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Running Process Plant Utilities Like a Business
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The one constant common to corporate re-structuring, re-engineering, right sizing, etc., in petroleum and petrochemical companies, is the extremely focused pursuit of business objectives, measured in business terms, compared to global competitors using globally accepted performance standards. Performance is therefore evaluated in business terms, not technical or engineering terms. Although this environment works well for fungible products bought and sold in the marketplace, it is often difficult to apply to process plant utilities. This is because many plant utility systems (power, steam, fuel, cooling water, BFW, inert gas, etc.) are designed unique to the plant production systems they serve, do not have transparent market clearing prices, and are rarely managed using common business parameters. To address this deficiency, SRI and Pernex Petroquimica have jointly created a spreadsheet-based computer model system that allows plant utility unit managers to run their operations like a competitive business, report results using internationally-accepted business standards (profit/loss statement, balance sheet, etc.) and compare performance routinely to both current plant capabilities and international benchmarks. The system has been commercialized by Pemex, has been in operation for over a year, and is now being used to manage approximately $3 billion worth of Pemex Petroquimica production assets. The purpose of this paper is to describe the spreadsheet-based computer model system so that other plant utility managers facing the same problem of trying to run their units along business lines can adopt those characteristics of the described model that meet their needs, learn from the experience of Pemex Petroquimica in applying these systems to real utility units in real petrochemical complexes, and evaluate their own requirements from a firm that has had to build its own system from the ground up. This paper describes the methodology used to define the needed capabilities of the system, assess the benefits to accrue from successful commercialization of the system, determine the hardware platform to be used, evaluate the system and application software needs, and report the lessons learned from using the system in a process plant environment.
Pavone, A. (1995). Running Process Plant Utilities Like a Business. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from