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Shell Scotford Upgrader Named 2011 HART Plant of the Year

Feb. 1, 2012
Engineers Get Connected to HART Communication to Facilitate Loop Testing, Start-Up, Valve Tuning, Safety Systems and Remote Device Diagnostics

The HART Communication Foundation (www.hartcomm.org) has selected the Shell Scotford Upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, as recipient of the 2011 HART Plant of the Year award. The award showcases end users who have demonstrated creativity in the application of HART Communication. Shell engineers used the full capabilities and advantages of HART Communication to facilitate device configuration, loop testing, start-up checks, valve tuning, safety-device SIL ratings and real-time centralized device status and diagnostics in a 100,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) expansion to Scotford's existing facility  that has a capacity of 155,000 bpd. The result was a safe and efficient start-up, continued safe and reliable plant operation, real-time daily instrument troubleshooting, and both preventive and predictive ongoing maintenance.

"Our decision to broaden the application of HART technology beyond the use of handheld device configuration saved us time and money in all phases of this project," says Andy Bahniuk, Shell instrumentation technologist. "With all the HART data available in one centralized control room, staff in operations, maintenance and instrumentation had ready access to this valuable information, which ensured total confidence for both the operators and engineers that all devices were functioning properly."

Figure 1. The Shell Scotford Upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, is the HART Communication Foundation Plant of the Year.

According to Bahniuk, HART Communication helped Shell realize benefits and savings throughout the project and in the plant's ongoing operations in areas including:

  • Fast and safe device configuration, programming and commissioning of 1200 HART devices from 26 vendors;
  • Loop function testing and process variable simulation performed in 30% of the time normally required without potential for human error;
  • Simulation of critical and complex safety narratives involving more than 15 inputs and multiple outputs for more than 50% overall time saving;
  • Elimination of the need to add external hardware to more than 700 smart valve positioners, saving approximately $2000 per valve;
  • Monitoring secondary transmitter temperature variables remotely to improve efficiency in preventative maintenance on heated instrument boxes, saving more than $200,000 per year; and
  • Recalibration, parameter checks and device diagnostics performed from central control room rather than at each individual transmitter location, saving of $100,000 annually.

Bahiuk says one of the biggest benefits was that they did not have to do any special device testing for interoperability. "All our HART devices were plug-and-play, connected through an asset management system," he says. "We are using the ability to open a virtual window and unlock all the power of HART Communication for any type of measurement device supplied by all of our manufacturers."

Shell Scotford is home to three distinct operating facilities: the Upgrader, with 255,000 bpd total capacity (since 2011 expansion); Chemicals, which makes 530 kt/yr of styrene monomer and 604 kt/yr of ethylene glycol; and Refinery with a 100,000 bpd capacity. Total staff on site is more than 1300.

The HART Plant of the Year award is given annually to recognize the people, companies and plant sites around the world using the advanced capabilities of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations, lower costs and increase availability. Previous recipients are MOL (Hungary); Mitsubishi Chemical (Japan); Petropiar PVSDA (Venezuela); StatoilHydro (Norway); BP Canada Energy (Canada); Sasol Solvents (South Africa); BP Cooper River (United States) and Clariant (Germany); Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. (United States); and DuPont (United States).