Equinor and Shell will partner with Microsoft to build cloud-based inventory management solutions
Norwegian energy group Equinor will help develop the next version of Shell Inventory Optimiser with support from Microsoft. This optimiser will use advanced analytics on historical data to optimise operational spare part inventory levels.
This will be co-developed over the Microsoft Azure cloud for better control over available equipment and reduce stock levels.
“Our collaboration to co-develop the next stage of Shell Inventory Optimiser with Equinor is an important milestone for both our companies,” said Shell general manager of data science Dan Jeavons. “It speaks to the digital cultural and technical strengths we share, our history of successful collaborations in the supply chain domain and the value we can achieve working in partnership,” he commented.
Shell’s inventory optimisation tool integrates Microsoft Azure machine learning, Azure Databricks and Azure Datalake. Its developers will introduce new features to further optimise the algorithm driving inventory recommendations to users.
Both Shell and Equinor will benefit from these new features. For Equinor, this tool could reduce inventory inflow by as much as 13%, saving cash at time when the Norwegian energy group is reducing operational expenditure.
“We see many mutual benefits as both companies have applied cloud-based digital solutions as an approach to our industry’s digital transformation,” said Equinor vice president for emerging digital technology Oddvar Vermedal. “Such collaborations are increasingly important to improve safety, increase value creation, reduce emissions and develop low carbon solutions by applying digital technologies.”
The first step with the initiative will be to safeguard operations by rightsizing the stock level. “This will reduce the inventory inflow and establish the optimised level of inventory stocks in Equinor,” said Mr Vermedal. The next step in the co-development will focus on reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain. “Therefore, this collaboration is an important step in our digital transformation journey,” said Mr Vermedal.
Shell is working with Akselos on digital twin technology for offshore assets signing a three-year enterprise framework agreement (EFA) for structural integrity assessments using digital modelling. This EFA forms part of Shell’s digital twin platform that will integrate several digital solutions.
Shell chief technology officer Yuri Sebregts said Akselos’ structural digital twin is used on multiple offshore assets, including on Shell’s Bonga production storage and offloading (FPSO) ship operating offshore Nigeria. A structural digital twin is a physics-based model of an asset which represents its entire physical counterpart in detail and accuracy.
This model is updated with loading conditions and inspection data on a regular basis enabling structural assessments to be conducted, based on the near real-time condition, from anywhere and at any time.
Akselos chief executive Thomas Leurent said this agreement with Shell was a milestone for his organisation. “We have deployed our structural digital twins on both a fixed and floating asset in Shell’s portfolio with excellent results, and this agreement will allow us to support other parts of the business,” he said.
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