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Nov-2021

Business transformation through real-time data management

This is a story about an innovative company looking for innovative solutions. Petro Rabigh deployed the PI System™ as the foundation for its operations data management strategy.

Craig Harclerode
AVEVA


Article Summary

The PI System implementation was spearheaded by Nidhal Jamal, Head of Instrumentation and Control Technical Support, and Shabaz Mukadam, System Engineer. Ultimately, the PI System enabled Petro Rabigh to create one single source of truth for its operations data and drive digital transformation across the organisation. With reliable real-time data and insights available to key stakeholders throughout the company, Petro Rabigh discovered new ways to optimise refinery and petrochemicals operations.

Petro Rabigh at a glance: The downstream oil and gas industry faces a number of short and long-term hurdles. Fluctuating oil and petrochemicals prices, changing environmental and operations regulations, decreasing margins, and slowed industry growth all put pressure on refineries and petrochemical producers every minute of every day. Add a global pandemic that has forced employees to work remotely – and the pressure only continues to increase. As downstream oil and gas companies face excess capacity and dwindling profits, digital transformation is no longer an option. It’s essential.

Seven years ago, Petro Rabigh understood the critical role real-time data management plays in driving business transformation. Focused on creating a more agile organisation, using real-time operations data to increase visibility, and leveraging that data to uncover new efficiencies, the Saudi Arabia-based refining and integrated petrochemicals company embarked on a journey to transform its facility – and the business – using operations data. Petro Rabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, was determined to find a solution that would underpin its operational excellence strategies. Petro Rabigh deployed the PI System as its data foundation at a 400,000-barrel capacity refinery and integrated petrochemicals complex.

This is a story about an innovative company looking for innovative solutions. Petro Rabigh deployed the PI System™ as the foundation for its operations data management strategy. The PI System implementation was spearheaded by Nidhal Jamal, Head of Instrumentation and Control Technical Support, and Shabaz Mukadam, System Engineer. Ultimately, the PI System enabled Petro Rabigh to create one single source of truth for its operations data and drive digital transformation across the organisation. With reliable real-time data and insights available to key stakeholders throughout the company, Petro Rabigh discovered new ways to optimise refinery and petrochemicals operations.

Petro Rabigh at a glance
The downstream oil and gas industry faces a number of short and long-term hurdles. Fluctuating oil and petrochemicals prices, changing environmental and operations regulations, decreasing margins, and slowed industry growth all put pressure on refineries and petrochemical producers every minute of every day. Add a global pandemic that has forced employees to work remotely – and the pressure only continues to increase. As downstream oil and gas companies face excess capacity and dwindling profits, digital transformation is no longer an option. It’s essential.

Seven years ago, Petro Rabigh understood the critical role real-time data management plays in driving business transformation. Focused on creating a more agile organisation, using real-time operations data to increase visibility, and leveraging that data to uncover new efficiencies, the Saudi Arabia-based refining and integrated petrochemicals company embarked on a journey to transform its facility – and the business – using operations data. Petro Rabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, was determined to find a solution that would underpin its operational excellence strategies. Petro Rabigh deployed the PI System as its data foundation at a 400,000-barrel capacity refinery and integrated petrochemicals complex.

The Enterprise Agreement (EA) was a critical part of this deployment because it allowed Petro Rabigh to scale its PI System to drive value across the organisation. Today, the EA enables Petro Rabigh to expand its data-driven culture and accelerate digital transformation.
­    EA signed in 2014, PI System is rolled out in 2015.
­    300,000 tags/80-90,000 analysis calculations.
­    400,000 bpd of crude and 15 million tons of refined products and 5 million tons of petrochemical products monitored with the PI System across 30 plants.
­    800+ users of PI Vision across the company.

The digital transformation journey begins
Seven years ago, Petro Rabigh was facing a number of data management challenges. Its legacy historian was fraught with availability and reliability issues, costing teams valuable time and delaying insights. The historian required weekly scheduled restarts to ensure availability and intermittent failures affected third-party applications. Recovery time caused application delays.

In addition to data reliability issues, Petro Rabigh lacked data quality. Legacy servers had tag limits, requiring a multi-server setup to meet current demand. Failures caused gaps in operations data, which meant teams had to verify monthly reporting to ensure accuracy. “Because of the intermittent failures of the system, we had a lot of gaps in the data,” Jamal said. Operations data was not contextualised, making it difficult to find and extract insights. Without access to timely data or proper context, it was cumbersome and time consuming to gain real-time situational awareness into current asset performance. “When you only have something that is so basic and rudimentary, you don’t see the potential until you actually get something like the PI System that gives you a lot of opportunity and capability,” Jamal said.

In 2010, Petro Rabigh started a large-scale project that would eventually require its legacy historian to be replaced. The team chose the PI System as its operations data management platform. With the help of a system integrator, Petro Rabigh deployed the PI System in just six short months. In 2014, Petro Rabigh signed the Enterprise Agreement (EA).

The power of context
As part of the PI System deployment, the Petro Rabigh team created a data model in Asset Framework (AF), the contextualisation layer of the PI System. The data model created an asset hierarchy for structuring and contextualising real-time data. By moving away from tag-based monitoring and leveraging the AF asset hierarchy, the Petro Rabigh team gained access to real-time streaming analysis. Currently, Petro Rabigh is running 80,000-90,000 near real-time analyses in AF.

In addition, the data models in AF laid the right data foundation to integrate PI System data into other enterprise systems, including SAP. After testing the PI Integrator for Business Analytics, Petro Rabigh determined that ease of integration and minimal maintenance needs made this an ideal solution to integrate PI System data with SAP. Now, AF runs calculations using the defined model, and final values are sent to SAP using the PI Integrator. Those values are used for reports, workflows, and environmental KPIs.
 
A 360˚ view into the enterprise
After its initial PI System rollout, Petro Rabigh deployed PI Vision, a web-based visualisation platform for PI System data, across the company. The PI Vision screens visualised information based on the asset hierarchy developed in AF. The Petro Rabigh team converted 1,700-1,800 DCS graphics into PI Vision displays based on AF templates. Simple PI Vision dashboards now show actionable information in real time, including asset health status, flare monitoring, and more. More complex visualisations allow engineers to zoom into additional asset layers and perform further analysis. These real-time, contextualised insights enable teams across the enterprise to quickly make data-driven decisions about the plant.


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