How Oil & Gas Firms Can Modernize Electrical Systems and Cut Costs

Oil & Gas Firms Save by Modernizing Power Systems

Converting to digital power distribution systems can provide real-time visibility into electrical assets for faster decision-making and issue resolution.

By Dan Pender, global business manager, Intelligent Packaged Power, Rockwell Automation

As an oil and gas producer, you may be feeling the effects of relying on an outdated power-distribution system. You’re facing reduced productivity, increased safety risks or additional stress because of the constant need for troubleshooting.

Traditionally, the “easy” solution was to replace the old equipment with new versions of the same components and controls. But in this digital age, relying on a replacement strategy results in a missed opportunity for your operations. A digital power-distribution solution can take your production much further.

Benefits of a Digital Solution

Digital power-distribution solutions are worth taking a look at for several reasons, because they provide:

  • Increased access to critical operations intelligence.
  • Focus on cost containment and asset performance optimization.
  • Identification of patterns that allow for improvement in maintenance plans.
  • Early and increased visibility into potential failures.

With the availability of intelligent devices and the wealth of real-time information they provide, an intelligent packaged power platform that integrates with your process control solution can reap far-reaching business benefits.

Real-Time Visibility

One of the most beneficial features of this digital switch is increased visibility, because you can see the performance of your electrical assets, in real time, and speed up decision-making and issue resolution. Before an alarm sounds, your personnel can be alerted to a potential failure and begin the repair process before the failure has a chance to impact productivity or equipment performance.

You also gain the ability to support remote monitoring, directly improving worker safety. With an intelligent, integrated electrical system, personnel are even able to work from a smart phone, staying a safe distance away from the potentially hazardous conditions power systems can create.

Combining Electrical and Process Systems

Unified, real-time data also positions your company to better understand and manage your energy consumption. These benefits are altering the electrical landscape in heavy industries such as oil and gas. According to an ARC Advisory Group study, 67% of new plants implemented intelligent devices as part of their overall electrical systems.

The more smart devices you have in your electrical system, the more informed you can become. To take it a step further, you should consider combining your electrical and process systems together. The combination of information provides a more productive and integrated power and process control solution. 

New digital power solutions seamlessly connect your process control system and electrical equipment, bringing information into a unified network architecture. This creates a centralized information stream, eliminating the need for separate process and electrical control systems. This positions your company to understand and manage your energy consumption better.

The Smart Solution

These solutions make data accessible from any intelligent electrical device (IED), from any operator control station, making them easier to deploy, maintain and optimize. This also reduces the costs of implementing an intelligent power solution. In fact, deploying an intelligent packaged power solution can require up to five times less engineering time and installation labor.

One oil refinery, for example, tapped unified data to cut downtime related to equipment failures by 27% and reduced costs related to maintenance troubleshooting by 35%.

When your electrical equipment ages out, it’s not enough to replace it with the latest version. Upgrades provide an opportunity to tap your existing infrastructure and grow your digital capabilities. By integrating power and process control as well as digitizing, you can add functionality that pays quickly for itself in productivity improvements.

The Journal From Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetwork™ is published by Putman Media, Inc.

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