OQ Digital Transformation with Purpose: Upstream Oil & Gas Digital Twins

Project Success Story

Two representatives from the Oman-based OQ Upstream, delivered presentations during the recent ARC Forum. Khalid Alfahdi, Head of Technical Services, is responsible for asset integrity, reliability management, and process safety on onshore and offshore gas and oil fields. Mr. Alfahdi’s presentation focused on OQ’s work for asset performance management and upstream oil & gas digital twins. Khalfan Al-Shueili, Production Chemistry and Laboratory Services Team Leader, manages all matters related to production chemistry. Mr. Al-Shueili’s presentation focused on the ChemTrak application.

OQ Oman

The case story provides insights for those in the continuous process industries even though the presentation focused on digital twins in upstream oil and gas. OQ is a global integrated energy company with roots in Oman. It covers the entire oil and gas value chain from exploration and production to marketing and distribution of petrochemical products. The company is organized into business units for upstream, downstream, commercial, and alternative energy with operations in over 17 countries.

OQ Upstream focuses on exploration and production in Oman Block 60, 48 and 8, with facilities off-shore and on-shore. The main software platform used to manage these assets is Bentley’s APM AssetWise.

Process Performance Optimization

Competitive and regulatory pressures drive OQ to improve and optimize its processes including digital twins. This involves process improvement strategy development, data management, decision making practices, and integration of the cross-functional disciplines to achieve:

  • Improved uptime and reduced unplanned downtime
  • Cost reduction
  • Maximize the asset lifecycle and longevity
  • Assure safety and low environmental incidents
  • Improve throughput and revenue

The digital twin enables integration across the disciplines for reliability management, operations & maintenance, asset integrity, and production chemistry. This encompasses 15 applications including:

Reliability Management:

  • Operational reliability, availability, maintainability (RAM) KPIs
  • Condition monitoring digitalization
  • Reliability centered maintenance (RCM)
  • Failure reporting, analysis & correction actions system (FRACAS)

Operation & Maintenance:

  • Operator rounds check digitalization using mobile inspection
  • Maintenance digitalization using mobile inspection
  • Request for work (RFW) utilization and linked to CMMS Notifications
  • Failures and downtime reporting

Asset Integrity:

  • Risk based inspection (RBI)
  • Inspection data management system (IDMS)
  • Non- destructive testing (NDT) report digitization
  • Asset integrity anomaly management digitization
  • Corrosion control for cathodic protection (CP) digitization
  • Integrity operating window (IOW) digitization

Production Chemistry:

  • ChemTrack is an initiative for auto tracking of chemical stock, performance, lab analysis and KPIs
  • Data entry using handheld data loaders, historian process data, and interfaced with chemical stock data

Digital Twins at OQ

In 2021, a detailed study addressed the needs for a digital twin across OQ assets. It identified and prioritized the use cases and pilot project design with the various stakeholders. This helped assure the digital twin fit the users’ needs and assured they were onboard and prepared to use it. The key function of the digital twin entails asset information management with common engineering information across the asset management functions, process engineering, and operations. With this data as a foundation, the digital twin provides a dimensionally accurate 3D model, situational awareness for users, and a vehicle for managing cross-functional business processes for asset management.

In 2022, a pilot project for the digital twin started. This included 3D laser scanning for the selected assets, proof of concept execution, and solution evaluation. Success led to OQ planning for scale up in 2024 and eventually to all of OQ Upstream’s plants and stations.

Oil & Gas Digital Twins


Digital Twin and Asset Performance Management Benefits at OQ

The digital twin and asset performance management program at OQ has already started to achieve results.

Strategic benefits:

  • Single platform for data reporting, storage, analysis, and visualization
  • Digitizing site activities and data entry using handhelds and smart barcoding

Operating benefits:

  • Plant reliability improved to 25.7 percent
  • Maintenance optimization resulted in up to 14.8 percent saving in total maintenance cost while reducing unplanned downtime
  • Asset uptime of 98 percent for oil & gas production fields
  • Zero tier 1 and 2 process safety incidents in 2022
  • Chemical optimization resulted in 16+ percent annual savings
  • Environmental emissions reduction up to 82.6 percent with less flaring

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