The BP plant makes propane, butane, natural gas liquid (NGL) condensate and ethane with carbon dioxide removed. On average, 1.5 million cubic meters of propane and large volumes of the other products leave the plant each year. For a decade, BP engineers have used the digital process variable output of their installed HART-enabled temperature and pressure transmitters to improve the accuracy of the plants liquid pipeline custody transfer measurements.
According to BP senior electrical craftsman Marcel Boisvert, the process requires that custody transfer measurements must be as accurate as possible. A temperature error of 0.25 degrees Celsius results in up to a 0.07 percent mass flow error. Multiplied by the amount of product we ship, that inaccuracy means a potential loss of $350,000 a year in the NGL pipeline alone, he says.
Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director (left), presents the 2006 HART Plant of the Year Award to Rick Danilkewich, Area Manager, with (l-r back) Gord Dawson, IE Team Leader, Shane Bubel, Staff Technician, and Marcel Boisvert, Senior IE Craftsman.
Considering the amount of product flowing through all pipelines and the amount of time no longer spent adjusting instruments, our total estimated savings is about $750,000 a year. Weve been doing this for 10 years, so that translates into $7.5 million, says Boisvert. The most valuable lesson learned is that HART is not just a maintenance tool. It is a process improvement tool as well.
The HART Plant of the Year is the only public award presented to end user companies to recognize ingenuity in the application of HART Communication technology.