Agreement enables both parties to target subsea and topside opportunities in west Africa
Global controls technology company Proserv has announced that it has established an arrangement with Luanda based service provider Prometim whereby the Angolan business will act as its local representative in both Angola and the Republic of Congo.
Prometim specialises in maintenance, asset integrity and EPC activities in the energy sector and wider industry. Its reach extends from Angola, Congo and Mozambique in Africa through to the UAE in the Arabian Gulf and Portugal in western Europe.
The tie-up will see the two companies leverage Proserv’s worldwide footprint and expertise in control system integration to pinpoint opportunities in the region’s mature deep water subsea oil and gas activities. Angola has one of the largest numbers of subsea control modules (SCM) installed globally with around 600 SCMs currently deployed. Proserv and Prometim aim to harness the former’s reputation for optimising ageing, unsupported and obsolete controls infrastructure to extend the life, and enhance the operational performance, of these brownfield assets.
It is also anticipated that the two parties can target multiple topside controls openings and upgrades via floating production, storage and offloading units (FPSO) as well as conductor support platforms in shallower waters. It is expected that Proserv’s broad portfolio of offerings including its award-winning service operation as well as its measurement and sampling teams can look to further develop their footprint in west Africa as a result of this agreement.
Paula Dantas, Prometim’s Managing Director said:
“It is our mission at Prometim to deliver high quality levels of service for our customers to make a real difference to their competitiveness and performance. Our stated goal is to add value to their operations. By cementing this arrangement with Proserv, we can take this aim to another level. Proserv offers innovative and impactful solutions, both subsea and topside, that have life extension and optimisation at their core. We are very happy to represent such a global market leader.”
Richard Moralee, Senior Director, Business Development, Europe, Africa and Far East, Proserv commented:
“We are delighted to reach this agreement with Prometim, a long-standing and well-respected Angolan business, and we look forward to forging a close working relationship. It is part of our intrinsic Proserv values to actively engage, support and work with the local community and utilise its expertise wherever we seek to develop and extend our activities around the globe. Prometim shares our ethics and our outlook and its skill sets very much complement our own. This tie-up is a really good fit.”
Last month, our sampling team’s exciting and strategic recent tie-up in Malaysia with sand and erosion monitoring, analytics and management experts SMS was featured as a Members’ Services spotlight in the Energy Industries Council’s (EIC) Inside Energy online magazine. The deal has seen SMS become the exclusive agent and representative for Proserv’s sampling activities across Malaysia.
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the EIC. To read the full magazine, please follow this link: https://issuu.com/the-eic/docs/insideenergyfebruary2023
Tie-up sees Proserv CEO Davis Larssen join Intelligent Plant’s Board and propels the rollout of collaborative digital technology services for the energy market.
Global controls technology company Proserv has signed a fresh agreement with Intelligent Plant, the Aberdeen based software engineering firm and data analytics experts. The new arrangement extends a previous alliance announced in late 2020.
That tie-up first brought the two parties together to innovate impactful digital technology service offerings and models, based around open data access, real-time condition monitoring and the provision of subject matter expertise.
This new deal reinforces Proserv’s position as a worldwide distributor and supplier for Intelligent Plant’s various products and applications. It also enables the two parties to collaborate even more closely to develop further disruptive software as a service (SaaS) solutions, leveraging Proserv’s wide domain knowledge, its control system integration capabilities and its OEM agnostic technology philosophy, alongside Intelligent Plant’s accessible, flexible data capture and award-winning analytics expertise.
The decision to forge this updated agreement follows a positive response from the energy market to their present SaaS offerings and combined skill sets, whereby the two parties can deliver live intelligence on the operational performance and condition of critical infrastructure, supporting future maintenance scheduling, process optimisation and ultimately life extension.
The elevation of Proserv’s CEO Davis Larssen to Intelligent Plant’s Board as a non-executive director represents a further key step forward in the alliance between the companies. It is anticipated Larssen’s input and industry positioning will help accelerate Intelligent Plant’s global footprint, while allowing both businesses to build their presence in the digital technology arena via continued mutual support and cooperation.
Last September, Larssen similarly joined the Board of another Scottish enterprise Synaptec, a Strathclyde University spin-out and power system monitoring expert, following Proserv’s acquisition of a minority stake in the company.
Both Synaptec and Intelligent Plant are among a number of technology partners with whom Proserv is collaborating to drive its on-going pivot into renewables and a current focus on offshore wind.
Stuart Harvey, Proserv’s Vice President, Digital Innovation, said: “We are very happy to underline our relationship with Intelligent Plant through this extended tie-up. We have worked closely over recent years, seeking to drive our shared values around delivering best-in-class analytics and intelligence to the energy sector. As a strategic partner, we will continue to move forwards together exploring further opportunities to develop and evolve this offering.”
Steve Aitken, founder of Intelligent Plant, added, “We are delighted to be strengthening our connection with Proserv. This agreement will enable us to offer our innovative software solutions to a wider range of clients and help them to achieve greater efficiency and success. We look forward to working with Proserv and Davis Larssen to achieve our shared goals.”
Davis Larssen observed: “Intelligent Plant has been a core contributor to our push into digital technology and so this new arrangement is a natural next step as we seek closer collaboration, combining our abilities to supply real value for the industry at a critical point in its evolution. I very much look forward to working with, and supporting, Steve as a member of Intelligent Plant’s Board.
“For Proserv, this is the latest in a series of alliances as we seek to push our R&D and innovation into exciting new areas to deliver a step-change in intelligence insights, real-time optimisation and holistic asset-wide control systems.”
Our Senior Vice President, Iain Smith has provided a topical and thought-provoking opinion piece to Global Underwater Hub’s latest news magazine. Iain focuses on Proserv’s constant drive to “go further”, from forging partnerships to innovate disruptive subsea technologies through to establishing new product supply models for the market. Iain explains it is this philosophy that has accelerated our progress in the offshore wind space.
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the GUH. To read the full magazine, please click here.
Paul Cook, Vice President (VP), Renewables and Callum Maxwell, Business Development Manager, Renewables take time out to look back on a positive 2022 and anticipate an equally progressive year ahead.
What would be the landmark moments from last year? Our holistic cable monitoring system for the offshore wind segment, ECG™, must feature prominently?
Paul: It is easy to forget that two years ago ECG™ was essentially in development rather than being the rapidly evolving solution it is now – yet in the intervening time, its progress has seen it secure crucial government funding and it has received industrial sponsorship from some of offshore wind’s biggest players namely ScottishPower Renewables in 2021 and Equinor during this past year.
Obviously, a highlight for the team was landing our first contract on the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, just as 2022 kicked off, with ECG™ now set to monitor the condition and integrity of the inter-array cables and terminations on phases A and B of the project. This is a blue-chip, big ticket wind farm, specifically engaging disruptive and unique technologies to support and scrutinise its operations, so this is as much an endorsement for ECG™’s value proposition and potential as a great early win for us.
The technology is still very new and its rollout continues. As part of that, another major milestone in 2022 was agreeing a deal with Equinor for ECG™’s full-scale hardware, software and data analytics capabilities to be deployed on Equinor’s Hywind Scotland, the world’s first commercial floating wind asset.
Callum: Hywind Scotland marks another exciting step forward and again quite unique. Very little scrutiny or monitoring has been undertaken with regard to dynamic cables on floating wind assets and this will really help prove the methodology and capability of ECG™ right across the offshore wind space, and not simply from evaluating fixed bottom cables and terminations. The technology will be installed shortly and we should be receiving data by the end of March.
One thing that became clear through 2022, as we moved forward with ECG™, was how our value proposition has gained more and more traction with the market. For instance, it is interesting to see how the significance of, and benefits from, providing termination monitoring have taken hold as actual termination failures have occurred and asset owners realise the consequences. The market is catching on to the real power and potential of what ECG™ can offer around assessing the integrity and condition of infrastructure, namely cables and terminations, that continues to be a source of faults and issues.
Would you say identifying those market needs, alongside shared opinions and collaborative approaches, have underpinned our technology development for offshore wind so far?
Callum: We have regular insightful discussions with a broad spectrum of industry stakeholders, including at events around the globe through the past year, where we have listened to their experiences and in turn shared our methodology and our on-going innovation. So, with ECG™ it is no longer so much about talking to developers regarding a specific product, as they are now starting to understand the wider practical value and philosophy behind the technology and how it can support the visibility of critical infrastructure. Also, in our engagement with the market, whereas it has primarily been, and still remains, EPCIs with whom we’ve tended to interact regarding project proposals, we are noticing other core segments of the industry exploring the technology’s potential too. This may be an area we can look at further in 2023.
I am also very pleased to have been appointed a co-chair of the O&M Subgroup within the DeepWind Cluster, an initiative established by Offshore Wind Scotland. The DeepWind supply chain cluster consists of 800 members drawn from industry, academia and the public sector. This is the largest offshore wind representative body in Europe and provides an excellent platform where once more we can engage directly with stakeholders and share expertise and insights.
Paul: Cable failures remain a critical problem that could hold back the speed of growth in offshore wind at a time when it really needs to accelerate. Currently, with more than 90% of all failures originating at either the design, manufacturing or installation phases, asset owners face inevitable issues. Sharing experience and knowledge is vital to overcoming challenges in any sector and key stakeholders in offshore wind need to come together and talk about what I call the ‘elephant in the room’: cable faults and failures and how we can, as an industry, reduce liability and risk, and mitigate these problems.
Combining skill sets and collaboration are absolutely intrinsic to Proserv’s wider philosophy. ECG™ provides a great example and Synaptec, BPP Cable Solutions and, in the developmental stages, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have played essential roles from early support through to deploying cutting-edge expertise and market-leading technologies. Such input has combined with our own control system integration capabilities and, of course, our global footprint in the energy sector to offer a route to commercialisation for innovation.
2022 could be described as having been a year of strengthening and expansion, from strategic senior appointments and team-building through to acquiring a stake in one of our closest partners Synaptec?
Paul: We continue to move forwards and ECG™ represents a firm and very positive step but as a controls technology company we are naturally innovating further solutions to offer value to customers right across the energy landscape. So, acquiring a stake in Synaptec helps cement an already constructive relationship over the past couple of years and we can advance our collaboration by seeking to generate further disruptive offerings to address the challenges faced by offshore wind developers and, in doing so, support the acceleration of the transition.
Last summer, Hugh McNeal, previously the CEO of RenewableUK, came into the senior team as a non-executive director and his experience not only offers us great resource, around challenging our thinking and bringing fresh perspectives, but he really buys into what we are doing. Hugh has great belief in the power of our technology and how we can positively impact offshore wind and help optimise and extend the life of its critical infrastructure in years to come.
I was personally delighted to join the senior leadership team myself and, after 13 years with the company gaining valuable experience in a range of roles, including leading the evolution of our renewables business over the past five years, this was a special moment in my career. But more widely I think my elevation to the senior team, alongside Stuart Harvey too as our VP, Digital Innovation, and Hugh’s arrival, underline how renewables and digitalisation are vital priorities for Proserv and our on-going pivot to align with the transition.
Callum: I was equally delighted to join Proserv’s team in this past year as I had got to know its aims, strategy, its technologies and outlook, as well as a number of its people, from my time at ORE Catapult. At OREC, I had worked closely with Paul and other Proserv colleagues for more than two years while the rationale and concept behind ECG™ took shape and provided support in that developmental phase. It was really telling to observe during that period how the future value of the technology resonated with the wider sector and it was no surprise to see ECG™ swiftly gain industry recognition and sponsorship.
My role at OREC included assessing the trends and direction of the offshore wind space and engaging with multiple projects, building connections and networks as ideas and technologies evolved. My remit is to bring that knowledge and those networks into Proserv and identify future opportunities. The past nine months have been very positive and Paul has led and built a truly cohesive group, full of talent and potential, as core elements of our global engineering and commercial teams. There is an emphasis first and foremost on people coming together as a unit and working, with our partners, to drive our renewables roadmap forwards. The Proserv team continues to grow, as it must, as we look at offshore wind accelerating rapidly in the years up to 2030 and beyond.
Proserv’s presence in the renewables industry is gaining traction, we have several exciting technology development channels well underway, encompassing analytics and intelligence, so what does 2023 look like for you?
Callum: Speaking with specific regard to ECG™, we are looking to cement further deals this year as the sector realises the critical need to improve the real-time monitoring of its cable and termination assets. More generally, what we are doing around technology development is getting ahead of the curve and that is vital for making a genuine impact in such a nascent industry as offshore wind.
We know that ECG™ is like nothing else in the market and one of our challenges with the forward-thinking technology aims we have for 2023, and beyond, is making sure we always bring the industry and its stakeholders along with us – and that is why that regular dialogue is so vital as it gives us an insightful read on what matters and where future opportunity lies. We have already been doing this very effectively with ECG™.
Paul: Our presence and visibility in the renewables supply chain sector are definitely growing and Callum’s arrival in 2022 gave the team a further positive injection. We have also just brought in Jeff Williamson to further augment our business development footprint in the US region as we look towards global opportunities, as offshore wind ramps up.
Our business is still relatively new and in its early phases, yet we now have an established track record, we will continue to expand our broader team in 2023 to build skill sets and our knowledge base, while we have also devised a broader technology roadmap and strategy. This now reaches into turbine monitoring, turbine control as well as turbine and field optimisation.
We are looking to instigate a truly unique and disruptive methodology, centred around real-time optimisation (RTO), to reflect the current and future needs of the sector and representing a step change from established processes – a very similar template to what we have done with ECG™.
As mentioned, collaboration, along with listening closely to the industry, remain vital building blocks of the innovation process and we have been working closely with Ortomation.io to propel this forwards.
Already in 2023, we have cemented a further landmark tie-up with a major global leader in automation solutions to accelerate the development of OEM agnostic control systems, incorporating RTO, to deliver real-time accurate insights to empower decision-making, extend the life of assets and significantly grow return on investment. Elements like RTO and future life extension have not been explored or considered sufficiently within offshore wind.
At the end of 2022 we were also awarded a place on the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership’s WEST business transformation programme. This is a valuable initiative, based around collaboration, that champions innovation and facilitates growth opportunities between developers and the supply chain. This will further help us with widening our footprint in offshore wind and with our commercialisation efforts through 2023.
We have ambitious and bold plans around innovation through the coming years but that fundamental Proserv philosophy of independence, accessibility, scalability, being OEM agnostic and being retrofittable underpins the creative process.
When we look towards potential future new product development in hydrogen or carbon capture, harnessing our controls know-how and subsea experience would be the cornerstone. We often use the phrase “evolution, not revolution” around our progress in renewables and we do that because it makes complete sense.
Retaining up-to-date and reliable measurement technologies matters: from helping to protect and secure company profits through to meeting governmental regulations, having visibility of production rates and metering control system performance is always critical.
As our measurement team, based at our Centre of Excellence in Cumbernauld, Scotland, marks 35 years in the energy sector in 2023, Janice MacLeod, General Manager, Measurement Operations and Alick MacGillivray, Project Engineer discuss the fundamental needs and trends of the market right now and how our philosophy and broad array of solutions can benefit customers.
Let’s deal with exactly why measurement matters. If a customer has a poorly performing metering system, not prioritising the regular maintenance and necessary upgrades of this core equipment, what could be the consequences?
The bottom line is that flow measurement technology effectively acts as a cash register and so it’s right on the very frontline of production. Flow meter readings have a direct impact financially on the revenue that is generated by an operator. But one of the challenges within the industry is that sometimes metering can be regarded as an afterthought.
It is almost universally the case the measurement system is retrofitted to the existing production equipment, and with our OEM agnostic positioning we have the know-how and expertise to do just that, but operators need to realise that this should actually be an integral part of the design of the overall system.
An undetected metering anomaly could potentially mean the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of profits per annum, through just a relatively marginal error in metering accuracy. It stands to reason that when you don’t precisely know what is being produced from a field, then you have financial exposure where you could potentially overcharge or undercharge customers and when commodity prices are higher, then exposure increases.
This industry is a mature space and so declining production rates towards the end of a field’s life are also a factor. You could have a meter, perhaps a turbine meter or a differential pressure meter, that has been designed and calibrated to measure a particular production rate. But as fields age, production rates decline and so that equipment becomes less efficient in what it’s doing. The uncertainty in the measurement then starts to increase and that contributes to greater financial exposure as well.
When issues develop, around quantities delivered or received, litigation is quite common and reputational risks are highlighted. This is why auditors make regular visits, looking at the integrity of the measurement system, how it’s been operated, how often it’s been calibrated and maintained, and whether the equipment has been installed properly. It is at these times operators soon realise that they should look after their measurement equipment.
Improving operational performance and efficiencies are a constant pursuit in the energy sector as we pivot further into the transition. Remote condition-monitoring brings a host of benefits, and it is something that Proserv is proactively driving, what can the measurement team offer in this area?
Our systems have a positive and direct environmental impact by enabling better scrutiny of flare gas measurements and produced water which, when it is returned to the sea, needs to be clean. If operators exceed the regulated limits, they would be adding to their carbon footprint via CO2 emissions, or potentially damaging ocean habitats and they would be facing stringent fines.
Proserv has the enhancement of operational performance at the heart of its identity and offerings. Condition monitoring is a powerful method to assess failures or deviations before they become more costly.
We have been developing several exciting software solutions including Prognosis Pro, Valid8 and Dynamic Uncertainty all of which support our clients with their visibility of operational processes and the condition of critical infrastructure. To be on top of this can mean reducing unnecessary emissions, water use and extending the life of equipment, thus lessening waste.
Prognosis Pro is a solution we have been collaborating on with a US based measurement consultancy called DP Diagnostics. Essentially, it provides diagnostic data which improves an operator’s awareness and understanding of the condition of its differential pressure-based measurement system. So, when a problem appears, Prognosis Pro can support in swiftly and accurately identifying the cause but, just as critically, it can demonstrate that all is performing well – eliminating calendar-based maintenance along with the cost, time and carbon footprint of needless physical inspections, as monitoring is done remotely.
Valid8 is something that we have been developing for some years. It offers verification of flow computer calculations powered by our Valid8 calculation engine. These calculations are critical in the industry and ensure that the worldwide trade in hydrocarbons is carried out in a fair, transparent and accurate manner.
Flow calculation input values are manually entered by operators and so this is always susceptible to human error. Valid8 automates the process by including a calculation verification function into the metering control system which directly reads the data from the flow computer inputs, automatically performs a fully independent check calculation, compares the results against the flow computer outputs and produces a clear Pass/Fail report for the operator. It offers a valuable layer of reassurance.
Dynamic Uncertainty very much reflects the demand for real-time, live data to analyse and evaluate operational performance to identify anomalies early. This solution acts on fresh data and if, for instance, a flow rate is detected that is outside the optimum range, then the uncertainty estimation goes up.
Dynamic Uncertainty allows a user to track information in real-time as well as undertake trend analysis. So, if something is not right, immediate action can be taken. Again, this supports our customers in making sure they are meeting regulatory levels of uncertainty, so limiting flaring and preventing unnecessary fines.
This is what is demanded by the digital oilfield where fast, accurate visualisation is expected. Dynamic Uncertainty is a fundamental step up from static monitoring methods involving consultants making site visits and delivering reports weeks later – this is live, real-time monitoring and issues can be identified before they become problems, potentially saving millions of dollars.
Regarding all of these solutions, operators and prospective users should reach out to us directly or via the Proserv website, as engaging real-time monitoring and accessing insights to performance are vital to operational excellence on so many levels.
You have mentioned the market is mature, with many long-standing brownfield assets. You win work around the globe so how much are obsolete, unsupported systems an issue in the measurement industry?
Obsolete metering control systems represent a huge issue. Equipment, over time, that isn’t upgraded and isn’t maintained, will simply become unsupported. It’s no different to what would occur to a new phone or laptop that isn’t replaced or upgraded after multiple years.
So we are very focused on obsolescence and we provide monthly reports to our customers, which are accessible and intuitive, based on a red, amber or green traffic light system. We will highlight any parts of their system that we believe to be at risk. There’s nothing better than getting a report that’s all green for go, but if there’s some amber or red in there, they have an opportunity to act.
Preventing systems from becoming obsolete is a key focus for our support team who are available 24/7. If an operator’s obsolete metering equipment was to break down on a large asset, involving multiple partners, it would have no option but to trust in the measurements taken by third parties, with no direct visibility of the tens of millions of dollars of oil or gas produced, or how much is ultimately transferred. That is a serious financial exposure.
At Proserv, we offer support for the whole lifecycle of a system, factoring in the need for new upgrades and preventing equipment from becoming obsolete. At the end of the day, this is about what Proserv does so well – optimisation. At our Measurement Centre of Excellence, we have decades-worth of industry experience in our ranks and no matter what issues a client might have, we have the expertise to design, install, maintain or upgrade as required.