Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Schneider brings IoT to Nigerian oil refinery

Steve Rogerson
August 30, 2017
French energy management and automation company Schneider Electric is to provide IoT-based process automation at the Dangote Oil Refinery, part of the African business conglomerate Dangote Group.
Schneider will supply its EcoStruxure system architecture and platform, comprising its EcoStruxure Foxboro distributed control system, Triconex process safety system, Pionir analytical fuels blending systems and a suite of SimSci and Wonderware software, including its unified supply chain management and operations management software to drive supply chain and operational efficiency, reliability and profitability improvements at the greenfield refinery in Lagos, Nigeria.
EcoStruxure is Schneider's IoT-enabled, open and interoperable system architecture and platform for connected products, edge control and apps, analytics, and services. The architecture enables scalable design and operation of connected systems with cyber security built in at every layer.
"While Nigeria is the world's eighth largest producer and exporter of crude oil, we still import nearly 80 per cent of our petroleum products," said Devakumar Edwin, group executive director at Dangote Industries. "Once completed in 2019, however, the Dangote Refinery will be the world's largest single train refinery capable of producing 33 million tons of various liquid products, including gasoline, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel and other petrochemicals every year. Not only is that enough to meet all of Nigeria's consumption needs each and every day, we will have a surplus of each of these products for export."
Because it will be a single train facility, any interruption or shutdown in operations at the refinery would decrease output from 650,000 barrels a day to zero. Recognising the need to safeguard their continuous operations, Dangote chose Schneider products – which include emergency shutdown systems – to increase the safety and efficiency of their operations and to improve the reliability of their equipment assets and asset sets.
Pionir process analysers should improve process optimisation, asset protection and compliance with environmental regulations. And SimSci and Wonderware software will be implemented both to unify planning and scheduling and to improve real-time data collection and analysis, further optimising operations and product blending.
When combined, the integrated suite of systems and software should help the refinery gain better real-time control of all its business variables, including the safety, reliability, efficiency and profitability of its operations.
"Maintaining continuously safe, reliable and efficient refinery operations will help us reach our national goal of reducing petroleum products imports and increasing our energy independence, which could help increase our country's foreign exchange by up to $5.5m and reduce oil imports by up to $7.5m," Edwin said.
To ensure its refinery continually runs smoothly and at full capacity, Dangote sought high-end methods both to mitigate risks and hazards and prevent unscheduled downtime.
"Through its Foxboro and Triconex systems, Pionir process analysers and market-leading SimSci and Wonderware software brands, Schneider Electric has a longstanding reputation for delivering reliable, value-focused technology,” said Edwin. “Their strong track record gives us confidence in their ability to help the Dangote Refinery achieve exceptional levels of real-time operational safety, efficiency, reliability and, of course, profitability. This will translate into more value for the refinery and more value for Nigeria's economy."
Schneider has created a task force between its Nigerian office and its engineering office in India, which has implemented critical control and safety systems for some of the largest refineries in the world. This level of experience and expertise, coupled with Schneider's commitment to providing local support, made the company Dangote's top choice. Schneider will also provide design, engineering and installation services to create a successful implementation from start to finish, and ensure the workforce is equipped with the tools they need to impact business performance.
"Today's industrial operations are facing two critical challenges: the increasing speed of business and the pace of technology changes, particularly in the day of industrial IoT," said John Eva, senior vice president of Schneider Electric. "To help Dangote address these challenges, we are delivering and implementing value-focused technology – innovation at every level – so they can move from managing their performance and business results to actually controlling them, in real time."