Easier startup: Petropiar Oil Refining Facility is 2008 HART Plant of the Year

Use of HART technology allows for flawless start-up, 60% reduction of LPO caused by instrument faults.


Austin, TX — The PDVSA Petropiar oil refinery located in Mejorador Jose, Barcelona, Venezuela, has been selected by the HART Communication Foundation as recipient of the 2008 HART Plant of the Year Award. The award is given annually to recognize 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.

Ed Ladd, HART Communication Foundation director of technology programs, presents the 2008 HART Plant of the Year Award to the PDVSA Petropiar oil refinery in Barcelona, Venezuela, represented by Mariela León, Petropiar instrumentation reliability leader, Livia Lefebre, Petropiar reliability superintendent, and Nohely Colina, Petropiar GNO leader.

The Petropiar (formerly Petrolera Ameriven) facility, which employees 1,500 people, processes synthetic crude from the Orinoco basin at the rate of 248,000 bpd (barrels per day). The HART Communication Protocol is included in 5,000 instruments associated with the plant’s control system. The company’s main goal was to implement predictive device diagnostics on all instrumentation. As a result, in the first four years in operation, Petropiar realized a reduction in pre-commissioning and commissioning time, improved process and device documentation and reduced loop check time by 60%.

Use of HART technology also allowed for a flawless start-up without a single failure attributed to instrumentation during this period and the facility was able to eliminate 95% of the bad actors reported by its asset management application, say those involved.

“Since our plant went on line in January 2004, HART technology has opened a door of opportunity to the reliability community”, says Mariela León, Petropiar instrumentation reliability leader. “Using HART, we were able to optimize our work process creating a reduction of maintenance costs which led to a 60% reduction of LPO (lost profit opportunity) caused by instrument faults. Eliminating bad actors and having the ability to reduce random failure has resulted in a reported reduction of LPO in the order of $70 million in two years.”

“HART technology was initially used to pinpoint a bad valve positioner which provided the justification to change or add positioners to 400 valves,” adds Livia Lefebre, Petropiar Reliability Superintendent. “We demonstrated the Partial Valve Stroke application to management who then approved its use– which significantly increased the time between required shut downs.”

According to León and Lefebre, the company’s engineering teams also found HART technology useful with SIL (safety integrity level) determination and, because they spent maintenance time only on devices with a problem, they were able to create two work shifts using the same personnel regularly used on one shift.

“Petropiar is a perfect example of how the power of HART can be used to lower cost, improve plant availability and contribute to keeping your plant competitive. We congratulate Petropiar for their foresight, planning and vision in building a plant infrastructure that allowed the utilization of the intelligent capabilities of HART-enabled instrumentation,” says Ron Helson, HCF executive director. “Their forward thinking and pro-active approach serves as a powerful model for industry users worldwide on the benefits of using HART Communication with intelligent field instrumentation, process automation and asset management systems.”

Read more from Control Engineering about the Petropiar application .

The HART Plant of the Year is a unique award in the process automation industry, the organization says, because it is the only public award presented to end user companies to recognize ingenuity in the application of HART Communication technology. The award showcases end user companies and their suppliers who have demonstrated creativity in using the full capabilities of HART Communication technology.

The HART Communication Foundation encourages nominations for HART Plant of the Year from all world areas. Nominations are accepted through May of each year. Previous recipients are StatoilHydro (Norway); BP Canada Energy (Canada); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); Clariant (Germany); BP Cooper River (USA), Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (USA) and Dupont (USA). prior winners of HART Plant of the Year .

— Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief
Control Engineering News Desk
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