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ACNXF for methanol plant megaproject

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Aconex Ltd, provider of the #1 global platform connecting teams on construction and engineering projects, has announced its selection by Orascom Construction (OC) to manage project information and processes for a greenfield, world-class methanol production complex being developed in Beaumont, Texas.

The resulting facility will be operated by Natgasoline LLC. The plant will produce up to 1.75 million tpy of methanol, making it one of the world's largest merchant methanol production facilities based on nameplate capacity.

Large-scale oil and gas projects such as the Natgasoline methanol plant require advanced chemical processes and technical equipment, sophisticated engineering, and a large team of designers, suppliers and subcontractors across various disciplines. To deliver the project on schedule, all participants must communicate and exchange project-related information efficiently.

"Early in the design phase, we realised that for a project of this size and complexity, we needed an information management and collaboration system," said Ali Riche, project director at OC. "We researched the market and concluded that Aconex was the best fit for our needs."

The greatest challenge on a project of this scope is managing the flow of information. Thousands of documents and communications – such as engineering drawings, purchase orders and requests for information (RFIs) – must be submitted, reviewed and approved within a prescribed time frame. The Orascom project team is currently processing more than a hundred document transmittals daily, and relies on Aconex to effectively monitor and report on the status of all documents.

"Anybody can see immediately which RFIs have been reviewed and which are still open," said Omar El Bassiouny, OC business development manager. "While that could be done manually through emails, logs and spreadsheets, Aconex provides a level of visibility and control beyond an electronic document management system (EDMS)."

Because Aconex provides permanent storage of all versions of all documents and a complete audit trail of decisions and actions, the project team can easily track changes and determine when they occurred, who made them and who approved them. Searches of project details are fast and easy with metadata. To keep the project moving around individual schedules, team members use Aconex Mobile construction apps to access, share, review, and update project information in real time from their tablets or smartphones on the job site or anywhere else.

El Bassiouny added that the Aconex platform was easy for the project team to learn and use, and support resources were readily available to help OC implement new processes and reports. "The Natgasoline methanol production complex is one of the most highly visible projects currently under construction in the southeast region of Texas," said Frank Kopas, general manager of the Americas at Aconex. "The project represents another significant win for us in the US oil and gas sector, notably the downstream petrochemical segment. We're pleased with the opportunity to help Orascom deliver a very complex development on time and on budget."

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