Apr 11

FDT/FDI News from Hanover Fair

Reports are coming in from Hanover Fair.  Our senior analyst Harry Forbes provides the following regarding FDT and FDI.  For those that don’t know, FDI rationalizes elements of FDT and EDDL to create a single device package and host for intelligent devices running on Foundation Fieldbus, HART, and Profibus

At the Hannover Fair, FDT Group gave a device management demonstration showing how the future FDI device packages can be integrated into the FDT standard.  Codewrights (an FDT member company) demonstrated an FDT frame application using an “iDTM”.  An iDTM is a DTM which supports communication with the upcoming standard FDI Device Packages (see the figure).  In addition, FDT announced communications support for the ISA100 wireless standard and the IO-Link network.

Too many acronyms there?  Sorry.  Let’s try the English language instead.  The management of field devices is a chronic pain point in process manufacturing.  Large process plants will have thousands or even tens of thousands of field devices. The usual practice is to manage these devices at a process unit level and (sometimes) on a plant level.  Wider integration of device diagnostic data and enterprise-wide application of device best practices thus becomes very difficult.  Technology from the FDI Cooperation will soon define a common model for device management for the three networks that now dominate process field devices; HART, Foundation Fieldbus, and Profibus PA. The FDT demonstration showed that FDT device management applications will be able to use these new and standardized device deliverables. In addition, FDT supports a variety of other device networks, many of which are more common in factory automation, and several industrial Ethernet protocols as well.  Some of the more popular networks that FDT supports are CC Link, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, SERCOS, and EtherCAT.

Someday manufacturers may monitor and manage their field devices with the same level of automation that is now employed for IT infrastructure by leading practitioners.  That vision is going to take a long time, but FDT’s support for both new and existing device technologies and networks will help with that journey.


Apr 07

SPE Intelligent Energy 2014 – Drilling Deeper: Data-Driven Modeling and Improving Risk Perception

Here is the third installment from our senior analyst Valentijn de Leeuw from SPE Intelligent Energy 2014:

In this blog I report on a few more technical contributions during the conference.  This will only give a flavor of the many more interesting presentations.

A vision for making drilling more efficient

In his comments during the Conference’s opening sessions, Halvor Kjørholt of Statoil, stated that “drilling safety and ability has improved, but not its efficiency”. As drilling corresponds half the cost of an oil field development and operation, making drilling more efficient will therefor significantly impact the total cost.  In addition, the quality of drilling has [amongst other methods] most impact on recovery. Kjørholt formulated are the following aspirations for developments in drilling and well technology

  • Real time well diagnostics: high-level real-time data and trends, including self-calibration, should indicate opportunities for improvement
  • Drilling sequence automation: control technology to run sequences of drilling processes in autonomous mode (instead of manual).
  • Downhole pressure control. This exists as a service but should be more integrated in drilling control.  The accuracy should be improved as well as the ability to detect small and flows. The technology should detect events in early stages.
  • Robot drill floor solutions to replace today’s manned by reliable unmanned intervention. situation.  Robots should communicate and organize themselves (As aimed at by Industrial Internet of Things)
  • Making the well as it is drilled. Ability to steer and log while drilling, and placing casing or liner. Compete the section in one run including cementing.
  • Real-time reservoir navigation using a ‘deep’ 3D image with the capability to ‘looking around in the reservoir, to better place the wells.

Kjorholt closed by emphasizing the need for competencies and operational readiness, to apply these technologies successfully.

Data-driven modeling and optimization using Real-Time Data

E. Ziegel explained that his team created a data-driven decision support model of a reservoir that is never in steady-state because of gas breakthroughs related to the proximity of the gas layer and the well holes.  A mechanistic modeling approach would fail in these situations.  The team made an algorithm that connected a series of models representing historical behavior: a reservoir pressure model as a function of depth and location, a coning model predicting gas breakthrough, and a flow rate model.  The composite model was fitted against real-time dynamic data from well tests and showed good predictive capabilities.  The author speculated, that if similar models were created for all wells, reservoir planning would become feasible.  His final remark was his regret to retire soon and miss the upcoming exciting developments!

Creating a Common Understanding Of Risk Among Teams in Integrated Operations

Claire Taylor of the Norwegian Institute of for Energy Technology reviewed a number of major accidents in Oil, Gas and Refining, that all pointed to lack of leadership, failing create organizations with an effective ‘safety culture’.  Amongst others, members in those organizations trust each other and communicate openly, also if it concerns bad news or unexpected risks, and are therefore more effective in identifying, and preventing risk, and making decisions and acting effectively when incidents or accidents happen.  When on-shore engineers with little field experience do upfront risk analysis, and off-shore personnel with little risk management training modify and execute operational and maintenance tasks, and when in addition they are part of different companies, the integrated operation’s leaders’  task in creating this culture is not easy.  Ms Taylor showed a tool, IO-MAP, that geographically maps the activities on each floor of an asset, including their risk levels and statuses.  The tool could be used for operations and maintenance planning purposes; to focus attention of local and remote teams, create oversight and show possible interactions between activities.  We agree the tool can help facilitating the leader’s task in improving communications.  The tool can also very well complement other shift handover and permit management tools.




Apr 04

Yokogawa Receives Orders for Coal/Oil Co-processing Pilot Plant and Coal Tar Hydrogenation Plant Projects

Yokogawa has announced a project win for some interesting new oil projects in China.  Both use coal to oil conversion processes.  One makes oil from coal and another uses coal tar.  The project is with Yanchang Petroleum, and here’s an interesting bit about the coal tar hydrogenation process (or an example of one anyway).

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has announced that its subsidiary, Yokogawa China Co., Ltd., has received orders from Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum (Group) Co., Ltd.* (Yanchang Petro) to supply Yokogawa control systems for two groundbreaking oil plant construction projects in China. Both of these plants will employ KBR’s Veba Combi-Cracking (VCC) process, an advanced technology that is capable of converting petroleum residues into high quality gasoline and diesel oil products.

You can read the whole story here at the Yokogawa web page.


Apr 04

Chevron-Phillips Announces new 1.5mm tpy Ethane Cracker in Baytown, TX

From a story in Process Worldwide, you can also access the Chevron Phillips news release here.  Chevron-Phillips has announced that it has broken ground on its U.S. Gulf Coast (USGC) Petrochemicals Project at the Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas.  This is a significant project for the US market and includes a 1.5 million tonnes per year Ethane cracker.  The EPC phase of the project is to be executed by a joint venture between JGC and Fluor.


Apr 04

SPE Intelligent Energy 2014: Intelligent Energy for Dummies

Another report from Valentijn de Leeuw who attended the SPE Intelligent Energy show in Utrecht recently:

Intelligent Energy has been defined since its inception as a combination of social and technical components, and this seems completely natural to the participants of the conference. Comparing to conferences in other industry sectors such as the process or the discrete industries, it is quite refreshing to see teamwork, collaborative work environment, change management and leadership discussed next to environmental and safety, and highly sophisticated 4D seismic, simulation and real-time process control. It makes perfect sense, since social sciences have evidence that best practices in managing individuals, teams and organizations have positive impact on business results. And indeed, the testimonials from managers of oil majors speaking at the conference confirm this.

Intelligent energy is a better term than “digital oil field” or “smart field” we find. Field of the Future, is also a good term, since all these terms have a similar width in scope, ranging from technical to human aspects.
As my mind requests more clarity, I wanted to know which components make up Intelligent Energy. The fundamental concept is to make oil and gas recovery more efficient and profitable, by using state-of-the art technologies.

Since one or more operators work simultaneously with many contractors, but in exploration and production, and more and more in “Integrated operations” the possible number of relationships and interactions can easily get out of hand. In addition, multiple disciplines need to interpret more and more abundant real-time and static data, using more and more specialized skills and as a result there are a multitude of opportunities for misunderstandings. Indeed, recent disasters have shown how critical communication and interpretation of information can be. Therefore collaborative work environment, effective communication and teamwork became built into Intelligent Energy from the beginning. It was also recognized that process safety, occupational heath and safety, and environmental footprint need to be improved not only by technical measures and clear rules, but in conjunction with behavioral changes stimulated by management leadership.

Components of Intelligent Energy:
Technical components:

  • Reservoir information (seismic, gravity, electromagnetic, geodesy)
  • Real-time data from the drilling operation and (automated) drilling process control
  • Real-time data from the well (down-hole and at the surface: temperature, pressure and flow) and (automated) production process control (for example slug control or gas breakthrough control)
  • Real-time information from surface facilities (pipeline monitoring, flow and flow quality, rotating equipment)
  • Operational decision support (technologies ranging from real-time data visualization, to decision support where to drill or inject and how to control flows for optimal depletion)
  • Surveillance (real-time reservoir and process data, optical information, seismic information)
  • Environmental monitoring (water, air and soil quality monitoring) and exposure monitoring

Human components:

  • (Virtual) teamwork and collaboration
  • Fast and high quality decision making by multi-party multi-disciplinary teams
  • (Sustained) support for changing activities, processes, use of technologies and behavior
  • Project screening, configuration and management

The components have the following enablers:

Smart sensors and smart devices

  • Industrial mobility (explosion save handheld and mobile devices for field operations)
  • Robotics, drones
  • Video and voice
  • Modeling and simulation, (reservoir, process, 3D equipment), augmented reality
  • Cyber security, Cloud computing, Big Data (mining) and real-time analytics (data driven operation)
  • Fiber optic cable, Radio and Satellite transmission, Industrial Internet of Things
  • Automated and manual processes design, process interactions, optimization and performance management
  • Maturity models, strategy and governance
  • Leadership
  • Skills and resource management
  • Collaborative work environment

And just when I thought I had a handle on it, I attended presentations about maturity modeling of Intelligent Energy and understood that defining mature Intelligent Energy is a moving target. As a result, the list of components will be extended over time, along with changing priorities, technologies and capabilities.


Apr 02

SPE Intelligent Energy 2014 Kickoff: We Need A Man-On-The-Moon Attitude, Lean and Safe

From my ARC colleague Valentijn DeLeeuw:

The Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Intelligent Energy conference 2014 in Utrecht, The Netherlands, was kicked off by two visionaries: Gerald Schotman, CTO and EVP R&D at Shell, very well conveyed the urgency to prepare for the energy, water and food needs by 2030. He said: “it is not a matter of alternative or not, it is “all hands on deck’’. Indeed, Shell’s expectation is that the world will need 40% more energy by 2030. It then follows that Innovation in upstream is and will be key for the future. Schotman said we need a similar attitude as President Kennedy created when preparing for sending man to the moon: we pursue a challenging goal, under the constraint of keeping people and the environment safe.

Brian Muirhead from NASA pushed the parallel to the Mars rovers his organization was capable of landing on the red planet. The constraints were to reduce time and cost of development drastically while increasing probability of success. “Take risk but don’t fail” would have said his boss. Brian gave a list of ingredients for successful high-reliability operations under harsh conditions.

  • A workforce with a wide variety of skills that you can trust.
  • Technology that you can trust (software is the most feared for cost and reliability)
  • Design for robustness and build in tolerance for unknown unknowns. Seemingly unimportant details of low-tech components can fail the project. Analyze, plan and test, test, test.
  • Communicate effectively. When a rover capsule was not following the planned trajectory, communication could have saved the project. It didn’t. Deep Horizon is on our minds.
  • Emotional intelligence of the team members. Brian mentions drive, judgment and resilience in particular. Brian pays attention to this when recruiting. Note there are other EI components, individual and related to teams.
  • The Leader should “add the glue and the grease”. Brian cites Colin Powell “: “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.”

Most projects, designed under constraints since ten years succeed, but failure happens. For landing on Mars, and for other R&D projects this is tolerable. Schotman’s boss would have said: “It is ok if you fail, but don’t make a habit of it. And if you do, preferably do it quickly and cheaply.

However for drilling and production operations, failure should not be considered an option. Just as for refining or other process industry’s operations, planning, risk analysis and mitigation, using procedures rigorously plus providing training and leadership can avoid accidents and incidents. This is possible and it is what the industry should aim at.



Mar 25

Ending Windows XP Support Drives HMI Market Growth

ARC recently released the latest edition of our global HMI/SCADA (Human Machine Interface/Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition) report.  The HMI/SCADA software and services market is experiencing good growth and evolutionary changes.  The evolving HMI software market is part of a set of software applications that address collaborative manufacturing, manufacturing visibility/intelligence, and production and process optimization.  Users and OEMs are deploying more mobility solutions for a variety of mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones; performing remote monitoring, and bringing in more data.

There are changes in the way the leading edge of users are deploying HMI software, including smarter HMI design, broader use of HMI visualization to improve different categories of business decisions, and distributing real-time data to all levels of the manufacturing organization through workflow and other complementary technologies. Today, many end users and OEMs want more than what the traditional HMI software has provided in the past.

Support for Microsoft’s Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014, after which there will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system.  While Microsoft has been warning customers about the deadline for years, the end users and OEMs have been slow to react.  This creates a major opportunity for HMI software and services suppliers.

Migrating to a new HMI software package based on a current supported operating system, such as Microsoft Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, ensures that users will receive security updates to protect their plants and machines.  HMI software and services suppliers should offer migration strategies to their latest packages based on a modern operating system, as a Windows 8.1 or 7.

Today, HMI software helps to speed the process of turning plant data into actionable information in a time frame that enables a positive impact on operations and measurable impact on the bottom line.

For more information, you can visit the site for our new HMI study at www.arcweb.com/market-studies/pages/human-machine-interface-software.aspx.

You can also visit the Microsoft web site for information on the end of support for Windows XP:




Mar 23

Technology/Supplier Evaluation and Selection Video


Mar 21

Great Article about ARC Orlando Forum in Prime Magazine

The Microsoft sponsored magazine Prime focuses on the application of Microsoft technology in the manufacturing space.  They have a good article this month on the ARC Orlando Forum.  Link goes straight to article.

Prime Magazine: ARC Advisory Group Forum: Planning for the Internet of Things

The rest of the magazine is worth a read as well.  Industry sponsors also include Dell, Dassault Systems, Invensys, OPC Foundation, Siemens, and yes, ARC Advisory Group!

You should also check out the ARC LinkedIn discussion forum on Industrial Internet of Things.


Mar 20

Interesting Thoughts on Migration from Stork

Stork is an engineering service provider to the oil and gas, power and chemical industries with a focus on asset integrity and asset management on all levels.  Like its familiar namesake, the company is based in the Netherlands and has a strong focus on North Sea assets, but conducts business worldwide, including Asia, Middle East, and Latin America.  At the recent ARC Forum in Europe, Willem Hazenberg of Stork delivered a very good presentation on control system migration and modernization that we posted to our SlideShare Site.


Willem’s presentation goes into the economics and project lifecycle of control system migration.  The presentation is a little different from most of those you see on migration because of Stork’s perspective on long-term asset integrity.  There is lengthy discussion of long term asset reliability factors for process automation system components, and electronics, and how to determine your need for modernization based on these key requirements.  Imminent component failure is the most critical criterion for control system modernization, but how can you avoid being on the far end of the “bathtub curve”?

Stork Migration Presentation


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