Occidental Petroleum Case Study

Reliable and Secure Power for Upstream Production

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What happens when you can no longer rely on your backup power supplies? Occidental Petroleum ran into this at two of its production sites and concluded it was time to upgrade. They replaced the primary and backup power supplies at the two sites with rugged, intrinsically secure Bedrock OSA Power solutions and are well poised for the next generation of highly reliable and digitally enhanced productivity.

Reliable power is essential for profitable well pad operations. Upstream producers typically have backup power to keep production and storage operations running while technicians resolve power interruptions, but what happens when backups fail? That was the case with two West Texas well pad locations of Occidental Petroleum.

“If you’re not pumping oil, you’re not making money. If your backup power goes down, it could take a couple of days to get things back up and running, but you never regain that lost production. If you are producing hundreds of barrels a day and going down a few times a month, multiply that downtime SUMMARY Customer requirement: Prevent downtime caused by trips in power supply to the PLCs that were controlling operations at two well pads. Bedrock Automation solution: Replace legacy power supplies with Bedrock smart primary and UPS solutions, which have powerful, onboard microprocessors and built-in cyber security. Result: The Bedrock power supplies have been running without interruption for more than two years and the sites have a modern solution that will take them into the future. 2 by the price of oil and you’ll see it add up pretty fast,” said Ron Moore, electrical lead for the Occidental Petroleum engineering team.

The original homegrown electrical power system consisted of a central power supply that provided 120V or 220V to power pumps and also to an AC-DC converter uninterrupted power supply (UPS) that provided 24Vdc power to the PLC cabinet and other process elements. When something tripped the primary power supply to which the AC-DC converter was wired, each primary power supply would reduce power to 24Vdc for use in a backup battery bank consisting of two 12Vdc batteries wired in series.

The existing power system was mounted under a shaded structure in an unclassified area. The shade protected the equipment from sun and rain but the support structure itself was open on three sides, exposing it to the elements. Operating temperatures could cycle between 15° F and 130° F which contributed to failure and inconsistent warning signals. The charge indicator, for example, might show an hour of charge remaining and then drop quickly to five minutes.

Another key factor in converter failure was accumulated ingress of dust from caliche, a sedimentary rock that binds with particles of sand, clay, and silt to form a cement-like substance. “When we opened one converter, we found a thick, dirty mess. It was no wonder the systems were failing,” said Moore, explaining why the existing system required regular maintenance.

A new perspective on power

Rather than just replace the failed units with more of the same, the Occidental engineering team had a vision for a reliable power solution that would take them into the future. It would begin by replacing the lead acid battery backups with lithium-ion technology, which provides more consistent longterm performance. Their vision also included more intelligent power, with advanced diagnostics and network connectivity to share those diagnostics, as well as built-in cyber security. In addition, the system would have to be sheltered from the elements to avoid repetition of the same environmental problems.

One option considered was to locate the upgrade in a nonclassified area, but that would have required adding a new rack, additional labor costs and laying new underground cables. A better solution, they concluded, would be to install the new power supplies in a rack that was already wired and had some room to spare. This was, however, in a classified area, so the new equipment had to be rated for use in Class 1 Division 2 hazardous locations.

The right fit

After evaluating several options, the electrical engineering team concluded that the combination of Bedrock Automation’s Secure Power Supply (SPS.500) and Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS.500) would fulfill their vision of a next generation power solution.

The Bedrock SPS.500 Secure Power Supply provides single or redundant supply, using 90-264 Vac main voltage 50/60 Hz input and is fully certified for use in Class 1, Division 2 locations. It’s output of up to 500 watts is software configurable between 21 to 28 volts. Multiple systems can be daisy chained to scale up for higher power requirements.

The Bedrock UPS.500 operates in tandem with the SPS.500 and provides 24 Vdc at 12Ah of backup power that can provide hours of consistent backup. An onboard secure microcontroller controls the Li-Ion battery cell-by-cell, augmenting the high density, rapid charging, extreme temperature tolerance and extended life that characterizes Li-Ion technology. The Li-Ion technology also recharges 10 times faster than a conventional lead acid battery system. The UPS.500 also has extremely high energy density and compact footprint that contributed to Occidental Petroleum’s ability to fit it into the available rack space.

As shown in Figure 2, the SPS.500 is mounted above the UPS.500, with the junction box in between. The junction box sends power to the control panel to the right, which contains the PLCs and relays to the pumps and other field devices.

The system in the basic configuration has been running flawlessly at both location since 2019 and Occidental is now fully equipped with features that will ensure continued flawless operation over the coming years.

Next gen power today

Both the SPS.500 and UPS.500 are rugged, shock and vibration proof, and designed for use in temperatures between -40° F to +176 °F. They are encased in a sealed aluminum housing and compliant with IP67 and NEMA 4X standards for resistance to water, ice, oil and dust. Both are also MIL-STD 461 certified for EMP resistance without secondary containment.

From a cyber security perspective, the onboard electronics of both the SPS.500 primary supply and the UPS.500 backup enable Bedrock Automation’s patented intrinsic ICS cyber security. This will initiate transparently and instantly upon startup to manage a deep authentication process and protect the power to Occidental’s hardware, firmware, software and communication throughout its entire lifecycle.

With the secure onboard microcontroller also comes secure 10/100 Mbit Ethernet IPv4 and IPv6 communications and support for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Embedded Web Server and embedded IEC 62541 – OPC Unified Architecture Server. Digital communications enable control, diagnostics and status reporting. More than 35 diagnostic variables can be easily monitored, trended, alarmed and historicized via SCADA.

Digital oilfield, digital transformation, and full field analytics are among the initiatives that Occidental is pursuing. With each Bedrock power unit installed, Occidental Petroleum is equipped to have power components that are ready to meet those challenges and to keep production flowing.