Bentley Incorporated: NOV transforms the upstream design process

At the start of any large investment project, it is crucial to ensure that the design team and stakeholders are working together. Collaboration is essential when it comes to working with many different inter-departmental groups, partners, contractors and staff as they work with multiple data sources, many design changes and revisions. Failure of any of these work processes can lead to mistakes or costly mistakes when the project goes to construction – and even more so when it goes into operation. Long project delays and subsequent operational downtime are costly. This scenario, which was typical of engineering firms, is the one that NOV Inc. wanted to avoid.

This article examines how NOV overcame the problem of remote collaboration by having a unified view of its federated data from multiple sources provided by PlantSight, the digital twin cloud service developed by Bentley and Siemens to support collaborative processes. distributed / remote and 3D engineering design. and operations.

NOV Inc., a global company headquartered in Houston, provides technology solutions to the global energy industry, including solutions supporting digital and smart oilfield initiatives. The NOV Wellstream Processing division provides equipment and solutions for all activities carried out by NOV during the separation and processing of oil and gas as part of an upstream production facility.

The challenge of collaboration

One of the main challenges for NOV was being able to bring together the many discipline-specific models and files to allow the design team to share information with all stakeholders around a single factory model and solve The problems. Previously, NOV used NavisWorks to share designs with manufacturers or contractors as it was a widely used review application in the oil and gas industry and could accept multiple file formats. One of the main drawbacks of the platform was the inability to keep up with changes and releases across disciplines. Therefore, identifying which model was the main “source of truth” proved difficult when there was more than one file used. Additionally, NavisWorks uses snapshots of design files and it is not possible to keep this information up to date. Additionally, sharing files can lead to security breaches, as other parties could potentially extract information from it.

NOV overcame these challenges by switching to PlantSight, as project models can be securely shared with partners and are always up to date. PlantSight pulls the latest real-time information from the design tools and changes are instantly sent back to the original system, displaying a full audit trail showing when a change was made, why, and by whom. Templates are protected and it is possible to control which parts of the project a partner or customer can see.

Selection of solutions and digitization

As NOV was already familiar with Bentley applications; PlantSight was offered at a relatively low cost with no additional training costs. With PlantSight, the company was able to draw on its know-how and the transition caused little disruption. NOV had scanned the market and found no other tool with the same level of openness as PlantSight. The ability to integrate the digital twin service with many other tools has increased NOV’s confidence in the software. Already a user of Bentley’s OpenPlant design application, NOV could seamlessly integrate its design review work processes between OpenPlant and PlantSight to take advantage of real-time change management, troubleshooting and functionality. conflict detection.

It was difficult to convince management to switch to PlantSight, as they were not involved in the day-to-day projects. However, they realized and understood that it would be inefficient to create a digital twin using the old method of putting together an exam template on one system with everyone, then commenting on the overall design during a review meeting. Management was convinced of the digital twin solution because of the transformation they saw with the potential for savings and the significant benefits of real-time reviews.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck right after the project began, the case became even more compelling, as PlantSight could help all members of the project team collaborate from home while simultaneously working on information from shared design.

Courtesy of: ARC Advisory Group, Bentley Systems, National Oilwell Varco


NOV was an early adopter of PlantSight, as they used it prior to its official release in 2019. Along with Bentley, NOV’s CAD manager and some key staff worked on testing iterated versions of the solution to achieve new acceptable digital work processes. The project was able to stay close to the initial schedule of around six months for the preparation and acceptance of new working methods for their teams.

Thinking big about digital transformation and digital twins, NOV decided it was best to start small. In controlled phases, NOV began its PlantSight implementation with a small group of the 3D layout department and associated staff, making it easier to control the transition. Process design and diagrams were the next phase, which created greater ease of use for piping designers as more information from the upstream design process was made available to them. Previously, piping designers had to manually enter a lot of information to start their work. Now they could easily reference existing layout information.

Go digital

The company launched PlantSight, moving from server-based to cloud-based software and removing the limitations of specific design files on local servers used by different disciplines working independently. Inconsistencies and rework have been eliminated. With PlantSight, staff can now work on a single large design simultaneously and are immediately notified when conflicts are detected and other issues are noted. Because PlantSight is cloud-based, staff can access files remotely, where space, security, and scalability are never an issue.

With the PlantSight digital twin service, NOV keeps information in one place, controls it in a single environment, and keeps it constantly up to date. Different data sources are accessible in PlantSight. For example, 3D design information, attributes of piping specifications, and installation notes for piping are viewable and manageable from a web browser.

Previously, if a piping manager wanted a piping layout report, they had to involve a piping designer. Now the piping manager can directly use the dashboards and self-service reports. In addition to being able to work faster, collaborate more efficiently, and make design changes wherever they are, NOV has improved productivity by reducing downtime and shortening project turnaround times. With two dedicated resource people, NOV supports 100 engineers on projects which typically have 20 backers who don’t need a lot of assistance or support.


The overall transition from NavisWorks to PlantSight went very smoothly. After completing a two-hour training course and participating in hands-on exercises, they started working on their projects faster with PlantSight. Going forward, PlantSight’s digital twins inspire new product and process ideas. NOV can modify designs to include remote equipment operation, and operations can be monitored by providing live data to models.

Cloud-based digital twins can quickly demonstrate the benefits of combining engineering, design, construction, construction, operation, and maintenance data, including 3D representations and quality-related data. NOV has already leveraged remote and collaborative design reviews and qualification, overcoming common pitfalls such as unreliable information, manual processes, and a blurred line of sight within the design team. They were able to improve their designs and resolve any issues and potential conflicts early on in the design phase, so that they did not become costly issues in the construction or operation phase.

Note: This article is taken from an original white paper by ARC Advisory Group, in collaboration with Bentley Systems, titled: “Early User Testimonials of The Cloud-Based, Plantsight Collaborative Engineering Service”

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Abdul J. Gaspar