MEMBER NEWS: Innovative virtual reality technology improving safety standards across energy sector

July 27, 2023
MEMBER NEWS: Innovative virtual reality technology improving safety standards across energy sector

DNV’s virtual reality (VR) tool, which is helping improve safety standards in the energy sector, is to be showcased at SPE Offshore Europe 2023 (OE23) in Aberdeen later this year.

The independent energy expert and assurance provider DNV has used the VR technology to develop a major accident hazard (MAH) programme, consisting of various scenarios where users walk through a simulated environment using hand controllers and a typical VR headset with headphones and cameras built in.

The scenarios, which incorporate typical operational tasks like opening valves or erecting a scaffold, lead to a simulated failure which escalates to a fire or an explosion and provides opportunities for discussions on barriers and how to respond appropriately to incidents.

The familiar setting creates a memorable experience for the users and allows them to retain key safety messages that will help them identify and mitigate hazards and avoid major accidents in real life. The messages are embedded within various training scenarios which provide discussion points throughout the session.

The DNV programme has already been adopted by 10 oil and gas operators including Harbour Energy, the largest London-listed independent oil and gas company, to complement the organisation’s existing training programme for MAH awareness.

Christine Luoma, Principal Consultant, DNV, said: “The use of the VR technology for training is a safe, cost effective and interactive method that has potential to revolutionise industry training. The programme offers a high level of realism, with high quality graphics bringing to life an environment akin to an onshore or offshore facility. VR is easy to use and introduces a fun factor to learning that has really improved engagement, raising MAH awareness across the workforce.”

Martin Wardrope, Process Engineer, Harbour Energy, said: “Using innovative technology like this to help raise awareness of process safety events to onshore and offshore workers is really beneficial. It creates an interactive learning environment that allows engaging discussions around the simulated safety violations and missed prevention opportunities observed in each of the scenarios. The technology is a great addition to our in-person training programme at the research and testing facility in Spadeadam and allows us to foster a proactive process safety culture.”

DNV and Harbour will present a paper detailing how VR has made a transformative approach to MAH awareness training at OE23, which will be held at P&J Live, Aberdeen from 5-8 September 2023.

Kamel Ben-Naceur, SPE Offshore Europe Conference Chair2023, said: “Digitalisation has now taken root in the oil and gas industry and this safety-enhancing VR technology will be presented in a technical session demonstrating specific technologies that showcase the advances of digitalisation in our industry. Other examples being presented include AI-enabled digital rock technology, automated weld inspection and acoustic sand detection.”

The full conference programme can be found at: 

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AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise