Operations Management Helps LNG Vessel Maintain High Standard


Yokogawa experts recently had the pleasure to work with a premier company on the first Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) vessel custom-built to liquefy, produce, store and offload LNG. To manage such an isolated and complicated plant with low operation manpower - whilst maintaining a high standard in daily operating efficiency, equipment reliability, and availability - was a tremendously challenging task with traditional technology and solutions. However, with modern IT hardware and solution technologies, including excellent IT infrastructure, system integration, as well as high performance plant operation management systems, it made our dreams of achieving a high operations standard come true. The key factor in achieving this among various technologies and solutions was a plant operation management system, or POMS.

The POMS solution provided a web based application for all plant personnel (both offshore and onshore) from the head of operations, offshore installation manager, production manager, shift superintendent, and process engineer to the shift panel man and field operator to manage their daily operation instruction, shift handover, record the operating log data and event, track and monitor the progress of maintenance and production activities - as well as analyze the KPIs such as critical equipment efficiency, reliability and availability, HSSE data in one single common platform.


The entire POMS project includes the below six modules:

Module Name Description
Operations Logbook - Single view of plant wide shift log entries
- Manual or/and automated creation of shift log entries
- Auto log entries based on preconfigured alarms/events
Daily Operating Instruction  - Operating instructions creation, approval and execution
- Standardized and structured instructions for operations, maintenance
- Instructions include operating targets/set points, maintenance Notifications/ work orders
Shift Handover & Report - Auto creation of Shift Handover reports based on shift timings
- Auto rollup of information based on organization reporting structure 
- Auto consolidation of all critical shift events for Lab, Maintenance, Safety, Operations, Overrides, Process envelope in one report
Plant KPI Performance Dashboard - Access to daily operational site/plant KPI information/data
- Easily configurable to show KPI data in tabular grids, line graphs, pie charts etc. 
- KPI target setting and automatic alarm/notification generation by monitoring KPI alarm thresholds
Operating Limits - Contains a table listing the process tags and their current value, limits and status from historian.
Equipment Basic Care (EBC) - Enables operators to carry out the engineering preventive maintenance work using mobile handheld devices. 
- Provides a checklist of steps to be carried out by operators in the field.

Yokogawa RPO suite - including RPO Production Instructor, RPO Production Supervsior and RPO Workflow Composer - is supplied as the main platform of POMS solution. The Production Instructor functions as the daily operating instruction, operation logbook and shift handover report system. Production Supervisor acts as plant KPI performance dashboard and operating limits for process & equipment tracking and monitoring system. Workflow Composer is the middleware system to perform internal integration and user email notification for different critical events. Yokogawa Patrolmate is applied for the Equipment Basic Care (EBC) system, with the ecom® Ultra High Frequency PDA as field operator data logger. The integration with SAP PM, HSE online and ePTW are via the Web Method middleware by calling the web service for data exchange. PI historical data is accessed by POMS for operating parameter limit and process & equipment KPI monitoring.

On the vessel, POMS Patrolmate for EBC has three main modules:

  1. Inspection for structured round, including topside process, utility and marine course
  2. Check sheet of various equipment
  3. SAP PM work order

Structured round is for the field operator to do the daily inspection point data collection from RFID tag attached to the equipment according to the assigned routes. Check Sheet is a different data collecting document as compared to structured round data collection whereby only condition of the data point is needed to be collected. Work order from SAP PM module will be downloaded to PatrolMate server periodically for maintenance activities. Below is the dataflow for how the SAP PM module works with the EBC system including EBC server, EBC workstation and handhelder PDA device.

Besides the functional modules, Yokogawa designed a few workflows to meet the operating business requirement to operate this quite isolated and complicated LNG plant with a very limited number of shift crew, while maintain a high operating standard. The workflow of downtime and slowdown allow users to monitoring and analyze the root cause of downtime and slowdown in a timely fashion, and then alert the stakeholders to take prompt action. The workflow of Permit to Work provides the key PTW information sharing in the common platform for smooth shift handover. The workflow of operating limits helps the panelman and shift superintendent to quickly zoom in to the critical parameters that breach the limitation.


The POMS modules are fully integrated with the existing systems as below:

Vessel POMS and Integration with the existing systems

PI Historian provides the critical process parameters for shift log reports, KPI dashboard and operating limits for tracking and monitoring the process and operation situation. Permit to Work sends the PTW status (No. of Issued, Non-Return, Returned, Closed) to shift log. HSE KPI data will shared from HSE server and displayed in POMS KPI Dashboard. Active directory server and email server provide the user authentication for user to login to POMS single sign-on with their Windows accounts. SAP PM send new work order to EBC for the planned maintenance activity and receive the status or updates of work order from EBC.


The shift superintendent is the supervisor of the shift operator including the panelman for process and utility, and the field operator. The shift superintendent is the key person in the plant to maintain and report the plant availability, reliability, utilization and efficiency. In daily shift activity, he receives the daily operation instruction, which is created by the production manager and approved by the offshore installation manager, and then assigns the task to his shift operators. At the end of shift, he will review, comment and approve his shift operators shift handover reports. POMS system keeps online monitoring and recording of any production slowdown and downtime event. If an downtime event is detected, POMS will immediately trigger downtime workflow. The shift superintendent will be notified by email and a downtime log will be created in his logbook. At the end of day, POMS will compare the actual production volume and the targeted value, and trigger slowdown workflow daily if the actual is less than the target. This allows him to take prompt action to specify the problem source of downtime and slowdown whether it is a planned event or unscheduled event which could be due to upstream or due to plant issue (furthermore, the main process, utility or others). With this input, POMS KPI Dashboard will update the plant availability, reliability, utilization and efficiency, and the entire plant personnel will be aware of the event. If it is an unscheduled downtime due to plant utility issues, it will trigger a quick and effective troubleshoot, and follow-up lesson learned session to eliminate or minimize the the similar unscheduled shutdown incident in future. In other words, it helps to maintain high plant availability, reliability, utilization and efficiency, and eventually profitable operations.


How POMS helps the LNG plant to eliminate the risk of unscheduled downtime


With the integration of the PTW system, POMS allows the shift superintendent to track and monitor the permit to work status (Issued, Non-Return, Returned, Closed) for his shift in the form of a log report, and then handover to the next shift. This reminds the incoming shift superintendent to renew the attached certificates or issue the new PTW, to make sure the ongoing field the work not be interrupted due to shift change. The information between the two shifts is well communicated and the standing instructions are consistently implemented, with the same common and integrated platform.

Overall, POMS provides the key benefits below for this LNG plant:

  • Improves the reliability and effectiveness of shift event log and instruction, as well as the operation shift report handover
  • Seamless integration among maintenance, permit to work and HSE and plant operation management system to provide one-stop integrated information sharing platform and largely reduce the risk of miscommunication among different departments and different shift crews
  • Monitor the plant operation critical parameters and email the key message to plant manager for timely reflecting of the operation alarm status to anticipate and avoid incidents
  • Workforce accountability and standardization is established, alongside consistent and repeatable work processes


Since the system went live from early September, 2016, POMS empowered the FLNG operations personnel to operate the plant effectively and become target oriented by visualizing the operation plan, results, safety, maintenance information in a common platform. The well designed workflow in POMS allows plant personnel to be more focus on their key operating tasks while POMS would look after the downtime event capture, slowdown reporting, HSE KPI, permit to work data sharing, as well as the critical process parameter monitoring and event recording. This greatly relieves the operating team from tedious daily activities and enables more emphasis to be put on how the maximize overall operating and equipment efficiency, to maintain a high operating standard in terms of plant availability, reliability, utilization.

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