Guest Editorial: Engineering Design in the “Lower for Longer” Environment

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A recurring theme in the earning statements of oil and gas companies in recent months is the desire to survive not only “lower (prices) for longer,” but to use the current market downturn, and the resulting urgency, as an opportunity to reshape organizations to ensure that they are stronger and better able to thrive in the years ahead. Clearly, the industry needs to reduce costs and continue to innovate without compromising safety, but how? In other industry crunches, such as that experienced by automotive manufacturers in 2008–09, simulation played a key role in helping to reduce engineering design costs and lead times, while allowing manufacturers to continue to deliver new and innovative solutions.

While each company’s view on how to tackle this new paradigm will differ, for many it will be to continue the day job (deliver quality and innovative products and solutions), but at reduced development time and cost, without compromising safety. First principles-based engineering simulation tools will be a key enabler, as com­panies will increasingly rely on ­simulation-based design exploration. The initial driver will be to reduce engineering costs and time, but companies will also benefit from simulation as an innovation enabler.

Key to this has been the rapid improvement in computer hardware and software technology, as well as innovative licensing models that enable, rather than penalize, the use of high-­performance computing and cloud solutions. Through the development of cloud computing, engineers now have ready and cost-effective access to computer resources that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. These improvements allow engineers to increase the number of design and operating conditions evaluated, and to move beyond the physical test to simulate real-world conditions at full scale, such as subsea separators with real process fluids at high temperature and pressure, or the behavior of a floating platform during a hurricane.

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Guest Editorial: Engineering Design in the “Lower for Longer” Environment

Alex Read, Director, Business Development, Oil & Gas, CD-adapco

10 December 2015

Volume: 68 | Issue: 1

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