Citgo Case Study

“As our workload has tripled over the past 20 years, BLISS has enabled us to complete it without any increase in personnel, saving us millions of dollars.”

- Matt Smith, Laboratory Manager

Based in Houston, Texas, CITGO is a refiner and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The Houston refinery produces 450,000 barrels a day of raw crude, ranking it as one of the top ten producing refineries in the United States. Citgo’s Houston refinery first adopted BLISS in 1985 and was Baytek’s third customer. Over the last 20 years, Citgo has watched the development of BLISS as it evolved from being character-based to partially Windows-based, to full Windows-based and finally to web-based.

The initial need for a LIMS arose because Citgo’s laboratory was having to handle an ever-increasing volume of testing. BLISS made it possible for technicians to input instrument data directly into the database, replacing the inefficient, cumbersome paper trails that had been used previously. People could also pull data directly from the database themselves, making time-consuming report requests and responses unnecessary. These functionalities have made a significant impact, allowing Citgo to triple their workload with no substantial increase in manpower.

Citgo also deployed Baytek International’s™ Advanced Automation and Instrument Management (AAIM) system which allows the laboratory to completely control their wide array of instrumentation. In the past, if Citgo had an instrument that had multiple methods, such as different temperature parameters for different types of samples, they had to rely solely on the technicians to set up the instrument properly. With AAIM, staff always know the GC (or the instrumentation in general) is set up properly when they call up a sample and download the proper parameters. This has increased the validity of data, especially on detailed samples, and the time savings from using AAIM enables Citgo to utilize manpower even better. Citgo estimates that 20 percent of its instrument problems have disappeared altogether because of this streamlined process and the standardization of method parameters.

WebBLISS is another valuable tool Citgo uses to interface with the outside world. Particularly value are its thin client characteristics which make it simple to support. Prior to using WebBLISS, the laboratory received dozens of calls a day for specific data because lab personnel were the only people who could access it. Now, local users, corporate officers, and remote users at other Citgo locations all have full   access for searching and retrieving data. Since WebBLISS does not require the BLISS client to be loaded on each workstation, Citgo no longer has to maintain the current version of the software on remote workstations. This saves Citgo half a day of labor with every new update.