“Now every pump can be monitored every shift rather than once a month.” —Eric Rearwin, solution architect, Chevron
Mobile decision support system gives field personnel a better idea of which equipment needs attention
When a pump breaks in one of Chevron Corp.’s downstream plants, repairs can cost the company upward of $70,000. Failure of a large storage tank can set Chevron back several hundred thousand dollars in repair, cleanup, and lost-time costs.
With massive refineries and upstream exploration operations scattered all over the world, generating more than two million barrels of oil per day, the $167 billion company is justifiably interested in understanding as much as it as soon as it can about what’s going on the field.
Seven years ago, the company launched a ground-breaking project designed to deliver just that type of up-to-the-minute visibility. Based on handheld mobile devices, the Chevron mobile workforce and decision support system allows the company’s field operators to easily collect consistent information that tells Chevron what equipment may be about to fail even before it does. The system also has made it easier for Chevron to implement standard work procedures for operators worldwide and to take much of the cost out of regulatory reporting.
The project earned Chevron a 2011 PM100 Award for Operational Excellence.
Prior to the project, information such as equipment vibration data was collected manually on paper, often by dedicated teams. That meant that most equipment was monitored only periodically, and analysis was done on a monthly basis. The new system allows Chevron operators to enter information such as equipment vibration data into handheld devices via a Bluetooth-enabled probe as they go about their daily tasks. Exceptions are flagged, and reports are e-mailed to vibration teams that can jump on potential problems before they balloon into huge repair bills. The system also makes it easier for Chevron
to collect data for regulatory reporting.
“Now every pump can be monitored every shift rather than once a month,” says Eric Rearwin, solution architect at Chevron. “Operators are walking by these machines every day anyway. Now they can easily collect this information, and it can be quickly acted upon.”
The system is also used to provide field operators with standard work instructions.
So far, the system has been deployed to about 400 operators in eight Chevron refineries. The company plans to roll out another 400 at six upstream exploration sites around the world by 2012.