Spiral Strengthens Invensys' Refining Hand

Delivering End-to-End Optimization of the Crude Oil Value Chain

By Keith Larson

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Invensys Operations Management significantly strengthened its value proposition for the petroleum refining industry this week with the acquisition of Cambridge, U.K.-based Spiral Software. The timing was especially fortuitous, as users of the company's SimSci-Esscor and IntelaTrac software already were gathered in Houston, where they were treated to a first-hand look at how Spiral's offering helps complete Invensys' already strong refinery-wide optimization picture.

"Acquiring Spiral Software strengthens our leadership position in the hydrocarbon processing industry and reinforces our commitment to helping our HPI customers optimize all aspects of their business operations," said Mike Caliel, president and chief executive officer, Invensys Operations Management. "Spiral software further extends our refinery optimization solutions in support of our global installed base and gives us the most comprehensive portfolio in the refining and petrochemical industries. By continuing to expand our portfolio, we are well positioned to compete on global pursuits in these strong and growing markets."

Founded in 1998, Spiral Software provides integrated solutions ranging from crude assay management to refinery supply chain optimization, enabling clients to make the best possible choices in trading and refining crude oil. Spiral's crude oil knowledge management tools help companies track the quality of feedstocks and predict their refining behavior. Fully-integrated refinery planning and scheduling help optimize production plans based on real-time crude demand and market pricing, as well as the refinery's own capacity and supply chain constraints.

End-to-End Optimization

"This acquisition complements our existing refinery-wide optimization strategy and leverages our SimSci-Esscor modeling and optimization offerings for the hydrocarbon processing industry," said Ravi Gopinath, president of Invensys Operations Management's software business. "Spiral Software provides the only integrated refining-industry solution designed from the ground up, bringing together feedstock data management, planning and scheduling. This means that our SimSci-Esscor offerings will now fully support and optimize the entire refining value chain, from crude trading to supply-chain distribution, including lifecycle modeling from design to start up to performance optimization. With this acquisition, we are able to offer the only full-span optimization solution on the market today, one that will help our customers reap cost savings and margin improvements that could total millions of dollars each year."

Spiral Software's crude oil knowledge-management tools provide accurate and timely crude oil information across an enterprise, from ranking crude oils in trading to optimizing refinery processes and maximizing reliability. Spiral Software's planning and scheduling solution provides a collaborative, multi-user environment for sharing common data and models across all supply chain work processes. Planning activities, such as crude purchasing and product sales, can now be flexed continuously with the production schedule, reacting to market and operating conditions. In parallel, scheduling decisions can be made with an understanding of their commercial impact while avoiding boxed-in scenarios. Its integrated risk-analysis feature enables users to look across many different planning and scheduling scenarios, helping refiners understand their exposure to changes in feedstock costs, product demand and refinery operations.

"Combined with Invensys Operations Management's existing refinery optimization offerings, our capabilities in feedstock data management and refinery supply chain optimization will allow us to provide a unique, end-to-end solution across the full oil sector value chain," said Matthew Webster, chief executive officer, Spiral Software. "Together, our next-generation tools will enable companies to make the best business decisions using real-time market and operational data.

"Our customers will continue to work with the same strong Spiral Software team and continue to receive the same exceptional products and service, now backed by a company with global capabilities and an excellent worldwide reputation for providing industry-leading software and solutions to the oil sector."

The business will continue to be managed by Spiral Software's existing executive team, adding employees to Invensys operations in the United Kingdom and North America.

Control's Keith Larson was on hand at the Invensys SimSci-Esscor/IntelaTrac user group meeting and talked with Matthew Webster (watch this interview), CEO of Spiral, as well Harpreet Gulati, director, simulation and optimization, for Invensys Operations Management.

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