Honeywell User Group, Phoenix, Arizona

Oil vertical shows quickest payout of all verticals. Fallout from Bunsfield. Shell’s offshore IT ‘Bridge.’

According to Honeywell’s Don Morrison, payback from advanced process control (APC) and optimization in oil and gas is the best of all of Honeywell’s verticals—from zero (immediate) to a mere two months. ROI benefits include increased production, lower operating costs, improved quality, flexibility and process stability. Honeywell’s Profit Suite targets process improvement by proving a ‘flexible and scalable control and optimization technology infrastructure spanning linear and nonlinear control through to multi-plant optimization.’ Profit Suite provides rigorous process models and simulations, and critically, engages the operator as the first line of support.

Jack Kiefert of the Enraf metering unit described terminals as ‘cash registers for high value liquid products.’ As such, accurate and safe integrated solutions are required to maximize operating efficiencies. What happens when an operator gets it wrong was illustrated by the Buncefield disaster in the UK. Buncefield was the fifth largest oil-products depot in the UK, with a capacity of about 1.7 million barrels of product. The 2005 explosion and subsequent fire generated over £1 billion in insurance claims. The root cause of the Buncefield incident (like the later Alyeska PipeLine incident) was a tank overflow. A UK government inquiry resulted in a lengthy report ( described a chain reaction of equipment and operator failures. Kiefert recommends that ‘a printed copy of the Buncefield report should be in every office of a terminal or tank farm.’ The conclusions of the Buncefield report have informed Honeywell’s Tank Management system which has been designed to provide additional, independent protection layers to mitigate the overfill risk. These derive from Buncefield Recommendation N° 8 and include high level detection that is independent of components internal to the storage tank, more dependable validated tank level gauging systems with warnings and fault detection. One such component is the new OneWireless Flexline system for overfill prevention—claimed as ‘the only wireless solution approved by the UK government.’ The new Flexline is under test with Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total and Exxon. A real time interface to ERP systems from SAP and Oracle/JD Edwards is also available.

Tom Moroney, Manager of deepwater technology and production systems for Shell’s Upstream Americas unit, described how digital technology has been ‘harnessed’ to transform Shell’s production surveillance capability. Shell is developing an exception-based surveillance ESB leveraging technology from Matrikon, acquired by Honeywell in May 2010 in a $142 deal. Shell’s ‘EBS Bridge’ is centered on an onshore collaboration center located in Shell’s downtown Houston offices. The Bridge collates data from engineering ‘doing tools’ such as Energy Components, PI System, Production Universe and Oilfield Manager. These feed into a ‘solid IT infrastructure’ comprising alarming, workflow integration situational awareness and knowledge management (storage). Key Matrikon applications under the Bridge’s hood include Equipment Condition Monitoring, Operational Insight, Alarm Manager and the Net Objects business hierarchy model. Looking forward, Moroney sees continued development of Shell’s EBS capability in four areas—deeper analytics and modeling, SAP integration (maintenance and logistics), extended workflows spanning onshore and offshore engineering expertise and closed loop field management leveraging model-based optimization and control. More from

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