Stephen Stein, AP South Industry Business Consultant to Dassault Systèmes, participated in a panel session: “The Journey Towards Operational Excellence – Optimizing Downstream Assets”, at the Refining & Petrochemicals World (RPW), January 17- 18, 2020, Pattaya Thailand.
Mr. Bob Gill, General Manager, Southeast Asia, ARC Advisory Group moderated the panel. It included Mrs. Napaporn Ratanapoka, Vice President, Refinery, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited; Mr. Thodsapol Chadchavalpanichaya, Principal Consultant, PTT Energy Solutions, and Mr. Stein.
The panel addressed some of the opportunities and challenges faced by operators in downstream refining and petrochemicals in the journey toward operational excellence, including:
- What does operational excellence mean and how should it be measured?
- What operational excellence programs have been adopted by downstream companies to, for example, maximise yield, increase asset performance, and enhance safety performance?
- How should technology and people complement each other in operational excellence programs?
- Digitalization initiatives e.g. IoT, analytics, AI, focused on operational excellence?
- For the downstream industry, specific challenges versus other industries that complicate operational excellence efforts?
- As the downstream industry evolves over the next decade with trends like crude-to-chemicals, how will the demands and priorities with regard to operational excellence change?
Here are some key takeaways from Stephen Stein from the panel discussion:
The challenges of Operational Excellence in brownfield sites
“Senior people and the experience they bring are the company’s most valuable asset. Plants are losing experience to retirement of senior staff. In some cases, this is coupled with ageing equipment and systems. Younger maintenance and operations personnel sometimes lack the experience or are reluctant to work on older systems, which are often poorly documented. It is critically important to develop our people and teams in parallel with the adoption of new technologies.”
Digitalization programs and initiatives that can help build Operational Excellence
“For process plants old and new, Operational Excellence should include learning management for building knowledge, skills, and experience; not only for new-hires, but also experienced personnel. There are many methods for building knowledge, the traditional element of training. Operations skills development is accomplished with the help of dynamic operator training simulators (OTS). The missing element has been building, capturing, and transferring ‘experience’.
“Today, owner/ operators of downstream plants need to build 20 years of experience in a much shorter period. Application of process plant digital “Operational Experience Twins” bring together all applications and data into a common collaboration ecosystem. This includes process design, operations, maintenance, inspection, turnaround, real-time process data, simulators, and Multi-D models. Integrating these data, applications and models into a digital collaboration platform facilitates the capture and transfer of lessons learned, and experience from senior team members to junior colleagues. Building, transferring, and preserving experience is one of the most critical objectives for achieving operational excellence.”
For more information on Dassault Systèmes’ industry solutions for downstream companies looking to achieve Operational Excellence, please download our solution for TURNAROUND MANAGEMENT here.