OPIN­ION

Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East - - CONTENTS - Colin Chap­man is pres­i­dent and Eka­te­rina Ka­li­nenko is project di­rec­tor at Euro Petroleum Con­sul­tants.

Colin Chap­man and Eka­te­rina Ka­li­nenko of Euro Petroleum Con­sul­tants on op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence

The key to con­tin­ued suc­cess in terms of Op­er­a­tional Ex­cel­lence (Opex) is chang­ing the cul­ture of the work­force. Ev­ery­one must feel to be part of the team and be mo­ti­vated to en­sure im­proved per­for­mance. There is a new gen­er­a­tion of en­gi­neers needed to al­low com­pa­nies to ben­e­fit from the new tools of­fered by dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and con­nected plants, opine Colin Chap­man and Eka­te­rina Ka­li­nenko

Ahigh level of op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency has al­ways been of the ut­most im­por­tance for the oil, gas and petro­chem­i­cal in­dus­tries. Com­pa­nies in­vest bil­lions of dol­lars in high-qual­ity as­set ac­qui­si­tion, and re­turn on in­vest­ment is only pos­si­ble if plants are op­er­ated safely and ef­fi­ciently. In the past five years, we have wit­nessed high volatil­ity in oil and gas prices; so, the role of Opex is greater than ever. Con­nect­ing ma­chines, plants, data and peo­ple, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is al­ready bring­ing huge ben­e­fits to many in­dus­tries in dif­fer­ent re­gions of the world. The oil and gas sec­tors have some­what lagged be­hind in adopt­ing such tech­nolo­gies and pro­grammes. How­ever, we are now hear­ing more ex­am­ples of the Con­nected Plant ap­proach of­fered by com­pa­nies such as Honey­well, AVEVA, and oth­ers.

There are some very good ex­am­ples of ben­e­fit­ing from dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion. Euro­pean re­fin­ers are pro­cess­ing dif­fer­ent crudes pur­chased on the mar­ket based upon avail­abil­ity, qual­ity, price and which best suits their op­er­a­tions and mar­kets. This re­lies on ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and the abil­ity to pre­dict plant per­for­mance, and also any process changes. Of course, this ap­proach is only pos­si­ble in cer­tain ge­o­graphic re­gions – if we look at Rus­sia, the sit­u­a­tion is very dif­fer­ent. The re­fin­ing sec­tor in Rus­sia is quite spe­cific. There are many large re­finer­ies in dif­fer­ent re­gions of the coun­try. Many were built dur­ing the Soviet times and lo­cated quite of­ten in­land, mean­ing less flex­i­bil­ity to vary the crude feed­stock due to their ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion. There have been sev­eral changes of own­er­ship over the years and hence some re­finer­ies have un­der­gone mod­erni­sa­tion pro­grammes, whereas some have lacked in such large in­vest­ments. Here, there is a real op­por­tu­nity to in­crease ef­fi­ciency of re­fin­ing op­er­a­tions by adopt­ing some of the key as­pects of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion.

State com­pa­nies such as Ros­neft and Gazprom Neft own the ma­jor­ity of Rus­sian re­finer­ies along with Lukoil, the largest in­dus­trial pub­lic com­pany. The im­por­tance of such top­ics is clearly in­di­cated in plans and achieve­ments of these com­pa­nies. Euro Petroleum Con­sul­tants have been or­gan­is­ing spe­cific fo­rums based upon Opex in Rus­sia and in other re­gions for the past 10 years.

Most re­cently, we held the 5th Rus­sian edi­tion of the event in Sochi in Novem­ber, bring­ing to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives of re­fin­ing and petro­chem­i­cal com­pa­nies and lead­ing providers of tech­nolo­gies, ser­vices and so­lu­tions to dis­cuss the key is­sues. The event was sup­ported by both Ros­neft and Gazprom Neft and at­tended with large del­e­ga­tions by all their ma­jor re­finer­ies. There was a real ex­change of ex­pe­ri­ences be­tween these im­por­tant com­pa­nies and this will be of real help to im­prove their fu­ture ac­tiv­i­ties in their re­spec­tive Opex jour­ney. In the open­ing speech of Opex 2018, the di­rec­tor of oil re­fin­ing ef­fi­ciency depart­ment of Ros­neft noted the high im­por­tance of im­prov­ing Opex for the com­pany: “To­day, Ros­neft is the leader in terms of ca­pac­i­ties and vol­umes of oil re­fin­ing. The com­pany’s ac­tiv­i­ties in the field of re­fin­ing in re­cent years were aimed at meet­ing the mar­ket de­mand for high-qual­ity petroleum prod­ucts and at in­creas­ing in­ter­nal ef­fi­ciency and com­pet­i­tive­ness. Con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment of pro­duc­tion and man­age­ment pro­cesses is the main source of added value and high as­set mar­gins.”

Gazprom Neft rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ re­ports fo­cused on projects al­ready im­ple­mented at a num­ber of their plants. The man­ager of per­spec­tive projects pro­gramme at Gazprom Neft shared plans and ini­tial re­sults of in­tro­duc­ing in­no­va­tive ap­proach to op­er­at­ing man­age­ment, which is called the Gold Stan­dard Sys­tem (OMS). The goal of this sys­tem is to en­sure max­i­mum Opex for the com­pany in terms of re­li­a­bil­ity and safety of pro­duc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and the in­volve­ment of all em­ploy­ees in the con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment process through cor­po­rate cul­ture de­vel­op­ment. A sim­i­lar sys­tem al­lowed cor­po­ra­tions such as Dupont, Cono­cophillips, Exxonmo­bil, BP and Chevron to achieve a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in pro­duc­tion and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance. The first plat­form for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­gramme was the Gazprom Neft’s Omsk lubri­cants plant. Spe­cial at­ten­tion is paid to the most im­por­tant com­po­nents of any sys­tem for im­prov­ing Opex – hu­man re­sources and their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the process. The cor­po­rate cul­ture of Opex is an in­dis­pens­able link of all el­e­ments. Its level ul­ti­mately de­ter­mines the ex­tent to which the com­pany achieves sus­tain­able growth ob­jec­tives.

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