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I-MAC Approach Pays Off for Freeport LNG

June 18, 2008
Honeywell’s I-MAC Methodology Helped the Company Minimize Operational and Business Readiness Risks

Honeywell Process Solutions’ expanded concept of the “main automation contractor” (MAC) to include “integrated” (I-MAC) entails an increased scope of supplier responsibility—both in terms of project execution and in terms of life-cycle support commitment.

For Freeport LNG, Freeport, Texas, its I-MAC relationship with Honeywell has been critical to ensuring that the first new liquid natural gas regasification terminal built in the U.S in the past 25 years was ready for operations and for business when the project was completed recently. “Our requirements went far beyond traditional MAC,” said Freeport LNG’s Eric Rojas, in his keynote address to the Honeywell User Group gathering this week in Phoenix. “While the LNG regasification process looks quite simple, the business needs are actually quite complex. We needed an automation supplier that would have us ready on day one and then support us throughout the entire plant life cycle,” Rojas said.

“We needed an automation supplier that would have us ready on day one and then support us throughout the entire plant life cycle.” Freeport LNG’s Eric Rojas discussed how Honeywell’s I-MAC methodology helped the company minimize operational and business readiness risks.
The company faced a shortfall in skilled resources and needed to “leverage relationships with suppliers that had broad capabilities and qualified resources,” Rojas said. Indeed, Freeport LNG’s vision in May 2006 was to have one contractor take full responsibility for automation and integration, starting with level-one instrumentation all the way through level-five ERP. Honeywell, together with IBM, was awarded the contract to ensure operational and business readiness—a deliverable that far surpassed traditional MAC relationships.

In addition to the nuts and bolts of automation and integration, areas where Honeywell made key contributions to operational and business readiness were in operator training and in business process development. “Honeywell’s results exceeded expectations in many ways,” Rojas said.

Because start-up of the facility would be contingent on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of operator readiness, operator training was critical. To address this need, Honeywell developed a high-fidelity operations training simulator (OTS) that included all of the specific details of the Freeport LNG operation. “We were able to dramatically improve our operators’ understanding,” Rojas said, “and to reduce our operations training costs by 25%.” In addition, use of the simulator allowed the company to discover several design flaws that would otherwise have affected start-up. Security, too, was a FERC-accountable delivery for which Honeywell took responsibility. “If there’s no security, there’s no start-up,” Rojas explained.

On the business-readiness front, Honeywell helped Freeport LNG to create a unique, “Day in the Life” event that brought together representatives from various company functions in order to ensure that the business processes of these often-isolated operations were thorough and consistent. The OTS played a critical role in these three days of exercises, Rojas said, and helped to identify business process gaps in three applications. The exercise also helped to increase user acceptance and overall team-building among Freeport LNG staff.

In no small part due to these readiness efforts, the plant started up smoothly and safely—and “now we are in business,” Rojas said. “Indeed, just last week the plant achieved its ‘substantial completion’ milestone,” Rojas said, meaning: “It’s done!” And as the plant shifts from project start-up to operational support, an ongoing Honeywell role appears assured. “We wanted a partner that would be there in 25 years,” Rojas said.

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