As owner-operators of oil and gas facilities increasingly turn to laser scanning to extend the life of their assets, U.S.-based contractor Ariosh has secured a valuable competitive advantage by pioneering the technology in West Africa.

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Supported by AVEVA PDMS and now AVEVA Everything3D (E3D) modeling software, Ariosh can generate accurate as-built 3D models and drawings, perform virtual installations and generate job cards. This capability has helped the organization deliver several brownfield projects with the accuracy needed to achieve right-first-time installation. The most recent success for the leading Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor was the laser scanning of several platforms in Nigeria, after a major international owner-operator had been forced to halt modification work due to unforeseen design clashes.

Recovering Flare Gas

In 2012, Houston-based Ariosh was awarded the contract to provide follow-on engineering services during a revamp of the owner-operator’s seven offshore platforms in the Gulf of Guinea. Production needed to be stepped up in order to provide approximately 300 million cubic feet per day of natural gas feedstock for a refinery which will take natural gas currently being flared and convert it into high-value, clean transportation fuels.

The challenges of executing brownfield projects became apparent following the completion of detailed engineering and fabrication drawings by another international EPC. Having experienced significant clashes during installation of the first modifications on the first platform, the owner-operator suspended work on that platform and proceeded to the next one, only to encounter the same problems. Worried that history would repeat itself with the remaining five platforms, the upgrade program was put on hold. Ariosh was then contracted to help recover the situation.

The problems needed to be resolved quickly to avoid the serious impact of increased costs, schedule delays and lost production, as well as safety and reliability concerns. The direct costs alone were heavy; the barge used for installation cost more than $100,000 per day. Modification work during installation offshore can take at least twice as long as modifications in the fabrication yard.

Solving the Problems

Ariosh started by laser scanning all seven platforms, and then modeling the new design using AVEVA PDMS for the first two and AVEVA E3D for the remainder. These 3D models were superimposed on the laser data and clash-checked using the built-in clash management capabilities. Design verification, completion of fabrication and fabrication assurance, and installation on the first three platforms were completed in only 18 months.

Design verification should obviously be performed prior to fabrication. However, on this project, fabrication of the spools and structures had progressed to more than 70 percent before Ariosh’s involvement. These spools and structures were then scanned in the fabrication yard to allow Ariosh to conduct virtual installations of the as-fabricated spools to make recommendations for correcting installation issues in advance. Rework was also minimized.

Modifications performed at Idmon, the fabrication yard in Warri, Nigeria, were also verified by laser scanning. Scans of the modified spools and structures were superimposed on the design models within AVEVA E3D to ensure compliance with Ariosh-issued construction drawings. Although it took Idmon about a year to implement all of Ariosh’s recommended corrections, the resulting 98-percent first-time fit achieved a substantial reduction in overall installation time and provided the owner-operator with a cost savings of about 40 percent. Clash checking and reporting could all be efficiently performed within AVEVA’s single 3D model environment, thus saving Ariosh’s owner-operator client considerable time and money during project execution.

Implementation of AVEVA Solutions

Serving a wide client base, Ariosh operates a range of engineering and design solutions. The leading international EPC contractor currently uses, from AVEVA’s offerings, both AVEVA PDMS with AVEVA Laser Model Interface (LMI) and now AVEVA E3D.

Ariosh had adopted AVEVA PDMS in 2010, having used many different 3D design software tools and finding that none compared in terms of versatility and efficiency, especially when handling large and complex 3D models. The company later adopted AVEVA E3D, which adds more value with its improved Access Platforms, Stairs & Ladders modeling and its built-in capacity to read and work with the full laser dataset.

“AVEVA PDMS has been our first choice of 3D modeling packages,” said Yusuf Alege, Ariosh technical manager. “Its seamless integration with laser data (with the add-on of LMI) is a particular advantage, and many of our clients specify PDMS for their design. Our designers are highly competent in PDMS and preferred working with it over any other 3D package, until we migrated to AVEVA E3D and found it to be even better.”

When AVEVA E3D was released in 2013, Ariosh immediately saw value in its new capabilities, especially those related to laser scanning. As a result, it chose to migrate from AVEVA PDMS, a decision made even easier by the two-way database compatibility. All potential installation issues, including clashes, can now be more easily identified and resolved, while fabrication issues are avoided through the ability to automatically produce fabrication drawings directly from the AVEVA E3D design model.

“AVEVA PDMS and AVEVA E3D, which automatically integrates laser scan data into its system, were critical to the success of this project,” said Alege. “We started off using AVEVA PDMS on the first two platforms and then, once AVEVA E3D was released, we switched to using AVEVA E3D on the remaining five. We required seamless integration of 3D model and laser data for clarity and consistency, and AVEVA products provide that for us.

“AVEVA E3D’s handling of laser data proved superior to any other package we had used, or even heard of. Our objective in selecting AVEVA E3D was to ensure error-free design and first-time-fit installation. It more than met our expectations,” Alege continued. “Ariosh and AVEVA worked very well together during the implementation, and we were very impressed with the prompt responses of AVEVA’s support team. We were also provided with an AVEVA E3D migration license that enabled us to toggle effortlessly between AVEVA PDMS and AVEVA E3D.”

Ariosh’s laser scanning offering is now powered entirely by AVEVA E3D. The team’s significant experience with other laser data handling software made it very easy to learn AVEVA’s laser scanning solution. While the team took a little while to get used to the LMI, AVEVA’s self-explanatory laser scan data manual allowed engineers to be operational very quickly.

Outcomes for Ariosh

Ariosh officials were impressed by the AVEVA software’s effect on the Nigeria project. “AVEVA E3D’s BubbleView technology removed the import/export bottleneck between the 3D design package and the laser data software to obtain a realistic view of laser data within the design model,” said Alege. “The BubbleView feature improved our productivity by 20 percent and the quality of our deliverables was also higher. AVEVA E3D was a game-changer on the project. We recorded a 20-percent increase in productivity relative to PDMS immediately upon deployment, and we expect still further increases as our designers become fully familiar with the AVEVA E3D interface.”

Ariosh intends to be the partner of choice in West Africa for the delivery of Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI) projects, and underpinning this drive is a commitment to cutting-edge tools. Ariosh has built its work processes around AVEVA E3D, which has significantly increased efficiency in its design verification process and has inspired improvements to the company’s PipeFit Assurance work process. Furthermore, the BubbleView feature of AVEVA E3D enables superb synchronization between 3D model and laser data, which significantly improved the team’s design efficiency.

AVEVA solutions have added significant value to Ariosh’s business processes, through features such as the automation of pipe fabrication drawings. The company is currently evaluating the use of AVEVA Bocad Steel for structural steel detailing.

Future Opportunities

A pioneer in the use of laser scanning in Nigeria since 2005, having delivered its first construction management project in 2008 and its first EPCI project in 2013, Ariosh has grown to more than 250 employees operating out of three offices. The company’s business remains mostly in brownfield and revamp projects, and its main customer bases are located in the Gulf of Mexico and in West Africa.

And there is little doubt the company has invested in the development of its laser scanning capabilities at an opportune time:

  • First, there is significant demand for laser scanning services in Nigeria due to the hundreds of aging onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities requiring extensive revamp projects. Furthermore, these projects generally lack accurate as-built documentation.
  • Second, the Nigerian government’s Stop Routine Gas Flaring campaign is driving demand for laser scanning services, as operators seek to phase out gas flaring. Ariosh, with its successful experience using AVEVA PDMS and AVEVA E3D, is well positioned to capitalize on its laser scanning capability.

After significant problems, the revamp project in Nigeria is now classified as a significant success — Ariosh having been able to complete the previously suspended program in a timely and cost-effective manner. The company expects to work with the owner-operator, among other clients, on similar projects in the region in the future.

Tracey Murray is regional marketing lead, North America, for AVEVA. For more information, visit