The Digital Offshore Canada (DOC) project is accelerating the digitalization of Canada’s ocean industries by providing access to real operational data, 3D assets and analytical tools. As a platform for the development, validation and commercialization of digital twins, DOC has clear regional benefits but is also blazing a trail for collaboration and access to data for innovators across the country.
“The whole intent of the project is that members will share various types of data for innovation purposes and be open to collaboration,” says Dave Finn, CEO for Petroleum Research Newfoundland (PRNL).
The $18 million DOC project is co-funded by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and led by fellow CRIN member Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador (PRNL) and its producer members Hatch Engineering, technology partners MNP, Virtual Marine and GRi Simulation, and Memorial University. The DOC project will help to develop world class digitalization capability in the region and collaboration across business sectors, industries and academia to ensure the development of new talent. Through the power of network, those benefits can also extend westward.
Announced in December 2020, the DOC vision is an example of the innovation ecosystem in action: identifying solutions for application to the development and commercialization of globally relevant, sustainable solutions across multiple industries and borders.
“It’s almost a sandbox or a farmers’ market,” says Finn of DOC. “It’s novel to have it set up as an open cloud-based platform where certain pools of data are available to other interfaces, in addition to bringing in, testing and sharing your own data.”
At the outer edges of imagined uses will be a wide-open platform providing scrubbed data to build additional platforms open to academia.
Small and medium-sized innovators will be able to test their concepts at any stage in the project lifecycle with a variety of applications and powerful analytical tools (machine learning, optimization, artificial intelligence (AI) and visualization) along with access to environmental data. Having safely and efficiently proven an industrial project in the digital twin environment makes it that much more attractive to next-level investors and acceptable to regulators, and further accelerating innovation to commercialization.
While focused on Canada’s ocean industries (including offshore oil and gas), DOC’s collaborative format is being keenly watched by land-based hydrocarbon programs committed to clean tech innovation. Onshore and offshore have some similar production process trains. By opening the facility up to innovators with real time data in a production environment, modeling could be completed that is relevant to any region.
“It’s absolutely feasible that DOC will be used to enable testing in emissions reduction technologies. That doesn’t need the ocean around it,” says Finn. “Just come on in and figure out how you'll want to use it.”