The PI System helps EQT Midstream make the most of a booming market
- ChallengeEstablish proof of concept for implementing the PI System on midstream oil and gas assets to set a new industry standard
- SolutionsThe PI System and Asset Framework provide insights for midstream and upstream natural gas operations
- BenefitsCost savings are more than $1.1 million per year, more than double the predicted savings
Over the past decade, natural gas has become one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the United States. EQT Midstream took advantage of the growing demand and increased supply in the Appalachian region to improve its output, becoming the largest natural gas provider in the country. With that growth, however, came increased costs that threatened to swallow all the company’s newfound profits. The PI System helped the company streamline its midstream and upstream operations by moving toward preventative maintenance and eliminating the need for in-person data collection from remote assets. The company projected it would save nearly $3 million by 2020 thanks to the PI System, and sees many additional opportunities for optimization moving forward.
Finding similarities to reduce streamline operations
EQT Midstream’s journey to digitization began with a single compression station in West Virginia and quickly grew once it implemented the PI System and began using Asset Framework (AF) to organize equipment. “When you use Asset Framework, you stop worrying about naming,” said Oscar Smith, a senior principal engineer at EQT Midstream. “It just organizes and contextualizes the data, so it really makes you fast.”
AF templates accelerated the adoption of the PI System across the organization. It quickly replicated the asset hierarchy across 16 stations and nine transmission sites. EQT Midstream now gathers more than 100,000 data streams each second, all of which are structured with AF Templates help us to just cut-and-paste and apply to the next station with the same tags coming from the same PLCs,” Smith said.
Capturing “dark” data
Like many companies in the oil and gas industry, some of EQT Midstream’s assets are in remote locations, which are expensive and time-consuming for field operators to visit. The company also manually collected data from assets with built-in diagnostics like odorizers, moisture analyzers, and ultrasonic meters—what it refers to as “dark, landlocked data.” The PI System allowed access to any asset and its data at any time from anywhere in the organization, which reduces, or in some cases eliminates, the need for in-person field visits.
With a fuller picture of its data, EQT Midstream moved from calendar-based maintenance to predictive maintenance and set up a robust notification system to alert the team when issues arise. The PI System integrates with IBM Maximo, the company’s work management system, to automatically trigger maintenance work orders based on reliable data, not guesswork. “We had secondary voltage data available to us for years we didn’t know was there,” Smith said. “With the PI System, downtime and unnecessary equipment changes reduced sharply.”
As EQT Midstream experienced success with the PI System across the enterprise, the company easily made the case for further expansion. Smith anticipates that the PI System will soon integrate with ESRI ArcGIS and financial systems to continue breaking down silos between different parts of the company. The ultimate goal is a broad cultural change that involves people, processes, and technology. Better data will lead to product innovation, data-driven decisions will lead to service enhancements, and data visualization will enable operational excellence.
The road to success is rarely a straight line, but every cost savings that EQT Midstream realizes thanks to the PI System helps build trust and puts the company one step closer to digital business transformation. Like the energy market itself, the future looks bright for the PI System at EQT Midstream. “Because the PI System integrates with many systems, we’re just at the tip of the iceberg,” Smith said.
For more information about EQT Midstream and the PI System, watch the full presentation here.