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Digital operations support centers help boost production

Two centres have been formally opened at Sandsli in Bergen by the petroleum and energy minister, Kjell-Børge Freiberg.

Equinor has set an ambition of increasing the value creation from NCS fields by more than $2 billion from 2020 to 2025 through measures such as onshore operations support (Equinor share before tax).

New this year is that monitoring of the energy consumption to reduce CO2 emissions from NCS operations will be improved by support of the digital centres.

By 2021, all Equinor fields on the NCS will be supported by manned onshore centres in Bergen, Stavanger and Stjørdal.

“So far, we see higher production and earnings from the Grane, Gina Krog and Åsgard fields, which have been supported by the integrated operations support centre (IOC) since September. After that the Aasta Hansteen and Norne fields have also been connected to the centre. This marks that we have just started phasing in our 40 installations to the IOC, revealing a great potential,” Arne Sigve Nylund, Executive Vice President for Development and Production Norway, said.

“The good results are achieved by production optimization, improved condition monitoring and operations support for safe offshore operation. IOC will also be relevant for our onshore installations and international activities,” Mr Nylund said.

The IOC centre will be central in reducing CO2 emissions from the NCS. Equinor has implemented more than 300 energy efficiency measures on NCS installations from 2008 and up to the present, reducing annual CO2 emissions by almost 1.6 million tonnes so far. The company aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 3.2 million tonnes per year by 2030. Further energy efficiency measures and new energy solutions will help reach this goal.

Egil Hustvedt demonstrating the digital twin of the Aasta Hansteen field.
Egil Hustvedt demonstrating the digital twin of the Aasta Hansteen field.

“We have set ambitious goals for changing and transforming the NCS to maintain high-value creation and low emissions for the next decades. We have improved our operating efficiency, increased production, reduced our CO2 emissions and developed a highly profitable project portfolio. Digitalization, innovation and use of new technology will allow us to recover resources that are not profitable now,” Mr Nylund said.

The IOC will also improve Equinor’s collaboration with suppliers and partners and increase the transfer of knowledge across the organization.

“The IOC gives us new digital tools ensuring faster and better decisions through close interaction between offshore operations and onshore support centre. Our main goal is to operate our installations safely and optimally every single day while identifying challenges and preventing shut-downs before they occur,” Kjetil Hove, Head of Operations Technology on the NCS, said.

The other centre formally opened, the Geo Operations Centre (GOC), ensures more efficient and better geoscience control of drilling operations as well as higher cost saving and personnel safety. Monitoring and control of offshore well path drilling will be moved from offshore installations and the various onshore units to a joint geoscience operations centre. The GOC is expected to save NOK 270 million per year.

“This is a completely new way of working and represents one of the biggest changes we have made in petroleum technology and geology during the last 20 years. The GOC will utilize new technology and help form a digital future, where tasks are carried out and experience gained and shared in smart ways,” Mr Hove said.

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