Shell’s Project Vantage

Intergraph SmartPlant cloud key to Shell’s ambitious lifecycle engineering data management solution. Vantage spans design, construction, handover and operations. ISO 15926 downplayed.

First unveiled at the Hexagon user conference earlier this year, Shell’s Project Vantage appears to be a holy grail for engineering and construction data management. Vantage covers front end engineering design, through construction, handover and on into operations and maintenance. Shell’s Global engineering and operations unit has standardized on Intergraph as its primary engineering design tool across its worldwide operations. Shell is also to go ‘all in’ on Intergraph’s SmartPlant cloud platform.

Traditional document-based handover leads to ‘broken’ project data flows. Project Vantage’s data-centric approach fixes this with ‘safer, faster and better’ capital project execution. The platform provides Shell, partners and contractors with a ‘single and continuously updated version of data’ throughout the project and asset lifecycle.

Project Vantage evolved out of the ‘Data move’ and ‘integrated engineering environment’ that we reported on last year (OITJ June 2014). The cloud-based solution provides engineering tools for EPCs, plant owners and vendors and enables Shell’s replication philosophy of ‘design once and build many.’ Vantage provides collaborative, standardized and integrated information management, leveraging the ‘leading products’ in the marketplace in a single data platform.

Vantage includes ‘tag and trace’ functions to track people and equipment. ‘4D/5D’ technology provides visualization of planned and actual construction sequences, including materials availability. This allows for optimization of construction planning, avoiding incompatible concurrent activities while safely maximizing work fronts. An online portal provides registered users with access to Shell design and engineering practices. A vendor catalog exposes a single quality controlled source of equipment model information ready for use in detailed engineering for approved vendors.

Shell has been a longtime advocate of streamlining engineering processes and Shell personnel were instrumental in the development of the ISO 15926 suite of standards for lifecycle engineering data management. Vantage represents a shift from a pure-play standards-based solution, which would entail all stakeholders adhering to the protocol. Instead, standardization is taking place at the product level, a more pragmatic approach.

Despite recognition from vendors and a couple of flagship projects, ISO 15926 has struggled to gain widespread acceptance. A recent trial of the protocol by UK’s Crossrail concluded that ‘despite being available for some time, business solutions based upon the ISO 15926 standard are still at an apparently low level of maturity.’

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