Digitalisation for Future Refinery
T V Ramarao
Chief General Manager - Information Systems & Digital
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Priya Bhagwat
Chief Manager - Digital Systems & Digital
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Anuradha Shenoy
Chief Manager - Information Systems Systems & Digital
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Today's Refineries are adopting newer technologies in digital way to optimise margins and operations. Needless to say the digital transformation helps refineries to become highly reliable, versatile, and well integrated in terms of technology and workflow. This paper aims at evolving landscape and roadmap for BPCL refineries digital transformation moving to next level for achieving business efficiency and excellence at par with industry and leaders.

While the oil and gas industry remains to be of continual operational nature, achieving a revolution on performance stresses a fresh outlook on field operations. Today's modern systems include additional features not found in legacy systems, such as embedded advanced process control, statistics based data monitoring, smart device checking, asset health monitoring and more. Refineries have to constantly adopt new technologies to earn more refining margins. Needless to mention the industry needs a significant investment in upgrading and augmenting fixed assets, which are expensive to maintain and always subjected to on-going environmental, health and safety regulations.

BPCL has been a forerunner in implementing new technologies and as a result, our refineries are highly reliable, versatile, and well integrated in terms of technology and workflow. In the past few decades this leap has been substantial with IT enabled applications in all the disciplines viz operations, technical services, Human resource management, finance, purchases, projects etc.

A significant number of experienced refinery personnel will superannuate in coming years. Younger and less experienced personnel need to gear up to run refineries safely, reliably and efficiently by utilising the recent advances in automation such as smart devices and accompanying embedded human center designed systems.

This paper aims at evolving landscape and roadmap for our refinery's digital transformation moving to next level for achieving business efficiency and excellence at par with industry and leaders.

What is Digital
Digital Refinery is single concise view of Refinery operations for greater operational productivity & optimisation, by effective data gathering, data management, better projections through advanced analytics and data modeling keeping safety and security in the forefront. In this age of connectivity and mobility that has enhanced user- oriented patterns in every aspect of life, there is an imminent need to apply this concept to industries and more specifically to a traditional industry like ours Connecting process, people and finally product is already creating farreaching changes to the industry.

Digitalisation is enabling extensive monitoring, integrated operations, remote configuration, and self-management, in turn more efficient field operations. As a successful Oil refining and marketing company, we are in the process of weaving digital thread through our processes and building an ecosystem, to enable combined effort and there is continuous interlinked development of value-add applications and services.

Merits of Digitalisation
By aligning to cultural shifts within the organisation, implementing updated technology and digital-based maintenance systems can help to address some operational inefficiencies, significantly improve margins and increase worker safety.
  • Operations and Process Improvement:Delivering insights including event prediction to enable flawless execution and to highlight how to maximise profitability across operating equipment.
  • Worker Safety: Ensuring workforces are kept safe from hazardous substances and can be safely located in the event of any incidents.
  • Asset Reliability: Using data and analytics to provide insight into equipment operations and ensuring maintenance is performed on a timely basis, while increasing uptime and reducing costs.
  • Worker Productivity: Providing relevant information to the employee on time, at the right location and in the right format, including training to help increase effectiveness.
  • Analytical Insights: Utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help to predict and avoid potentially detrimental operational parameters or situations in a timely manner
Considering all aspec ts of refining including the core and support functions, various initiatives that can be taken up for improving operational efficiency are:

1. Operations: The core of refining industry are the raw materials i.e. crude, the unit operations and processes which conver ts the crude into valuable products, equipments that per form various functions, blending of various component products into final grade products and finally the product dispatches which send the products out to marketing terminals via various modes like pipelines, road, rail etc. The entire value chain, of supply, support services and logistics get interconnected. The digital levers are available to improve efficiency. Various strategies that can be under taken for this are:
a) Wireless transmitters for equipment health monitor, not being measured but do form part of critical monitoring like suction discharge pressures for pumps, vibration of be a ring, motor amperage and temperature etc., reciprocating and centrifugal compressor performance, steam traps, Furnaces.
b) Furnace efficiency closed loop handling through oxygen analyzer, Stack emissions control through sulfur analyzer for fuel oil handling.
c) Analytics: App based monitoring for all equipments by connecting wireless transmitters in all process units. Aler ts for malfunction and suggestions for corrective actions for unforeseen shutdowns.
d) Online simulation based unit optimisation: Real Time Optimizer(RTO) for feedstock and product quantity and quality. Across units and for blended products.
e) Blend property control (BPC) through integration of Real time optimizer with BPC in blending section to automate product properties for property prediction thus reducing giveaway and time lag from laboratory based results analysis.
f) LPG carasoule Automation using robots.

2.Maintenance: One of the most important support functions for operations is maintenance depar tment which takes care of reliability, equipment health check, electrical, instrumentation and civil support. The heart of operations is equipment and critically the rotating ones like pumps, compressors which are subjected to severe conditions and wear and tear can be over hauled only during turnarounds.

At the same time elec trical supplies, substations management, instrument cables, valves, positioners, marshalling blocks, accurate measurements through sensing elements are the key to smooth running and monitoring of process operations.
a) Electronic marshalling for all units.
b) Wireless transmitters and app based monitoring for critical indications.
c) Smart positioners and their monitoring through interface for critical valves.
d) Integration of Bentley systems to app based monitoring for deviation from compressor operation.
e) Cyber security of all the instrument hubs in control rooms through automatic patch updates for antivirus solutions.
f) Substation improvement.
g) Reliability improvement for equipments using predictive and prescriptive analytics like deviation from design or desired specs and warnings, alerts for malfunction.

3. Inspection: Equipment health, life and impor tantly pipelines etc are being monitored for thickness, remaining life, corrosion and material failure etc through Inspection depar tment. With new practices about equipment life check, there are new age systems available for robust database to automate scheduled checks and inspection. The typical turnaround times can be widened using proactive inspection systems which can cer tify healthiness of equipments and pipelines to avoid opening them during major turnarounds.

a) Use of Industrial Drone technology for stack inspection.
b) Wireless non-intrusive integrity (corrosion monitoring) systems.
c) Implementation of Asset performance management (APM) which is integrated with the information systems to automate data inputs and generate aler ts m\based on operating conditions and health check of equipments.

4. Safety: Safety is the key to any industry for productive and risk free working. Since all manufacturing industries are associated with hazardous materials .While safety standards are always complied with, there are number of incidences where safety can be enhanced with new solutions

a) Real Times Location Sensors for employees and contractors:
Tracking of these devices to constantly track location of staff while they move inside refinery to quickly approach for help in case any measures are required from Fire and Safety control room.
b) Continuous monitoring of the manpower inside hazardous area.
c) Process Safety: A digital solution allows refineries the flexibility to input all kinds of data and create benchmarks focused on safety. When hazards exceed the values outside the acceptable range, it creates an alert in the system. This means that a refinery can examine all the rules and regulations, input them into the system, and constantly remain in full compliance.

5. Technical services: The complimentary support function any operating unit needs is Technical Services. While the units gets commissioned with the help of licensors, its constant performance, yields, catalyst and chemicals requirements. The digitalisation avenues available for the function are plenty.

a) Integration of Advanced process control with simulation for real time optimisation of unit for maximising value.
b) Integrating crude blender outputs for crude quality with Indigenous crude quality estimator for generating crude oil TBP to link with simulation solutions for optimising high volumes of crude unit.
c) Integration of laboratory QC with automated production values for quick actions for off spec or giveaway reduction.
d) Solutions for estimating and reducing GHAG, SOX, emission. Using non -intrusive solutions to track relief devices leakage or fugitive emissions.
e) Comparing current usage of resources such as energy to its expected usage under current conditions and determining possible causes of variation.
f ) Energy supply/demand optimisation. Steam and water balance. Prediction of flare vents and subsequent actions in units to reduce them automatically.
g) Financial Optimisation.
i. increasing yields of most valuable products
ii. Detecting and dissecting complex interacting constraints on production
iii. Determining reasons for product quality/yield issues
iv. Understanding patterns and relationships - developing statistical models that explain them
6. Purchases and Contracts: This func tion is the key to all the relationships that get built with vendors, customers and suppliers. The best place to use smart technologies to reduce cycle time and improve transactional time and experience for all concerned be it internal or external. Purchases and contracting systems helps convert proposals into actions using tools like SAP, vendor management and related applications.

a) Auto PO generation once all evaluations and Technical evaluation committees approvals in place.
b) Purchase requisition to purchase order cycle reduction through automated tender acceptance route for single party/proprietary/OEM proposals.
c) Analytics for analysing contract adherence, invoicing behavior, and supplier performance; and generate supplier profiles and scorecards.
d) Application for Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculations for high volumes of similar parts.
e) Create predictive order configurations for repeat buyers, reducing processing time and encouraging the use of standard order templates. Systems will interconnect with those of suppliers to transmit digital POs and invoices, eliminating the need for invoice matching.
f) Receipt of goods and ser vices to be automatically tracked using radio -frequency identification (RFID), quick-response (QR) codes and other automated techniques.
g) Extend digital technologies, such as the internet of things, predictive analytics, and ar tificial intelligence to machinery and equipment, and consumables. This can have a substantial impact as planning and inventory management are key requirements.
h) Enhance contract management tools and workflow with natural language processing and RPA-based applications that help scan contracts, search and extract relevant metadata, and create outline agreements and catalog content.

7.Projects: As in every industry, new capital construction projects in the refinery sector are decided upon and dictated by economics today and forecast for tomorrow. Capital expenditure is the most visible and arguably the most critical facet of undertaking a new refinery project. Risk mitigation is a high priority; leveraging experienced resources and keys take holders early in the project can mitigate risk. The continuing evolution in digital computing and communication capabilities as well as the application of these technologies has led to fundamental differences in the way refineries are designed, commissioned, operated, and maintained.

a) Project tracking system for physical and financial progress with respect to plan.
b) Intelligent P & IDs and documentation system.
c) Integration of FEED(Front End Engineering and Design)and Main Automation Contractor.
d) In clusion of Predictive maintenance software, safety instrumented systems (SIS), fire and gas systems, pressure and temperature transmitters and digital valve controllers - all using FOUNDATION™fieldbus, HART, OPC and Modbus communication technologies and delivering information to a real-time database, as part of the integrated refining and petrochemicals project.
e) 6D project tracking to reduce cost and time overruns.
f) Online monitoring of remote sites from headquarters using CCTV monitoring systems.



8. Estates and Colony: The workforce management which includes township around refinery forms an important place to take the digital initiatives and improve management.

a) Automatic Waste Segregator (AWS-ONE)
b) WIFI at major locations
c) Access control system for guests and visitors
a) SMART parking
b) RFID and GPS based school bus tracking
c) Smart Solar LED Streetlights with sensor technology
d) Smart metering & energy optimisation
e) Water conservation & management
f) Cash less transactions
g) Developing or adopting "feature packed town ship management app".
h) Building management system

Realising this early, BPCL Mumbai refinery embarked on the journey of Digitalisation in May 2018. A good number of digital initiatives in various areas were identified and by now have gained good grip.

With this, the roadmap for Mumbai refinery is being shaped out for period of about next 3-5 years to reach the next level of Industrial Revolution 4.0. There are parallel adoption processes underway. The first (operational digitalisation) to help deliver immediate benefit, the second (strategic digitalisation) is long term and addresses organisational change. While the extent of change the fourth industrial revolution will bring is little known , BPCL Mumbai refinery is capitalising on this and has plans to embrace it in a timely fashion.

Refinery of the Future
As we leap frog ahead, our vision is to be beyond Maharatna and be recognised globally for excellence in Operations, HSSE, Reliability with enviable margins, all enabled with the right blend of Digital Strategy, Vision, Processes leading to happy employees, customers and stakeholders.

Digitalisation can take us towards being a silent Refinery focusing on greener environment. We aspire to not only augment the processing capacity with world-class quality products but be digital leader in refining industry and compete successfully in the agile market.