Solutions that matter: advances in upstream oil and gas

27. April 2012 16:42

Addressing the challenges of producing more oil and gas with technology

Oil prices are expected to steadily increase over the next 20 years, reaching over $200 a barrel by 2030. With prices at this level, the constraints on production become less about resource availability and more about environmental concerns.

With relatively high and volatile oil and gas prices becoming the new normal in the market, producers have to move beyond "easy oil" in their quest to meet a growing global demand for energy. Some of the key drivers that are moving companies to more unconventional sources are technology, economics and geopolitics.

ABB is using technology to provide industry-specific enablers to help upstream oil and gas companies solve the challenges of moving into more unconventional environments. Based on existing core competencies, ABB has selected automation and electrical systems as the starting point for solutions.

The company has identified four specific focus areas through 2015:

    · Deepwater and subsea (as companies such as Statoil move away from topsides)
    · Enhanced oil recovery and the digital oil field (to increase production through higher recovery rates)
    · Unconventional/difficult resources (for example, shale development is currently focused in North America but is a global opportunity)
    · Energy efficiency and electrification (less energy used in the production process means more is available for consumers)
These focus areas will allow ABB to increase its relevance for oil and gas companies and help them increase recovery rates from their assets.

Reported by Stephanie Jones

1 comment

What you should know about ISO 50001

26. April 2012 18:10

The new standard could influence as much as 60 percent of the world's energy use.

ISO 50001 is a voluntary international standard launched in 2011 to provide a framework for industry, the commercial sector and organizations to manage energy use. It was developed with the participation of 56 countries, and is strongly supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The fundamental principle of ISO 50001 is that it shifts energy efficiency from a project-to-project approach to a systematic approach with an eye towards continuous improvement.

This is important because behaviors and practices can influence energy efficiency as much as technology upgrades, if not more for some organizations. And, the barriers to energy efficiency are often not related to technologies but to a lack of knowledge or a clear business case.

ISO 50001 uses measuring and reporting to set baselines, establish key performance indicators, and quantify the impact of energy efficiency. This can help organizations evaluate energy efficiency investments and ensure that they can compete in the boardroom with other investment alternatives.

A continuous improvement approach to energy efficiency is used by many best-in-class organizations, and tends to produce the greatest savings. ISO 50001 follows the typical plan-do-check-act protocol of many quality programs; however it does not prescribe any particular performance criteria or results. It can also link to other international standards such as the ISO 14000 environmental management standard.

The US DOE has published a number of informative resources on ISO 50001 at the website below, which includes overviews, video testimonials of companies who have already employed the standard, and links to implementation experts.

Reported by Phil Lewin


Eight ways to build a successful energy management program

26. April 2012 18:02

We've seen some pretty sophisticated technologies this week to improve energy efficiency. What are some of the basic steps an organization can take?

Mark Lambert is a 20 year veteran of energy management, and currently is in charge of supplying electricity, HVAC and water to 37 buildings at the University of Windsor, Canada. Here is his list of the basic elements of a strong energy management program.

1. First and foremost, top-down support from senior management is critical. In addition to university administrators, Mark shares information on energy performance with the Deans of each of the school's colleges. This promotes healthy intra-college competition for energy efficiency, and can raise challenges to the university's Board of Governors.

2. One person must be dedicated as a full time energy manager. This is a full time job, and too important to be "double hatted."

3. Training is critical, both for management to understand energy issues, and for the front line workers to understand the program fundamentals, their roles and responsibilities, and the impact of their efforts on the organization's success.

4. Energy management is not something owned by the energy manager, it is an organization-wide commitment to continuous improvement, and therefore must be embedded in all processes.

5. Create an interdisciplinary energy team, with decision makers from all the energy touch points – facilities, operations, finance and maintenance. Poor energy performance often comes from mis-aligned priorities, for example scheduling activities for convenience at a time where they will incur peak demand charges.

6. Recognize that this energy team cannot oversee all needed activities – the creation of sub-committees at the specialist level is essential, with people who have hands-on application experience.

7. Make sure the energy team has a vested interest in success. Energy performance metrics are part of the energy team's job description at the University of Windsor, and are linked to annual performance reviews and pay incentives. Another important dimension of this is recognizing their contributions, and communicating regularly so the entire organization sees the difference the energy management program provides.

8. Make sure you have the right support systems, including metering and an energy management system (EMS). Mark noted that many facilities do not have the right metering for their specific applications or environmental conditions. It's also important to have regular preventive maintenance programs in place. He has seen many facilities install meters and forget about them, yet continue to assume their accuracy.

The paradox of metering is that it can overwhelm energy managers with a flood of data. A good EMS distills this sea of data into a few "critical nuggets" of information that can identify poor performance early, improve decision making, quantify success, and help set utility budgets.

Mark closed by underscoring the importance of starting small and building on successes – energy management is a process that takes time, and you need to demonstrate the value you are adding to the organization at every step.

Reported by Phil Lewin


A reliable plant is a safer plant

26. April 2012 14:53

ARC Advisory Group’s Harry Forbes wrapped up the Business Forum track today with a presentation on safety. He spoke about the relationship between safety and reliability, specifically in how maintenance practices impact safety in industrial plants.

"Reactive maintenance is two to five times as expensive as a more pro-active approach," said Forbes, but he went on to note that maintenance activities—especially unscheduled repairs—create the situations in which injuries and even fatal accidents are more likely to occur.

Forbes also talked about the "tennis match" that can ensue between operations and maintenance functions when the objective is just to keep the plant up and running. Neither side is willing to take responsibility for stepping back and improving the overall process.

Interestingly, this is largely a cultural issue. Forbes noted that in situations where a plant's maintenance function is turned over to a third party under a performance contract, the same maintenance staff is able to produce far better results. The formalization of the working relationship between the two groups forces negotiation of the issues.


Social Media in Industrial Sectors

26. April 2012 10:58

David Quin presented a case study for CenterPoint Energy on how they use Social Media for their business. When developing the social media strategy, they looked at the statistics that only half of those who complained via social media channels expected a response. David wanted to surprise them.


David Marshall - Marketing Communications Manager
Greg Wilkinson - Partner of Growthpoint
David Quin - Director of Communications Strategy, CenterPoint Energy

There were several risks involved: Potential heightened customer service expectations, and the possibility that the channels could become a dumping ground for angry customers and opponents of company initiatives. To counter this, Mr. Quin decided to drive customer service requests to non social channels (web self service, call center), respond appropriately to customer issues, and push negative posts off Facebook with positive content. The Facebook account has a formula developed for what percentage of "News you can use", "Energy saving tips", and "Money saving offers" they post. They use two Twitter accounts - one for light hearted posts and one for serious problem solvers. CenterPoint feels that Social Media can assist in monitoring the brand, identify/respond to crisis, improve customer service and gather feedback, and improve web traffic.

While these are important goals, there are also some limitations with social media channels: a limited ability to directly drive sales, you cannot control the conversation, it still doesn't raise utility service to high interest category, and it won't eliminate advertising budgets.

Additional comments David Quin made: It is extremely important to align your social media objectives with your corporate objectives, and orient your initiatives toward changing business trends.

David Marshall cited an example of a company using social media for good customer service. David travels British Airways. While transferring flights he forgot a bag on the plane. He tweeted to @britishairways to find his bag and have it at the next gate. They tweeted back to him that it would be there. When he got to the gate the bag was waiting for him.

      • Twitter
      • Facebook
      • LinkedIn
      • Weibo
      • Print
      • Email
    •   Cancel


    Contact us

    gad00540 e658b46a1b0206fd852579ed0071437c