Automation contracts signed

Paul Boughton

As part of a major investment initiativeBP International has announced that it is to replace the ageing automation systems on its three largest US refineries.

The contract covers 18 units at company refineries located at Whiting in IndianaTexas City in Texasand Carson in California.

The Whiting refinery is located near Chicago. Operational since 1890it has more than 400000 barrels a day of processing capacity. It is the fourth largest refinery in the US and produces enough petroleum to fill more than a half a million cars daily.

The Carson refinerylocated near Los Angeleshas been operating since 1923 and processes 270000 barrels of oil per day into petroleumdieseljet fuel and petroleum coke. The refinery supplies about 25percent of the Los Angeles petroleum market.

Located south of Houstonthe Texas City refinery began operation in 1934and is BP’s largest refinery worldwideand the

third-largest refinery in the US. It has a crude capacity of about 450000 barrels per day and is capable of producing about 10million gallons per day of premium and unleaded regular fuel100000 barrels a day of diesel fueland 40000 barrels a day of jet fuel.

Combinedthese facilities refine about onemillion barrels of crude per dayor about sevenpercent of the country’s total refining capacity.

The upgrades are part of BP’s ongoing commitment to improving facilities in North America.

Under the contractnew DeltaV digital automation and control systems will be installed in 18 different production units at these refineriesresulting in improved efficiency and reliability in the refining process. Critical units to be upgraded include fluid catalytic cracker unitscokersultracrackers and alkylation units.

As the main automation contractorEmerson will be responsible for the front-end engineering designdetailed designand implementation of the new digital systems.

In addition to process automationnetworking the systems with intelligent measurement instruments and digital valves will enable Emerson’s PlantWeb digital automation architectureproviding a platform that also supports asset management applications to help the refineries optimise performance.

PlantWeb is digital automation approach that networks operationsmaintenanceand management stations with computersand intelligent instrumentsvalves and equipment throughout facilities. According to Emersoncommunications between these componentsand with personnelenable facilities that provide high throughput and reliability. The built-in intelligence continuously monitors processes and the equipment itselfproviding predictive reports and alerts that enable personnel to operate at highest capacityand resolve maintenance issues before they impact production

Emerson will work with BP to set the standardsprocesses and implementation procedures for the upgrade projects. Other control system elements such as field measurement devices and control valves will be replaced as needed.

“Following an extensive evaluation of the supply market and available technologiesBP has taken a strategic decision to introduce Emerson digital control systems into its refining base” said Patrick E Gowerrefining vice president for BP in the US.

Emerson Process Management president John Berra is also delighted to land this major contract: “This contract highlights the combining of our main automation contracting expertise and digital technology to help BP upgrade the three sites to smart refineriesand gain the maximum value from our automation systems and asset management software.”

PlantWeb is also at the heart of another major new automation contractthis time for Suncor Energyan integrated energy company headquartered in CalgaryAlberta.

Suncor’s oil sands business located near Fort McMurrayAlbertaextracts and upgrades oil sands and markets refinery feedstock and diesel fuelwhile operations throughout Western Canada produce natural gas. Suncor operates a refining and marketing business in Ontario with retail distribution under the Sunoco brand.

Suncor is strategically focused on developing Canada’s Athabasca oil sandswith a target production capacity of 500 000 to 550000barrels per day in 2010 to 2012 (Fig.1). To help enable thisthe company plans to deploy extensively Emerson's PlantWeb digital automation technology to build ‘smart’ world-class facilities. The agreement also provides opportunities for Emerson to work in collaboration with Suncorand engineering procurement construction (EPC) contractors to support application engineeringproject managementcommissioningand ongoing maintenance and operations.

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