Oil and gas sector owners and operators, E/P/C contractors and the hardware and software vendors who support them, left a conclave in Houston at the end of January with upbeat predictions for the sector.
Attendees at DaratechPLANT2008 were assured that, with its long development horizon and rising demand for product, the energy sector should survive economic dips well. E/P/C firms were advised that with improving information technology, they have the tools to mitigate workforce shortages, globally distribute work and meet expected challenge from Chinese firms in the years ahead.
“In the U.S. we are extremely good at managing change, and good at flexibility,” says Richard Longdon, chief executive of design software vendor AVEVA Group plc, Cambridge, U.K. “Quite a few competitors in other parts of the world are not so good at that.”
There is a pile up of work at a time when E/P/C firms are being asked to build larger and increasingly complex projects in ever-more challenging locations. “All the garden sites have been taken,” notes Marc-Henri J. Cerar, manager of project IT and information systems at AMEC Paragon Engineering Services, Houston. Firms are countering with efficiencies in distributed engineering, supported by laser scanning to establish as-built parameters for retrofits, and 3-D design tools, such as those from AVEVA, Bentley Systems, Inc., Exton, Pa., and Intergraph Process Power and Marine, Huntsville, Ala., to ensure fast, perfect-fit, modular installation.
The issue of interoperability between those design products is hot. Intergraph President Gerhard Salinger holds that users of its soup-to-nuts products don’t have a problem. “I would be happy if Intergraph could walk with you on that road as your trusted partner,” he told the attendees during a CEO roundtable of the three companies. Bentley, on the other hand, launched OpenPlant PowerPID, the first of what it says will be a new generation of plant design tools built on an open data standard ISO 15926. Bentley says it will make the data of projects agnostic.