When Intelligent P & IDs are not Enough
The Importance of Delivering Information at the Point of Need
Vornel WalkerVice President - Product Marketing Intergraph CADWorx & Analysis Solutions

While the P & ID has been the 'go-to' document for the representation of the process and functionality of a facility, it is unfortunate that much of the rich data that P & IDs represent in the real world is seldom even available at the time of their creation. This article discusses the various methods available to link rich asset data to P & IDs and how that data can be interlinked and made available to all stakeholders at their various points of need.

The promise of legible and intelligent P & IDs has always been the touchstone of plant documentation. The sad thing is that you could ask one hundred plant owners what defines an intelligent P & ID and if you were really lucky you would get fifty answers. But at their base level all would agree that each entity on the P & ID would represent a physical entity, and there should be some way of pulling up information that links that symbol to the real world.

Having these goals for intelligence is a good start, especially if done from the start. This would mean that when information is created it would be retained and that retention would then allow those downstream to benefit from the information captured. But it is a sad truth that much of this information is not always made available at the time these P & IDs are being created. Like it or not, most of the information represented by a P & ID component is created long after the P & ID is completed.

Reality Check
What we in the software world often forget is that most information gathering is done to help someone make a decision, and hopefully the best possible decision at that moment. That being the case it is important that the best info is made available at the point of need.

We all have to take a deep breath and be realistic about how much information we need to collect and for what purpose this information is to be used. So when we look at owners drivers for information gathering and retrieval we can see that they generally fall into the following seven categories:

Expansion/Decommissioning and Demolition
Asset Inventorying
Asset Transference

Where safety is the most critical and the last, asset transference, while not critical for safety or operations, may none the less be extremely important when needed.

Coordination is the Key Challenge
"As many units are under construction and commissioning at one time with many people involved, coordination is the key challenge. The flow of information and actions is missing and delays are caused due to one-toone contact only."
*Source: TechValidate. TVID: D4A-7CF-BF5

Silos of Expediency
Obviously personnel safety and emergency procedures are of paramount importance in a facility, that is a given. But the fact is that the need of safety and emergency information is not always planned, but is almost always urgent. This means that gathering, collating and indexing of this information in advance, and in a readily accessible form, would be ideal. But typically, that is not the case.

If you visit any site you will find those one or two people that everyone knows who to turn to for information. It could be Jan for the information on the new compressor expansion or Bernie in maintenance, who may have been there for 30 years, and does not even have to look at a drawing to locate that leaky valve you were searching for.

The bottom line is that, although this may often be a convenient and expedient form of gathering information, there is a danger in relying on employees' great memories or their siloed knowledge for critical information . Likewise, we cannot risk point-of-need retrieval on anyone's good health, an accident, poor adherence to standards or people leaving our employ - we need a better plan.

"I Don't Have a Problem" - Really?
So are we even talking about a real problem? And if so, how bad is it?

One owner operator, on acquiring a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit requested all of the information on the FPSO from the past owner, and its engineering support company. In answer to this request the new owner received 11TB (terabytes) of hard drives full of information (this is equivalent to 4.8 trillion typewritten pieces of information or approximately 36 million P & IDs!), and much of this information was mostly unstructured.

In one instance, the owner enquired as to how many P & IDs covered the asset and were advised by the engineering support company that there were 150. During the capture exercise, it found that there were over 7,000 P & IDs distributed around the drives - clearly, there were many duplicates and at many stages of revision. After a full audit the new owner was finally able to determine that there were actually just over 300 master P & IDs for the asset. Double what was expected and 4 per cent of what they originally received.

Collating & checking Pre-Startup Safety Review (PSSR) information time consuming
20 experts surveyed spend 17 per cent of their time on average locating, collating, and checking information during PSSR.
*Source: TechValidate. TVID: CE3-1ED-2E5

You are not alone
The truth is that there are 1000's of well operated and functioning facilities that face the same challenges and, in an emergency situation, could anyone be absolutely certain that they have the latest information that they require at their point of need? Out of the 7000 P & IDs we mentioned previously would anyone be able to find the right one at the right revision that would show which manual valve(s) needed to be shut down in an emergency?

The bottom line is that, in an emergency, the information we deliver to the field ought to be better than 'run!'

Dealing with the Realities of Information Creation
At this point there is little point in not dealing with the reality of plant owners' situations. The truth is that owners are in possession of a vast quantity of existing electronic design information, from multiple engineering companies, created with a variety of tools.

These design systems are so varied and could include: Intergraph Smart 3D, Intergraph PDS, AVEVA PDMS, Intergraph CADWorx, Bentley AutoPLANT or AutoCAD Plant 3D or P & ID - each with their own way of representing the 'truth'. That means that whatever system is selected to gather and disseminate this information should have the ability to use as much of this information as already exists. Additionally, users should be able to navigate between the tagged assets inside the system, and the streamed 3D model representation of the plant, regardless of the format the information was originally created .

Fake it till you make it
Software vendors often speak about intelligent systems and information gathering and the downstream benefits that can come from having that information available to all stakeholders. On a positive note the truth is that those benefits are not only real, but can be quantified in hard cash .

Then what is not to like? Well, for a plant owner, whose assets can range in age from one week to sometimes one hundred years, it would make the task of documenting and collating existing plant information daunting. This should be no surprise as information could be held on anything from scanned drawings to fully intelligent 3D plant models.

So is it possible to access this collateral and thereby leverage the investments already made in the creation of existing information? Well the answer is 'yes' to providing access, as even the oldest drawings can be scanned and made available electronically. The real challenge is not being able to view drawings, but in accessing the underlying information these drawings, documents, and files represent and the intelligent linking and grouping of common information.

Poor quality of information results in significant effort
68% of surveyed experts spend 10-30% or more of project hours dealing with wrong or missing information.
*Source: TechValidate. TVID: 967-A1F-F79

Biting the Bullet
One approach on the road to recovery is to redraw P & IDs in a standard, legible and intelligent format. Does it take time? Yes, it does, but here is the thing, we are taking about developing a graphical information foundation upon which access to all of your site data will be based, so it may be worth it.

In this case a solution like CADWorx P & ID Professional would help greatly as it can not only quickly recreate these documents, and make them intelligent but it can also allow any related data or documentation to be linked to any intelligent P & ID component.

Here readers may be justified in thinking "we have now moved from one silo, and created a better (shinier) one, where the creators and drafters of those P & IDs are now the 'go-to' persons for information." Luckily that is not the case, as CADWorx P & ID Professional also allows P & ID projects, with all of their associated data, and linked documentation, to be published and accessed by any stakeholder through a browser interface.

But if you do not want to redraw your P & IDs CADWorx P & ID Professional also allows the mapping of components in non-intelligent P & ID to and intelligent database, and from there the drawings and linked data can also be published and shared.

Aims of Existing and Ongoing Asset Capture
So what if the desire is to automatically capture and aggregate information that is already out there, without redrawing anything? That is also possible but for any system to be successful it would have to as painless, accurate, and single touch in its execution as possible, and should address these key challenges:
  • The asset identification retrieval system would have to be simple to use.
  • The cataloging of existing data should be as painless and automated as possible.
  • Tools and information should be widely available and secure.
  • Searching and acquiring data should be as easy and intuitive.
  • Information should be viewable on various devices to give true point of need access.
  • The acquisition and cataloging of ongoing data should be automated .
This is where SmartPlant Fusion can help, as it does not focus on the creation of information, but on the automated capturing, extraction and aggregation of existing information from a variety of assets and available collateral. This information may be stored as P & ID and 2D drawings, datasheets, 3D models, laser scans, operation manuals, etc and can be in a variety of document, drawing, and data formats, but can be linked and accessed via a common tool.

The above capabilities enable existing datasets, which share common tag names, to be quickly and automatically associated with one another. But what makes sure that future information does not sink into a black hole is that SmartPlant Fusion continually does this work on an ongoing basis. This means that personnel can quickly access, not only pre-existing information, but also information that is constantly being created as part of any facility's ongoing process of development and reinvention.

Complete & accurate information essential to improve mechanical completion processes
85 percent of surveyed experts believe that complete & accurate information will improve efficiency of their mechanical completion and/or commissioning process most.

*Source: TechValidate. TVID: B0F-8B6-3E6

Let's Get Physical
One aspect of all of this that is seldom mentioned is the physical as-built documenting of an asset and the need for accurate information for time sensitive site updates, maintenance, repairs and operations. Owners are increasingly electing to scan portions of their facilities, and intelligently tag scanned assets, such as pumps, valves, vessels etc.

What is interesting is that, unlike in the past, these point clouds are not just a sea of either yellow, red, orange or green dots that seem formless. These captures now carry color and shade information about the asset being scanned, and a free tool, Leica TruView, makes viewing this information easy to do. An advantage of documenting the physical site using scanned point cloud data is that after tagging assets in the model, these can also be linked into the dataset by SmartPlant Fusion for ongoing linking and information retrieval.

Ongoing Maintenance, Repair and Operations
Point cloud models can also be leveraged by Intergraph CADWorx fieldPipe and CADWorx Plant Professional and by picking surface points on the scanned model owners are able to create intelligent models based on the latest as -built information for the production of fabrication or analysis deliverables.

If only a few lines are needed to be as built, and scanning seems like overkill, teams no longer have to rely on the 'accuracy' of plumb bobs, tape measures and unnecessary scaffolding to carry out as-built studies or verification of an installation. Now teams can go on site and still leverage the power and accuracy of lasers. By using Intergraph CADWorx fieldPipe and Plant Professional, in conjunction with Leica Total Station, by picking a few points on a line, users create intelligent as-built models, and fabrication deliverables directly in the field.

The maintenance of up-to-date, and therefore viable, site information has always been and challenge, with the elephant in the room being the acquisition of existing facility data. Tools like Intergraph CADWorx and SmartPlant Fusion are now available that make this task, not only more palatable, but now realistic. In the 21st century we now have the chance to give all stakeholders to access the latest information at their individual points of need, so that they can make informed accurate decisions based on the best possible data.

*These quotes present data that TechValidate has sourced via direct research with verified customers and users of Intergraph Information Management/Owner Operator Solutions. TechValidate stands behind the authenticity of all published data (http://www.techvalidate.com/product -research/intergraph-information-management-owner-operator-solutions).

268 Customers Surveyed 2,191 Data Points Collected 69 Published TechFacts 16 Published Charts 9 Published Case Studies

The offshore oil and gas industry is notorious for continuously pushing the limits. The exploration of offshore gas/oil has been moving to more and more deepwater fields and demanding that wells be drilled deeper and reach further in order to provide more cost-effective and safe well completions. In addition, the requirement to extract more oil and gas than ever before, and exploit ever harsher reservoir environments in new locations around the world, adds a further challenge.

As the water depth becomes greater and the reservoir is located deeper underneaththe seafloor, additional pressure is put on the performance of oil and gas products which must now be able to cope with much higher pressures and temperatures than shallow reservoir products.

As such, particularly in this difficult economic climate, customers require solutions which are not only superior when it comes to performance, but more cost-effective, focusing more on price and longer lifetime. Not long ago customers required products that could last 20 years; now its often up to 40 years.

When it comes to material selection to handle these challenges, rubber-based materials are, not surprisingly, becoming a more popular solution within the offshore industry as rubber is an extremely flexible and durable material. Compared to alternative materials, such as steel and fiberglass, rubber has an extensive temperature range and exceptionally high pressure resistance, it is a flexible material that can damp, seal and protect, and most of all, has an extremely long lifetime.

So, as exploration and drilling go deeper, the need for reliable and efficient thermal insulation increases; flow assurance is a critical element of deep and ultra deepwater developments, in particular pipelines. Effective insulation of subsea structures helps maintain flow rates, optimise productivity and reduce processing costs. It also provides optimum defense against wax and hydrate formations.

When reservoir fluids reach the subsea structure they are typically a high temperature mix of condensed hydrocarbon gases, liquid paraffinic materials, waxes and water. As the fluid progresses through the structure to the processing facility or during a system cool-down cycle, heat loss is apparent to the surrounding ocean. As the temperature decreases, waxes and hydrate crystals may deposit, leading to potential flow loss and eventual system blockage. Insulation therefore becomes a necessary part of this process in order to avoid this formation of hydrate plugs and wax build-up (paraffin). The formation of wax and hydrates occurs when the oil or gas composition is depressurised and exposed to the low seawater temperature at the seabed.

A hydrate is formed when crystalline water is stabilised and light hydrocarbon molecules are captured in the crystal lattice. Hydrates can be formed at high pressures and at temperatures around +68 F to 77 F (+20 C to +25 C). Without insulation the cold seawater would rapidly cool the fluid, allowing it to create hydrate and wax formations, and making it impossible for a safe flow.

Thermal insulation materials are often applied in order to prevent formation of hydrate and wax during a shutdown scenario. During shutdown, the extra insulation gives sufficient time for inspection of the subsea pipe and equipment, so engineers can have time to solve production problems and for methanol or glycol injection.

The increasing challenges faced by the offshore industr y have spurred manufacturers to consistently push to develop products that can keep up with the demands of the offshore engineer.

However, it's not always about finding completely new solutions. Manufacturers must continuously look at their current product portfolios to find new ways to make existing products work even harder than they already do, if they are to stay ahead of the game.

As such, some leading manufacturers are reassessing subsea thermal insulation materials, which have been successfully installed throughout the subsea oil and gas industry for many years, to see how best to enhance their performance in line with these growing demands.

The latest generation of subsea insulation solutions, an example of this dedicated improvement from one leading manufacturer, have a k-value of 0.13 W/mK, can be used up to 9842ft (3000m) deep and utilised of liquid temperatures up to +311 F (155 C), as well as external temperatures as low as -31 F (-35 C). In order to provide even more flexibility when it comes to design and logistics, it now also allows for mobile production and can be installed on-site, at a water depth of 9842ft (3000m).

These flexible insulation systems consist of a three-layer buildup. First, an inner layer for corrosion and/or Hydrogen Induced Stress Cracking (HISC) protection; this could be a Neoprene compound that is qualified up to +203 F (+95 C), or an EPM compound that is qualified up to +311 F (155 C). Both compounds provide excellent corrosion or HISC protection, and have been extensively testedfor adhesion, aging and cathodic disbondment.

The middle layer has been designed to provide the thermal insulation protection and various compounds are applicable depending on the specific requirements. The compounds provide a k-value of 0.13 W/m2K up to 0.19 W/m2K . The flexibility and stability of the rubber makes this an excellent choice with respect to thermal expansion.

The insulation layer is protected by the outer layer. This is a strong and robust layer that provides excellent seawater and mechanical protection and has a successful track record as far back as the early seventies in the North Sea.

The insulative elastomer coating system used is a development based on ordinary rubber technology and consists of a rubber elastomer chemically modified to give a very high insulating property, while maintaining its inherent rubber properties in respect to sea-water resistance, pressure resistance, mechanical properties and temperature. By utilising a solid rubber-based coating, these new products have very good thermal insulation properties while providing maximum corrosion protection.

With the lifetime of an oil field expected to be a minimum of 25 years and design temperatures of the field var ying throughout (up to +392 F/ +200 C), it is impor tant that products can prove they stand the test of time. Continuous and extensive testing is the only way to remain at the forefront of material development and lies at the heart of material advances and product solutions.

Extensive test programming has been carried out on these next-generation insulation solutions to prove their integrity for the lifetime of the field. They are designed to last the life of the subsea project (20 to 40 years), are maintenance free and will normally never be replaced.

But it's not just about subsea pipelines; leading manufacturers are also looking to develop, new and unique solutions to maximise topside offshore pipe insulation.

This is because the insulation of topside pipes usually involves the use of mineral wool to provide insulation, with an outer shell of steel for protection. However, while this insulation system is meant to be water tight , experience shows that this isn't always the case and humidity can often penetrate into the insulation. This will often result in the corrosion of the steel protection layer and a reduction in thermal performance.

Therefore, it is of high importance that its a stratum of air is placed between the insulation and the steel pipe to avoid any damage to the pipe. Historically engineers have made these air gaps between the pipe and thermal insulation using an additional sheet of metal applied in a wave pattern. However, this method can cause undesirable side effects including corrosion of the metal sheet and injury to engineers during work due to its sharp edges.

In a bid to provide a high performance product, which not only provided a reliable solution, helping to guarantee thermal performance, but one that eliminated the undesirable effects that comes with traditional methods of creating an air gap, leading manufacturers developed a new rubber-based alternative.

This unique solution has been specifically developed to effectively create a one to two centimeter air gap between the pipe and insulation, thereby avoiding the corrosion that can occur. By stopping direct contact between the insulation material and the pipe, this new solution prevents any damage to the corrosion protection on the pipe, helping to guarantee thermal performance.

This latest innovation, which is unique to the market, provides a reliable and extremely durable solution to a common problem within the offshore topside insulation market. Furthermore, its rubber construction means that it will last the life of an offshore project, as well as being maintenance free, providing reassurance to the offshore engineer.

It can also be easily installed without using hot work or special tools, and can be connected and split to the desired length using just a pair of scissors, making the installation quick and easy and without any additional safety actions, in turn reducing downtime.

Extensive testing has also been undertaken to ensure that the product is qualified for lifetime performance; it has been qualified for use up to +302 F / +150C continuous service temperature, for more than 30 years.

As the offshore oil and gas industry continues to push the limits when it comes to demanding offshore applications, the need for reliable and durable solutions that deliver proven performance for critical thermal insulation installations, has never been greater.

With the formation of hydrate plugs and wax build up (paraffin), or corrosion of topside steel pipes, a real risk for offshore engineers, rubber -based solutions provide a practically incompressible, seawater and impact -resistant solution that has very good thermal insulation properties and also provides maximum corrosion protection. They are designed to last the life of the subsea project (20 to 40 years), are maintenance free and will normally never be replaced, giving peace of mind to the offshore industry.