Oil IT Journal Interview—Matthew McKinley, AVEVA Inc.

Matthew McKinley, Executive VP and Head of Operations for AVEVA’s Americas Region tells us how Aveva’s portfolio has extended beyond plant design management and into lifecycle data management, helping owner operators and contractors transfer plant data on project hand-over. A FIATECH board member, McKinley has a special interest in the emerging ISO 15926 standard.

What’s Aveva’s interest in the upstream?

Aveva started out in the engineering construction sector with tools for the design and construction of physical assets. The company has always looked up and down the value chain—for more synergies and efficiencies and we were especially interested in improving the process whereby the engineering prime contractor hands the completed plant over to the owner operator. Aveva’s foundation technology is the plant design management system (PDMS). But our portfolio has expanded into maintenance, operations and now, the upstream. Our process design and simulation of production facilities has led some of our larger clients to ask for more accessibility of data involved in these activities. Oil and gas clients are also interested in how they can access new resources by extending existing assets. Another area of interest is emergency management—getting back online quickly after an incident.

How do you ring-fence your design activity?

We are concerned with everything above the reservoir, to the exclusion of the subsurface.

Where are your big projects today?

Aveva has seen three years of strong growth and is involved in very big projects in Canada’s oil sands and in Brazil.

Our previous coverage in this space was at the USPI-NL conferences. Is Aveva active in the standards area?

Indeed. I am on the board of FIATECH which was established to leverage technology throughout the asset lifecycle, particularly by exploiting ISO 15926 data interoperability. This is is a kind of nirvana for our clients who receive all their plant data on handover in a standard model.

In the past there were some issues that the major EPC preferred to use their own proprietary models and weren’t interested in playing the standards game.

This is still a challenge. In fact we see our own proprietary system as giving us a competitive edge. But we can leverage standards for data exchange although there may be real world issues of resource constraints. But du Pont and Dow Chemical were among the first to change their way of working with contractors. Today there are two major 3D design systems, Aveva and Intergraph. Clients want to execute projects in both environments. They may expect more interoperability than is currently possible.

What do you understand by lifecycle data management?

The process of build and delivery means that handover is an appropriate point for standards deployment. Interoperability is desirable during project execution, but this is more challenging.

But you should be well placed to do something about this.

Absolutely. In design there is still a challenge re data formats. Especially given the time constraints we operate under. If we have the time we use XMpLant—Adrian Laud’s tool*. There are no problems doing it this way. But to introduce this approach in the middle of a project can be risky. It’s great for startup or at handover. We are doing this for clients in Canada and the US migrating legacy data into Aveva’s PDMS.

Can you tell us more about your ISO 15926 involvement?

Through FIATECH we are very active in ISO 15926. Our own plant information application is format and application agnostic. In the real world there are more concerns about interoperating with SAP and process data. This is achieved through a common reference system and can be used, for instance when a pump is failing, to see into the maintenance system and take appropriate action. The technology can also let systems hook into real time data streams. But if you want to learn more about ISO 15926, FIATECH’s annual conference is taking place this week in Washington DC.

How much of your business is VNET*?

Our traditional design tools make up 95% of the US market. But the rest of the world has around a 15% VNET share. New technology is a harder sell in the USA. To sum up, we see real benefits in doing the whole plant data thing right! BP’s work on the Greater Plutonia FPSO development in Angola was a game changer, in fact we are presenting a paper on this at the FIATECH show this week titled, ‘Successful Interoperability for major projects using ISO 15926.’ The project involved building a virtual plant that was used for training and even to re-evaluate engineering design in the light of maintenance requirements—all checked-out in a virtual world.

* Noumenon Consulting.

** VNET is AVEVA’s lifecycle plant data integration platform.

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