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November 4, 2019updated 05 Nov 2019 2:18pm

How simulated environments can empower decision makers in the oil and gas sector

Virtual reality creates a walkthrough of the subsurface that can guide decision-makers in evaluating the pros and cons of proceeding with drilling operations.  

By GlobalData Energy

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Virtual Reality in Oil & Gas’ highlights how virtual reality (VR) is playing a pivotal role in fostering employee growth and driving productivity in mainstream oil and gas operations using 3D simulation.

VR provides an interactive experience for oil and gas processes within a simulated environment. A geologist equipped with a VR headset or a video wall can visualise the earth’s subsurface and interpret seismic data using this technology. Similarly, an operator can get a virtual tour of a refinery and understand its layout through VR-powered training modules. This technology presents a superior alternative to images, charts, and schematics in the design and planning of different activities in the oil and gas sector. When a team of geologists, geophysicists, drilling engineers, and technicians are tasked with analysing vast acres of seismic data for selecting a drilling location, a 3D model of the subsurface can be rendered using VR for observing the terrain, undulations, and fractures in the geologic formation. 

It creates a virtual walkthrough of the subsurface that can guide decision-makers in evaluating the pros and cons of proceeding with drilling operations.  

Following the technological advancements and competitive pricing of hardware in the recent past, VR has seen rapid growth in the consumer market. The industrial market – and especially the oil and gas sector – is also picking up in the adoption of this technology. The key benefit of VR lies in better employee engagement in training exercises, particularly in environments where imparting actual hands-on experience may not be feasible. This accelerates knowledge sharing and helps in enhancing their decision-making skills. Besides training, VR is also proving to be useful in the simulation of new processes, analysing project designs, reviewing maintenance requirements, and planning disaster response.

VR and 3D simulations allow employees to interact with the facility equipment and virtually experience emergencies within a safe environment. By using the VR system an employee can get hands-on training without disturbing normal work routines. The VR system is also equipped to replicate different emergency scenarios that the employees could face in real-life while working with heavy machinery. This helps prepare them for any unforeseen event. Thus, VR technology translates to improved accuracy, reduced risks and substantial cost savings.

In the oil and gas industry, Baker Hughes, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Halliburton, Shell, Saudi Aramco, and Sinopec are among the leading adopters of VR technology. 

Oil & gas and technology companies active on the VR scene 


Source: GlobalData Thematic Research ©GlobalData

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