Terminal automation for upstream applications
The oil company needed to develop an accurate product management
process that accounted for product distribution from the gathering tanks to the marine export terminal.
Inventory management was not accurate: The manual comparison of tank gauge to truck delivery ticket often showed a discrepancy. Resulting gains or losses were periodically calculated and booked manually into the inventory management system. Because it was manually entered, the resultant values were occasionally inaccurate.
Quality information was not accurate: Quality was controlled by the loading and offloading rack equipment during the load but not tracked. During loading, a periodic sample was collected. The final sample was then manually tested for basic sediment and water (S&W) content and gravity. This data was not made available, nor was it traceable by any electronic means. The result was that inventory of product and water was not a measured quantity.
Data entry was not accurate: The manual entry of each load and its
attributes were inaccurate, resulting in the company having to pay producers for product they did not receive. The company also had to pay for product shortage claims by the receiving terminal because there was no electronic or verifiable traceability of the custody transfer. Company losses were estimated at more than a million dollars a year.
- Account for product in and out of the CDP
- Monitor and control product quality
- Account for drivers and trucks contracted for transport
- Monitor safety issues for drivers and trucks
- Integrate to the back office accounting software
- Provide traceability of the inventory management process
A midsize oil exploration and production company was gathering produced oil into tanks located in or near areas where the oil was produced.
Trucks were dispatched to the gathering tank locations to load crude oil for transport to a central distribution point (CDP). The driver would manually note the load details on a paper delivery ticket.
The CDP would receive the product by truck or pipeline for later distribution. The CDP would manually compare the delivery ticket to the change in tank gauge to get an approximation of the quantity offloaded.
Trucks would load from the CDP for transport to an export terminal. The CDP produced a paper ticket for delivery to the receiving terminal.
All loading results, along with tank inventories, were manually entered into the company’s back office system.
A TechnipFMC project manager and engineering team were assembled. TechnipFMC engineering worked with the customer’s IT and Operations teams to determine their concerns and discuss configuration. The engineering team evaluated the challenges and proposed the final solution to the customer. Once approved, the project proceeded.
- FuelFACS terminal automation system
- Business and control software
- Loading rack automation using the TechnipFMC microLoad Preset
- We configured the microloads to monitor quality parameters, control them by stopping or diverting poor quality product, then publish the results to FuelFACS
- Integration to the customer's back office inventory accounting system
For this project, the standard FuelFACS software was delivered. There were two additional pieces of functionality added to the system:
- Integration of the accounting data directly to the back-office system as defined by the company’s IT staff
- Support for the retrieval and storage of S&W information from the microLoad presets
TechnipFMC personnel configured the site physical attributes of tanks and loading equipment and the commercial data, including source, destination, driver, trucking company and vehicle.
Our engineers performed factory training for the customer. The training was designed to help the customer perform day-to-day operations and future configuration changes without TechnipFMC intervention.
We also performed a Factory Acceptance Test at the customer’s headquarters. The customer approved commissioning to commence. A total of five sites were commissioned.
The customer’s project manager was present at each commissioning site as a liaison between the TechnipFMC project team and customer
operations. This ensured safety compliance and helped to verify system functionality.
TechnipFMC project team’s main concern after safety was to keep production running. Operations were minimally impacted during
Complete traceability of operations
The loading and offloading operations now have complete traceability thanks to the control provided by microLoad and the integration of its gathered data into the FuelFACS SQL Server database. Once a day the data is compiled and transmitted to the customer's ERP system.
Multiple standard reports provide customer operations, accounting, IT and engineering with insight into the system. The system is configured
to view, email, print or save reports on a schedule or ad hoc basis.
Accurate delivery tickets are now produced by the system and traced by version. All changes are noted and timestamped along with the user ID that made the change. Each transactions has a unique identifier and is tracked by revision number.
The customer was very satisfied with TechnipFMC’s solution and cost-saving efficiencies to its product distribution and accounting operations.
Because of this and other comparable projects, TechnipFMC has a documented, repeatable solution to meet similar customer requirements. Projects can be quoted, specified and executed using this scheme as a model to offer additional efficiencies.
In the future, TechnipFMC intends to offer an extended solution to include the gathering point with electronic, traceable and verifiable
ticketing for the driver integrated with FuelFACS. This will result in closing the loop from the gathering point to the export terminal.
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January 11, 2022