OUR COLLEAGUES ROSE TO THE CHALLENGE TO CARRY OUT REMOTE INSPECTION (FAT) AND INTEGRATION TESTING (IFAT) FOR A CRITICAL INSTRUMENTATION PACKAGE. IT WAS A COMPLEX CHALLENGE THAT REQUIRED INGENUITY, PERSEVERANCE AND COLLABORATION. PETROFACTS MEETS THREE OF OUR COLLEAGUES WHO WERE KEY IN DRIVING THE REMOTE INTEGRATION TESTING OF THE CEMS (CONTINUOUS EMISSION MONITORING SYSTEM) PACKAGE. WHEN OTHER STAKEHOLDERS SAID IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, THEY MADE IT POSSIBLE
PUBLISHED JANUARY 2021
I joined Petrofac 12 years ago… and for the last two years I have been working on the Duqm project. I was managing five critical packages on the project – one of them was CEMS (continuous emission monitoring system) which is a crucial part of Oman’s environmental requirements for the project. I had good support from all stakeholders including the Duqm client and IPMT, our Chennai and Sharjah Instrumentation teams, Project Interface, Project Management and our JV partner Samsung. In addition to CEMS, I was working on the Mega Greenfield Refinery Process Laboratory in the region, the Analyser System, Fibreoptic Pipeline Leak Detection System and the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System for the project.
Right from the beginning, we knew integration testing would be challenging... We were working with multiple contractors and vendors across the globe in different timezones, and required certain information from them. There needed to be a lot of give and take for us to complete the milestones and deliverables. The testing wasn’t something we could leave until at site – it was too big a risk. Getting everyone at site in the same window would be a big challenge, would bring uncertainty and be very costly.
Taking part in the remote testing was an amazing experience… We were all working together on Microsoft Teams but we were located across the globe. There was somebody in Germany at 6am and another person in South Korea where it was night-time. Luckily, we were somewhere in between! People really went out of their way to make it happen.
The main lesson I’ve learned is that the impossible is possible… We had to focus on communication to get the information we needed to ensure the test was a success. It required a lot of persuasion. At Petrofac we’re encouraged to think out of the box and learn from our mistakes. It gives you a lot of confidence – you can follow your intuition and push ahead with what needs done.
I joined through the graduate scheme… I was among the fifth batch of graduates. What I like about Petrofac is that it feels like home. I have worked on many varied packages and in different roles; the instrumentation team is like family and feels very close knit. I’ve also worked with many different vendors and colleagues and everyone has helped me reach the level I am now.
DIVYA MATHUR, SENIOR ENGINEER, INSTRUMENTATION AND CONTROL
Divya is from New Delhi, India, based in Sharjah and joined Petrofac through the graduate programme in 2008. She was instrumental in driving the remote integration testing.
RUSTAM AZIZOV, SENIOR ENGINEER, INSTRUMENTATION AND CONTROL
Rustam is from Kazakhstan and based in Sharjah; he was the main interface between Petrofac and TR (EPC1). He helped coordinate the schedule for the IFAT testing between the companies.
I joined as a graduate engineer eight years ago in the 2012 batch… and I’ve been working on the Duqm project for three years now. I am leading the ICS Advanced Solution Systems for the plant, such as the Terminal Automation System, network solutions for Cyber Security, Historian and Advanced Alarm Management Systems.
I also manage the multiple external interfaces on the project… This includes EPC1 and EPC3 contractors and other companies such as OGS and OTTCO. I’m responsible for the coordination and information transfer between us, our vendors and external parties. It’s one of the most interesting parts of the project – understanding the many different companies we need to communicate with for the instrumentation packages.
It’s not just for CEMS – we have done IFAT for many other packages… I had to coordinate the testing and make sure everything was in place for the IFATs to be completed successfully. I felt a lot of responsibility; when it was over I felt very proud about what we’d achieved.
The team was great to work with… it’s like a family. I loved the atmosphere – it’s very encouraging and motivating. That is down to our team leader Debasis Guha. We can always call on each other and ask for help. This was the best part of the project for me. We have also built some very good relationships over the last three years with all the stakeholders.
Next, I will be supporting the construction and commissioning teams on site… I did this on my previous project, Sohar, also in Oman. I was also involved from day one on Sohar and I was one of the last engineers to leave the site. I started working on Duqm even before the contract was signed and hopefully I will see the end of it too. It gives me a real feeling of self-accomplishment.
DEBASIS GUHA, INSTRUMENTATION AND CONTROL LEAD
Debasis is from Kolkata, India and is based in Sharjah. He believes that remote testing presents big opportunities for young engineers and future projects. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring young engineers. He thinks that this provides a unique opportunity to learn more and contribute to the project and Petrofac’s vision.
I joined Petrofac six years ago… I’ve worked for various EPC companies across the world, including in the UK, Oman, Malaysia, South Korea and Qatar. I have more than 25 years’ experience in the industry.
I’m the JV Instrumentation and Control Lead for the Duqm project… The Duqm instrumentation team pioneered remote testing for various instrumentation and mechanical packages. One of the most challenging was CEMS. The CEMS integration test was vital even before the pandemic, but the pandemic gave us a new way to carry it out. We had to think differently and come up with a solution that replicated site conditions as far as practically possible. We had tested many packages remotely, but nobody thought this system and the analysers could be tested like this. Ultimately, the test happened and during testing we found issues that required specialist intervention from multiple vendors. If this had happened at site, it would have had a major impact on the project.
It’s our responsibility in Petrofac to develop our engineers and prepare them for the future… We observe and guide them. We will also test them in difficult situations, so they become used to coping with different challenges. They can then operate on their own with full freedom. Divya and Rustam are homegrown engineers and I’m proud of the role they played. They have the right attitude, inquisitiveness, ‘challenge accepting’ capability and pursue the goal until it is achieved. They showed the way, putting together a pros and cons list of site and remote testing for management. Eventually, our plan got the green light after rigorous effort.
Our client was very appreciative… Everyone suggested doing the test at site but Divya persevered and never gave up. A difficult situation can make everyone friends. You see a different side to stakeholders. Everyone bonded and wanted to resolve the issue. Only as a team could we have succeeded. The project was very rewarding to work on and the integration testing has been a great success story.
The biggest benefit is training and future project cost optimisation… we do not need to send our trainees to different countries – they can simply take part at their desks. Cost optimisation is another – this was a big package involving 12 different people, many different locations and various EPCs. There is cost and time involved in getting everyone together in one location. We cannot rule out physical testing in the future, it is still the best option in many different situations. But at the bidding stage we can suggest remote testing as a way of bringing everyone together on the same platform. Going forward remote testing will be very popular with the assistance of the right digitisation and system integrators.