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Digital Transformation of the Gas Value Chain

by | Aug 14, 2017 | Event, Industrial IoT

Jim Cahill

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

As liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant come online across the globe, the fundamental nature of the gas market is changing with supply finding demand and pricing variability decreasing. The October 25-27 Gas Asia Summit, as part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), brings together business leaders and technical experts in the natural gas and LNG industries to discuss trends, innovations and collaboration opportunities.

Emerson’s Jonas Berge will be participating on a technical panel on digital and data management. His presentation will be Digital Transformation of the Gas Value Chain. Here is the abstract for his presentation:

A summary of technology, experience, and results from digitally transforming operations with pervasive sensing and Industrial IoT (IIoT) based on wireless sensor networks and analytics integrated with cloud and existing systems. Information is compiled from feedback from early adopters in gas production, processing, and LNG transportation, and where applicable also from refining, petrochemicals, and chemicals.

Pervasive sensing and IIoT technologies such as digital sensor networks, analytics software, and cloud help plants including LNG carriers by digitally transforming operations to save personnel’s time, reduce cost, and increase output in four primary domains: reliability/maintenance, energy efficiency, HS&E, and production. Each domain has many applications complementing existing plant automation, and plants are constantly innovating new solutions. Some of the most popular applications which sites have implemented in each domain will be reviewed with case studies from around the world. Applications where these new ideas can be applied include condition monitoring of compressors, pumps, blowers/fans, steam traps, relief valves, pipes, instrumentation and control valves, performance monitoring of heat exchangers, cooling towers, air cooled heat exchangers; energy management; monitoring emergency safety showers and eyewash stations, manual valves, shutdown valves, H2S, effluent temperature; monitoring wellheads and control panels, control valves and dampers, consumables inventory, and LNG storage temperature profile for leak detection etc. Reducing manual data collection rounds for operations and maintenance are also covered.

Other wireless studies have focused on the project cost savings of not using wires. This study instead looks at the operational savings and improvements achieved in the operational phase of the plant lifecycle. Other wireless studies have looked at wireless as an alternative to wires for primary automation on new projects whereas this study looks at wireless as a way to modernize existing plants with a second layer of automation, complementing the existing primary layer of automation, as a way to rejuvenate and extend the life of assets. There is no need to replace the existing control system or historian, or duplicate their function with another layer of platform software.

Results identified by early adopter sites of wireless sensors, analytics software, and connected services based on IIoT include: greater availability for the process equipment and overall plant, reduced maintenance cost, lower energy consumption, reduced emissions, fewer incidents, faster response time to incidents, higher product quality, greater productivity for personnel, and grater process throughput. That is, pervasive sensing and IIoT concepts are useful to keep plants evergreen and competitive and to help personnel keep up with their daily responsibilities.

Important technical points covered include the need for ease of use through pre-engineered built-for-purpose software apps based on human centered design principles which is critical for the adoption of software apps, by protecting users from the underlying model-based or big data analytics data science since maintenance and reliability engineers are not data scientists; deployment of a single common wireless infrastructure for sensors shared by all departments as opposed to multiple disparate networks; and protecting the investment in historian platform and control system though relevant protocol integration.

Jonas shares his thoughts frequently in the Emerson Exchange 365 community and in LinkedIn, so connect with him there and/or join him in late October at this conference in Singapore.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.