Archive for March 24, 2010

New Invensys Solution Improves Refinery Margins

Invensys Operations Management announced the release of its Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution. The company has leveraged and integrated multiple technologies from its solutions portfolio to deliver different aspects of real-time business operations management to the refining industry. From simple control loop performance management and rigorous unit optimization to LP vector updating for multi-unit planning optimization, customers will be able to optimize all of their refining assets and reap cost savings and margin improvements of up to 25 cents per barrel.

“Based on the collective feedback from the more than 50 customers who are already using the solution, as well as our own industry expertise, we believe the Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution is the most comprehensive refinery performance enabler in the marketplace, capable of delivering millions of dollars in savings each year,” said Don Clark, VP Industry Solutions, Invensys Operations Management. “It enables companies to quantify and understand the financial impact of their business decisions in real time and ensures that their technology does not fall into disrepair as they pursue operations excellence related to safety, the environment and asset management. With a sustainable, tuned optimizer, our customers are also able to ensure optimal refinery planning by automatically downloading updated planning model LP vectors that can further drive the profitability of their refining operations.”

The solution leverages Invensys Operations Management’s SimSci-Esscor® ROMeo® optimizer and Wonderware® Intelligence enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) applications. The backbone of Invensys’ Online Performance Suite, ROMeo software is the industry’s leading unified modeling environment for offline and online optimization and is being used to optimize operations in refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants worldwide. The Wonderware Intelligence EMI application acquires critical process and optimal performance data from the ROMeo optimizer and models and aggregates it with data acquired from other operational data sources, including laboratory information management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, manufacturing execution systems and refinery process historians, to provide deeper insight and tracking of refinery performance. The Wonderware Intelligence software can calculate and make readily available unique and extremely valuable key performance indicators to all plant personnel, allowing operators and executives to measure the real-time financial impact of the optimizer through flexible Web-based dashboards.

With clear, measurable and visible benefits that can total millions of dollars per year, refining companies that utilize the solution can make better decisions about how to deliver long-term, sustainable benefits. Additional attributes of the Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution include:

  • A scalable software platform that allows incremental, scalable deployment, all within a common architecture that helps ensure rapid ROI and the ability to grow as the benefits grow;
  • The ability to layer the Wonderware Intelligence EMI solution on top of existing SimSci-Esscor ROMeo optimizer installations;
  • Refinery-wide modeling to identify the most profitable processing of different crude oil feedstocks, which can help ensure the highest value product pools;
  • Closed-loop optimization of individual units and naphtha pools, as well as the refinery’s utilities and hydrogen systems;
  • Refinery-wide mass balance data reconciliation to identify faulty meters and optimal yield accounting; and
  • World-class refinery solutions talent from Invensys that have a proven track record of enabling success.

For more information about refinery optimization please visit and download the free white paper “Achieving Competitive Advantage from Refinery-Wide Business Performance Optimization.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

ExxonMobil Agrees to License Refinery Process Models

Invensys Operations Management has entered into an agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. (EMRE) that allows Invensys to sub-license a suite of EMRE’s refinery process models to third parties. The suite of models will be delivered through Invensys Operations Management’s market-leading SimSci-Esscor® optimization software, using its ROMeo® solution to enable clients to model and optimize process units.

“With depressed demand, decreased margins and increased environmental mandates, refiners no longer have the option to simply operate at maximum throughput,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive of Invensys Operations Management. “Over the course of the coming decade, we will see a drastic shift in the oil industry as refiners constantly optimize their operations in the face of changing feedstock and energy costs, product specs and margins. Refiners will increasingly rely on accurate modeling technologies to construct a refinery-wide picture and assess the financial impact of different operating scenarios. Our SimSci-Esscor optimization software and ROMeo solution, combined with EMRE process models, enables refiners to make improved economic decisions throughout the refinery, from crude feed to final product blending.”

While traditional modeling solutions can only simulate individual process units or provide point solutions to solve a specific problem, Invensys Operations Management’s SimSci-Esscor solution provides a scalable software environment that enables companies to optimize refinery-wide performance, as well as other aspects of refinery profitability, such as utilities and instrument/equipment health monitoring. Additional benefits are derived from leveraging the data generated by rigorous models to enhance planning and scheduling decisions, leading to increased refinery margins.

“These modeling improvements allow refiners to better optimize their operations,” said Charles Darnell, global manager for optimization, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. “We use ROMeo technology in our plants for multiple applications and continue to work with Invensys to develop improvements in this technology.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

OpenSpirit Named ESRI Energy Partner of the Year

OpenSpirit, purveyor of  E&P data and application integration solutions, received the ESRI Foundation Partner of the Year award for its work in the Energy Sector at the 2010 ESRI Worldwide Business Partner Conference in Palm Springs, California.

OpenSpirit is the energy industry’s open integration and interoperability standard, enabling collaborative workflows and multi-vendor data accessibility among the diverse and complex environments used in today’s E&P asset teams. From ArcGIS Desktop to ArcGIS Server, OpenSpirit integrates with all levels of ESRI GIS technology, facilitating cross-disciplinary mapping and spatial data management workflows between GIS, geology and geophysics, as well as integrating subsurface workflows and data with surface workflows and information, such as Land, HSE, Transportation, Pipeline and other oil company departments.

The award was presented during the annual ESRI Business Partner Conference by Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI, to Brian Boulmay, Business Partner Director, OpenSpirit.

“Through the Partner of the Year Award for the Energy Sector, ESRI recognizes the outstanding contribution OpenSpirit has made in their promotion of spatial data management as a key component of an oil company’s enterprise data integration strategy,” said Dangermond. “Their revolutionary platform enables users to combine the capabilities of the ArcGIS platform with industry-leading geotechnical and geoscience solutions in elegant and highly effective practices.”

Since becoming an ESRI partner in 2000, OpenSpirit has developed a comprehensive suite of GIS tools, including an ArcGIS Desktop Extension, an ArcGIS Explorer Add-in, a Scan Utility that spatializes subsurface databases, an ArcGIS SDE Data Connector, and the integration of ArcGIS Server and ESRI Web services with OpenSpirit REST Web services. Users have the flexibility to leverage their ESRI GIS client of choice, with the simplicity of managing just one integration platform.

“We are honored to receive partner of the year recognition from ESRI,” said Dan Piette, President and CEO of OpenSpirit. “The energy industry is a spatial business, and we have focused on ensuring our technology is integrated with ESRI tools since our company’s inception. This collaboration helps our mutual customers manage their complete business workflows via a single integration layer, and ensures accurate and repeatable coordinate, unit, interoperability, and data access processes. We are continuing this focus in 2010 with the release of several new GIS products.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

IBM Uses IT to Boost Oilsands Efficiencies

IBM is using information technology to help energy companies extend the life of oilfields and make them more efficient and environmentally friendlier. IBM’s Oil Sands Centre of Excellence in Calgary has developed an “integrated information framework” that analyzes huge amounts of real-time data from oil operations to identify problems sooner.

“There’s no more easy oil,” said Andy MacRae, a partner with IBM’s Business Consulting Services unit in Calgary. “The next evolution in trends are related to digital energy. It drives a significant improvement in the energy consumption of oil operations.”

In February, Shell and IBM announced a joint collaboration to extend the life of oil and natural gas fields using complex analytics and simulations.

“Using predictive analytics to drive new intelligence into oil and natural gas reservoir management has the potential to extend the life of existing oil and gas fields in a responsible way,” said John Kelly III, Sr. VP and director of IBM Research.

IBM is helping oil companies become more efficient in many different ways. One oil and gas company in Calgary wanted to optimize the extraction of heavy bitumen from the oilsands, but found the effectiveness of their extraction process varied significantly depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the water, changes in temperature, calcium content and ore quality.

IBM mapped and modeled patterns across multiple areas to show how to adjust the extraction process under various conditions. The result was the entire operation’s efficiency improved, reducing energy consumption and the environmental footprint of the operation.

“Not only the energy, but the waste products that get discharged were reduced significantly,” MacRae said. “If you can take more oil off in the extraction process, you end up with less in the tailings pond.”

In another example, an oilsands operator was managing its mine and upgrader “fairly well,” but the operation as a whole was not optimally efficient. After using an integrated software and automation process, routine maintenance was stepped up and scheduled in the least disruptive manner. The strategy included finding more efficient ways to plan shutdowns and improve turnaround time using condition-based monitoring through a series of sensors and fiber optic cables, as well as robotics.

“It means the reliability of the equipment is better and they run more efficiently and use less energy,” MacRae explained.

IBM spends about $6 billion (with a B) on research and development each year, and oil companies can leverage some of that research to reduce oil and gas operations’ costs and environmental impact. As energy companies are forced to look for oil and gas in more difficult places, IT is expected to play an increasing role in how they are developed, MacRae predicted.

March 24, 2010 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

Software Toolbox Integrated with AFCON Pulse SCADA/HMI

Software Toolbox announced that its Symbol Factory.NET and Industrial Gadgets.NET graphics technologies have been integrated with a new Pulse SCADA/HMI software application from AFCON Software and Electronics Ltd., enabling engineers to select animated images from a library of more than 3,600 industrial and manufacturing objects to create custom control panels.

“Because Pulse is based on the Microsoft .NET framework, Industrial Gadgets.NET and Symbol Factory.NET from Software Toolbox are natural complements to Pulse,” said Orly Inbar, marketing director at AFCON. “AFCON customers have confirmed that the availability of Industrial Gadgets.NET objects significantly reduces engineering time, while providing strikingly realistic and state-of-the-art visualizations of real-life equipment. Engineers from Software Toolbox worked closely with the AFCON development team in making a smooth integration of their tools with Pulse.”

With AFCON’s Pulse software, application engineers can work within a unified SCADA/HMI environment that now combines the powerful .NET graphics tools from Software Toolbox. Symbol Factory.NET allows engineers to use the built-in object browser to pick from a wide range of animated objects to create custom screens that address their specific operations responsibilities. The addition of the Industrial Gadgets.NET application enables users to select from analog and digital controls to create realistic industrial control user interfaces to view input and data controls.

“The Software Toolbox object-oriented graphics components will enable engineers to rapidly build solutions for specific manufacturing and infrastructure requirements,” said John Weber, president of Software Toolbox. “Symbol Factory.NET and Industrial Gadgets.NET capabilities will enhance an operator’s ability to customize each process screen. Engineers can now spend less time creating and modifying HMI applications.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Proficy Pulse Monitors Vital Signs of Operations

GE Intelligent Platforms announced its new visualization software solution, Proficy® Pulse, which empowers operators, engineers and analysts to view, analyze and correlate real-time operational situations and historical intelligence. The new software delivers the power to contextualize data within a single application and the ability to share with others via the Web.

Combined with GE’s Proficy Historian, Proficy Pulse enables customers to consolidate disparate data into a single viewpoint, driving continuous improvement activities, increasing quality through monitoring, facilitating faster troubleshooting, and driving accountability. Proficy Pulse consolidates operational and process data, providing instant insight into operational health. Designed to cater to operational personnel, Proficy Pulse brings the performance of a real-time HMI and delivers abilities to transform raw data into intelligence.

 “Operational efficiency starts with an informed and efficient operator,” said Claire Cerrato, General Manager Automation Software for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The role of today’s operator is changing as he/she takes on more responsibilities to keep plants running. This requires operators to have access to as much operational information as they can get in the environment that they are most used to. Therefore, companies are looking for that ‘ergonomic’ HMI that presents operational data beyond the traditional HMI to analyze large volumes of data from many sources, making objective decisions based on complex, real-time information.”

Features of Proficy Pulse include:

  • Real-time HMI is a true OPC DA and OPC Alarms & Events client;
  • On-the-fly historian analysis;
  • Open Architecture that supports standard interfaces like OPC, ADO, OLEDB and ODBC;
  • Flexible graphics editor for visualization and analysis;
  • Background scheduler for triggering reports, initiating workflows and generating analytical samples; and
  • Intelligent and collaborative user environment for increased efficiency and ease of operation.

“With the loss of experienced workers, growing volatility in raw materials, energy, and finished goods markets, and the increasingly more demanding and complex manufacturing environment, the need for improved operator situational awareness is on the rise,” according to Tom Fiske, Senior Analyst at ARC Advisory Group. “Currently, there is a dearth of tools available specifically aimed at bringing multiple data sources together that provide operational context, intelligence, and situational awareness for operators so they can profitably respond to changing market conditions. ARC sees a growing need for more types of tools like Proficy Pulse.”

Proficy Pulse is a scalable single application that can be deployed on embedded devices like panels and tablets or desktop computers or thin clients like a Terminal Services client for barcodes or a Web client through a browser. In addition, Proficy Pulse comes with a totally integrated Change Management support tool that allows for application deployment, application versioning, disaster recovery and collaborative application development change control.

March 24, 2010 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

StoredIQ and NetApp Deliver Next-Gen Info Management Solution

StoredIQ, provider of Intelligent Information Management and eDiscovery solutions, announced a solution partnership with NetApp to offer customers best-of-breed information management and storage solutions for enterprise environments. Under terms of the agreement, StoredIQ has joined the NetApp Alliance Partner Program and will integrate NetApp® storage into StoredIQ’s Intelligent Information Management Platform, an enterprise-class, software-based appliance designed to manage the functional intersection of eDiscovery, Information Governance, Records Management, and Storage Management.

StoredIQ’s Intelligent Information Management Platform is designed to integrate easily into an existing corporate infrastructure while reducing IT administration and total cost of ownership by including all the necessary software, hardware and storage within a packaged appliance offering. StoredIQ is the only mainstream information management solution to include onboard storage for data indices.

The integration with NetApp FAS2000 series NAS provides the greatest feature blend of price, performance, and scalability required by the StoredIQ appliance. Among the technologies inherent in the FAS2000 series, the StoredIQ platform can also leverage NetApp SnapshotTM technology to back up indices and recover data in the case of disk failure.

StoredIQ also leverages the FAS2000 series’ scalability to offer a wide variety of capacities to meet varied customer demands. With the same FAS2000 product family, the StoredIQ appliance can scale from 5TB to 500TB of data under management within a single cluster, growing as the enterprise expands by simply adding additional NetApp NAS capacity.

“One of the most difficult challenges when deploying an information management solution into an IT ecosystem is integrating it into the existing corporate infrastructure,” said Keith Zoellner, CTO at StoredIQ. “Combining best-in-class technologies from StoredIQ and NetApp into a consolidated platform limits the impact on our customers and delivers enterprise-class information management features, reliability, and scalability for unprecedented performance and reduced TCO.”

March 24, 2010 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

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