GLNG ahead of the pack

FOR once, Santos has the upper hand, saving money on an Intergraph design re-use and replication innovation at Gladstone LNG that its fellow Queensland megaproject operators are yet to embrace, exposing themselves to missed opportunities for productivity gains, the tech firm's country manager Greg Rohde told Energy News.
GLNG ahead of the pack GLNG ahead of the pack GLNG ahead of the pack GLNG ahead of the pack GLNG ahead of the pack

Santos, which expects more impairments and lower asset carrying values and reserves once it revises its half-year accounts, has been struggling to maintain investor confidence despite its recent $3 billion capital raising and $500 million share placement to Chinese group Hony Capital to pay down its $8.8 billion debt mountain.

JP Morgan said last month Santos was "barely breaking even" and was "unlikely to be cash flow positive" at spot commodity prices given GLNG is still very capital intensive, estimating that the megaproject is costing about $900 million a year to run between now and 2020.

West Texas Intermediate slumped further yesterday to $US27.45/bbl, while Brent still hovers just above $30.

Despite the concerns over GLNG, it has now been revealed that the project recently established a methodology that utilises a range of Intergraph design tools to replicate and recreate standardised designs in-house.

"While Intergraph technology was also used to design the Australia Pacific LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG plants, a similar approach to design reuse and replication has not yet been adopted on those projects," Rohde, who is Intergraph Process, Power & Marine Australia vice president, told Energy News.

"However, I feel that there is enormous potential for Australia's owners to experience similar productivity gains, simply by adopting the innovative methodologies that Intergraph's tried-and-tested design solutions enable. There is nothing else on the market that provides the level of design reuse our solutions do.

"Companies are throwing away money if they don't leverage what they already have."

On earlier projects, GLNG engaged with its engineering, procurement and construction contractors to design its well pads individually and "stick-build" them on site.

The Santos GLNG upstream team identified an opportunity to minimise the time and costs spent on individual well pad design and initiated a project to develop the capability to replicate a standard design then reproduce all the required deliverables.

As a first step, a large engineering, procurement and construction concern was engaged to work on the project which was already using a range of Intergraph design tools, including Smart 3D, SmartPlant Instrumentation for instrument datasheets and loops, and SmartPlant P&ID for piping and instrumentation diagram design.

Santos GLNG upstream information manager Shaun Barclay deployed these tools in-house so EPCs working on the project in the future could utilise them in the company's own environment via a Citrix connection, minimising the requirements at handover and ultimately saving time and money.

Once deployed, the Santos GLNG information management team used the systems to create an as-built model of the asset, make changes to existing facilities, and standardise well pad design for replication.

The team was enabled to use the specifications and corporate standards within the software, enabling the quick and easy design of fit-for-purpose skid packages to suit the coal seam gas industry in the current market.

"After we've created a standardised design, we use Intergraph's design tools to recreate and replicate the design so that we have all the deliverables - for procurement, construction, commissioning, and operations - that are required for the maintenance of the facility for the next 25 years," Barclay said.

Barclay said that owning the tools and bringing them in-house resulted in significant gains in quality, along with time and money savings.

"We have seen a significant return on investment as a result of using Intergraph's tools to reuse and replicate designs, thanks to a continued reduction of costs for both new design and for management of change on existing facilities," Barclay said.

Having the design tools hosted in-house allows Santos GLNG to integrate other applications with the use of the data captured in the tools and the embedded relationships between data and documents.

"The benefits from data integration alone have been enormous. Now we have instant access to accurate engineering data and the relationships between deliverables, when and as it is required," Barclay added.