Ormen Lange’s subsea wells
and pipelines deliver gas to
an onshore processing plant
at Nyhamna, Norway, where
it is dried and compressed.
Spending money on things which produce
more data will do nothing to solve the information deluge that people currently experience;
nor is this likely to transform performance
to the scale required by today’s challenging
market conditions. Companies need to ensure
their data is sufficiently interconnected such
that people across the organization are work-
ing from the same set of information. Addi-
tionally, this consolidated ecosystem needs to
extract and deliver actionable insights tailored
for the needs of various stakeholder groups.
This applies as equally for greenfield sites as
for existing, brownfield operations.
Greenfield projects have been completed
using the same methods for decades. Traditionally, projects involving controller-centric
I/O solutions rely on the software and hardware tasks happening sequentially, with each
stage dependant on the completion of the last.
This is inflexible, with changes causing disruption, added expense and delays. In fact, 64% of
today’s projects face cost overruns, often to
the tune of being 20 to 30% over budget. And,
73% report schedule delays, with as many as
30% of loops failing on commissioning due to
errors in the engineering process.
Recognizing that the status quo needed
changing, ABB has developed an approach
called intelligent projects which harnesses the
power of digital to streamline the engineering
and infrastructural elements of a newbuild.
Intelligent engineering uses an integrated
range digital technologies to remove software
and hardware interdependencies and allows
development efforts to proceed in parallel.
This new way of working also makes it possible for project team members to share information more effectively thereby reducing
scope for costly errors.
Under traditional approaches, the use of
hard-wired analog instrumentation means
signal types are fixed, increasing the risk of re-
work or delay if the exact mix of I/O channels
is incorrect. “Select I/O,” by contrast, a single-
channel, flexible I/O developed by ABB, al-
lows each I/O channel to remain flexible and
undeclared until a very late stage, often just
before commissioning. This decouples I/O
hardware engineering from software design
allowing both to happen in parallel – lower-
ing development costs and shortening the
And, separating the I/O hardware from the
process controllers minimizes the amount of
rework through late changes in the project.
It also allows for pre-tested, standardized
cabinets that can be wired directly without
the need for additional marshalling cabinets.
Cloud engineering further streamlines
initial project execution by making standard
designs, engineering workflows and support
tools accessible to all project execution groups
at all times for both application software and
hardware. Engineers can perform a virtual
factory-acceptance-test of the finished control
system software, without ever leaving their
desks. This allows control system hardware
to be shipped to site much earlier.
Re-use and standardization avoids the additional cost and time required for technical
clarifications, drawing approvals and factory
acceptance testing associated with custom,
one-of-a-kind project designs.
Automated data management converts
project-specific data from a variety of sources
into a common data format. It auto-generates
application software and project documents,
stores multiple revisions of design data, cre-
ates reports and handles all aspects of managing the integration of third-party sub-systems.
All of the above elements of ABB’s intel-
ligent engineering approach help eliminate
many of the previously labor-intensive tasks
thereby minimizing human error, and directly
leading to lower costs and less time spent in
While intelligent engineering simplifies
and speeds up greenfield project execution,
supporting these efforts with a similarly intel-
ligent infrastructure delivers further benefits
by way of an optimized equipment mix which
reduces footprint size and complexity while
maximizing operational performance. Intelligent infrastructure consists of a diverse range
products and systems for electrical, automation and telecoms, such as CCTV, instrumentation, drives, power management and control
systems. The intelligence of these devices
refers to the fact that many have Ethernet IP
interfaces and can easily join the industrial
internet of things (IIOT).
However, it is worth noting that, traditionally, the infrastructure chosen by companies
has been far from intelligent since people have
not had wider integration issues top of mind.
Instead, a narrow focus on optimizing their
own small piece of the pie has led to a patchwork of disparate systems and interfaces with
little chance of being effectively integrated to
optimise overall performance.
Companies, however, who have embraced
an intelligent projects approach to greenfield
project development and have integrated their
engineering and infrastructure more effec-
tively have enjoyed 20 to 30% less capital and
operating expenditures (capex and opex).
They have also seen 25% quicker completion
rates versus traditional approaches.
A case in point is the Eni Norge AS Goliat
FPSO in the Barents Sea. ABB’s intelligent
projects approach delivered Goliat with 50%
less commissioning and 30% less engineering
costs. It also came online with less risk due to
ABB’s having single-source system account-
ability which meant there with fewer problems
due to unexpected integration issues caused
by disparate supplier technology. Addition-
ally, the rationalized infrastructure reduced
complexity and footprint. PDCS/PMS system
size was cut 60% and system/FTC cabinets
decreased 30%. And, given Goliat only has to
oversee one system, it benefits from lower
Another example is Statoil’s Grane project in the North Sea where the project came
to fruition with 20 to 30% fewer engineering
hours, 10 to 20% reductions in equipment
costs, half the change orders normally ex-
pected, and a four-to-six-month improvement
in electrical scheduling.
With sites that are already operational, the
focus is on optimizing processes by analyzing
diverse data sets to gain enhanced operational
insights which help operators reduce cost,
increase productivity and ensure safety and
security. Often, the answers already exist –