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BP Whiting Crude Unit Starts Up: One of Many Fieldbus Modernization Projects!

I read an article last week in Flow Control magazine about a new BP Whiting crude unit starting up last week.  This unit startup is a key milestone in the ongoing multi-billion dollar modernization and upgrade of the Indiana Whiting refinery.  I have it on good authority that this project also incorporates a fair amount of FOUNDATION fieldbus technology, and is just one of many refinery modernization projects across North America that has decided to make FOUNDATION fieldbus part of its modernization strategy.  Motiva Enterprises, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining, Inc. also incorporates many FOUNDATION fieldbus devices and host systems at its refineries in North America (more information here).  Chevron is also incorporating FOUNDATION fieldbus into both its new projects and modernization projects.

The BP Whiting Refinery (Source: BP Facebook Page)

FOUNDATION Fieldbus in Modernization Projects

The installed base of process automation systems that are approaching or have approached the end of their useful life is about $65 billion according to ARC Advisory Group.  Most of the project activity in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe revolves around control system migration and modernization.  Users making their control system migration decisions are also simultaneously laying the groundwork for their overall future automation strategy for the next decade or more.

Users don’t want to replace what they have with more of the same old proprietary technology.  That is why we are seeing more FOUNDATION fieldbus popping up in modernization projects around the world.  In the latest issue of InTech I have written an article that tackles this subject, as well as some of the key differentiators that FOUNDATION technology can offer.  Many solutions today offer alternatives to traditional “Marshalling” techniques for wiring and I/O and so forth.  With FOUNDATION fieldbus, we eliminate a lot of that marshaling, wiring, and I/O, we don’t try to repackage it.  Our block-based structure also means you can put control in the field, which ultimately increases plant reliability and eliminates unplanned shutdowns.  Your overall hardware footprint is the smallest compared to any other industry solution.

The old arguments that control in the field is not safe or reliable simply do not hold water.  From gas fields to chemical plants to refineries, end users have avoided countless unplanned shutdowns because of control in the field and have saved millions.  Read more at the article!

Upcoming Webcast: Fieldbus for Modernization Projects

Control system migration and modernization projects continue to drive the industry.  In fact, greenfield projects only account for about a third of the overall DCS market.  ARC Advisory Group estimated that the installed base of process automation systems reaching the end of their useful life and in need of replacement to be $65 billion worldwide. 

We are seeing more and more FOUNDATION fieldbus technology working its way into the growing number of modernization projects.  FOUNDATION fieldbus is more applicable to migration projects than you might think.  Yes, you will have to make the additional investment in fieldbus devices, which in many cases are not part of the scope of an overall migration project.  In many applications, however, the operational cost benefits can easily justify the investment. 

Our upcoming webcast with Control Engineering will feature Mike Miller of Sargent and Lundy, who implemented FOUNDATION technology to modernize several units, all of them in nuclear power applications.  Mike’s experience is a great example of how you can modernize with FOUNDATION fieldbus,to achieve greater process integrity and improved performance.   Register here to attend the webcast on Tuesday, October 18th at 2 PM Eastern time

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