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Refinery Digitalization & Internet of Things (IOT)

Refineries today are faced with intensifying global competition as well as increasingly stringent environmental standards. This has driven their focus amid the COVID-19 pandemic towards reducing operating costs and boosting profitability while becoming more carbon-conscious as investors ramp up pressure on oil and gas firms to reduce emissions. In particular, refineries are turning to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to gain a competitive advantage by limiting unplanned downtime, improving energy efficiency, and reducing emissions.

How it will benefit you

The implementation of the IIoT in refineries can reduce unplanned shutdowns as the availability of timely and meaningful information allows a problem to be identified before a breakdown or failure occurs. Reducing the number of unplanned shutdowns not only leads to an increase in plant productivity and profitability but also an improvement in plant safety as well. The IIoT can also improve unit and refinery operation to optimize energy consumption, lower energy costs, and reduce emissions. And, in the future, the IIoT is anticipated to be used for remote and autonomous operations.

In terms of the refinery workforce, with the IIoT, the knowledge and expertise of a veteran staff can be embedded into digital solutions so that a consistent level of performance can be maintained upon their retirement. And it can be used to reach new talent as it will provide an excellent draw for young plant engineers entering the workforce that are adept at using cutting-edge technology in their home life and would expect the same level of technology to be used in the plant.

What does it include

The current study, completed in 3Q 2022, begins with a look at the mindset of the oil and gas sector regarding digitalization and the obstacles that it is facing as well as the efforts made by companies through collaborations, partnerships, and acquisitions to broaden their IIoT knowledge base.

In addition to a comprehensive list of state-of-the-art technologies, recent innovations feature the microPIMS Intrinsically Safe ultrasonic corrosion/erosion monitoring system from Sensor Networks; the myhte data management software from hte; Flutura's AI platform called Cerebra; Imubit's Closed Loop Neural Network powered by Deep Learning Process Control; an AI package based on deep reinforcement learning from Modcon Systems; the NAPCON Advisor digital assistant and NAPCON Phenomena Indicator soft sensor from the NAPCON business unit of Neste Engineering Solutions; Software AG’s TrendMiner NextGen; Yokogawa Electric's autonomous control AI called the Factorial Kernel Dynamic Policy Programming protocol; SmartPM from Heat Transfer Research which can be used to create digital twin models; and the Digital Reliability Platform developed by AVEVA and SCG Chemicals.

The study also includes extensive discussions of plant operations and practices that identify valuable operating experiences and daily troubleshooting techniques shared by veteran refining professionals around the world. New information in the plant operations and practices section includes discussions on the digitalization of petrochemical complexes; digitalization for production optimization; online corrosion monitoring and connected services; advanced analytics for process control and automation; natural language processing in the refining industry; increasing cybersecurity awareness; and protecting OT environments and merged IT/OT systems.

To plot future directions, the study gathers and reviews the latest patent applications regarding refining digitalization and IoT technology including methods and systems for monitoring, data and information processing and data analysis, and data-based refinery operation.

Publication details

Publication frequency

Single publication

Publication format

Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file


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