Qatar-based RasGas Company Limited isn’t your typical energy business. In just two decades, it has grown into a leading global supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company employs more than 3,000 people of 68 nationalities and contributes a major part of Qatar’s economic output. It’s also a key tool in the government’s strategy to meet the goals listed under the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Like all successful companies, RasGas is constantly looking for smart ways to improve its operations. It recently found GE’s Predix.
Predix is an industrial-strength, cloud-based software platform that GE developed to analyze data and optimize the operations of machines connected to the Industrial Internet. This week at the Minds + Machines conference in Dubai, RasGas announced a partnership with GE Power & Water to stream its data into the cloud and use Predix to analyze it. RasGas will use the results to make their machines more efficient, extend their lifetime and optimize the company’s product chain.
Azeez Mohammed, head of power services for GE Power & Water in the Middle East and Africa, says the pilot phase of the partnership with RasGas will include GE and non-GE equipment. He says it’s the first time a Predix pilot has been applied beyond GE devices, showing that the platform’s open architecture can work with all devices.
RasGas knows well the power of data. The company has been gathering it from its LNG plants for years, but the use of it was limited. Data time synchronization, consolidation of complex data and holistic analysis proved to be challenging. Predix will help the company improve things. “RasGas has hundreds of assets sending information in different formats for different purposes,” Mohammed says. “But it was hard to aggregate the data using a unified platform.”
At the heart of the RasGas project sits GE’s Asset Performance Management package. It will help LNG workers analyze information coming from their machines, share it across systems and identify spots where there is room for improvement and optimization.
Observers estimate that over the next five years, more than 50 billion devices – from jet engines to jogging fitness monitors – will be connected via the Industrial Internet and the Internet of Things. These devices will churn out terabytes of data, effectively matching the print collection of the Library of Congress on a daily basis.
Industrial data will likely be the fastest-growing segment. But industrial data is both complex and voluminous. It’s also inherently messy.
GE software engineers designed Predix to allow users to organize their data and give developers a platform to build apps that address the specific needs of each industry. LNG facilities, after all, are different from airplanes or wind farms.
There are two main pain points for the oil and gas industry — one is reliability and the other efficiency. Because energy companies sign contracts that guarantee a certain amount of gas supply for as many as 10 years out, they need to reliably secure the right output.
Predix will help them proactively minimize unplanned downtime, better manage periodic maintenance, and ultimately improve equipment availability. This will cut the amount of the unprocessed gas produced during downtime. Since such gas is typically flared off, it will also reduce waste. “With Predix, they’ll be able to reduce unplanned downtime and have a more reliable production line,” Mohammed says.
Using Predix-based apps for data analysis will also allow workers to see if the equipment is working within design parameters and ensure that each area is operating as efficiently as possible to maximize performance and output.
Finally, GE’s Asset Performance Management program will also allow crews to share insights and store them in talent and knowledge databases.