2019 Emerson User Exchange, Americas

Total’s Culzaen digital twin. Petronas on PlantWeb Optics and reliability. U Alberta/Spartan Controls, KnowledgeNet analytics and SAGD ESP monitoring. COSIA JIP. Workstation virtualizaton at PDO, Aramco.

Josep Daví and Vicente Rios (both with Emerson) presented a ‘digital twin*’ developed for Total’s Culzean** ultra-high-pressure high temperature gas condensate development in the UK sector of the Central North Sea. But first, a definition of the digital twin. Previously, computer simulators were used to train operators prior to commissioning and startup of new plants, hence the operator training simulator. As the simulators improved, their range of application has extended and today, they can support activities across the project lifecycle.

Total’s Culzean project illustrates the use of a high-fidelity process model of the plant based on equipment data sheets and connected to an Integrated Control & Safety Systems (ICSS) and adding graphics with the same look and feel as the real thing. To our ears, this sounds pretty much like the OTS but the difference is that the twin ‘connects with relevant time series data to ensure the model mirrors reality’. More prosaically, Total’s Culzean twin embeds Emerson’s DeltaV, Simulate, the ICSS a/a, with some AspenTech stuff alongside. For Emerson, the ensemble is referred to as the 'Multi-Purpose Dynamic Simulator (MPDS). In general, the MPDS comprises an ICSS database communicating through OPC with a simulator. The simulator consists of a set of integrated high-fidelity models for different parts of the process, developed using Aspen HYSYS and emulation of complex control packages (anti-surge compressor control, combustion heater control) or emulated external safety systems package.

The first twin was delivered a year before first gas for operator training, including advanced training in abnormal operations and start-up/shutdown procedures. The twin was also used to identify and fix multiple minor and not so minor control system issues before first gas. Some 130 PID controllers were tuned virtually on the twin and the parameters exported and passed on to the project. The twin served as the basis of discussion with the design authorities for clarification and in some cases modification. Issues solved included engineering units inconsistencies, missing references and safety systems logic errors that could not be found without a dynamic simulator. Other errors found included wrong tuning parameters and, in some circumstances, divide by zero calculations.

* If there was any doubt that the ‘digital twin’ is not exactly new, both authors claim ‘over ten years of experience' in digital twin technology, suggesting that the twin is rooted in the ‘prior art’ of the simulator. As we intimated several years ago when following our visit to BP’s Saltend UK plant.

** Culzean was designed and built by Maersk which was acquired by Total in 2018.

Petronas’ Sharizan Ramli presented on the use of Emerson’s Plantweb Optics (PWO) asset performance monitor. Early detection of excess vibration in rotating machinery has led to a ‘90% reduction in mean time to repair’. AMS 9420 wireless vibration transmitters have been installed on two production platforms to improve pump uptime and availability. The solution is now to extend to other rotating equipment such as fans in cooling towers. PWO will also integrate Petronas’ Protean OSIsoft PI System-based rotating equipment analytics platform.

Rahul Raveendran (University of Alberta oil sands engineering research) and Warren Mitchell (Spartan Controls) presented an advanced analytic solution for ESP monitoring in a steam-assisted gravity drainage process. Alberta has a 1.3 million bbl/day SAGD production capacity and sees some 3.6 million bbl/day of steam injected. Electric submersible pumps (ESP) used in production have a run life from ‘2 months to 3 years’. Workover and replacement in the event of failure costs ‘half a million to a million dollars’. The authors have developed performance monitoring algorithms leveraging characteristic curves derived from data-driven models. Real-time operating data is compared with the characteristic curves and pattern recognition is used to spot anomalous conditions. Another approach is to reduce high-dimensional data sets to one or two process health indicators, compared with normal operating conditions.

The AI/ML approach uses Knowledge-Net technology developed by Tunisia-based Integration Objects (acquired by Emerson in April, 2019). K-Net includes tools for data connectivity, preprocessing and data analytics, automated root cause analysis and alarm analytics. Custom-built algorithms can be added for monitoring and prediction applications. K-Net is to be rebranded as the Emerson Analytics Platform and will integrate the Plantweb digital ecosystem.

A joint industry project to study data from multiple ESP installs at multiple producer sites has been initiated in collaboration with COSIA, the Canadian oil sands innovation alliance.

Jamal al Balushi presented a major computer virtualization initiative at Petroleum Development Oman. PDO operates remote facilities that previously required on-site visits to fix and/upgrade hardware and software. Today, the IT has been and upgraded with Dell VRTX virtualized servers in the control center and DELL WYSE 7010 thin clients at remote location. The project included upgrades from Windows XP/Server 2003 to Windows 10/Sever 2016. Virtualization has eliminated operating system dependency on hardware. Emerson DeltaV Virtual Studio Environment was used in the migration, providing template/GUI-based creation and management of virtual machines and software.

Mohammad Taufiq and Abdulmohsen Al Ahmed (both with Saudi Aramco) also presented a major virtualization project which has seen Aramco’s DeltaV system upgraded to V13.3.1 and conventional workstations/servers replaces with virtual machines on Dell VRTX hardware. The change also saw the installation of McAfee Antivirus and e-Policy orchestrator augmented with Aramco’s own cybersecurity hardening. The authors concluded that ‘virtualization of industrial control system applications is highly beneficial in terms of cost saving, scalability and ease of system administration’. The reported technology challenges to virtualization can be avoided with good planning. The technology is ‘highly recommended’ for large scale DCS systems.

For more on DeltaV virtualization read the Emerson DeltaV Virtualization white paper.

The 2020 Americas Emerson User Exchange will be held October 5 - 9, in Phoenix, AZ.

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