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Staying competitive in the process industry

Published by , Assistant Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Even though the global price of oil per bbl has started to stabilise, the oil and gas industry faces multiple challenges in the near future. How can smarter software solutions help the oil and gas industry continue to reduce costs and to remain competitive and improve asset performance?

As one of the ways to answer to competition and improve margins, we can see that owner operators are currently looking for ways to extend the lifecycle of their existing facilities and extract the most value from these facilities while they are operational. There are many benefits when compared to building new facilities; no new capital investment is needed, the entire existing infrastructure is already in place, and plant personnel are already trained.

For the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies, this shift in the oil and gas industry has required a change of focus as well. As the number of greenfield projects has decreased, the key for competitive advantage for many EPCs is to be able to execute brownfield projects faster and more accurately than the competition. In a way, fewer projects and more competition have acted as a catalyst for the EPCs in the oil and gas industry to look beyond their traditional tools to find smarter ways to execute projects better.

Getting the most of existing assets

Comprehensive, integrated and easy-to-use software solutions are key for improving efficiency and lowering the time needed for shutdowns and maintenance projects. Solutions such as Hexagon PPM's CADWorx® & Analysis suite can help users to capture the existing as-built situation quickly and accurately by making use of laser scanning or laser surveying technology.

Once a scan or survey is completed, team members can easily change the unintelligent captured data to intelligent 3D objects. In the case of regulatory requirements, the 3D objects can be also checked by analysis tools without the need for remodelling. If any design changes take place, these changes can be automatically reverted to the original 3D design while updating the 3D model. All deliverables can be then generated automatically from the 3D model.

Real-life project example: Norwegian crude oil tanker

LR Marine A/S, a total supplier of solutions for marine and industrial applications, was hired to route and install a piping connection for a volatile organic compound (VOC) recovery system on a Norwegian crude oil tanker. The project scope included executing a laser survey on the existing vessel to ensure that the new equipment would fit into the existing piping.

One of the main challenges during the project was the necessity to ensure the new VOC recovery system would fit into the existing piping, guaranteeing there would be enough space available for the installation and welding.

An additional challenge was the ability to ensure the accuracy of the design for the new equipment: the ship was in the UK whilst the fabrication work took place in Northern Germany. This meant that revisiting the vessel for rechecking information would have cost LR Marine a significant amount of time, slowing down the overall project execution.

To ensure that the new equipment would fit, LR Marine chose to execute a laser survey of the deck and the piping of the vessel with the help of Leica Total Station, and to use CADWorx Plant Professional for the 3D design of the new piping.

Realising Results

First, LR Marine boarded the ship in Liverpool. LR Marine used Leica Total Station to 3D scan all the piping and equipment on the deck, which took only one day. Afterwards, Leica engineers converted the point cloud data into a readable file, which LR Marine converted into a CADWorx file (.dwg format). By using CADWorx Plant Professional, LR Marine were able to determine and create an exact and accurate design of the VOC new equipment.

The next step was to design the new piping and the connections between the existing piping and new equipment.

After fabrication was finalised, LR Marine was awarded a contract to further fabricate and insulate the new piping. The pipe spool drawings were produced based on the 3D design created in CADWorx, and this information was also used to create a cut-out plan for fabrication. The new piping was afterward installed in the FA yard at Odense, Denmark, and the installation was done under the supervision of LR Marine.

Easily available as-built information accelerated LR Marine's project execution tremendously.

Soren Kjaer, sales manager at LR Marine, said "This type of combination of Leica and CADWorx offers a unique capability to have access to as-built information anywhere in the globe. It enabled us to improve efficiency and deliver our customers high quality and accurate results in a record time."

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