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Customer Story

Delek brings refineries into synchronized digital maturity

  • Challenge
    Refineries operated off distinct systems without modeling standards or transparency
  • Solution
    Enterprise agreement (EA) to adopt the PI System as an enterprise system
  • Benefits
    Improved data integrity and analytics and company-wide data visibility

When Delek US Holdings, an energy company, added two refineries to its portfolio, the old ways of operating no longer worked. With these acquisitions, the company worried that existing data-management challenges, which impacted the productivity of its refineries, would worsen. The key problem: Each Delek refinery operated off a distinct set of systems—such as maintenance management, lab information management, yields, and accounting—without modeling standards or sufficient transparency. With siloed operations and data often landlocked in multiple systems, inefficiencies and spikes in natural gas purchase price could produce compounding losses as the company acquired more refineries. To help meet that challenge, Delek signed an Enterprise Agreement (EA) in 2015 and adopting the PI System across its operations. In doing so, the company streamlined digital transformation of its refineries, ensured company-wide data visibility and more efficient operations, and enabled a successful acquisition strategy for continued growth.

Achieving digital integration with Asset Framework

The EA helped Delek create a strategic road map for its digital transformation. With technical support, Delek implemented Asset Framework (AF), part of the PI Server, to create a digital replica of its refinery operations. AF offered rich context for data streams by providing consistent data modeling that made operations transparent and centrally accessible from any location.

“We saw things were calculated a number of different ways, with a lot of units of measurement,” said John Arney, process information coordinator at Delek. “There were a lot of data integrity issues.” With the PI System EA, Delek could now integrate data capture and analysis processes across multiple refinery sites and successfully pursue a growth strategy through greater visibility and operations standardization. “The EA forced us to say, ‘We’re going to go with the PI System,’” said Frank Simmons, Delek’s vice president of refining best practices.

Once real-time data is collected in the PI System and structured with AF, the data is fed into Delek’s enterprise-wide platform, known as MINERVA (Massive Information Nexus Enterprise Reporting Via Automation). MINERVA is Delek’s new standard for data capture and integration. “If it’s a number and we want to track it, it’s going into MINERVA,” said Bob Gonzales, director of refining business practices at Delek.

The PI System has helped democratize operations data previously confined in Excel spreadsheets and siloed in each refinery site. In the process, measurements and data streams have been standardized across operations, and refinery personnel now receive training commensurate with their level of engagement with the PI System. “With the EA, we have training coupons, which we use to get everyone’s digital competency at the same place,” said Gonzales.

All our process engineers want this. They don’t like chasing their mass balances . . . PI does this for them. It saves them hours of work every morning.
John Arney
Coordinator of Process Information

Removing roadblocks and building momentum

Now that the PI System has been installed at Delek’s refineries in El Dorado, Arkansas, and Tyler, Texas, the company’s engineers have critical overlap of expertise. Working off the same architecture, they are able to cover for each other and establish shared best practices. In one example, the integrity of data exchanged by refinery labs and process engineers improved through use of Event Frames and simple validation procedures. “We didn’t trust our data,” Arney noted. “A lot our sample points were getting old.” With KPI data integrity improved, the PI System allows the refinery teams to deepen their gas-stream analysis and launch new economic studies to improve their yields and profits.
delek-figure-graphThe Asset Framework assists Delek in achieving data integrity at its refineries.

“We were able to construct a complete model of our fuel gas system for the Tyler and El Dorado refineries,” said Arney. “Now, we can be notified and fix errors, rather than finding out about them by having a natural gas purchase spike and a high monthly bill.”

As these two refineries set a new standard, Delek’s recently acquired sites can build out on a proven digital infrastructure. The company also plans to deploy MINERVA within other refinery business systems and to integrate the PI System with a preventative-maintenance program for multiple asset systems. Refinery operators will continue to hone the system through further use. “The more people in the system,” said Simmons, “the more we understand PI System capabilities.”

For more information about Delek and the PI System, watch the full presentation here.

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