USPI-NL revives plant data standards

The construction industry’s IT budgets are massive. Standards for parts and equipment have long been seen as key to successful handover. The new ISO 15926 register may be the answer.

USPI-NL, the Dutch Process and Power Industry Association, works on standards in the field of construction and rehab of oil and gas production facilities, refineries and other facilities. On such projects, IT spend can be massive, witness the $8 million IT budget for the Sakhalin revamp project (below). But owner operators consider that such spending is justified if it helps in project handover from design, to construction and finally to operations. Just as upstream focus is shifting from the model to the catalog, the construction business has all but abandoned the complexity of data modeling and is instead focusing on standard reference data for parts. This appears to be coming to fruition in the ISO 15926 register.


Dalip Sud (Shell Global Solutions) welcomed the imminent approval of the ISO 15926 Register, a set of ‘textbook’ references covering activities, equipment and properties. There are currently 12,000 entities – about 25% of the whole, and Shell is ready to ‘test drive’. Integration with internal and external partners should now be possible. USPI-NL has been working on a futuristic ‘next generation scenario’ where everyone, owner operators, engineering prime contractors and vendors, would benefit from referring to a standard. Savings of around 1% of CAPEX have been suggested and 20-25% of IT costs. Standards should reduce legal disputes and generally ‘add value to the supply chain.’


Jean-Jacques Rey (ABB) described how Sakhalin Energy is modifying the MTI platform to support year round operations. The project has a $10 billion price tag of which $8 million is allocated to information management. The main objective is to populate Shell’s information management system with data from a multiplicity of subcontractors. The major part of the project involved data cleansing and checking.


An Information Handover Guide (IHOG) was built as a Microsoft Access database containing ‘classes’ i.e. functional classifications of physical plant objects. Shell’s ESPIR spare parts module was also used. 30,000 technical documents were stored in the repository, which leveraged Intergraph’s INTools and OpenText’s LiveLink. The major part of the project involved data cleansing and checking. In conclusion, Rey stated, ‘The quality and value of life cycle information (LCI) for oil, gas and petrochemical projects is growing significantly. But the global cost and effort associated have not been reduced.’ To aid this effort, Rey advocated rapid deployment of the ISO 15926-4 Register along with ‘mutually beneficial business rules for its use.’


Reinoud Slot (iBanx) believes that plant owners don’t know what should (and what should not) be kept in the ‘as built’ model. But discrepancies between ‘as designed’ and ‘as built’ mean that there is a lack of trust in information systems. An ‘as-built’ best practice was developed for BP to help decide what should be kept, why it should be kept and for whom it should be kept. Partners in the project include Total, AGIP, BP. STEP is used for consistent naming, but its 2,000 document types have been slimmed down to 130. Slot acknowledged that the cost benefit of this kind of work may be hard to justify. Slot pointed out the high potential cost of error—such as when the piling for a 30,000 tonne storage tank just missed a 6kv electricity cable.


Wolfgang Wilkes of Fern University introduced the ISO parts libraries (PLIB), a set of standards for e-procurement and technical data exchange. PLIB provides a data model for existing data dictionaries. There are many of these including UNSPSC, GHS (hazardous chemicals), PIDX (oil industry), IEDC (electrical), SEMI (electronics) etc. The OIDDI (open and interoperable domain dictionaries initiative) standardizes dictionary usage.

Next Generation

USPI-NL took part in the EU funded study* of a ‘next generation scenario’ for the plant supply chain. The study recognized challenges to the oil, gas and petrochemical industry from excess capacity, global competition, environmental concerns and a ‘graying’ industry. The internet is facilitating globalization and round-the-clock working, but also exposing incumbents to fierce competition. In the long term, demand will mop up some of the excess capacity, but the shrinking EPC marketplace will mean that companies will have to be ‘more innovative and cost efficient.’

*ICT Challenges in the Plant Supply Chain. Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs .

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