The Next Challenge

Pat Verlaine was correct. Within weeks of the discussion, the acquisition was announced. Proclndustries would be purchasing three additional olefins petrochemical sites, each of which included an ethylene plant, propylene plant, and benzene plant. The move was made to take advantage of emerging market growth in Mexico and Central America.

Ten days after the announcement, Peter, Bill, and Pat attended a meeting with the Proclndustries leadership team. The president thanked them for being available to discuss the upcoming acquisition.

He continued, "Bill, Peter, thanks again for the wonderful job you've done transforming our refineries. We're now in very good shape. As such, we'd like you two and Pat to form a new team and transform these new petrochemical plants the way you did our refineries. From what I hear, they weren't run in a very effective manner. They don't have anywhere near the same comprehensive sets of data that we now have here. We understand that the plants we are buying don't even communicate effectively among themselves, as their control and information systems are all from entirely different vendors and they've never integrated them effectively."

"That's right," Pat chimed in. "It's a hodgepodge of vendors and systems. And very limited uses of analytics in a systematic way."

"We know exactly what to do," exclaimed Peter. "Let's get a meeting set to review together and get started. It will be like old times."

With that, they soon convened and started a new journey. They underwent the same methodology and took the same steps they had taken when improving the refineries. This time, they knew exactly what steps to take and what things they should not do. In less than a year, they had an effective data infrastructure for these newly acquired plants. They deployed an EIDI system at every site, transmitting a subset of the data to a petrochemical division-wide EIDI that focused on business systems integration, advanced analytics, modeling, and scheduling.

They also had accomplished new initiatives:

  • • They integrated all of the equipment performance information directly into the newly deployed Proclndustries Center of Excellence operations monitoring center, staffed with domain specialists to monitor and prioritize potential equipment issues. This allowed plant personnel to focus on process monitoring and meeting production targets.
  • • They deployed geographic-based environmental and safety condition software that monitors environmental impact from the petrochemical plants and transmits real-time EIDI emissions values to the geospatial information system. By superimposing EIDI real-time values on these maps, operations people would have real-time situational awareness that could impact safety decisions. Then, based on historical emissions data, they can predict if the site would reach an emissions limit governed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Texas.

The team also made plans to add offline process modeling of the petrochemical processes. They planned to send predicted values from the software model back to the petrochemical site-based EIDI systems and store these predictions as EIDI future data values. By doing this, operations personnel could track the actual process results versus what the process model had predicted and take action when a significant variance occurred.

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