Published: 27 February 2018
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Additive manufacturing, which progressively builds up products from raw materials such as metal powder feedstock or a wire, can transform the business models of many industries including oil & gas and offshore & marine.
In its best-known form, 3D printing, it could save cost and time worth USD30 billion of additional value to oil and gas companies, the World Economic Forum has estimated.1 Shell2,3 and Woodside4 are among operators variously researching, developing, and using 3D printing.
The technology could allow organizations to access an archive of digital designs for immediate on-site printing rather than maintaining physical inventories of spare parts and/or waiting for them to be made and transported to a platform or vessel. For example, a financial case can be proved for using 3D printing for offshore risers, gas-turbine nozzles, subsea chemical stick injection tools and nozzles for downhole cleanout tools, according to analysts Lux Research.5 There is also potential to scale up additive manufacturing for larger structures.
“This is a potential revolution for the oil & gas and offshore & marine sectors in the way products are designed, manufactured, and distributed to end users,” said Dr Sastry Kandukuri, principal specialist – additive manufacturing, DNV GL - Oil & Gas.