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Analysis

Performance-Based Solutions for Advanced Analysers

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 15:28

In the Mexican oil and gas industry, Yokogawa has identified four key areas where the company can contribute its expertise in the fields of testing and measurement, industrial automation and control, and information systems. The first is the refining industry, in the area of asset utilization and improving productivity and quality of refined product. Second is to use the company’s technologies to improve safety at pipelines and wellheads. The third area is Pemex’s offshore operations, where a number of technologies could be provided. The final area is chemical, petrochemical and other downstream facilities such as cryogenic plants, where Yokogawa can replace legacy systems to increase productivity or implement Combustion ONE, an application developed to reduce energy consumption while reducing emissions in fire-heaters.

Ygor Guilarte López, President of Yokogawa in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, explains that as well as these areas, there is a general need to improve safety layers built into existing plants, as many systems currently in use were installed over two decades ago. In order to update these safety functions, they have to be decoupled from existing systems and integrated into Safety Instrument Systems (SIS). SIS includes emergency shutdown systems, fire and gas detection systems, and critical control applications like burner management systems, compressor control and turbo machinery control.

Yokogawa has a programme in place to implement the separation of these safety functions from outdated automation systems, and Guilarte López hopes that the activity will help to lower costs for Pemex. “Having this up-to-date SIS to meet standards and best practices in industry can help lower insurance costs the operators have to pay for their plants today. These savings alone can justify the project implementation, and allows companies to focus on performance.” One key cost-saving factor for many automation and control companies is that their solutions frequently lower the costs of insurance where they are installed. As Pemex moves to riskier production locations such as deepwater, its insurance costs will rise significantly. Anything the company can do in order to limit these costs will be welcomed, no matter where the savings are being made across the company’s scope of operations.

As well as reducing costs through lowering insurance premiums, Yokogawa is introducing a new model for bringing incentive-based contracts to automation. “One area of field instrumentation that has been untouched for a long time is analytical. This is not only an issue for Pemex, but worldwide. Most of the data needed for tight control and optimization of a plant is lacking because advanced analysers have been neglected over time. In order to overcome this issue, we are trying to bring a different approach here in Mexico based on the incentive-based contracts that were introduced by the 2008 Energy Reform for field development. The premise is that Yokogawa can provide services and be rewarded based on the uptime performance of their systems. These contracts were perfectly designed for companies like Yokogawa, that bring technology to provide solutions to specific problems faced by the oil and gas industry here in Mexico,” says Guilarte López.

“Once we reach this level along with reliable control platforms, we can then start to implement advanced process control and optimization for Pemex. There is so much opportunity for improving this area in Mexico, and we are very excited.”