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Global oil and gas company gains increased production while saving costs

Control Performance Business Solution: Global oil and gas company gains increased production while saving costs 100% return on investment in less than six months.


Last year, a large global oil and gas company facing major productivity challenge in both its upstream and refining processes, turned to Metso and was informed about Metso's Control Performance Business Solution. The results gained have been excellent, and include improved stability and operating cost savings.

In fact, thanks to Metso's Control Performance Business Solution, this customer got 100% return on investment in less than six months.

A large global oil and gas company was facing major challenge in both its upstream and refining processes. High levels of process variability were leading to issues with stability of the operation, and were limiting production. Many of these problems could be traced to fundamental performance issues with instrumentation, valves, and process control. Upon initial inspection, it was unclear which devices were underperforming, causing instability in the production process. How could the company increase production and stabilize its operations? There had been several earlier attempts to solve the performance issue with no success.

Last year, the company turned to Metso for professional advice and was informed about Metso's Control Performance Business Solution. This customized service program helps customers to identify, diagnose, prioritize, and resolve control system issues that have an economic impact on operations.

The results gained have been excellent, and include improved stability and operating cost savings. The Control Performance approach identified broken instruments, pinpointed mechanical problems in control valves, ranked the biggest payback control loops, found root causes, and improved process understanding. In fact, thanks to Metso's Control Performance Business Solution, this customer got 100% return on investment in less than six months.

“Metso's Control Performance Business Solution brings significant value to our clients. By identifying bottlenecks, discovering true root causes, and prioritizing maintenance, our clients see an immediate improvement in process stability. As you would expect, this stability directly delivers improvements in qualities and yields. What is less obvious is that stability also delivers energy savings, allowing operations to push the process, resulting in increased production rates. Additional benefits include improved resource effectiveness and lower maintenance costs,’’ Mikko Keto, President, Services, Automation, Metso points out.

Targeting maximized process performance

Before selecting Metso, the company with over 500,000 field instruments in its upstream operations spread over a vast geographical area had several unsolved issues. They did not know which of the devices was underperforming and causing instability in the production process. They also wanted to know how loop control and maintenance could be improved.

A wide variety of problems were uncovered. Metso’s team, working with the client, discovered control systems with improper configuration, broken valves, faulty instruments, and controller tuning that was far from the optimum.

In its refinery operations, too, the company was searching for a way to stabilize operations, increase production, improve yields and qualities. There had been earlier attempts to solve performance issues with other loop control tools, but with no success.

The cooperation between the company and Metso started with limited-scope trial installations in refining and upstream operations with clearly defined success criteria. Metso also provided the company with training and support in identifying major issues.

A key part of the Control Performance Solution is to prioritize the action items, according to their economic benefit. The highest priority items were addressed immediately, delivering the fast return on investment. Currently, the team is focused on resolving the remaining high priority issues. Thanks to Metso, the company has understood that additional onsite technicians and engineering personnel are needed. An emphasis on continued monitoring of control performance will ensure that the benefits are sustainable.

Metso’s solution: Award-winning software combined with control performance experts

The foundation for Metso's Control Performance Business Solution is Metso ExperTune's PlantTriage software. The award-winning software is used by Metso’s experienced control performance specialists, who collect and analyze real-time performance data, identify the root cause of underperforming loops, prioritize corrective action recommendations and manage the resolution of issues. These specialists are trained to recognize the economic value of control improvement so they can focus on the most important issues and report on their impact in business terms.

“Typically 30% of all plant controls are not fully performing, with the result that plant performance is significantly impacted. The challenge is to correctly identify the underperforming controls, identify the root cause and implement the corrective measures,” Mikko Keto says.

When process controls are working well, they respond swiftly to any disturbances, applying just the right amount of correction. When controls are not performing correctly, the inappropriate response will add to the process variability, or may even create an unstable situation.

“Our customers have achieved remarkable process improvements through our service that identifies the root cause of underperforming loops, makes and prioritizes corrective action recommendations, and reports progress,” adds Metso’s Mikko Keto.

He continues: “At Metso, we are heavily expanding our intelligent solution offerings. This builds on the expertise of our people, our world-class software tools and business processes, which make us a value-adding business partner for our clients in the pulp and paper, oil and gas, as well as mining and chemical industries.”