The Digital Oil Platform

Examination of issues raised at the IMechE seminar

The concept of digitisation is currently being widely promoted as the answer to many problems in the engineering sector. Fusing the data streams provided by comprehensive instrumentation systems, with powerful, real-time system simulations (or “digital twins”), is believed to offer benefits that include the rapid identification and remediation of production faults and material flaws, and the ability to forecast future performance growth and limitations.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers recommends:

  1. That the UK Government funding body UKRI looks across its funding programmes to create a cross-cutting programme of funding to investigate data and digital decision-making. This programme will need to establish systems – whether AI or not – that enable good decision-making and ensure trust in the data and trends. The involvement of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), or a similar industry body, would be helpful.
  2. That the UK Government looks across its engineering programmes from science and technology, to health and communities, to BEIS, to establish a Design for Digital code. This means that all new engineering and technology are future proofed and ready for the IoT. The oil & gas industry, specifically, should co-ordinate to develop agreed standards for Design for Digital.
  3. The UK Government must begin a much stronger programme of digital skills across all subjects taught, from primary school through university. These skills should not just be found in computer science and ICT. For the oil & gas industry, academic institutions and industry should work together to amend the current provision of postgraduate or vocational training, to cover digital aspects such as data curation, verification and validation.

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