Shell’s Ambitious Plan to Create a Digital Twin of an Entire Facility

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By Michael Larner | 4Q 2020 | IN-5959


Digital Twin Expected to Go Live in 2025


Shell is in the process of creating a digital twin of its Pulau Bukom facility, a 600-acre site located in Singapore. The facility is one of the largest petrochemical production and export centers in the Asia-Pacific region. The facility includes an Ethylene Cracker Complex (producing a million tons annually), a Butadiene Extraction Unit (producing 155,000 tons annually), and processes 500,000 barrels of oil daily.

The digital twin project commenced in 2017 and involves mapping site data to inform the machine learning algorithms; by August 2020, Shell reported that approximately 60% of the site had been mapped. The project is expected to take another 4 years to complete.

Taking 7 years from start to finish underlines the complexity of Shell’s plant and the company’s long-term thinking. The potential of digital twins to provide an exact replica of plants and operations provides manufacturers with the opportunity to test scenarios and understand the inter-relationships between different parts of the operation, but is predicated on the manufacturer taking the tim…

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