The adoption of virtual reality in the oil and gas industry has become ubiquitous, aiding oil and gas companies to conduct training, collaboration, and data visualization, due to the prolonged impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to GlobalData.
The leading data and analytics company noted that this shift will persist despite the fact that most employees have now returned to offices. VR and augmented reality (AR) enable oil and gas companies to train workers on field equipment in a simulated environment to build their situational awareness.
Notably, the use of VR helps to develop safety procedures at production facilities to address smaller accidents as well as for emergency response. VR simulation can be used to design workflows and identify bottlenecks to optimize a plant’s performance.
Ravindra Puranik, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “VR technology is becoming commonplace in the oil and gas industry as it helps to visualize 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.”
According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Virtual Reality in Oil and Gas- Thematic Research,’ the global VR market for the entreprise segment, including oil and gas, is expected to surpass the consumer segment by 2023 to reach $32 billion by 2030.
Oil Majors Using VRs in Training Rooms
Taking a cue from the gaming industry, VR is gaining traction in the training of oil and gas personnel. Large oil and gas companies— such as Saudi Aramco, Equinor, and Shell— are using VR to simulate the physical environment in training rooms.
Puranik explained that “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. 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.”
“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.
“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.”Ravindra Puranik, Oil&Gas Aanlyst, GlobalData
Digital oilfield technologies such as digital twins and other remote monitoring solutions will be game changers in upstream oil and gas operations, as oil and gas companies are increasingly adopting these technologies, Global Data noted.
In line with the use of technology to enhance work delivery, major oil and gas operators have begun automating their assets using digital technologies. With the growing use of digital technology this also has a bearing on labour demand availability.
This sets in motion, the trade-off between building employee relationships and promoting safety as well as cutting labour costs. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, oil and gas companies are seeking to streamline their costs to recoup demand-led shocks during the pandemic.
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