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IBP1098_12 MINIMISING LIFECYCLE COSTS OF AUTOMATED VALVES IN OFFSHORE PLATFORMS Juha Yli-Petays1, Ismo Niemela2

Copyright 2012, Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute - IBP This Technical Paper was prepared for presentation at the Rio Oi & Gas Expo and Conference 2012, held between September, 1720, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. This Technical Paper was selected for presentation by the Technical Committee of the event according to the information contained in the final paper submitted by the author(s). The organizers are not supposed to translate or correct the submitted papers. The material as it is presented, does not necessarily represent Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute’ opinion, or that of its Members or Representatives. Authors consent to the publication of this Technical Paper in the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Proceedings.

Abstract
Automated process valves play an essential role in offshore platforms operation. If you are able to optimize their operation and maintenance activities you can receive extensive operational savings with minimal investment. Valves used in offshore platforms doesn’t differentiate that much from the valves used in downstream but there are certain specialties, which makes the operations more challenging in offshore: Process valves are more difficult to access and maintain because of space limitations. Also spare part inventories and deliveries are challenging because of offshore platform’s remote location. To overcome these challenges usage of digital positioners with diagnostic features has become more common because predictive maintenance capabilities enable possibilities to plan the maintenance activities and this way optimise the spare part orders regarding to valves. There are intelligent controllers available for control valves, automated on/off valves as well as ESD-valves and whole network of automated valves on platforms can be controlled by intelligent valve controllers. This creates many new opportunities in regards of optimized process performance or predictive maintenance point-of-view. By means of intelligent valve controllers and predictive diagnostics, condition monitoring and maintenance planning can also be performed remotely from an onshore location. Thus, intelligent valve controllers provide good way to minimize spending related to total cost of ownership of automated process valves. When purchase value of control valve represent 20% of TCO, intelligent positioner and predictive maintenance methods can enable as high as 30% savings over the lifecycle of asset so basically it benefit savings higher than whole investment of monitored asset over its lifecycle. This is mainly achieved through the optimized maintenance activities since real life examples has shown that with time based maintenance (preventive maintenance) approach 70% of maintenance activities are not necessary and they can be avoided simply with condition monitoring based maintenance planning. This involves great amount cost saving possibilities when thinking how much man power, cranes and cradles are related to these unnecessary maintenance activities.

______________________________ 1 Master, Automation Engineer - Metso Automation do Brasil Ltda 2 Master, Automation Engineer - Metso Automation Finland

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1. Introduction
Traditionally, process valves on offshore platforms have been controlled by either solenoid valves or by electopneumatic positioners, depending on application and also on local decisions and procedures at the different platforms. The offshore environment also creates its own demands on the enclosures of these devices and the optimum material to be used being stainless steel. Nowadays usage of digital positioners with diagnostic features has become more common because predictive maintenance capabilities enable possibilities to plan the maintenance activities and this way optimise the spare part orders regarding to valves and minimizing maintenance people existence on platform where space is limited to receive additional people on board. Also digital positioners have proven their reliability over the 25 years existence to withstand challenging environmental conditions and critical process requirements. Thus they are used more often in upstream production, which is known as more conservative when thinking acceptance of new technologies. There are intelligent controllers available for control valves, automated on/off valves as well as ESD-valves and whole network of automated valves on platforms can be controlled and monitored by intelligent valve controllers. This creates many new opportunities in regards of optimized process performance or predictive maintenance point-ofview. By means of intelligent valve controllers and predictive diagnostics, condition monitoring and maintenance planning can also be performed remotely from an onshore location. Typically offshore plants have been relying preventive, time based maintenance because it is critical to prevent unplanned shutdowns, but as a downside there are over maintenance included for plant’s assets. Predictive maintenance gives tools to optimize maintenance activities, minimize the people amount on platform for the maintenance activities and enable big cost savings. In the offshore sector, the maintenance content of lifecycle costs is emphasized, so there is strong motivation to limit the number of staff working in hazardous offshore environments as far as possible, without impacting on reliability or availability of production. By monitoring valve performance from onshore, it is possible to identify problems that would otherwise result in a plant shutdown. Intelligent valve controllers enable the use of onshore condition monitoring and expert help. As in any process plant, the purchasing cost for equipment on an offshore platform represents only a small share of the whole lifecycle cost of a process valve. The lion’s share of the lifecycle cost is related to commissioning, operation, maintenance and spare parts’ costs. The purchasing cost can represent as little as 20% of the whole lifecycle cost of the valve. To minimize lifecycle costs remote monitoring infrastructure can be utilized for efficient predictive maintenance operation. Each offshore platform’s diagnostic information is visible for onshore central operation center and this information is also possible to be shared with device suppliers in order to get best maintenance recommendations for maintenance activities.

2. Total cost of ownership
The term Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) refers to methods of assessing the lifecycle costs of an asset. In other words, TCO can be described as the total of all the costs related to owning an asset from its purchase to the time when it is taken out of service. The evaluated asset can be anything from IT software to an oil rig or to process valves on offshore platforms. Making a thorough TCO analysis is a time-consuming task, but it is worth the effort, especially when making significant investment decisions. The greatest benefit of TCO analysis is that it can be used to evaluate options that have differently emphasized cost factors; for example, one option may have lower purchasing costs while another may have lower usage and maintenance costs. When an investment has a long lifecycle, as process valves usually do, costs other than those of the actual investment cost are usually more important and the use of TCO analysis is therefore justified. End users can drive cost saving minimizing activities by directing purchase activities for technologies enabling e.g. lower maintenance costs. This guiding should be done in project’s technical specification. The reason why TCO analysis is not used more often with process valves is that it is quite difficult to estimate direct and indirect cost effects that a process valve has after its purchase. Different field-equipment manufacturers may have their own way of calculating TCO and manufacturers doesn’t always get information about needed maintenance activities carried out for the valves. Thus potential financial statistics received from different sources are not truly comparable. This is why TCO with process valves is at its best when it is used to compare one way of working to an alternative solution, e.g. when comparing different maintenance strategies. This article also focuses on the benefits of the principle of using intelligent valve controllers on platforms, rather than trying to present exact monetary savings.

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Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 2.1. Offshore platform and total cost of ownership When looking at the TCO of a process valve from the offshore perspective, it is easy to understand that process runtime costs play an even more significant role in the TCO than in onshore applications. Spending a little more money on the initial investment can be recouped in a short time after start-up through savings in operating and maintenance costs. Maintaining process valves on offshore platforms can be challenging, time consuming and costly due to the working environment. Thus minimizing the degree of onsite maintenance work can bring significant TCO savings – for example, by using asset management tools together with intelligent valve positioners you can enable predictive maintenance activities easily. Typically 20% of failures are time based and 80% of failures are random. Predictive maintenance tools helps to identify random failures of assets in early phase of development. With valve-condition monitoring maintenance work on onshore location can be optimized and unnecessary work minimized. If the condition of the valves is being constantly monitored, unnecessary onsite maintenance work can be eliminated and the maintenance actions can be focused and planned only on the valves that really need the attention. With the help of online condition monitoring, unexpected process disturbances can also be avoided and also the repair time can be shorten. Giving an estimate of exactly how much money can be saved in this way is extremely challenging, but it is easy to understand that by preventing e.g. a single unexpected shutdown, the initial investment in creating the condition monitoring network will pay for itself. This approach is called as a predictive maintenance where an asset’s health is monitored proactively in order to optimize maintenance activities.

Figure 1. With predictive maintenance tools the point of failure can be detected far enough in advance so that the asset can have planned and scheduled maintenance performed to restore it. 2.2. Automated valves and total cost of ownership As in any process plant, the purchasing cost for equipment on an offshore platform represents only a small share of the whole lifecycle cost of a process valve. The lion’s share of the lifecycle cost is related to commissioning, operation, maintenance and spare parts costs. In addition to these directly valve related costs, the indirect cost effects that the process valve has, through its impact on the whole process, should not be forgotten. Lifecycle costs can be greatly influenced by the choice of process valves to be purchased and by the chosen maintenance strategy. The purchase price differences between different field equipments can be by far outweighed by the costs arising during the later stages in the service life of the valve. In the end, the purchasing cost can represent as little as 20% of the whole lifecycle cost of the valve. The different lifecycle phases of control, cycling on-off and safety valves are somewhat similar, but there are also differences. For all of these valve types the purchasing cost plays an important role and the requirements for the commissioning phase are also similar; the commissioning should be as smooth and quick as possible. The major differences start to appear in the operation and maintenance phases. Control valves and cycling on-off valves are in continuous operation, whereas safety valves are stationary for most of the time. This creates different requirements, such as for the maintenance strategy of the valves, which in turn affects the TCO. Control valves are often installed in more process-critical applications than on-off valves and have a more direct effect on process availability, whereas safety valves have a significant effect on the safety of the whole platform or plant. Safety is an issue that cannot be directly linked to TCO evaluation, but its importance is clear also without this link. The availability of safety valves must be ensured, by testing while the process is running. These tests are conducted in the form of so-called partial 3

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 stroke tests (PST) and the way in which these PSTs are conducted will have an effect on the TCO through maintenance costs. Important feature here is that digital valve controllers/positioner need to be able to diagnose whole valve assembly and not only giving indication of positioner’s performance. Diagnose of automated valve performance should be carried out during the normal operation without separate need to implement performance tests. Normal valve operation should be utilized to do the diagnostic analyses since this is most authentic way to analyze valve performance.

Figure 2. Maintenance plays major role in typical control valve lifecycle distribution. Purchase cost is only 20%.

3. Benefits of intelligent valve controllers at different lifecycle phases
3.1. Installation When assembling the valve-actuator, positioner package, intelligent valve controllers offer several benefits compared to conventional positioners. The preferred parameters and settings can be pre-defined and downloaded to controllers in an effective and productive way, and these can also be saved separately for later use. The tests done for the assemblies are easy to document and the results can also be saved for later comparison to possible run-time test results. Basically, the assemblies are ready for use with proven functionality and a known test history. To conclude, the intelligent valve controllers will bring cost savings in the installation phase through the reduced amount of working time. 3.2. Commissioning During the installation or if the commissioning is done later in field conditions, intelligent valve controllers are easy and effective to set up. The parameters can be downloaded to devices or, after providing a few basic parameters from a local user interface, a fast auto-calibration procedure can be run and after that the unit is ready for use. In Metso’s case, all the intelligent Neles valve controllers are compatible with both single- and double-acting actuators and both rotary and linear valves. As in the installation phase, the cost saving potential with intelligent valve controllers depends on the possibility of reducing the time needed for commissioning work. 3.3. Operation All Neles intelligent valve controllers have a wide capacity range. Not only does this allow fast stroking times, if needed, but it also minimizes the need for extra instrumentation. This is a significant benefit when considering the TCO of a process valve as it totally eliminates one set of initial costs, installation and commissioning costs and run-time costs. In an offshore application it is essential to eliminate all possible sources of failure, and it is a known fact that, for example, volume boosters cause a significant portion of valve assembly failures. In addition, it is also possible to integrate limit switches in the valve controllers, which further reduces the number of components in the system. Fewer components mean fewer potential sources of problems. Moreover, a simpler valve assembly is faster to repair and return to full operation. The offshore platform is there to supply its product to the market. The primary function of valve assemblies is to control the flow. Considering this primary function and an offshore application, the following are key issues in minimizing the TCO at the operation stage: • Control applications: Minimize process variability by best possible control performance enabled by the intelligent valve controller – produce more and/or produce product of higher quality. A direct correlation to produced turnover. 4

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 • On/off applications: Perform controlled on/off operations for optimizing the process – with an intelligent onoff valve controller it is possible to pre-define valve opening and closing times and profiles. • Safety applications: Ensure safety under all conditions – production process can be run flat-out when it is confirmed that the safety system is ready to function at all times. Safety action availability can be tested by partial-stroke tests (PST) – intelligent safety valve controller enables automatic partial-stroke testing. See Figure 3 as an example of a PST result graph. In Metso’s case, intelligent valve controllers are all delivered with full diagnostic capabilities without any extra cost and all information is managed inside positioner. Full valve assembly related diagnostics is available and the devices gather information during the process runtime. Therefore, the ability to start utilizing predictive maintenance is inbuilt, enabling the important secondary function of intelligent valve controllers – minimizing the TCO of a valve assembly by minimizing downtime and optimizing maintenance costs. A unique capability of intelligent valve controllers is their ability to store information from the entire life of the valve in its memory. Advanced online diagnostics convey essential information on valve performance in a clear and easily understood way. Valuable valve performance and diagnostics data, read from the device memory, enable the user to make informed maintenance decisions. In addition to providing the diagnostic information from normal process operations, in safety applications the VG9300 safety controller can automatically perform the required PSTs, collect diagnostics from these tests and automatically document them. Typical control valve problems are seen as hysteresis, dead time or hunting control loops and these symptoms are then identified with diagnostics to the caused by e.g. higher friction caused by stem seal leakage or by deteriorated piston of actuator. This all is detected automatically while doing normal process operation. Same applies also for on/off valves.

Figure 3. Partial Stroke Test helps end user to verify if safety action can be implemented for ESD valves according to specifications. In case of Metso’s ValvGuard test results are automatically analyzed with two key performance indexes: load factor and breakaway pressure which helps to detect weaken performance with valve operation. 3.4. Maintenance Many important TCO benefits can be achieved with predictive maintenance. Valve assembly performance can be monitored during process run-time, so that preventive or calendar-based shutdowns and slowdowns can be reduced. Also with efficient monitoring undesirable process disturbances can be detected and minimized. Maintenance actions can be focused only on those devices that really need maintenance and shutdown work lists can be preplanned to ensure the availability of personnel, parts and tools. In the offshore sector, the maintenance content of TCO is emphasized, so there is strong motivation to limit the number of staff working in hazardous offshore environments as far as possible, without impacting on reliability or availability of production. By monitoring valve performance from onshore, it is possible to identify problems that would otherwise result in a plant shutdown. Intelligent valve controllers enable the use of onshore condition monitoring and expert help. Metso has several years of successful experience in remote monitoring services.

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Figure 4. Simplified operation model for remote monitoring in offshore platform environment.

4. Conclusion
Intelligent valve controllers offer several ways to reduce TCO of automated process valves. Nowadays all automated process valves can be provided with intelligent valve controllers and thus TCO savings can be achieved with all type of valves. The amount of TCO savings naturally depends how largely and in which lifecycle phase beneficial features of the new technology are utilized. Remarkable savings can be achieved in any phase of the whole lifecycle because the money spent on initial investment can represent as little as 20% of the total lifecycle cost. With intelligent controllers and asset management tools even 30%, or even more, savings are possible to realize depending of application and technology used. Most of the saving opportunities are however behind maintenance optimization and utilization of predictive maintenance capabilities. Such an amount of saving possibilities is continuously exciting more and more plant maintenance and instrument people to consider intelligent valve controllers to ease their job while saving money at the same time.

5. References
ISMO, NIEMELA. Making saving with Smart technology. Article in Hydrocarbon Engineer., July, 4, p., 2010. RICKY, SMITH. The Top 4 Reasons Predictive Maintenance Fails, Article in Uptime Magazine., February, 7, p., 2007.

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