The downstream process of refining crude oil into a finished good involves many potential risks, from equipment failures to unplanned downtime. Corrosion engineers at a global Fortune 10 oil and gas company had gathered a great deal of knowledge about the refining process (for example, the chemical composition of the crude, how different types of crude respond to different environments and how to treat crude to avoid corrosion). But as these subject matter experts (SMEs) retired, the company struggled to capture and share their insights and knowledge with the broader engineering team. The impacts of poor knowledge sharing were significant and costly. Corrosion engineers, for example, are expected to mitigate risks associated with different types of crude. But when they encounter a new type of crude that they know little about, they can’t perform a proper assessment, which leads to loss in productivity. This is also problematic because some kinds of crude can cause additional maintenance issues, resulting in costly unplanned downtime and corrosion failure.

Business Objective

Management needed to aggregate the data and knowledge of its employees about crude types and make it easy for onsite engineers to easily access this expert knowledge, on demand. They could then identify unknown types of crude they are working with and understand how to handle them effectively.

How Maana Helped

To address this issue, the company deployed the Maana Knowledge Platform, which crawled and indexed multiple, unstructured data sources, including refinery incident reports (in the form of word documents and PDFs, for example), information on the physical properties of the crude types and data on characteristics of incidents and refinery demographics. They then built a custom application – or knowledge base – on top of the Maana platform. They leveraged the platform’s natural language processing capabilities to capture knowledge collected from previous engineers and aggregate it in one location.


Now, onsite engineers can easily access and use this knowledge base to identify the types of crude they are working with and understand how to handle them effectively. Using the application’s intuitive user interface, corrosion engineers can easily search for a particular crude and discover all the relevant information related to it, including risks, lessons learned and risk mitigation strategies. Using the Maana Knowledge Platform, a Crude Flex Knowledge Application was created for this use case which captures the expertise of subject-matter experts for use by all corrosion engineers. Using the various models stored in the Knowledge Application, the company’s engineers can make decisions that reduce maintenance costs and unplanned downtime.

Crude Flex Knowledge Application

Crude engineers are using the crude flex knowledge application to make better and faster decisions
by learning more about the associated risk with certain types of crude.

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