Equinor at 2021 OPC Day

João Pinheiro relates ‘success story’ of OPC UA deployment on Johan Sverdrup. OPC UA ‘proven at-scale’. Adding context is OPC UA’s ‘most powerful game changer’. 19 OPC UA servers on platform. Equinor ‘giving back to community’ via GitHub.

Speaking at the 2021 virtual OPC Day International event, Equinor’s João Pinheiro earned enthusiastic praise from OPC Foundation CEO Stephan Hoppe for his ‘fantastic success story’ of a real world deployment of OPC UA on the Johan Sverdrup offshore north sea development*.

Equinor is running six digital programs centered on its ‘Omnia’ unified data platform. Pinheiro’s focus is data-driven operations and the field of the future. Here Equinor is moving from data/application silos to a single, common platform to enable ‘data-driven’ operations. Currently, one difficulty is that applications have their own data and data models. Readers will spot the similar problem statement to OSDU!

Data context is also a key requirement and this is what an OPC UA connectivity framework can provide. In fact, for Pinheiro, ‘the most powerful game changer in OPC UA is the ability to turn data to information by providing data in context leveraging the OPC UA information modelling framework’. This has allowed Equinor to standardize information across process control vendors’ products, leveraging OPC UA companion specifications and realizing the goal of interoperability! All that is required is for equipment vendors to implement the protocol.

Equinor’s IT/OT landscape ensures that similar information is described in a similar way, with agreed common open formats and connectivity standards and well documented interfaces. An OPC UA server exposes a context address space described with the UA object-oriented information model. A tree view allows engineers to browse between objects to see how they connect. The system needs to be set up with meaningful tag identifiers for real world use.

OPC UA has been implemented and proven in use at scale on Johan Sverdrup and has been operating since 2019, with 19 OPC UA servers on the platform aggregated into a central OT/IT gateway, using an OPC UA aggregation architecture. Other servers provide an equipment template library and an engineering database. These can be merged with as-built plant-specific information and exposed to the OT network. Equinor’s OPC UA library consists of 50 objects, 90 classes and some 920 attributes, these are also used in Equinor’s renewables business. Johan Sverdrup’s tag server currently exposes 190,000 OPC UA data points, soon to be upgraded to 1 million.

Equinor likes the deliverables from the OPC Foundation and believes that giving back to the community is important. ‘We benefit from the community and being open is key to adoption’. Visit the Equinor GitHub OPC UA home page here.

Pinheiro observed that realizing the ‘huge potential’ means getting more vendors on board. Standard OPC UA information models need to expand, adding cloud connectivity, and AutomationML ‘to close the gap between operations and engineering’. Most current process industry standards (NAMUR NOA, MTP, OPA, Industrie 4.0) all of which point to OPC UA as a key building block. More on The Open Group’s O-PAS in our next issue.

* A release from partner TotalEnergies reported that Johan Sverdrup came on stream in 2019 ‘two months ahead of schedule and 30% below the initial budget’.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.