Interview—Arild Kristensen (IBM), Arne Bjorlo (Aker Kvaerner)

Oil IT Journal spoke to Aker Kvarner’s Arne Bjorlo and IBM Norge’s Arild Kristensen about the ‘promising new business’ of condition-based monitoring—see this month’s lead. To Aker Kvaerner, the deal extends CBM from rotating machinery to static equipment. IBM adds its WebSphere SOA infrastructure for process control, developed for Norway’s ‘Integrated Operations’ project.

Bjorlo—This deal is a component of our modification and maintenance strategy. We believe that with the increasingly instrumented plant, the possibilities for condition-based maintenance (CBM) are growing. New facilities are extensively monitored for equipment performance—and we are now in a position to leverage this information in maintenance.

OITJ—Isn’t this done already?

Bjorlo—CBM is performed on heavy rotating equipment, but we want to extend this to the rest of the plant. Downtime is often related to static equipment maintenance or failure. We need to devise methods to monitor tanks and piping. This is a promising new business for us.

OITJ—How does CBM work?

Bjorlo—Often operators engage niche companies for online monitoring of heavy rotating machinery. Data from Statoil’s producing assets is analyzed onshore in Trondheim. Vibration patterns are monitored to detect abnormal events which can be precursors of failure. This allows for timely intervention.

Kristensen—Today most maintenance is schedule-based. You may take down a pump four times a year to find that it only required two overhauls in that time frame. This is in the context of downtime being the biggest cause of lost production. We plan to leverage sensor measurements to significantly reduce maintenance downtime maybe to the two interventions that were really needed. CMB is increasingly relevant as sensor count rises both onshore and on new offshore fields like Gjoa (Statoil/GDF) and on the BP/Statoil Valhall new development.

Bjorlo—As much as 80% of scheduled maintenance interventions could have waited another year. But you never know for sure. Now we have other monitoring technology—ultra sound, tank radar and temperature which can be used to monitor sediment build up in tanks and pipes—enabling true CBM.

Kristensen—The Norwegian industry body OLF’s report on Integrated Operations* found potential savings of 250 billion NOK in four areas, one of which was maintenance. Today, niche vendors like SKF do a great job. But with the expanding potential of CBM, companies are looking for a single point of contact. This is why AK will be acting as a ‘prime integrator,’ not necessarily doing the work. AK has experience of maintenance, but needed an IT partner to help take data from sensor streams. Which is where IBM came in. For us, this is a classical infrastructure play calling for a SOA feeding data to AK’s or customers’ systems.

OITJ—That’s quite a leap to go from SCADA to a ‘classical infrastructure’ play!

Kristensen—It is, but we are working in several verticals to connect SCADA to SOA. We are also partners in Statoil’s TAIL project and have developed a WebSphere-based platform for integrating telemetry and SCADA data into enterprise asset management systems, mapping industry standards like ISA 88/95 and Mimosa. We are also closely involved with the Integrated Information Platform (OITJ Vol.10 N°6). IBM is a big proponent of semantic technology.

OITJ—So far no mention of Maximo!

Kristensen—IBM works with both Maximo and SAP and in Norway, SAP is far the larger business. AK is on SAP. OITJ—Now you map SCADA to SOA this opens the way to many other applications.

Kristensen—Yes, this is a major play in integrated operations. IBM has activity in drilling, in process (with ABB and Honeywell) and we are working with real time all over the world.

OITJ—You mentioned semantics. Do you leverage the Semantic Web?

Kristensen—Yes we see it as key future technology. The IBM Semantic Engine is just out of research.

OITJ—So you are putting RDF tags in you standards so that they can be consumed by future semantic services?

Kristensen—[Laughs] I hope so!


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