2–5 September 2025
P&J Live, Aberdeen, Scotland

Innovative virtual reality technology improving safety standards across energy sector

DNV and Harbour Energy to highlight benefits of system at SPE Offshore Europe 2023

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 Chairman 2023, 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: www.offshore-europe.co.uk 

Issued on behalf of SPE Offshore Europe 2023 by BIG Partnership. Contact Ben Palmer,
T: +44 (0) 7715 107556. E:
[email protected]

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About Society of Petroleum Engineers

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is a not-for-profit professional association whose more than 119,000 members in 138 countries are engaged in oil and gas exploration and production. SPE is a key resource for technical knowledge providing opportunities to exchange information at in-person and online events and training courses, publications, and other resources at www.spe.org

About DNV

DNV is the independent expert in risk management and quality assurance, operating in more than 100 countries. Through its broad experience and deep expertise DNV advances safety and sustainable performance, sets industry benchmarks, and inspires and invents solutions.    
Whether assessing a new ship design, optimizing the performance of a wind farm, analysing sensor data from a gas pipeline or certifying a food company’s supply chain, DNV enables its customers and their stakeholders to manage technological and regulatory complexity with confidence.      
Driven by its purpose, to safeguard life, property, and the environment, DNV helps tackle the challenges and global transformations facing its customers and the world today and is a trusted voice for many of the world’s most successful and forward-thinking companies.  


About Harbour Energy

Harbour Energy is the largest London-listed independent oil and gas company. Harbour has a leading position in the UK as well as interests in Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Norway. Harbour’s strategy is to continue to build a global, diversified oil and gas company focused on safe and responsible operations, value creation and shareholder returns. Across its operations Harbour is committed to achieving its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 with respect to its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. In addition, Harbour is well positioned to use its existing skills and infrastructure to help deliver the UK’s CCS goals and more broadly the country’s emissions reduction targets.