Honeywell EAME user group, Baveno, Italy

Total on alarm management. BP’s ‘mind mapping.’ OneWireless solutions for Total, Lukoil. Saudi Aramco’s 15,000 PID loops. Saipem’s ‘iMac’ concept. Sasol on IT/process convergence.

The EAME edition of Honeywell’s user group held recently in Baveno, Italy heard from Total’s Luc de Wilde on the state of alarm management. Using numbers from the Abnormal situation management) consortium (ASM), a Honeywell-sponsored group with membership from several oil majors, de Wilde traced the history of alarm management from the early days of enthusiasm to the advent of alarm ‘flooding’ from multiple alarms in large control rooms, believed to have been responsible for several accidents.

Early attempts at alarm rationalization met with limited success. In an ASM benchmark study, peak alarm rates showed little correlation with alarm rationalization and 60% of consoles showed peak rates of one alarm every six seconds. de Wilde argues that alarm management should be seen as a continuous improvement commitment and needs to go beyond application of minimal best practices. Today, alarm system performance is an ‘unsolved problem.’

Ian Pinkney reported on a continuous improvement project targeting alarm management across BP E&P. BP has used ‘mind mapping’ as a preliminary to its rationalization work, performed by teams of alarm specialists, chaired by a non specialist manager. The team works to build a database of alarm severity, causes, consequences response and other parameters which are grouped into prioritization tables. The aim is for compliance with BP company specs and/or EEMUA 191.

Dominique Desplebin described how Honeywell’s OneWireless mesh solution has been deployed at a Total polystyrene unit in Gonfreville, France. Various communications solutions were studied. A pager was eliminated because of the lack of precision in its messages. SMS messages were not chosen becuse of their dependency on the GSM phone network. A dedicated 5.GHz Motorola solution was deemed unreliable and offered insufficient coverage. Total turned to Honeywell for a solution based on a secure WiFi network and PDMs for alarm visualization.

Fouad Al-Saif described process monitoring across Saudi Aramco’s 15,000 PID loops and 130 advanced process control applications like ‘finding a needle in a haystack.’ Al-Saif observed that performance monitoring software has become a key to the control engineer—particularly used to pinpoint under performance for preventative maintenance. Saudi Aramco is now working to deliver metrics to compute the financial benefit of advanced application and key PID loops along with an indication of the lost opportunity cost of sub-optimal operation.

Saipem’s Luigi Pedone made a case for an ‘integrated main automation contractor’—a.k.a. Saipem’s ‘iMac.’ The iMac concept, was developed for Sonatrach’s Arzew grass roots LNG project. iMac meant that Saipem issued all the bids, Honeywell and third party suppliers. iMac was claimed to eliminate the risk of multiple vendor interfaces, offering Sonatrach a single procurement contract.

Sasol’s Hugo van Niekerk’s presentation focused on the convergence of control systems and mainstream IT, now blending into a ‘control critical information system.’ Sasol’s Synfuels unit houses one of the largest Honeywell systems in the world with some 37 DCS systems interconnected with 450 Windows-based nodes and 200 Cisco devices. The infrastructure is managed by a central platform for process optimization, access control, anti virus and file services. The system has been successfully deployed and now provides a highly secure and scalable environment.

Veselin Kutsarov revealed that Lukoil has implemented a virtualized environment including a OneWireless infrastructure at a large oil refinery at Burgas, Bulgaria. A PHD-based manufacturing execution system has been ‘virtualized’ with VNWare, resulting in better IT resource use, scalability and reduced downtime. The OneWireless showcase deployment has brought ‘unmatched’ interoperability across all plant equipment, exposing the same unified infrastructure to Lukoil’s diverse user community. Request presentations on the Honeywell user group website.

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