Enlivening the LNG sector
The LNG business is still considered to be in its infancy, as companies are yet to push it forwards to its full potential. Valmet, a Finland-based leading developer and supplier of technologies, automation, and services for the energy, pulp, and paper industries, is one provider across Europe, which has adopted a proactive approach to develop the field further. “We are a company that is always looking for new business opportunities, and having noticed that our customers’ industries are facing environmental challenges, which create demand for more sustainable industrial processes, we decided to focus on expanding the possibilities in the LNG and biogas industries,” Jani Hautaluoma, Director, Process Automation begins. “Valmet’s sustainability agenda takes a comprehensive approach to ensure sustainable supply chain, health, safety, and environmental-friendly solutions, so it was logical for us to target the aforementioned markets, as both LNG and biogas contribute positively to resolving environmental issues,” he comments.
Determined to become the best solution to become the best solution provider in the sector, Valmet has devised a new centralised online data collection tool, called Valmet DNA Integrated Operations. Jani tells us more about it: “We used our continual expertise to build the tool specifically for smaller-scale operations in the LNG industry. It equally suits LNG terminals, liquefaction plants, LNG satellite terminals, and LNG and LCNG filling stations, and is a reliable facilitator of all the energy transfer and logistics operations between them. DNA Integrated Operations enables full control of the supply chain, making it possible to manage data, optimise sourcing, and plan logistics efficiently. The solution covers reporting, measurements, production planning, process optimisation, and an interface to ERP systems. It also has an integrated map tool for online asset monitoring, and provides all the data needed for electrical and automated invoicing, and overall quality and energy balance control. We are the first company to offer this kind of combination of supply chain information with real-time process data.”
Although Valmet DNA Integrated Operations is the company’s star product, the supply chain receives further support from the Valmet DNA automation system, the HIMA safety system, and the machine protection system. “Because we master the control of the entire LNG supply chain, which consists of production plants, terminals, liquefaction, and logistics, we are prepared to offer a wider scope of solutions than the traditional system providers. All of our services are aligned with Valmet’s customeroriented service concept, called ‘Shared Journey Forward’, which includes also Valmet’s Industrial Internet offering,” Jani points out.
He goes on to explain the four key benefits of DNA Integrated Operations that help the system add real value to its users’ activities. “Number one for us is safety. We believe that open and transparent information flow can ensure the safe implementation of all operations. DNA Integrated Operations develops and promotes a safety culture in our clients’ companies. For example, it allows users to inform authorities immediately, if an accident happens. We also place great emphasis on reliability. Thanks to our solution, every action in the supply chain can be controlled, and real-time data shared without delay, to optimise the logistics of any procedure. DNA Integrated Operations is also a cost-saving system. It is capable of measuring the amount of LNG in the container in real time, for the purposes of energy planning and forecasts. Last but not least, all the relevant information is easily accessible when needed, which speaks of the speed and efficiency of the solution.”
Recently, Jani attended the Small-Scale LNG Summit in Milan, where he delivered a speech, during which he introduced Valmet’s latest solution. He shares his impressions: “The event was the right forum to present innovative ideas about integrated operations. I realised that many players in the market are currently struggling, as the information flow provided by their current IT and automation systems, is not as efficient as it should be. After the presentation, my colleagues and I were approached by several professionals within the industry, who expressed their interest in our service. This convinced me that we have the right product, the right markets around us, and the right timing to launch DNA Integrated Operations,” Jani enthuses.
As the first delivery of the new tool is about to be completed in April this year, Jani lays out the intentions Valmet has committed to, for the near future: “I learned that every country seems to have a different emphasis on the LNG supply chain, which motivates us to develop our product in multiple directions that will enable us to suit the needs of a larger number of customers. We strive to be the thought leaders within the automation and operations divisions of the LNG sector. We are aware that there is a long way to go, but we are ready to work tirelessly on the product, and respond to customer needs and new technology. Nearly 1000 engineers and coders work in our Automation Business Line to serve our clients.
“We play a central role, not only in supporting companies, but also in encouraging more of them to investigate their own opportunities to enter the LNG sector. It is still a new business field in a lot of countries, but we are willing to share our expertise to make it more popular. From the very beginning, we have been co-operating with our customers to find the best ways to streamline their supply chain. We have started to promote integrated applications for the LNG and biogas industries, but we are eager to incorporate them in other industries too, again after collaborating with our clients,” Jani sums up.
Services: Developer and supplier of technologies, automation, and services for the energy, pulp, and paper industries