Repsol is a global, oil and gas company with operations spanning the entire supply chain.
On the upstream side, the company produces more than 650,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and has a reserve volume of more than 2 billion barrels.
Downstream, its businesses include oil-refining operations, crude oil and products trading, and more than 4,700 service stations throughout Europe and South America.
Headquartered in Spain, Repsol has activities in more than 40 countries and more than 27,000 global employees.
In Ecuador, Repsol has exploration and production (E&P) operations covering 199square kilometers in the eastern part of the country.
The operations are established through service contracts with the Ecuadorian government and include two main production facilities known as NPF and SPF.
Operations began at the NPF and SPF plants in 1994 and 1997 respectively.
While still highly productive, the company needed to update its decades-old safety instrumented systems (SIS) in these facilities to bring the facilities into compliance with the company’s newly implemented, internal safety standards.
The aging equipment also presented obsolescence risks and lacked information visibility required to help plant workers effectively maintain them.
New, Internal Safety Standard
Repsol in recent years created and implemented a new, internal safety standard for its E&P sites around the world.
Based on the global IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 safety standards, the company’s standard was designed to help the company work toward its goal of zero accidents in all areas of its operations.
In 2013, Repsol conducted several types of risk analysis of its global, industrial assets to identify their compliance levels with the new corporate standard.
This included conducting safety integrity level (SIL), and hazard and operability (HAZOP) analyses at the NPF and SPF facilities in Ecuador.
The studies helped Repsol identify the SIS upgrades that would be needed to bring the facilities into compliance with the new standard.
More than that, however, they also brought attention to the obsolescence risks faced by some of the equipment used in the two facilities.
Hardware, such as the PLC-5 systems that were in place in the two facilities, was still operational and in good working condition.
However, Repsol had limited spare parts available to support the systems, which could have resulted in a prolonged downtime event should a failure occur.
Additionally, the aging systems lacked diagnostic information, which made troubleshooting and downtime resolutions more difficult for operations and technicians when issues did arise.