Emerson's mesh network on duty at North Sea oil platform

Feb. 26, 2008

Austin, Texas -- Feb. 25 -- Emerson Process Management has successfully applied its wireless self-organizing mesh field network to monitor wellhead annular pressure and heat exchanger pressures on the Grane offshore platform. The Grane platform is operated by StatoilHydro and is stationed in the Norwegian Sea off the coast of Bergen, Norway. 

Emerson’s self-organizing wireless mesh technology is ideally suited to the application of wireless technology, enabling remote monitoring and control of the process in difficult to reach areas. Emerson believes that the network on the Grane platform is the first offshore wireless installation in Europe.

“We had some concerns that this new technology would work reliably in the harsh environment of our offshore platform,” said Geir Leon Vadheim, instrument lead, Grane Operations, StatoilHydro. “We also needed to address the issue of how we would integrate the data gathered by the wireless gateway into a third-party system. As it turns out, the integration was easy, and the performance of the Smart Wireless transmitters has exceeded our expectations.”

The wellhead area is crowded with metal pipe work, metal walkways above and below, together with other metal obstructions. Despite the challenging environment, as each transmitter was powered up, the devices found the gateway and the mesh was established. As new devices were added, they quickly and easily joined the mesh.  Signal strength and consistency during the operational period has been excellent.

The wireless network enables continuous monitoring of pressures and eliminates the need for daily visits to the wellhead to manually record gauge readings. Continuous monitoring enables unusual readings to be identified earlier and action taken to investigate and rectify faults before they develop into serious problems.

The Smart Wireless network on the platform includes 22 wireless Rosemount pressure transmitters which replace traditional gauges. Ten pressure transmitters are mounted on a wellhead and used to measure annular pressure. A further twelve pressure transmitters monitor inlet pressure and pressure drop over the heat exchanger. Each transmitter relays data back to the operator consoles in the control room. Installation was quick and easy with a gauge adapter fitting used to allow a direct “screw in” replacement. A wireless gateway was mounted outside the process area on one side of the platform, at a height where it oversees the wellhead area.

“We are delighted with the performance of the Emerson Smart Wireless network in these challenging conditions“, said Geir Leon Vadheim. “Following a short training program, our instrument engineers are very confident about adding more wireless devices to our installation as required. These typically take around two hours to install compared with up to two days for a conventional wired unit.”

Following the success of this installation, StatoilHydro is planning to install Emerson Smart Wireless transmitters on other offshore platforms that it operates in the area.