Control systems development suite opens

Paul Boughton

A new support facility that allows proof-testing of all change software prior to delivery offshore, is opened by Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd, and housed on its behalf at the Altens, Aberdeen premises of ABB. The facility ensures that the UK’s largest producing field remains in production, even during periods of online modification.

The Nexen Integrated Control and Safety System (ICSS) Development Suite is a full-scale replica of the company's offshore control network for its Buzzard field. It allows ABB to perform configuration management and comprehensive testing of all software changes prior to installation on site. The facility helps prepare for planned offshore visits and improves the level of operational support provided from base, to facilitate technical troubleshooting and maintenance. 

The Development Suite contains a representation of all offshore controllers for Process Control System (PCS) as well as Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers for Fire and Gas System (FGS)/ Process Shut Down (PSD). A suite of servers replicate the offshore 800xA aspect and connectivity network. The suite houses ABB’s Extended Operator Workstation (EOW) – its large interactive visual display that simplifies engineering and troubleshooting tasks. Over time this will be used to develop the Level 0 graphical displays to be used in future control room improvements to further enhance Buzzard uptime. 

ABB’s Oil and Gas Service Manager for the UK and Caspian, Troy Stewart, says: “Following discussions about the development of Nexen’s maintenance and operational strategies, ABB proposed a dedicated Nexen working environment. This gives Nexen the ability to carry out any troubleshooting, modifications or upgrades prior to the work being implemented offshore, where the risks to production are much higher.”

The facility forms a major part of ABB’s contract to provide maintenance support for the Buzzard ICSS. Adds Stewart: “This is an example of truly collaborative working, where a client’s longer-term needs were discussed, a plan was put in place and then actioned through to completion for the improvement of the contract. The development suite allows expanded scopes which previously could not have been tested onshore."

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