PDVSA Petropiar is HART Plant of the Year

Dec. 15, 2008

Austin, Texas – The HART Communication Foundation (HCF) presented its prestigious 2008 HART Plant of the Year Award to the PDVSA Petropiar oil refinery in Mejorador Jose, Barcelona, Venezuela. Emerson’s AMS Suite asset management software in conjunction with HART field instruments enabled the widespread application of predictive diagnostics in the Petropiar refinery. Use of these technologies is credited with increasing production and reducing costs while improving profitability.

This marks the third year out of the last four where AMS Suite has been a key application at plants winning the HART Plant of the Year Award.

The Petropiar facility (formerly Petrolera Ameriven) is a joint venture of Chevron and Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., (PDVSA), Venezuela’s national oil company. This plant currently upgrades about 248,000 barrels per day (bpd) of heavy crude from the Orinoco Belt, the world’s largest known oil and gas deposit, into 180,000 bpd of a lighter grade prior to further refining in the United States. 

The elimination of repetitive problems along with the ability to predict unexpected instrument failures and associated downtime resulted in a documented financial benefit at the upgrader of $70 million (US) over a two-year period.

The main benefits achieved through the use of AMS Suite software at Petropiar include:
•   40 percent reduction in pre-commissioning and commissioning time
•   60 percent reduction in lost profit opportunities caused by instrument faults
•   Flawless plant startups
•   Elimination of 95 percent of problem-causing components

About 5000 measurement points (90 percent of which are HART devices) transmit the HART Communication Protocol to the plant’s distributed control system (DCS). Emerson’s AMS Suite asset management software monitors all of the field instruments on the control network through HART multiplexers. The software was used extensively by technicians during instrument commissioning to verify each tag number and to check out the control loops. The technicians documented device integrity and wiring, and every loop was certified to be performing according to the process design. As a direct result of the time saved on commissioning, the process was online much sooner than expected.

The rich HART diagnostics and the use of AMS Suite enabled reliability personnel to monitor the field devices regularly and initiate a predictive maintenance program in which priority equipment receives immediate attention. This too reduces the total number of hours spent by maintenance personnel, lowering overall maintenance costs.

Mariela León, instrumentation leader, reliability team, at PDVSA Petropiar, said, “The HART technology, along with AMS Suite, has delivered significant savings, and we believe there are even more opportunities for increased reliability and improved performance in our facility.”

The HART Plant of the Year Award recognizes the people, companies and plant sites around the globe that are using the advanced capabilities of HART communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability. This plant’s commitment to implement predictive device diagnostics on all instrumentation makes detailed operating information available to key personnel. As a result, in the first four years of operation, Petropiar reduced commissioning time, improved process and device documentation and cut loop check time by 60 percent.