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Remote monitoring of valves in the North Sea

17 November 2008

Emerson Process Management has announced that over 1000 control valves on North Sea installations are being remotely monitored by the Solberg & Andersen and Emerson diagnostics centre in Norway. The capability to remotely diagnose and identify problems has saved costly and time consuming offshore travel, and eliminated potential plant shut downs and the resultant consequential losses.

Remote monitoring of valves in the North Sea
Remote monitoring of valves in the North Sea

The Diagnostics Centre capability was established in the late 1990’s by Emerson Process Management and Solberg & Andersen, the Norwegian representative for Emerson valve products and services. Emerson provides PlantWeb predictive technologies, which include Fisher Fieldvue Digital Valve Controllers and AMS ValveLink performance diagnostic software, while Solberg & Andersen is responsible for connectivity and all operational issues.

The diagnostics centre provides a range of monitoring services to meet the requirements of the customer’s application. These services range from basic monitoring of control valve performance indicators and status alarms, to a more integrated model with 24/7 valve monitoring and access to the customer’s maintenance management systems for reporting and preparation of work orders. Higher level diagnostic tests can diagnose, analyse, and trend valve diagnostic data while the valves are in service, giving an accurate picture of valve condition. All diagnostic tests, alarms and alerts can be used to predict potential failures and enable any remedial work to be scheduled at a time that meets the operational needs of the plant.
As the number of valves being monitored increases, more diagnostic data is available for analysis. This data enables a greater understanding of control valve performance and aids implementation of predictive and planned maintenance strategies on new plants and older plants that are still operating in a reactive mode. For example, based on recommendations made by Solberg & Andersen, the Ormen Lange land terminal in Norway has been planned from the outset with predictive maintenance in mind. All 350 control valves at the site are equipped with Fieldvue Digital Valve Controllers, with the appropriate level of diagnostics, dependant on the application.

“The information that we have gathered shows a clear business case for monitoring control valve performance,” said Erik Christensen, Senior Vice President of Solberg & Andersen. “There is a drive within the Norwegian sector to limit the number of staff working in hazardous offshore environments without impacting reliability or availability. By monitoring control valve performance from onshore we have been able to identify problems that could otherwise have resulted in a plant shutdown.”

Future plans for the centre include easier connectivity through the implementation of wireless technology and an expanded scope to include other types of field equipment such as pumps and transmitters as well as metering skid diagnostics.

Control valve performance monitoring services are one of Emerson’s innovative offerings that help users make significant and continuous improvements in production asset performance. Using predictive technologies in the PlantWeb digital architecture along with Emerson’s expertise ensures users are taking full advantage of predictive diagnostics for improved process availability, reduced variability, increased maintenance productivity, and reduced equipment cost of ownership.

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