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Data management: Petrochemicals
Fuelling the future
analysers, on plant performance and equipment
Greg Blackman looks at how data management
condition, as well as data on environmental
monitoring. It also provides expert advice on
software is used in the petrochemical industry
LNG and crude oil sales purchase agreements
(SPAs) and plant troubleshooting.
Ever since the mid-1800s when the first North management system (LIMS) from LIMS Sakhalin Energy is using Thermo Fisher
American tycoons struck oil, petroleum has supplier, LabWare, for approximately 10 years. Scientific SampleManager LIMS to manage
become a vital commodity in modern society. The labs are responsible for analysing the the data from the thousands of samples that
With concerns over dwindling supplies, incoming oil, performing in-process checks, are required throughout the sampling stages.
coupled with an energy-hungry global and analysing the finished product, as well as The data from the facility’s equipment,
population, demand for the fuel remains high. performing tests on environmental samples. including gas chromatographs, is all directly
Estimates on when so-called ‘peak oil’ will be transferred into LIMS, and SampleManager
reached (the point where global extraction russian refinery is tasked with storing and tracking data
peaks and production goes into decline) varies, The Sakhalin II Project, the world’s largest processed in the laboratory. The LIMS is
with some commentators suggesting this has integrated oil and gas project located on also used for data trending and analysis,
already happened, while others believe that Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East, uses or to identify when product is moving
the theory is flawed, because production is a LIMS to manage the data generated by out of specification. The system is also
determined by political and economic factors its laboratories. Laboratory testing for the used to interface with critical IT systems,
as well as geology. Either way, oil is a finite project is carried out at a central laboratory including Sakhalin Energy’s corporate
resource and one that is becoming increasingly at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and energy components package and process
difficult to extract from the ground. oil export terminal (OET), as well as at a information system, for efficient reporting
According to the Energy Information number of upstream satellite laboratories. and documentation support.
Association, part of the US Department Since its implementation, LIMS has
of Energy, the total world demand for ‘lims has provided provided centralised access to data, and
oil in the first quarter of 2009 was 83.19
centralised access to
the laboratory has seen improved sample
million barrels per day. In order to meet turnaround times and improved operational
demand, petrochemical companies aim to
data, and the laboratory
efficiencies. The system also meets the
maximise production efficiencies, not least has seen improved sample laboratory’s need for GLP and ISO 17025
in the laboratory, where product analysis is
turnaround times and
compliance. Sunil Pandya, head of
carried out throughout the various stages of laboratory for Sakhalin Energy, comments:
extraction and refinement. Data management
improved operational
‘Our laboratories have been designed from
software can improve efficiencies in laboratory efficiencies’ the ground up to support this site – this
testing, ensuring the lab is not a bottleneck for project represents the new frontier in oil and
releasing product. The gas produced at the Sakhalin II gas development and our laboratory needed
Carlo Avino, working in the laboratories Project is drilled from the Lunskoye gas field a LIMS that was proven to be reliable in this
at Raffineria di Roma, a Total refinery based in the Sea of Okhotsk and transported by environment and dependable for the future
in Italy, states that, within the laboratory, pipelines to an onshore production facility of the project.’
an effective data management system is (OPF), and then, via an 800km onshore At the Sakhalin II Project, LIMS
essential, because it is the only tool that can pipeline, to the LNG plant and oil and handles the data generated throughout
streamline the various processes involved. LNG export terminals. Divided over two the production process, which is the case
These include sample requests and liquefaction trains, the LNG plant has a with many oil refinery projects, as Colin
identification (data management software capacity to produce a total of 9.6 million Thurston, director of product strategy at
ensures data handling errors are minimised tons of liquefied natural gas. Thermo Fisher Scientific, points out: ‘After
and work is not repeated), product testing The responsibilities of the central laboratory the discovery of a well, the oil or gas needs
(instrument integration and automatic limit are numerous and include analysis of oil, gas, to be characterised. During the production
checking are critical part of an effective chemicals and wastewater samples from the process, the output needs to be monitored
LIMS), and real time reporting and issue of LNG/OET site, as well as analysis of samples for contaminants that may affect the output
certificates of analyses. from the OPF. It generates analytical reference and quality (e.g. sulphur content, hydrogen
The laboratories at Raffineria di Roma data on product quality and custody transfer content, etc), and lastly during shutdown/
have been running a laboratory information invoicing, on calibration of online process clean up of a well, the environment needs
scientiFic comPUting WorlD OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2009
SCWoct09 pp14-18 petrochemicals.indd 14 10/1/09 12:42:49 PM
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