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St Fergus gas terminal upgraded

27 August 2008

The automation system for one of the UK’s largest gas terminals is being upgraded and migrated to ABB’s 800xA control system. The St Fergus gas terminal, 60 km north of Aberdeen in Scotland, receives and processes gas from over 20 North Sea fields, accounting for 15% of the UK’s daily gas requirements.

St Fergus gas terminal upgraded
St Fergus gas terminal upgraded

It is responsible for transporting offshore gas to shore; receiving the gas onshore; processing the gas to National Grid specification; delivering the gas to shippers; and ensuring a balance between supply and demand. Gas transported through the terminal consists mainly of methane, together with heavier natural gas liquids such as butane and propane.

Operated by Total UK, the facility has operated an ABB MOD 300 for its automation needs for the past 17 years.

Neil Baldwin, ABB project manager for the St. Fergus project, said “The MOD 300 has served Total well over the years - it has never let them down. But now they want to take advantage of the additional facilities offered by the 800xA.”

Total needed to upgrade the system in the easiest possible way. This was done by upgrading the control system with AC 460 controllers, which can transfer existing CCF and TCL language applications directly and intact.

This means there is no need to retrain engineers, so reducing disruption and the possibility of errors. ‘Nobody else could offer this. With other systems, the cost would be higher for the customer as it would take longer to install because of the need to migrate the software onto another platform. We are conducting a hot changeover, introducing another backbone while the system is still working and then transfer control from one to the other.’ Baldwin said.

The System 800xA extends the scope of traditional control systems to include all automation functions in a single operations and engineering environment, allowing plants to perform smarter and more efficiently at substantially lower cost.

Marc Wepierre, project manager for the refurbishment project for Total, said “The replacement project was needed because of the age of the existing system. “With ABB’s latest System 800xA, we are moving to a product that gives us much more functionality and which is easier to maintain. We can migrate it to new technology in the future, so it will always be serviceable. The refurbishment involves the replacement of two small individual PLCs with remote I/O, providing better integration and control and more efficiency.”
In another development for the plant, ABB is supplying an Extended Operator Workplace (EOW). An ergonomically optimised workstation, the EOW is designed to enhance the operator’s working environment and effectiveness with features that reduce fatigue and extend the operator’s range of control and understanding.

Incorporating a 2.2m wide, contoured high resolution screen, as well as an array of flat screen monitors, the EOW includes an ergonomically designed desk that can be adjusted to suit the needs and working style of individual operators.

“The EOW will give operators superb vision of the processes and will be particularly useful in handling crisis situations, allowing us to see all of the most critical information at a glance,” claimed Wepierre

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