System-Wide Asset Reliability & Performance Modeling

Reliability modeling technology is mature (>30 years) but, until about 18 years ago, was applied primarily in the electronics, avionics, aircraft and defense industries. Its application in the oil and gas industry had to await simulation tools based on event-driven methodologies. Dr. Nathoo's innovative implementation can be viewed as a structured process to mathematically simulate the stochastic performance of plant hardware and process systems as well as local/global network of systems. Dr. Nathoo, working cooperatively with an outside company, articulated new developments to introduce key features that allowed the simulation of real operating plants that have elements such as feed variability, feed prioritization, product demand variability, operating rules w/rate management triggers, conditional logic, equipment & sub-system reliability via statistical distributions, customer product contracts and co-producer swap arrangements, maintenance and resources strategy and allocation rules, unit operations product yields, storage, stream flow routing / recycle loops, logistics, intermediate stream blending and yield rules, etc. - basically, everything that is part and parcel of a petrochemical and complex production network operations.

Our first principles-based approach resting on a well-established background of process systems and melded with the right degree of simulation provides the differentiation from the other offerings in the marketplace.

Dr. Nathoo's reliability studies have been used to:

  • ensure current, new and revamped plants can meet defined operating/project premises such as production levels, availability targets, environmental regulations, etc. for the lowest capital investment
  • make objective data-driven decisions around appropriate equipment capacity, sparing philosophy and system/hardware selection options to meet project premises
  • assure project funding entities or lenders that their investment results in the expected production return
  • determine storage and logistics requirements
  • assist with defining feed and product contracts as well as security of supply.

Over the past 18 years, Dr. Nathoo, in concert with the software suppliers, identified over 75 key technical features to model the complex operating systems accurately and with confidence. As a result of the early successes, Shell Oil Company (his employer at that time) required that this technology be used for every new project development, whether it be a 10 million or 10 billion dollar investment - it still does. Feedback from project teams include: " ... has convinced many key managers of the merits of this technology by consistently producing sound products (models) which, in virtually all cases, have delivered a demonstrable, high profit" and " ... helped us establish a defendable basis for the optimal spare capacity and unit sparing philosophy for use in the economic modeling instead of relying on individual subjective estimates (either high or low). It let us see where sparing was making an impact and where it did not add economic benefit. The analysis was very good at putting together the complex model with many units/areas and letting us see how one area influenced (or not) other areas." Dr. Nathoo's reliability modeling also resulted in R&D funding to continue developing this technology to handle even more complex systems than have been examined to-date. Dr. Nathoo has led / conducted over 150 studies to-date.