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Apex Optimisation and Woodside Energy win Oil, Gas and Hydrocarbons Zenith Award

Winner: Apex Optimisation and Woodside Energy Limited
Project: Karratha Gas Plant
Location: Karratha, Western Australia

Apex Optimisation and Woodside Energy’s revamp and implementation of the Advanced Process Control (APC) at Karratha Gas Plant has won the Oil, Gas and Hydrocarbons Zenith Award as well as the Overall Project of the Year Award.

Woodside approached Apex Optimisation early in 2010 to assist with a revamp of the existing APC on LNG Train 4 (LNG4) and the implementation of a new APC on LNG Train 5 (LNG5).

In March 2010, after a functional design specification was completed, the project started. In May 2010, the revamped LNG4 APC was commissioned, with the LNG5 APC following in September 2010. The project was successfully concluded with a Site Acceptance Test in October 2010.

APC and specifically Multivariable Predictive Control (MPC) have become well established in the hydrocarbon processing industries. APC software enables more efficient operation of existing hardware assets, making control easier for the operator, and helping maximise efficiency on LNG production trains.

The Woodside operated Karratha Gas Plant (KGP) has had over a decade of history with the use of APC with an evolving plant context delivering ongoing APC development opportunities.

 (L-R) Category sponsor Dirk Kuiper, General Manager, AMS with Paul Kjellgren, Senior Process Control Engineer, Woodside Energy and Andrew Taylor, Principal Consultant, Apex Optimisation.

(L-R) Category sponsor Dirk Kuiper, General Manager, AMS with Paul Kjellgren, Senior Process Control Engineer, Woodside Energy and Andrew Taylor, Principal Consultant, Apex Optimisation.

Saifullah Jamaludin is the Woodside Lead Engineer for the project.Pictured on the left is Saifullah Jamaludin who is the Woodside Lead Engineer for this entry that won the Zenith Overall Project of the Year Award.

A continual focus on innovation and design evolution in order to further improve APC benefits distinguishes the site as a mature APC user.

The execution of the project was very challenging due to a range of factors because the team pursued a design evolution which widened the scope of the APC significantly beyond the original LNG4 APC implementation with additional handles, limits and configuration challenges.

Additionally, the size of the new applications, with each having more than 20 manipulated variables managing in excess of 60 controlled variables, meant some complex interactions had to be modelled.

The non-linear portions of the process required the team to approach the problem with innovative use of transforms, gain scheduling and automatic logic. They had to use dynamic simulation extensively to develop the gain scheduling relationships.

As use of the LNG4 APC had lapsed a year prior to the project, there were no APCs operational on this particular DCS panel and the operators had to be trained in the control technology.

Mechanical modifications to the LNG5 train during the project meant project engineers had to be flexible in adapting to the changing needs while maintaining an aggressive project schedule.

These challenges were overcome through good teamwork amongst the joint project team and excellent operator involvement. Close operator involvement was critical to the project success as this fostered operator ownership of the project, as well as helping to ensure that each process control improvement implemented was intuitive for the operators and appropriate for the widest range of process conditions.

To ensure that the changes to the process control systems conformed to safety requirements, the designers included constraint variables which allow the desired operating envelope to be specified such that important DCS alarm and safety limits are explicitly honoured by the APC.

The designers also applied tuning to cater for the specific process needs with regard to speed of response required for different constraint violations. Finally, automatic logic monitors the status of specific equipment trip signals and, when detected, puts the control system into a safe state to allow the operator to manage the process.

The health of variables critical for the APC operation is continuously monitored with control returned to the operator if any become unavailable.

The end result is an APC application with safe guards to ensure its use is appropriate and users who are clear on what the APC can and cannot do.

The project was deemed an exceptional success, having been completed on schedule and within budget despite an evolving design datum throughout execution. There was high operator involvement and acceptance throughout the project, with APC uptimes consistently surpassing 97 percent.

With the APC maintaining the process within the desired operating envelope on a minute by minute basis, the LNG trains have experienced improved reliability, decreased energy consumption/ carbon footprint and increased production.

In regards to the bottom line, the APC delivered the North West Shelf Project Partners with a 3 to 5 percent increase in LNG4/5 production (depending upon ambient conditions) and a 4.7 percent increase in LPG production. These verified benefits meant the period for overall project payback was less than two weeks, with a ROI of 4,000 percent.

Check out all the Finalists in the Oil, Gas and Hydrocarbons category.

The 2011 Zenith Oil, Gas and Hydrocarbons Award is sponsored by AMS Instrumentation.

AMS sponsors PACE magazine's Zenith Awards.AMS Instrumentation & Calibration Pty Ltd (AMS) has been in existence for more than 38 years providing calibration equipment and industrial instrumentation to wide range of industries. With more than 200 years of instrumentation experience among the staff and now with branches in every major city, we are sure we can offer our customers the best solution to meet their needs. AMS offers a comprehensive range of flow, pressure, level, temperature and calibration equipment from some of the major instrumentation and calibration suppliers, assisting end-users to optimise their processes and performance. The majority of the products represented by AMS are widely used in the Oil & Gas sector, hence our support for this category. AMS sees the Zenith Awards as a major event in our industry as it rewards technical innovation and the achievements of people. AMS is very proud to be associated with the Zenith Awards and has supported them since its inception eight years ago.

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