This article first appeared on The Australian Mining Review in December 2020. Read the full story here.
Imagine soaring above a mine site or oil rig and having a 360° view of every piece of equipment while sitting in an airconditioned boardroom.
Asset digitisation harnesses cutting-edge capture technology to bring all pieces of equipment, and even entire sties, into a 3D digital format to enhance decision making, operational efficiency and safety.
It represents the new frontier in asset management, from the design phase right through to commissioning, construction and start-up, day-to-day operations, shutdown and decommissioning.
The latest technology including drones, laser scanning and photogrammetry, are used to inspect assets in the hardest to reach places, from the Australian outback to unmanned oil rigs in the middle of the ocean.
Asset digitisation is already revolutionising the mining, oil and gas industries in a multitude of ways.
The most obvious is reducing the need for costly and time-consuming site visits, which can sometimes involve several days of travel time, boats and even helicopters.
In the age of COVID-19, asset digitisation has been a lifesaver for these industries by allowing the vital inspection of assets where specialists have been unable to see them in person.
It also offers a different perspective, which often cannot be achieved with the human eye, such as the aerial, 3D and underground views that can be achieved through the use of drones, surveying and photogrammetry. Crucially, the collection of accurate data reduces the potential for unscheduled maintenance and downtime.
It also enhances safety by removing the need for personnel to access hazardous sites or the need to work at heights.
The ability to visualise a site, allowing high-level planning and familiarisation with assets before personnel even get there, is also a game changer in the mining, oil and gas industry where each day on the ground adds to the project cost.
But with all the benefits and novelty of the high-tech gadgetry required for the effective capture, processing, storing, presenting and maintenance of data, comes risks that need to be adequately insured against.
Connect Business Insurance understands the complexities of working in the asset digitisation field and can provide tailored insurance cover and risk management solutions for businesses operating in this unique sector.
These are some but not all the types of insurance CBI offers in this area:
Professional Indemnity Insurance
The captured data will be used to make informed decisions such as a company using it to design the layout of a mine site. This insurance protects surveyors and those working in the asset digitisation field if they are found to be negligent or in breach of their professional duty.
If a third party like a mining client successfully argues a business’ services has caused damages, injury or loss, it can result in costly legal bills.
Even if they are not at fault, those providing specialist services may face hefty legal bills to defend their company and reputation.
Professional indemnity insurance could also cover an employee who acts dishonestly without the employers knowledge, the accidental release of sensitive information, unintentional violations of a third party’s intellectual property, or acting without due care while providing a paid service.
Aviation or drone insurance provides cover if a drone, also called an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is lost, damaged or causes loss, property damage or injury to a third party.
- General liability: Insurance cover for third-party property damage and bodily injury claims arising from the operation of a UAV, including in the event it crashes. This cover may also extend to include some consequential financial loss sustained as a result of a UAV causing damage whilst falling from the sky.
- Hull and Equipment: This is cover for an agreed value for the loss or damage sustained to the hull, or the related equipment such as payloads, cameras or controllers.
The equipment involved in asset digitisation and management is not limited to drones, but also extends to include laser total stations, cameras and various other surveying equipment which can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars. In the event these items are damaged due to fire, explosion, malicious acts, storms or even floods, or if they are lost or stolen, this could potentially cost the business a lot of money in lost revenue.
This insurance includes cover for nominated items and in some cases unnominated items whilst in transit on any conveyance, be it road, rail, air, via post or courier. The cover will also extend to include loading and unloading risks, which as you can imagine is very important when moving these items from land, say by crane on to an oil and gas platform. If the chain snaps, it could cause a lot of very expensive equipment to sink to the bottom of the ocean rather quickly.
When it comes to property and equipment, Connect Business Insurance can find the right cover quickly, easily and at the most affordable price.
The cyber risk is significant in the asset digitisation field as it involves dealing with large amounts of sensitive business data, which is of significant strategic value. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it can cause damage to a businesses’ reputation or bottom line from a breach of confidential information, loss, theft, corruption or misuse of the data.
An incident could be as innocent as sending a file to the wrong email to something more sinister such as a hacker attack or loss of customer information.
Connect Business Insurance’s multi-pronged cyber defence policy includes a broad range of cover to suit the individual needs of the business.
These can include privacy breaches, system damage, computer viruses and hacking, business interruption, multimedia liability, privacy breaches, extortion, personal protection, brand protection and breach of statutory duties.
The Australian Government estimates almost 700,000 businesses have experienced cybercrime and 60 per cent of these attacks were targeted at small to medium sized businesses at an average cost of more than $275,000.
Airscope, a client of Connect Business Insurance, is a leader in asset digitisation with a vision to bring assets from the field into the boardroom. Using multiple capture techniques, Airscope builds high resolution, 3D digital representations of “as built” large-scale commercial infrastructure. Working with mining, oil and gas, facilities management, maritime, utilities, agriculture and government, Aircscope gives key decision makers situational awareness to make informed decisions.
Q: What is asset digitisation and how can this be used in the mining, oil and gas sectors?
A: When we talk about asset digitisation, ultimately you’ve got a physical asset which exists in the real world but you can digitise it so it has an identify in the digital world. What we are finding is people, by interacting with the digital asset, don’t have to go to site as much, they don’t have to have as many people on site.
They can make an informed decision by using ultimately an identical twin of the asset to do 90% of work that you would have historically needed to have been on site to accomplish. So in a nutshell, asset digitisation is enabling digital remote operation and enabling people to access hard to reach sites.
Q: What are some examples of hard to reach places this technology has been used in and what equipment was monitored?
A: Our core business at the moment is oil and gas, so remote offshore assets, which are hard to reach. Generally, most of them are unmanned oil rigs and platforms. We have done assets throughout the Cooper Basin and remote parts of Australia where you have got to fly to camp and drive a couple of hours to get anywhere.
We are starting to venture now into North America to places like Canada where a lot of their assets are under snow for five months of the year and they are inaccessible; to get to them is ridiculously inefficient. And also anywhere that may be dangerous in places where there may be civil unrest like some parts of Africa. This technology allows a specialist to access, from their living room, remote assets and infrastructure without having to make that trip over there.
Q: Have you seen an increase In demand for your services with COVID-19?
A: We have seen demand go through the roof and we have seen a huge cultural change within the industry where people previously didn’t really like to implement technology if they didn’t have to. COVID-19 has forced people to make monumental changes with the way they operate their business.
People can’t get to site but they still need to access it to do a job and as soon as they try asset digitisation, they think it is fantastic. So we have seen a massive uptake of our platform but also other digital technology just through people not being able to get on a plane or cross the border.
From a capital expenditure (CapEx) point of view, our software enables all the campaign work to be done prior to getting to site. For example for a shutdown, it drastically reduces the amount of time it takes because everyone has already become acquainted with the asset and knows where they are going and what they need to do before they even get to site.
Form a day-to-day operational perspective, we have seen huge amounts of efficiency as well in regards to having less people on-site and more people supporting from the office. Many organisations in the oil and gas industry are letting people off at an alarming rate, there’s been thousands of jobs gone within the past six months in WA from the likes of Chevron, Woodside and BP. The remaining workforce then is expected to pick up the work and the only way to do the same amount of work with less people is to do things more efficiently with new technology.
Q: What technologies do you use to capture asset data such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAVs?
A: We look at assets holistically so a drone or UAV gives you a perspective from one angle but it doesn’t show you underneath or inside the asset so we use three main types of technology to complement each other. The other two are:
- Survey equipment and laser scanners
- Ground cameras: A photogrammetry rig aimed at different angles with a trigger that fires off up to five cameras at once to create 3D models of assets
Q: Why is it important to insure this equipment?
A: Our equipment Is quite significant, to put a toolbox together we are talking hundreds and thousands of dollars. Then we’ve got to maintain, calibrate and keep up it up to date, because we shoot and capture in data that is accurate to the milimeter.
The other thing is working with Connect Business Insurance to ensure our equipment gets to site without being damaged.
What CBI has been able to do is understand our complex business, which includes data, software and field operation services. We are not a simple business, we are not a company which can take out one policy. We have a very dynamic and complex business model that CBI has been able to support and help us get all the boxes ticked.