Hydro: eOperations to Cut Oil and Gas Production Losses

Director General of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Gunnar Berge, formally opened a new phase in Hydro's developments in eOperations, or integrated operations, on Wednesday.

Hydro's director of Business Control and Improvements, Rolf I. Jacobsen, commented: "Use of new technology and work processes will help us keep equipment running constantly. This will contribute to considerable reductions in lost oil and gas production."

Failures and malfunctions involving heavy rotating machinery on the platforms in the North Sea can lead to major production losses of both oil and gas. Failures caused by equipment failure in heavy rotating plant has major consequences. Last year the ten largest production losses amounted to some 1.6 million barrels.

Hydro is investing in closer monitoring systems that enable land-based specialists to support the process operators on the platforms, helping to prevent failures on equipment offshore. In Hydro's operations room at Sandsli, advanced control systems and vigilant experts continually monitor 165 heavy turbines, compressors and pumps offshore.

Director General of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Gunnar Berge, officially opened the operations room that will be permanently manned with two staff during normal working hours.

Comprehensive monitoring

The operators in the operations room will support the field units and offshore organization in their work with keeping the equipment in continuous operation. Hydro already has extensive experience in monitoring heavy rotating equipment offshore. Today, new technology makes it possible to support personnel offshore in the work to prevent failures from occurring.

"From Sandsli, we follow up the condition of over 30 gas turbines, 35 gas compressor trains and over 100 large pumps on Hydro's platforms on a daily basis," said Jacobsen, during the opening ceremony. The permanently manned operations room for rotating machinery is an important tool to further strengthen monitoring.

Discovering faults early

In the operations room, the operators can monitor the rotating equipment used offshore, and through custom computer software, automatic early warning alarms can be set so that they can be alerted to negative trends.

"If we discover something, we can warn the field units, and together we can implement initiatives to avoid the matter developing into a larger problem," said Gunnar Nodeland, process owner for heavy rotating equipment.

The operators in the new operations room will cooperate closely with the crews offshore, and be an extra resource in the work to avoid production stoppages involving rotating equipment.

Extensive eOperations efforts

The opening Wednesday represents a continuation of an extensive eOperations initiative in Hydro. Gunnar Berge also marked the opening of a new operations room for the operation and maintenance of fiscal metering stations at Sandsli.

The new operations room, for surveillance of a total of 54 metering stations on Hydro's platforms and at the Sture terminal, provides better quality surveillance and maintenance planning of the metering stations. Fiscal metering stations are used to measure oil and gas volumes which are treated and transported from fields and platforms in order to ensure correct distribution of volumes and resources between the various owners of the fields.

Onshore support within the area of equipment surveillance has made it possible to move tasks from the platforms to land, enabling Hydro to exploit specialist expertise on land.

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