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In my last blog, we explored how cloud technologies offer real business value to your refinery. Our experience is that once people start using the cloud, a cascade of potential opens and the value grows exponentially.

That said, digital technology and analytics sometimes holds out a false promise of replacing some of the difficult decisions and analysis that refiners have to make with a computerized solution. Companies that try this often spend a lot of time re-inventing the wheel and struggling to replicate even basic human functions.

A better approach is to build on top of what already exists, for instance using existing simulations to validate input data for analytics, and feeding simulation outputs into data mining. A systematic approach providing insights that support the decisions that are already being made, built into existing work processes is more likely to succeed than starting from scratch and working a new way.

Furthermore, before embarking on ‘new’ digital technologies, consider how to extract the most value out of ‘traditional’ digital technologies such as simulation, advanced process control and manufacturing execution systems (potentially by leveraging new technologies too). This can often provide a level of focus and quick wins which are much more powerful than embarking on new technology implementation from scratch.

At KBC, we believe that the cloud is primarily about collaboration and is an enabler for the next generation of digital tools but ensuring that you are using your old technology in new ways is the key to making future vision a reality. 

Read the full version of Tim's digital technologies article featured in Hydrocarbon Engineering magazine





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