The oil, gas, and petrochemical industries are characterized by unstable market conditions with increased regulatory requirements, significantly higher pressures on margins and profitability with commoditized pricing. Currently, oil prices have fallen drastically worldwide on signs that oil storage is filling rapidly, raising concerns that production cuts will not come fast enough to catch the collapse in demand from the coronavirus pandemic. This point of view is an enabler to the acme, how by leveraging the digital platforms, refinery operations, and asset performance monitoring, optimization, Technical Services, advanced analytics for asset and process failure predictions, and logistics planning can be executed remotely and centrally how Digital Refinery Operations Hubs will contribute signiﬁcantly to save cost and improve the productivity, efﬁciency, asset life, process safety, and hence the margins.
Current scenario and gap
Refinery unit operations are highly instrumented and are controlled in real-time on a millisecond basis through Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and are managed through Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and ERP applications that are deployed in each site. Unintegrated IT and OT environments across sites have made work processes disjointed. For example, planning and scheduling activities are done in an IT environment, but the operations team in the OT environment executes those plans and/or schedules. Frequently, changes in plant equipment performance, operation delays, and equipment or process unavailability are unknown to/across sites and headquarters functions in IT environments.
However, most process and asset performance monitoring, failure predictions, optimization, and logistics planning can be executed remotely and centrally across multiple sites more cost-effectively by leveraging digital technologies, data management platforms, advanced analytics, and setting up central digital refinery operations hubs. Doing so breaks silos, instills a culture of collaboration, and brings the best IT practices into the OT domain without compromising any of the characteristics of the OT environment.