindra Puranik, Oil and Gas Analyst at leading data and analytics company GlobalData, commented that VR technology is “becoming commonplace” in the oil & gas industry as it helps to visualise 3D simulations of real-world objects. “As the industry deals with volatile substances that are often found in dangerous environments, there is a substantial concern for worker safety,” he noted.
According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Virtual Reality in Oil and Gas – Thematic Research’, the global VR market for the enterprise segment, including oil & gas, will surpass VR in the consumer segment by 2023 to reach US$32 billion by 2030.
VR: Gaining traction in training
Taking a cue from the gaming industry, VR is gaining traction in the training of oil & gas personnel. Large oil & gas companies – including Saudi Aramco, Equinor, and Shell – are using VR to simulate the physical environment in training rooms.
“Trainee personnel are given VR headsets that deliver an immersive experience of a facility, be it an offshore production platform, a gas processing plant, or a refinery,” explained Mr Puranik. “Although this lacks the real feel of a challenging workplace environment, it is a highly safe and cost-efficient approach to introduce personnel to a new facility.”
VR enables oil & gas companies to train workers on field equipment in a simulated environment to build their situational awareness. It can help develop safety procedures at production facilities to address smaller accidents, as well as for emergency responses. VR simulation can be used to design workflows and identify bottlenecks to optimise a plant’s performance.
Extracting maximum value from digital twins
According to Mr Puranik, Digital twins is another critical use case for VR. “By allowing engineers to virtually explore production facilities, VR will help in extracting the maximum value from digital twins,” he said.
“This could improve plant designs, fast-track the adoption of new solutions, and develop best practices for ensuring the health and safety of field personnel and surrounding communities. For instance, Shell is creating a digital twin of its integrated refinery in Singapore to facilitate remote monitoring and improve operational efficiency and safety.”