Success Story - IVG Caverns

Optimized project planning at IVG Caverns

Executive Summary

ORCONOMY GmbH has successfully developed a modular system for IT-assisted scenario-based project flow planning as well as further planning and evaluation options for IVG Caverns GmbH. After the successful conception of  OR|Analysis, it was possible to support planning using system development based on > OPTANO. The modular structure allowed further planning elements to be successively added and introduced. The early inclusion of planners and management allowed the developers to create a system individually matched to the requirements and integrated into the existing IT landscape as a central planning system. The project was implemented on time and on budget in close cooperation with the customer and all quality requirements were met.

The customer

IVG Caverns GmbH plans and controls the construction of underground caverns for storing oil and gas reserves in Etzel in Northern Germany. The construction of a cavern is a complex and time-consuming process that takes about 3-4 years. When planning is complete, a drilling rig is erected from which several locations can be drilled into. Through the rinsing out of the salt deposited in the rocks using seawater from the North Sea (solution mining), a cavern is created in which natural gas and crude oil can be stored. Once the cavern is completed, the necessary technical systems are installed so that it can be filled with gas for the first time.

The procedure

In close coordination with the employees of IVG Caverns, ORCONOMY has taken charge of the conception, development and introduction process. The tasks of the OR experts included the following principal activities (> Procedure):

  • Analysis of the actual situation and understanding of the processes
  • Planning of the TARGET processes
  • Development of a prototype to test the optimization method in practical operation
  • Specification of the overall system and the individual planning modules
  • Implementation of the system
  • Coordination of employees, service providers and other IT providers
  • Introduction, training and processing of support inquiries

The challenge

The planning and control of cavern construction is a complex and challenging job as it is subject to a large number of input parameters, lateral dependencies and restrictions. Planning was carried out manually before the ORCONOMY solution was introduced.

The technology

The software developed is based on > OPTANO and offers high-performance modules for the different problems that can be configured according to the user group in question. Mathematical Optimization methods are used to solve the planning problems.

The results

To optimize the planning situation, ORCONOMY has conceived, developed and introduced a modular planning and optimization system based on OPTANO. The modules were tailored to the individual requirements of the relevant experts and include areas such as the following:

  • Planning and optimization system for preparing strategic production plans while taking technical restrictions, official requirements and multi-project planning (scheduling for cavern production) into account
  • Evaluation and optimization of energy costs in production planning
  • Master data management and integration into the existing IT architecture
  • Reporting and business intelligence components used for preparing data for management
  • Planning of surveying and maintenance activities (including budget planning)

The ORCONOMY solution can be smoothly integrated into the existing IT landscape and is the leading system for the management of technical data. In addition, various expert tools were connected, allowing a central link between all IT systems to be created for the first time (see also the following image).

The principal successful projects include the following:

  • Cost reduction through efficient resource planning
  • Planning stability and independence from individual employees
  • Compliance with all technical and legal rules in construction planning for caverns
  • Implementation of a technical and financial control instrument for strategic production planning
  • Risk management through prompt what-if analyses
  • Meeting of certification requirements (quality and energy management)
  • Realization of consistent data storage and a central reporting system

Customer opinion

“The employees of ORCONOMY GmbH brought their high solution competence in the field of optimization methods to our processes and were always able to present effective solutions without losing sight of the cost-benefit ratio. The employees of ORCONOMY GmbH have the ability to rapidly penetrate new situations and advise us with regard to a large number of operative and tactical problems.“