Eliminating unpleasant surprises from oil, gas and chemical industry automation projects

What will greenfield and brownfield projects that heavily leverage automation be like in the future?

For oil, gas and chemical companies, tomorrow will look a bit like today – but smarter and more predictable. You’ll see fewer unpleasant surprises. Less timeline overrun, too – leading to smoother projects, with stronger business results and less risk.

First, let’s look at how these projects are happening today.

Then I’ll tell you why a bright future is very real. And actually possible to realize today.

The old way

Traditionally, a complex project is tackled like an assembly line. Individual parts are added, one at a time, but no testing occurs until assembly is complete. Think of an automotive assembly plant: You put in the engine, add the doors and windows, the hood, and everything else. Then you test it.

In that example, if you get it all together, test it and find that the engine doesn’t work, you simply pull it out and fix the problem.

But if you build an entire, complicated and interconnected plant? Then test at the end of the project, and find it doesn’t work?

That’s a protracted, costly and painful problem. And it’s one that happens all the time: 64% of oil, gas and chemicals companies are facing cost overruns, and 73% are reporting schedule delays.

Intelligent Projects: Our vision for tomorrow

We’re working to fundamentally change the way automation projects are managed – and meet the industry’s need for predictability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

We offer an approach that leverages standardized components that are proven to work together – with provisions to test before commissioning and to share key operational data. So that when final assembly is complete, everything works. And issues are identified and resolved before they become expensive and time-consuming to fix.

We call our model Intelligent Projects. It’s enabled by four key components:

First: Standardization. To simplify software and hardware design and eliminate the need for factory acceptance testing of hardware. This drives down costs and shortens the design schedule.

Second: Cloud engineering. Which makes standard designs, methodologies, engineering workflows and support tools accessible to all project execution groups. Plus, testing can be conducted off-site via virtual commissioning, which results in fewer changes and modifications being required later.

Third: Digital marshalling. With the addition of our new Select I/O, we can decouple project tasks, which makes them more resistant to late changes and allows application programming to be done in parallel with hardware engineering.

Fourth and finally: Automated data management. This eliminates manual steps and reduces human error, converts data in multiple formats from many sources into a common format for engineering teams and shortens the time needed to transfer data, documents and approvals.

Smarter projects are possible today

Our Intelligent Projects management framework is available today to help solve your challenges and prevent costly project mishaps.

Let’s talk soon about how you can make use of it – and wave goodbye to unpleasant project surprises in the process.

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About the author

Dan Overly

I am Global Head of Product and Business Development for BU Oil, Gas and Chemicals. In this role, I manage the BU portfolio of products and the responsible product managers to ensure alignment with market and customer requirements. I enforce global standardization of products to ensure consistent delivery and performance in all countries. I am also responsible for expanding our offering through strategic partnerships and inorganic growth potential to further enhance ABB’s value to our clients. I joined ABB in 1987 and has held various roles in engineering, sales, marketing, regional management, product management, enterprise software and global services. I obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering and currently live in the US.
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