Offshore Tech Triumph

3-D laser technology solves offshore platform upgrade challenge

For the first time in 40 years, Marjan offshore facilities now have reliable 3-D models that can be handed over to facilities.

3-D laser technology solves offshore platform upgrade challenge

The Marjan Increment Project team faced a problem: trying to plan for the upgrades of operational offshore platforms that had multiple, decades-old modifications and alterations.


The Marjan Offshore Oil Facilities Division (MOFOFD) discovered that obtaining accurate drawings of the 20- to 40-year-old platforms was not guaranteed, and typical site surveys could not always be relied upon to generate the required information.


To obtain accurate as-built information and plan the work properly, the MOFOFD project team utilized the latest available 3-D laser scanning and modeling technology.


Mohammed A. Al Sadiq, manager of the Marjan Offshore Oil Project, said the lasers produced reliable, digitized, 3-D models of the offshore platforms.


“It allows the project to save precious time in designing complex modifications, minimizing safety risks and risks of design errors, eventually saving costs by reducing the amount of offshore construction time spent on the platforms,” Al Sadiq said.


Laser scanning

A specialized team was mobilized and equipped with the latest laser scanning equipment, which rapidly conducted the scanning without interfering with ongoing work in the operating facilities. They also did not require hot work permits.


After conducting the surveys, the data was processed through artificial intelligence to accurately identify the pieces of equipment — valves, piping, and other elements that are typically part of offshore facilities — and a 3-D model was generated.


The project team then used the models to design the required demolitions, additions, and modifications on the smart 3-D platform, which automatically generated the required drawings for the project teams and other stakeholders.


Offshore construction work is conducted utilizing expensive Marine resources, and every hour saved translates to real cost avoidance.
-- Mohammed A. Al Sadiq


“Moreover, the work that has been done by the Marjan project team on these old facilities is an important step toward digitization of the facilities,” he said.


“For the first time in 40 years, these offshore facilities now have reliable 3-D models that can be handed over to facilities operations for future projects and maintenance work, and can be further enhanced for a full digitization and smart plant phase.”


The work is now a pilot case to enhance the speed and efficiency of 3-D laser scanning and expand it to all existing Aramco offshore facilities.


In the construction industry, performing “brownfield” modifications to existing facilities is one of the most difficult challenges that project managers face, and anything that can go wrong will probably go wrong, unless proper planning is performed.


The MOFOFD team has found a more accurate way of planning for such complex brownfield upgrades.




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