With recent plant explosions, all eyes are on construction and renovation of new plant facilities. Construction companies are tasked with the job of building new structures that are both safe and also on schedule and on budget for the facility owner. As oil and gas projects, in particular, ramp up across the globe, technology will play a key part in delivering these types of infrastructure construction projects.

Take the case of a new LMG (Lubiatów-Miedzychód-Grotów) crude oil and natural gas extraction plant of PGNiG (Polish Oil and Gas Co.), www.pgnig.pl, Warsaw, Poland. All structures in the facility needed to be built in accordance with the EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contract. PBG, www.pbg-sa.pl, Wysogotowo, Poland, was given this task.

PBG, which provides contracting services for natural gas, crude oil, and fuel facilities, determined technology could help deliver the project as efficiently and effectively as possible and hired consultant Hyperion Systems Engineering, www.hyperionsystems.net, Nicosia, Cyprus, to create a dynamic simulator.

On this oil and gas project, the consultant provided the following components: models; emulation of plant regulatory control, operator station graphics, and emergency shutdown logic; hardware and software procurements; system integration; installation and commissioning at site; and provision of appropriate training and documentation.

Production on the oil and gas facility has begun. The facility met the EPC contract and was built ahead of schedule and on budget, due in part to the simulator, which enabled operators to become familiar with the plant in advance and develop early operational skills. Now that production is underway operators can still use the simulator for training and to monitor and control the plant, while engineers can analyze what-if scenarios.

Oil and gas construction projects are experiencing greater momentum across the globe. In particular, a new report from IBISWorld, www.ibisworld.com, Los Angeles, Calif., shows rapid increase in revenue driven in large part by high demand from the oil and gas extraction industry. In particular, revenue is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 23.4% in the five years ending in 2014 in Australia.

As another example, construction technology can help with the overall coordination of project documentation and data on infrastructure construction projects. Aconex, www.aconex.com, San Bruno, Calif., is one company that provides project collaboration solutions for mining, construction, infrastructure, power, and oil and gas infrastructure.

Today, the company announced its technology will be used on the expansion of the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mining Project. AML (African Minerals Limited), www.african-minerals.com, London, England, operates the project, which has a mine life of 60-plus years and is being developed in phased expansions.

Users will follow uniform processes for communications, document sharing, and review and approval tracking, and the Aconex platform will enable this level of control. AML additionally plans to use APIs (application programming interfaces) to integrate the Aconex platform with its internal document management, scheduling, and costing systems. This will allow project-related data to be transferred easily between the systems.

As infrastructure construction projects gain more traction, technology will be a key component that allows contractors to deliver a high level of coordination and focus on details, ultimately delivering a safer structure.