Making your data work for you. A versatile data model for individual requirements in the oil & gas industry

Aucotec Article

On the roadmap to post-pandemic recovery, innovation is our guide. It’s a digital GPS, analysing, predicting and guiding operators on the best path forward.

But just as a GPS cannot do anything with a city map PDF, so too does a truly digital system need an object-oriented model to “approach” and use any information separately. Data is what builds this blueprint, and to succeed, next- generation downstream leaders must implement a system where data is available across all disciplines, providing a fully connected vision of your digital assets.

Adrian Champion, Consultant with Autotec, describes how to navigate the roadblocks of today’s digital era, how data can save downtime, and drive profit, and how Autotec’s single source of truth can provide a simple solution to complex challenges.  

Maintenance, malfunctions and money. The challenges of today’s distributed workforce

Unplanned downtime is one of the greatest risks facing downstream operators in the oncoming era of economic uncertainty. One day of downtime for a crude oil cracker can cause a loss of profit of around €1 million (c. US $1.2 million).  

Where time is money – and a lot of it – no-one should have to wait for information, from colleagues, other disciplines or suppliers. Operators often need current, up-to-date information to perform critical activities at efficient speed. Maintenance, malfunctions, revampings and downtime, all require current “as-built” documentation to be immediately available.

In today’s distributed workforce, this can be a challenge. But what if this up-to-date data were available through an app. on an on-site tablet, allowing operators to access, update and edit online diagrams online, providing a real-time overview of overview of the status of all project tasks, even those that have been outsourced? Studies have shown that effective digital strategies can save operators up to 25% in inspection and maintenance costs, and switching to a digital model can save up to US $50 million in downtime alone. According to a recent study by PwC and German association VDMA, digital services will more than triple their market share by 2025.

Protecting more than just profit

But a connected engineering base protects more than just profit. Optimum HSE relies on optimum reliability, which relies on optimum data quality. An efficient, connected data platform can help identify vulnerabilities, mitigate risk, and even predict potential issues before they arise. And in an asset-intensive, high-risk sector, that has the highest requirements in terms of reliability and safety, the right engineering software can be a vital investment.

Autotec’s EB – a cooperative digital platform built on central data management with intelligent team-oriented editing, addresses these specific operators’ needs, and provides a much-needed cohesion and consistency as plant operators and EPC’s rush to embrace Industry 4.0. A working engineering platform that covers all the core disciplines of plant design in an object-oriented manner, EB enables tasks from basic engineering, including simulation integration, to consistent commissioning at the touch of a button. This is achieved without manual data transfers, interfaces or synchronizations, even for cross-site cooperation.

Simulations for success

Previously the results of simulations involving the “acting out” of different scenarios, had to be manually entered into the engineering system, at extra expense and complexity. EB provides clear documentation and automated comparisons of scenarios, whether they are created in EB or in a simulation tool. By automatically integrating simulations of every engineering discipline, the central data model provides a connected information platform for all core disciplines.

In a hyper-connected world, where no business can work in siloes, the collaborative  platform with its versatile data model enables parallel work on the same project, via web service or Cloud from anywhere in the world. This means that the multitude of disciplines and subcontractors who may be involved in the design and documentation of oil and gas plants all have access to – and an understanding of – the engineering system software to possess a highly developed collaboration capability.

A single source of truth

The oil and gas industry –  diverse ecosystem of extraction platforms, refineries and plants for with high stakes for success – is characterized by its complexity. But what it needs is simplicity – a reliable engineering system built on a backbone of high-quality data that must be implemented throughout the entire design process as well as for the entire service life of the plant.

This is what Autotec’s EB achieved for Scandinavian oil rig owner Equinor, copying the 95% identicality across their unmanned oil rigs, and performing the engineering for the individual 5%, easily mapping the entire plant configuration.

This may seem like a silver bullet, but Autotec prefer to call it a “single source of truth”, a virtual map collating, migrating and updating both legacy and real-time data to keep operators and engineers informed, and equipped for success, whatever their business needs. And as the demands of oil and gas, chemical & processing players become more complex as they embrace the digital era, it is this simple solution that they will turn to.



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