World's largest petrochem complex relies on Schneider

By Jim Montague

Aug 08, 2018

If you still think everything's bigger in Texas, it's only because you haven't yet visited Reliance Industries' gigantic Jamnagar refinery and petrochemical complex in Gujarat, India.

The huge facility can refine about 1.24 million barrels of oil per day, which is reported to be more than any other single location in the world. Its two main refineries, J1 and J2, opened in 1998 and 2006, respectively, and were joined in 2016 by J3, a 30-square-kilometer, greenfield facility that includes:

  • World's largest refinery off-gas cracker;

  • World's largest gasification complex;

  • World's largest paraxylene (PX) manufacturing complex; and,

  • Mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and ultra-low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plants.

Jamnagar's two initial mega-refineries and latest petrochemical complex are integrated with multiple mesh communications networks. The J3 complex also employs:

  • 300,000 serial I/O;

  • 113,000 hardwired I/O;

  • 30,000 Foundation Fieldbus (FF) instruments;

  • 8,000 FF network segments;

  • 3,000 cabinets;

  • 450 Schneider FCP 280 controllers; and,

  • 250 operator workstations.

Because Jamnagar covers such a vast area and scattered applications, it's vital to transfer data efficiently among field devices, remote control locations and central data processing and control locations, according to Upendra Joshi, engineering discipline head for C&I at Reliance.

"If we can get data sent in, or find and fix a control system remotely, it's better than going out to the field," said Joshi. "About 63% of maintenance time is spent investigating problems that don't exist. Remote diagnostics over a fieldbus network can tell us this, so it's no longer be necessary to check reports, and we can avoid unnecessary trips to the field."

Joshi and B.R. Mehta, senior vice president at Reliance, presented "Deployment of new technologies in J3 projects" at the Foxboro User Group conference this week in San Antonio.

Coordinated control rooms

Beyond its FCP 280 controllers, the J3 facility also features Schneider Triconex safety controllers, V90 virtualization servers, primary and secondary domain controllers, and a customized networking solution that Schneider developed exclusively for Reliance to let Jamnagar's seven mesh networks communicate with each other. The company has even developed a super-site supervisor job description to oversee and maintain these crucial communications.

"We have to see each control room at J1, J2 and J3, so we can balance production between them," explained Mehta. "It's a major task if they aren't balanced correctly."

"We're the first to implement these technologies on such a large scale," added Joshi, who reported that Reliance's expectations of Foundation Fieldbus include: interoperable products and systems; elimination of proprietary protocols; innovation from FF-enabled suppliers; more detailed device diagnostics; reduced installation costs; more information from valves; multiple inputs from single devices; ease of adding instrumentation later; reduced wiring, terminations, commissioning time and control room space; better instrument diagnostics and more control in the field.

Building on Foundation Fieldbus

"We need solutions like Foundation Fieldbus because there's still room for improvement in many process applications and networks," explained Joshi. "About 20-40% of control loops are still manually controlled, 80% of control loops demonstrate excessive process variability, and many benefits from possible advanced process control are being missed.“

J3 also implemented an asset management system that is compliant with NAMUR’S NE 107 guidance on “Self-Monitoring and Diagnosis of Field Devices,” and has gained several benefits from doing so. "The centralized asset management system provides one easily accessed window to the most up-to-date information about its asset conditions plantwide," said Joshi. "These include insight into the health and performance of physical assets, awareness of undesirable conditions, and triggered, targeted actions to respond proactively to emerging problems.

"In addition, maintenance teams are provided with early visibility and insight into asset conditions to drive a proactive maintenance approach that maximizes operational efficiency by preventing disruptive and costly unplanned downtime, reducing the time to identify problematic assets, shortening planned turnarounds, and streamlining maintenance workflows and productivity."

Similarly, Joshi added that control in the field gives J3 reduced loop dead time, 5-15% faster loop response, reduced system costs, 5-15 % more loops or field devices on a segment at an equivalent macro cycle, and reduced controller/processor loading. “In addition, our operators can now see colors and shapes on their displays that indicate right where problems are happening.”

"Completing a project like this was a very big task," added Joshi. "So it was lucky we had a supplier like Schneider Electric that was willing to work day and night with us."

Mehta added his gratitude for Schneider Electric's ongoing assistance on J3 and beyond. "The best philosophy is to keep a happy mind," he said. "We don't know if success brings happiness, but a happy mind will lead to success.”

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