Petrolera Ameriven Refinery Eliminates Bad Actors

The refinery was able to optimize work processes creating a reduction of maintenance costs which led to a 60% reduction of lost profit opportunities (LPO) on the order of $70 million in two years

As in any oil processing facility, reliability is paramount, and with 5,000 instruments communicating with the DCS, eliminating problems from erratic devices was key. To achieve that, Petropiar added Emerson’s AMS Device Manager platform to its Honeywell DCS. This system uses HART technology to communicate intelligent device diagnostic information from instruments and actuators throughout the plant.

Since the plant went on line in 2004, HART technology has opened a door of opportunity to the reliability community. They were able to optimize our work process creating a reduction of maintenance costs which led to a 60% reduction of lost profit opportunities (LPO) caused by instrumentation faults. Eliminating bad actors and having the ability to reduce random failure has resulted in a reported reduction of LPO on the order of $70 million in two years.

Based on such successes, the HART Communication Foundation was happy to make its selection for 2008. “Petropiar is a perfect example of how the power of HART can be used to lower cost, improve plant availability and contribute to keeping your plant competitive,” says HCF executive director Ron Helson. “We congratulate Petropiar for their foresight, planning and vision in building a plant infrastructure that allowed the use of the intelligent capabilities of HART-enabled instrumentation,” Petropiar’s maintenance group found that their efforts using HART made the plant startup go much smoother, as instrumentation performance and calibration problems had been sought out and corrected before it went on line. As a result, there were no failures attributed to instrumentation reported during the startup period. Their bad actors had already been identified and corrected, eliminating 95% of related problems.


Since startup, this preventive method has continued. Calibration tasks are thoroughly defined, with routes and schedules laid out for the entire universe of instrumentation. This emphasis on predictive maintenance allows them to attend to only the items that really need attention, resulting in a 10% increase in effective personnel “wrench time.” This has allowed the plant to operate with a staff of only five reliability engineers and 12 instrument technicians and still stay ahead of most problems.