GIS for deepwater FEED

Instead of using computer aided design (CAD) for front end engineering design (FEED), Chevron’s engineers are using a geographical information system to build its deepwater Indonesian hubs.

Speaking at the 2009 ESRI Petroleum User Group last month, Chevron’s Cory Moore, along with presenters from several of Chevron’s suppliers unveiled an ArcGIS-based, 3D simulation life of field planning tool. Originally developed for Chevron’s deepwater Indonesian Gendalo and Gehem hubs, the tool is used to kick off front-end engineering design (FEED) and to address subsea layout of field components. The system is used for clash checks and flow assurance in regard of submarine slopes. Desk top metrology enables jumper dimensions to be computed early in the design process—speeding fabrication. Components such as trees, jumpers are held in a growing oilfield equipment library—established from real world metrology. These ‘snap’ to hubs in a ‘spatially correct’ manner—a submarine equivalent of Visio! New objects can be customized from engineering diagrams and added to library.

GIS was chosen over a conventional CAD approach because of the complexity of engineering design in a complex deepwater environment. File planners have to cater for changing bathymetry, reservoir geometry and geohazards like old risers on the seabed and sea scarps. GIS allowed for pipe and flow line routing and investigation of the thermal interactions. GIS’ power as an integration tool was illustrated by incorporating completion data from Landmark, pipes from Autocad and high resolution bathymetry.

At the heart of the system is a database developed by Ellis Geospatial containing Chevron’s standard unique identifiers for equipment tag numbers and linking these across Autocad, ESRI and other systems. Chevron’s Global Information Link (GIL), a worldwide computing and communications infrastructure, is used to provide web-based access to approved external contractors.

One neat use case is in planning remotely operated vehicle (ROV) activity. GRI Simulations is using the model in ArcScene for a 3D representation of the proposed design. This includes dynamic interaction, bumping into objects, and a simulated virtual ROV-camera view complete with fish. The ‘VROV’ simulator is used by ROV pilots to practice jumper installation. Farallon Geographics built the password protected geodatabase which is accessible from anywhere 24/7.

The system also interacts with conventional FEED toolsets including Documentum’s e-Room and Autocad. Workflows have been developed to automate Autocad updates after GIS design changes. The demos were pretty impressive—realistic representations of complex objects are manipulated with seeming ease and the resulting design has immediate real-world use in construction planning and training.

More from the ESRI PUG in next month’s Oil IT Journal.

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