Alfredo Castrejón
Vice-President for Latin America
Bentley Systems
View from the Top

Providing Lifecycle Solutions for Infraestructure Projects

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:43

Q: What have been the major ways in which Bentley Systems’ services and technologies have contributed to the Mexican oil and gas industry?

A: Bentley Systems (Bentley) started as a pure software company back in 1984. Ever since, we have undergone many transformations by way of organic growth, acquisitions, and developing additional business lines and different products. Along the way, we realized that Mexico is a very rich country in terms of natural resources. It is problematic, though, to concentrate exclusively on extracting and transforming these resources without replenishing the environment. This is why Bentley is committed to going beyond extraction and transformation, and adding value to the environment. Bentley facilitates the interface between the planet and people by providing services and technology to infrastructure projects. Bentley’s core service is infrastructure and lifecycle information management, covering design, construction, operations, management, and decommissioning.

Q: What are the flagship solutions you offer for the different segments of the oil and gas industry?

A: Our leadership in terms of structural analysis for offshore projects is of great significance, and our software is used in around 90% of offshore projects worldwide. For the downstream segment, our solutions revolve around times when facilities like refineries need to be revamped or redesigned. When that point is reached, often after decades of operation, a lot of data has been generated. This data could come in the form of endless reams of paper or be stored nowhere but in the minds of experienced staff about to retire. Bentley gathers all this information in a cohesive way to understand as much as possible about what is already installed and to transfer this information into models that can grow and respond to new challenges. Specifically, we can contribute to decrease unexpected shutdowns. We help to reduce insurance payments by identifying parts of plants that need to immediately be shut down after an accident. We have seen instances in certain countries where, after an explosion or a fire occurs, it can take up to two days to shut down the plant because the documentation is so poor that nobody knows which parts to shut down. We can provide companies valuable information in order to reduce such negative scenarios.

Q: Bentley ideally gets involved in a project prior to construction and remains involved throughout but this can prove expensive. How do you convince potential clients to see this as an investment, not a cost?

A: Initially, Bentley used to tell companies to invest early in the game, arguing that they would lose money if they did not. Unfortunately, our arguments were sometimes dismissed or not taken seriously. Luckily, there are now independent organizations that warn against developing projects too quickly without carrying out the proper analysis. This gives us statistically valid information over hundreds of projects analyzed by the likes of IPA.

Q: What are the main contributions you can provide to increase the probabilities of projects being successful?

A: This brings up to individual components of our technology that are of use across the infrastructure lifecycle period. First of all, we begin with the design of a project. Our clients will decide what their asset will look like and start drawing it. A robust platform like Bentley’s allows clients to create not only the design but also to simulate the asset, to scrutinize how it is going to behave under operational conditions, and what sort of design parameters have to be in place for the asset to operate as planned. Once the asset is structurally sound and comes in within the budget, it has to be built. We facilitate the transfer of a vast volume of information from design to construction. In oil and gas projects, the smallest pieces of information must be tracked, classified, and integrated, leading to the construction of the original design. However, our solutions go beyond this, helping to track how elements will change over time and what materials the construction crew will need at different stages. Once the construction is finished, all the sorted information must be passed along to those who will operate the project. This second handing over period from construction to the operation and maintenance teams brings about another critical part of our technology. We enable operators to receive the project in a comprehensive manner and operate it fully as it was designed to be. Finally, after the operation period is complete, companies will decide to either decommission and dismantle it, or revamp it with the introduction of new technology. Again, we provide digital information in a structured manner that is immensely valuable for the revamp or decommissioning phases.