BP to use crime-scene imaging to manage oilrig work remotely

Return To Scene's work with BP has been featured in The Times. Learn below how the supermajor has significantly been benefiting from our software and technologies in this article by Emily Gosden.

17 September 2018, Emily Gosden

BP is using technology developed by the police for documenting crime scenes to create data-rich virtual replicas of its oil and gas platforms that can help reduce its costs.

The oil giant said that it was rolling out the sophisticated 360-degree imaging programme across the majority of its platforms worldwide after successful deployment in the North Sea.

The technology was originally developed by police in Scotland for use in crime scene investigations, allowing detectives to virtually revisit a crime scene long after it has had to be cleared up.

BP is now using the high-resolution imaging technique to allow its engineers to take accurate measurements of dimensions on the installations remotely, in order that they can plan offshore work from a computer onshore.

The 360-degree visualisations are embedded with data helping to identify and give key information about each piece of equipment on the platform.

BP, which is listed in London, operates in more than 70 countries, from exploring for oil and gas to refining fuels and selling petrol. It reported underlying profits of $6.2 billion last year. In recent years it has made a big push into new technologies that can reduce its costs and become more efficient.

Ahmed Hashmi, global head of upstream technology for BP, said: “BP’s view is a 30 per cent improvement in ongoing operating costs is possible through digital technology. That is massive.”

The imaging technology, which is one of a number of new techniques BP is using, is made by Return to Scene or R2S, which was bought in 2016 by James Fisher and Sons, the FTSE 250 group. It is used by police in Europe and North America and its techniques were used to create a virtual model of the Hillsborough stadium for use by the jury in the inquiry into the 1989 disaster.

The imaging programme being rolled out after a North Sea trial will let BP technicians
look at rigs while working in an office on dry land.

R2S has so far created 130,000 360-degree images for BP, made up of about 4.5 million individual pictures.

Mr Hashmi said: “It’s in the North Sea, it’s being deployed in Trinidad, then it goes to the Gulf of Mexico and we are evaluating deployments in Angola, Azerbaijan and even Indonesia.”

By the end of this year BP expects to have deployed it on 21 installations.

Many platforms are decades old and have been adapted so they no longer match original plans. Using the images to give an up-to-date picture and enabling work to be planned from onshore saved money, he said, especially as a lack of bed space to accommodate extra workers offshore was “a big constraint”.

During an upgrade programme on two North Sea platforms, Etap and Magnus, the technology saved £20 million and 75 years in manpower.

Mr Hashmi said the key advance in the latest generation of the technology was that it allowed BP to embed data from a vast database.

“Every piece of equipment has a tag: what is the ID of the equipment, what is its purpose, what are the things it measures and who is the manufacturer, when was it last worked on. We have bought all of that into a single database and have connected that to these pictures,” he said. “We say a picture is worth 1,000 words. If a picture can also have contextualised data alongside it, that to me is worth a million words.”

Find the original coverage with the following link: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bp-to-use-crime...