Natural Gas Producers Use Cat Productivity Optimizer to Reduce Downtime & Costs

Cat Productivity Optimizer

Natural Gas Producers Use Cat Productivity Optimizer to Reduce Downtime & Costs

Natural Gas Producers Use Cat® Productivity Optimizer to Reduce Downtime & Costs


For gas compression fleet operators, production is critical—and that means reducing unplanned downtime and bottlenecks is a priority. Up to now, identifying the root causes of outages to prevent costly shutdowns has been a challenge. Enter Cat® Productivity Optimizer (CPO). This web-based application simplifies the process, gathering essential data from compressors and giving natural gas producers a real-time look at individual and fleet performance.

“The downtime reporting feature allows you to see reliability, availability and utilization on a fleet-wide basis,” says Phil Tardif of PHILTECH Corporation, a specialist in compressor fleet management and technical support. “The cause of compressor downtime isn’t always the compressor itself—sometimes it’s related to well behavior or gathering system events. With CPO, you can quickly look at the entire fleet, spot opportunities to improve performance, forecast potential concerns that could impact production and identify the root cause of downtime. It provides data to focus on fixing the problem.”

Tardif’s experience as a CPO user dates back more than 10 years. In fact, in a previous position, he worked for a natural gas producer that used the application as a condition monitoring tool for 200+ gas compression units. CPO reported on optimization opportunities and operational concerns, such as cylinder valve issues, flow restrictions, inefficient power consumption and engine overload.

“CPO’s database incorporating equipment-specific information is instantly available anytime a unit review is required,” Tardif says. “Being able to view fleet characteristics and key performance indicators greatly simplifies the task of a fleet manager.”

CPO collects operational data from any available electronic data source, as well as through a web-based manual input interface. Data can be added from online diagnostics tools (like vibration monitoring and flow measurement) to manage alarms and provide a single condition monitoring report to the operator.

“By using CPO as a condition-based monitoring tool, natural gas producers can wrap their arms around an entire fleet,” says Bill Gibb, a CPO consultant. “Once that’s accomplished, they’re ready to move into the optimization space and discover how CPO can help them find more gas.”

To do that, CPO analyzes a compressor’s current production levels and compares it to how much gas it could be producing—and in many cases, it finds a gap. With this information in hand, customers can quickly reconfigure their compressors to take advantage of the additional production opportunity.

“Typically, customers do this kind of analysis once a quarter or once a year, and they do it manually,” says Rob Hogue, CPO manager. “They have to travel to the site and input the numbers into a calculator. CPO does it automatically, in real time, so there’s no lag. That allows customers to stay on top of their production numbers—and the more they do that, the more likely they are to stay at an optimum level.”

Gas compressors operate in a dynamic system where changes to flows and pressures are common. With help from the CPO support team, companies can set up their compressors to operate within the largest possible performance envelopes to avoid shutdowns. Once those operating envelopes are determined, CPO provides the feedback to ensure the units operate optimally.

With its emissions reporting module and fuel consumption tracking feature, CPO also offers sustainability benefits. Customers can compare actual versus permitted emissions levels and make decisions to improve site efficiency—including reducing fuel gas usage and operational costs.

“With the insights they gain from CPO, customers can right-size their fleets and repurpose equipment to make sure their operations are running as efficiently as possible,” Hogue says. “CPO also provides data on months to shutdown, so customers can plan strategically for replacement. It’s a best-fit tool that knows what systems a customer has in place and where they can be optimally deployed.”

Available globally through the Cat dealer network, CPO can gather data from both Cat and competitive power solutions—reciprocating engines, electric motors, compressors, cooling systems and panels. It works as a stand-alone application or in conjunction with other equipment management solutions.

Gas Compression Solutions

Our most ambitious goals. Cat® engines for gas compression have logged over two billion operating hours around the world.

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Cat® Productivity Optimizer

A web-based application, CPO delivers advanced gas compression production analytics to improve productivity, reduce operating cost and maximize profit.

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