This is a guest post from Bob Fesmire, Strategic Communications Manager at ABB, thanks Bob!
We also encourage people to check out the upcoming ABB Customer World, which is the new name for ABB Automation and Power World, coming up the week of March 13th at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston. Several people from ARC, including myself, will be there.
The coming midstream build-out will rely on greater integration and a focus on optimizing systems up front
Demand for gas both as a feedstock and a fuel for power generation has increased dramatically. Meanwhile, the pipeline infrastructure is aging, notably in the US where more than 50 percent of the natural gas pipelines were constructed prior to 1970. With low gas prices extending to the horizon, the stage is set for substantial investments in midstream infrastructure.
Despite the attractive business case, midstream project owners remain laser-focused on three things: cost, schedule and risk. Optimizing (i.e., reducing) each of these requires a shift from traditional approaches toward more integration between systems and an emphasis on up-front engineering. The main automation or electric contractor (MAC/MEC) concept is well suited to these priorities, and is already established in the oil and gas industry.
By assuming some project risk, the MAC/MEC can identify opportunities early in the project timeline, for example to reduce the footprint of electrical facilities. That in turn means less civil work, less integration at the installation and commissioning phase, and fewer opportunities to deviate from schedule.
Upstream projects have garnered significant savings—often 15 to 20 percent—using an integrated approach to optimize systems at the design stage. The same benefits can now accrue to midstream projects that employ the same strategy.