Petrofac transforms large-scale construction with Azure IoT

A Petrofac engineer working, surrounded by pipes.

Figure 1. Petrofac is a leading oilfield services company

Petrofac unlocks value for energy customers

Petrofac, designs, builds, operates, and maintains oil, gas, and renewable energy assets. The company is committed to digital transformation. It looks to unlock value for itself and its clients using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), automation, machine learning, predictive analytics, digital twin, and Edge computing.

“This is an exciting time for Petrofac,” explains Fady Sleiman, Chief Digital Officer, Petrofac. “We are working to incorporate digital platforms within our business and combine these with our engineering and operations know-how to underpin our competitiveness in the marketplace and improve our capability and effectiveness.”

Partnering to transform large-scale construction

When considering the impact of digital technology within its construction activities Petrofac turned to Accenture Digital’s Industry X.0 team to create a solution that would increase safety, productivity, and efficiency at its project sites during the critical construction and commissioning phases.

Petrofac’s project supervisors need to answer questions like, “Are my welders well distributed on available work-fronts today?” or “Has my concrete mixer arrived?” or ‘’Do we have adequate safety supervision at the boiler’s area?’’ on projects which can be spread out over the size of a large city involving thousands of people, hundreds of tons of materials, and heavy equipment movement. Accenture Digital worked with Petrofac to develop a Connected Construction solution using Azure IoT to provide these insights.

“Azure IoT enabled us to build out a solution with Edge analytics and PaaS cloud components. These were instrumented using a range of connectivity solutions to enable us to meet the scale requirements for the project,” said Yen-Sze Soon, Managing Director, Accenture Digital – Industry X.0.

Accenture architected a solution to collect and transmit data from tags on workers and equipment. The site data was integrated with project data like milestones, productivity, planning, permitting, weather, and documents as well as historical data, to provide a live, one-stop dashboard.  The dashboard provides operational visibility into precise details of the project, all accessed in one place (see Figure 2.)

“The live dashboard displays project KPIs, build progress, total number of people and equipment on site, and weather alerts. It even flags deviations schedule and planned production compliance,” said Daniel Atbir, Vice President, Construction, Petrofac.

Figure 2 one stop view

Figure 2. An example of the one-stop view of a construction project

Project tracking to increase productivity

With the new dashboard, site supervisors track productivity across construction zones or within construction crews (See Figure 3.) They can pinpoint bottlenecks and deviations and take appropriate remedial action.

During the initial trial, the team observed that productivity dropped significantly before and after lunch. Looking at the worker heatmap, the team realized that productivity was slowing down because workers were leaving the construction site. They were driving a distance to get lunch. Petrofac responded by building an onsite cafeteria. Productivity and welfare increased.

Figure 3 map of manpower

Figure 3. An example of a map of manpower in construction zones

Pursuing better outcomes for worker safety

If a worker requires assistance on the job, he or she can activate an alarm signal on the digital tag each worker wears. The site supervisor and health, safety, and environment (HSE) team receives the alert and can provide immediate assistance. “With real-time alerts and knowing the worker’s exact location, our teams respond more quickly for better outcomes,” explains Daniel.

Optimizing the use of high-value equipment

Knowing the location of equipment seems simple. But on a large-scale infrastructure project, it can be a challenge. By tagging high-value equipment and having locations transmitted and known in real-time, Connected Construction is enabling Petrofac to support its subcontractors to optimize the use of equipment in a more collaborative way. Equipment is optimally allocated to increase productivity and, therefore, construction progress.

An engineer at a large scale construciton facility.

Figure 4.  Petrofac gains valuable insights from Connected Construction


Petrofac and Accenture Digital implemented the Connected Construction solution on a large scale to increase productivity, safety, and efficiency. Accenture and Avanade won the Microsoft Internet of Things Partner of the Year award based on their involvement with the  Petrofac project and commitment to Azure IoT. “Thanks to Accenture’s industry innovation and the Microsoft Azure IoT platform, our Connected Construction initiative is providing valuable insights for Petrofac,” added Fady.

Learn more about Azure IoT and Azure IoT Edge.

Source: Azure Blog Feed

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