Tuesday 14 June 2011

1000 control valves for Dutch gasfield!

1000 control valves to help extend the life of one of the world’s largest natural gas fields 

Emerson Process Management has successfully completed a long-term project to help NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij) upgrade controls at its Groningen gas field in The Netherlands. More than 1000 of Emerson’s Fisher® control valves help NAM control deliveries from individual well clusters to maximise output from the field.

NAM chose the Fisher control valves for the lower total cost of ownership made possible by the valves’ performance and durability. Advanced diagnostics provided by FIELDVUE™ digital valve controllers also enable technicians using AMS ValveLink™ SNAP-ON™ software to easily monitor and maintain valve performance.

The Groningen natural gas field is one of the world’s largest and has been in production since the mid 1950s. However, field pressure has been falling and NAM has been working with an alliance of contractors to optimise production by renovating the control and monitoring of 300 gas wells.

The wells are connected within 29 production clusters, with each cluster having an average of 10 wellheads. The improved control will enable an operator in a central location to start and stop individual clusters depending on its ability to deliver gas.

“We operate on day shifts only and aim to be fully automated,” said George Verhagen, senior engineer control & automation, NAM. “From a central location we can control the Fisher valves to turn individual clusters on or off to maximise output from the field.”

Centralised control also means that routine operator and maintenance tasks can be performed remotely, minimising visits to clusters. This also applies to the control valves on the field’s gas compression facilities, which are equipped with performance monitoring and remote diagnostics. In the event of a production issue occurring during the night, the system can generate an automatic alert that is sent to a standby off-site technician. Using remote web access, the technician can then log into the site’s control network to diagnose and potentially fix the problem remotely. 

In addition to troubleshooting, the predictive diagnostics are also being used to monitor the control valve condition over time.

“By using AMS ValveLink to compare the characteristics of each valve with how they performed during commissioning, we can easily see any degradation in valve performance and take corrective action as needed,”
continued Verhagen. “We recognise the value of Emerson’s diagnostics and are reaping the time and cost benefits associated with the move to predictive maintenance.”

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