Latest News

Exclusive Oil & Gas Expo coverage

The financial climate might be lagging, but the oil was still hot at the Oil & Gas Expo in February. We spoke to some of the major players about the trends and issues surrounding the industry.


Yokogawa was on-site during February for the Australasian Oil & Gas Expo, which for the oil and gas automation solutions provider was an event not to be missed.

The company showcased its CENTUM VP DCS — a flagship production control system that was officially launched 12 months ago but is still garnering interest from the oil and gas automation market.

“We view the AOG Expo as one of the key exhibitions in Australia for showcasing Yokogawa’s extensive capabilities in upstream and downstream oil and gas, and LNG,” said Yokogawa managing director, John Hewitt, who visited the show.

Hewitt said this year there was increasing competition from overseas vendors entering the local market.

“The Expo was substantially larger than last year, and there seemed to be a lot more European vendors exhibiting their wares and trying to get a foothold in the Australian market. There also seemed to be an increasing emphasis on subsea and remote operated vehicle products,” he told PACE.

For Yokogawa, the Expo was an important chance to showcase its offerings to a market in which the company specialises.

“The three industry pillars for Yokogawa in Australia have traditionally been oil and gas, power, and mining. Looking forward, we see upstream oil and gas and LNG playing an even larger role in our business,” Hewitt said.

Yokogawa’s CENTUM VP is said to redefine the role of a production control system, commonly known as a DCS. Going beyond the traditional DCS function of controlling and monitoring a plant, CENTUM VP integrates plant information management, asset management, and operation support functions, achieving a unified operating environment.

“Yokogawa’s CENTUM VP automation system is an exciting new technology, and enjoyed its first major outing at a public exhibition at the AOG,” said Hewitt.

“CENTUM VP is the next evolutionary step in the Yokogawa distributed control system journey, and features many user benefits in advanced operational display and production management technologies.”


Endress+Hauser Australia Managing Director, John Immelman, suggests that the Australian oil and gas industry is relatively in the dark about the benefits of process measurement, with a “disappointing turnout” of process measurement engineers at the recent Oil and Gas Expo.

“There was only two or three companies exhibiting process measurement equipment, and as a consequence, there was not a strong turnout of instrumentation technicians and engineers. We were not surprised, as it was similar when we last attended in 2005,” he said.

Endress+Hauser will probably not be exhibiting at the Oil and Gas Expo when it occurs next in March 2010, preferring to focus its sights on business direct to the client.

“We believe that in process measurement the product is not the final answer — it needs to come complete with services such as maintenance, calibration, installation and commissioning. With the outsourcing of these skills over the last ten years, there is more demand on the vendors to supply these services,” said Immelman.

“We have made it a focus to develop a service team nationally to be able to provide such services whereby we can ensure that all installed instrumentation is working reliably and accurately. The problem with this industry is that any kind of mishap can be an occupational issue — leading to injury or death.”

The issue of safety is paramount to Endress+Hauser, with all its process instrumentation product range designed to meet SIL2 standards, with a few SIL3 products already available.

Immelman and Endress+Hauser plan to make more of a splash in the oil and gas market with a range of new products on offer, including a unique flowmeter that delivers 0.05% accuracy in custody transfer applications, and an ultrasonic flowmeter which the company claims is the world’s only 2-wire loop powered inline model.

“We have a philosophy that if you don’t measure it you can’t manage it. I think the oil and gas industry is extremely conservative and I don’t think that they have fully embraced yet the need to make the necessary measurements to make the necessary management. This will make the process more efficient, and provide maximum returns for the project’s shareholders,” said Immelman.

“However, we believe our new measuring instrumentation will assist in making process measurement easier and hopefully more cost-effective. It is an industry which moves oil and gas products huge distances, they definitely don’t want their pipes and vessels to leak. We have equipment to prevent this.”

The local oil and gas industry is becoming more important by the day to Endress+Hauser, which views LNG as a big growth area — especially for export into South East Asia.

The company also has a focus on energy management solutions and viewed this as an overwhelming trend at the Oil and Gas Expo.

“There was a very strong trend towards energy measurement and energy monitoring. Trying to find simple ways to measure the energy required to get the oil and gas to a finished product is important, as is measuring the energy content of the final product. To do that one needs to measure temperature, pressure and flow rates, and pop this into a computer and out will come the energy rating. Energy as a topic was fairly new and a fairly big topic across the board,” said Immelman.

PACE met with Endress+Hauser product specialise engineer, Stephan Natter, at the Endress+Hauser stand at the Expo, which was shared with Rockwell Automation as part of their six-year strategic partnership.

According to Natter, one of the main themes of Endress+Hauser’s offerings on display at the Expo was to show how easy it is the integrate the company’s flowmeters and instruments into a process automation system — such as that designed by Rockwell Automation.

Endress+Hauser displayed three flowmeters based on HART communication and one on Foundation Fieldbus, meaning Endress+Hauser customers can now turn to the company for Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, and HART digital interfaces.

The Endress+Hauser Promass 83F Coriolis flowmeter, which offers an impressive 0.05 per cent accuracy in custody transfer applications, is rigorously tested on the bench, and wet calibrated in advanced calibration facilities in Switzerland. In the oil industry, the Promass I is suited to massflow measurement, as well as viscosity as a separate output.

The Prowirl 73F vortex flowmeter is a versatile multivariable device, which measure more than just volume. The patented ‘Gas Engine’ enables the Prowirl 73 to calculate mass flow and energy for all common gases and gas mixtures. The energy content of natural gas is calculated based on pre-programmed calorific values according to AGA-8 gross 1, AGA-8 DC92 and SGERG-88.

The new Prosonic 92F flowmeter — which Endress+Hauser claim is the world’s only 2-wire loop powered inline ultrasonic flowmeter — was designed to measuring the volumetric flow of ‘clean’ conductive and non-conductive liquids, and is specifically adapted for hydrocarbons.

For measuring pressure applications in pipelines, and thereby increasing safety for operators, the company also displayed the FMD 76 pressure transmitter, which offers a maintenance-free, durable ceramic diaphragm that the company claims will last for years in typical oil and gas applications. By contrast, the thin metal diaphragms of competitive pressure transmitters require replacing after a couple of weeks, Natter said.

“Our customers are after an instrument that is reliable, and it must pass the test of usage in a ‘not-so-friendly’ environment, which is typically prone to corrosion and vibration,” Natter said at the show.

“Customers in this industry need a product that is very accurate, because the product being handled — filled with hydrocarbons — is highly caustic. Our calibrated meters are accurate but also very reliable, with a very stable construction, which can counter plant stress including temperature expansion and vibrations,” said Natter.

Pacific Automation

At the AOG, hazardous area specialists Pacific Ex revealed an Australian-first leak detection system for process lines which can detect pipeline leaks to within one metre of the exact location, essentially minimising plant downtime and production loss, according to the company’s general manager, Stephen Armstrong, who was on-site at the show.

The product has been developed over the past 10 years by UK based Sensornet and uses a fibre optic cable to measure temperature instead of the traditional method of measuring only gas substances in the air, allowing it to continuously detect leaked gas. Armstrong says it has been effectively implemented in emergency shut-down systems in LNG process lines in Europe and the USA.

“Based on distributed fibre optic sensing technology, Sensornet’s Digital Leak Detection provides a revolutionary cryogenic monitoring solution that can instantly locate a leak anywhere in the LNG terminal,” a brochure from Sensornet claims.

The device can be used for monitoring leaks in loading and unloading pipelines; storage tanks (monitoring the annulus); tank base monitoring; and spill channels — each area that has traditionally been difficult to access.

According to Sensornet, conventional leak monitoring technology meant that there was a gap between what the plant operator believes is occurring throughout his installation and what was actually happening. Sensornet’s technology is designed to overcome the limitations of measurement technologies available today to close the monitoring gap.

Armstrong says the Sensornet Digital Leak Detection technology is an intrinsically-safe, extremely sensitive system with the capability to detect the smallest of leaks. Leaks can be rapidly detected (within 10 seconds for LNG) and pinpointed within a very small window of one metre, anywhere within the terminal.

Benefits of using Digital Leak Detection over existing technology is also the improvement of safety for the infrastructure and for plant personnel.

A system using Sensornet will also be more reliable, with reduced inspection time and therefore less downtime. Lower nuisance alarms will also result in improved productivity, the company claims.

The system is also fully-automated — reducing the risk of human error — and can interface with the SCADA industrial control system using standard protocols including OPC, Modbus and electrical relays.

It is based on temperature measurements using distributed fibre optic sensing technology. Distributed Temperature Sensors (DTS) place the fibre optic as the sensor, eliminating the need for active components or moving parts within the sensing cable.

Using Sensornet’s DTS system in conjunction with fibre optic sensing cable allows a full temperature profile to be obtained along the entire length of the cable, with measurement points every one metre. In the event of a cryogenic leak within the LNG terminal, there will be a significant drop in temperature (typically greater than 100°C). When the cryogenic fluid comes into contact with the sensing cable this will be detected instantly and pinpointed, meaning rapid action can be taken to mitigate any risk and control the situation.

Multiple cables can be operated by one DTS acquisition system, meaning complete plant coverage of an entire terminal can be achieved, including pipelines, tanks, channels and basins. The cables are run from the acquisition unit based in the control room.

The Sensornet system is particularly useful when used to monitor the LNG export or import pipeline to the storage tanks — a critical area that represents one of the largest sections of infrastructure in the plant (sometimes up to several kilometres long), often with limited access. The sensors can be used to monitor the pipes through everyday running including cooldown to ensure that the process proceeds smoothly and that undue stress is not exerted on the pipeline.

Sensornet can be installed on different pipe configurations, including Vacuum Insulated Piping (VIP). The system also has approval from the US Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) for use on VIP systems.

Pacific Ex’s Sensornet team will manage a customer’s entire project through to its handover. Since the system is based on safety and system integrity, the technology is ISO 9001 accredited and meets all Health & Safety Executive requirements, it says. The Sensornet systems can achieve a SIL 2 or 3 rating (safety integrity level) which is now a common requirement for process operations.

The new technology can also be used to measure reservoir levels and has already been installed in approximately 50 dams in Sweden, said Sensornet vice president — downstream process, Jerry Worsley, who was also present at the exhibition.

“Sensornet has been used worldwide for ten years, but we are only launching in Australia now,” he said. “We needed to find the right distributor before we could launch here — and Pacific Automation has the right kind of experience for the job.”

Pacific Ex is a division of process control and automation solutions distributor, Pacific Automation, based in Western Australia, which specialises in safety solutions for the oil and gas, mining, industrial and utilities operations.

Pacific Ex also displayed the new range of Weidmuller intrinsically-safe isolators at the show.

With such a strong portfolio of brands, Pacific Ex’s Armstrong said he expects to get “good business” from the Australasian Oil and Gas Expo this year.

“We are a privately-owned company so we can really gear up for the hard times ahead,” Armstrong said. “We have noticed our end-users backing-off on stock due to the economic crisis, and contractors are being put on hold. However, we expect only a 10 to 15 per cent downturn in business this year — which is a small sum compared to some of the other manufacturing industries out there. There has been better traffic at this year’s show than the last exhibition in 2007, which makes us optimistic.”

Pryde Measurement Pty Ltd

Pryde Measurment Pty Ltd was also on-site with three introductions to the Australian market — the SS2100 Hydrogen Sulfide H2S Analyser; the 1900D-SERVOTOUGH Oxy; and the 1900D-SERVOTOUGH Oxy.

The SpectraSensors SS2100 Hydrogen Sulfide H2S Analyser enables natural gas processors, LNG plants and refineries to measure and trace hydrogen sulfide in mixed hydrocarbon gases quickly and reliably with no light source aging, no carrier gas, no lead tape and no ongoing recalibration, claims Pryde product manager — analytical, Sachin S Samel.

“SS2100 H2S analyser delivers precise, reliable non-contact measurements using patented Tunable Diode Laser TDL technology developed by NASA,” Samel told PACE.

The 1900D-SERVOTOUGH Oxy is a single enclosure solution from Servomex for hazardous area oxygen measurements. The SERVOTOUGH Oxy is a compact paramagnetic gas analyser which Samel says is unrivalled in the market.

“Built to withstand the harshest and most hazardous of environments, with the minimum of installation costs, this analyser is available with a wide range of options to meet almost every need,” he said.

The Servomex 5400 – SERVOPRO MultiExact is a multi-component gas analyser that provides key measurements for air separation process, including ‘plug and play’ state-of-the-art gas transducers such as paramagnetic oxygen purity, trace CO2 and trace N2O and trace O2.

Available in single and dual gas versions, it offers a number of options that include a choice of digital communications, modbus, profibus and ethernet capability.

The company also received great interest in its NASA-developed Tunable Diode Laser technology to measure H2S in natural gas.


The RiMine enclosure is the latest product release from Rittal, specifically designed for the mining industry for sensitive automation and electrical equipment. The new RiMine enclosure was showcased at the Australasian Oil and Gas Show in Perth and attracted much attention from visitors.

“The local oil and gas processing and control market is very important to us,” said Rittal Pty. Ltd. Product Manager, Paul Savill. “Rittal is recognised worldwide, we have a strong standing in Australia because of our high quality German engineering.” Rittal is a long standing name in the electrical industry and enters its 25th year of business in Australia.

Claiming worldwide leadership in the market, and a strong market share in the process and control sector in Australia, Savill told PACE that offering a complete enclosure solution across the entire product range was an important business decision for Rittal, and mirrors demand in today’s volatile market.

“Customers are looking for quality, but they’re also price-conscious at the moment. They’re demanding value for money, but also availability, service, and complete solutions. They are bringing problems to us and asking, ‘how can we do this?’,” he said.

“Our partnership with Phoenix Contact in Australia also means we can value-add to our customers by offering entire solutions.”

Phoenix Contact offers connection technology including terminals, power supplies, relays and wireless solutions to the Australian market, and shares country-wide distribution partners and warehouses with Rittal. The two companies have adopted a two-channel sales approach — both direct to clients and through distribution partners.

According to Savill, the new RiMine range of enclosures was designed after “much customer feedback,” which showed an overwhelming demand for sloped-roof enclosures to suit harsh environments in the mining and oil and gas industries.

The RiMine sloped roof enclosure range brings together German engineered quality, reliability, and leading edge technology to suit the requirements of the Australian market, says Savill.

A leading benefit of using an enclosure with a sloped roof is that chemical or oil spills or mining debris will slide off the enclosure, which is a technique for keeping enclosed equipment safe from heat, dust, corrosion and moisture.

Each enclosure has an IP66 rating; a 30° sloped roof with generous overhang; foamed in gaskets for durability; a triple point locking system for security; and an optimum mounting area for ease of placement.

The enclosures are available in; 316 Grade Stainless Steel (Painted X15 or unpainted); and Mild Steel – Painted X15 in four sizes.


For HIMA Australia Pty Ltd, it’s all about safety non-stop in the plant with the use of its new HIMax safety instrumented system — a new generation of SIS that allows plant operators to add software and hardware online without interrupting the process.

Of its three primary scalable SIS platforms, HIMA focused on displaying the newly-launched HIMax. HIMA’s SIS range includes the small I/O system called HIMatrix; a mid-sized model called HIQuad which caters for medium to higher-end applications; and the flagship HIMax for very large applications in excess of 5,000 I/O.

HIMA national sales manager, John Griffiths, said his company is targeting LNG plants, onshore and offshore processing, large oil and gas projects and refineries with its new offering. While most of the company’s marketing is directly to its end users, the Expo was an opportunity for the company to put its feelers out.

“HIMA celebrated its 100th birthday last year, but the Australian business has been around since only 2000. We are getting feedback from HIMax now from testing by early adopter companies in Germany, and the feedback has been very positive,” he said.

HIMax could be used for any application in a process environment, and its multitasking functionality and high performance means it is suited for combining emergency shutdown, burner management, fire and gas and turbine control applications in one user-friendly platform.

“Some of the benefits our customers are looking for come from the many features we have on HIMax. They want non-stop operation because they don’t want interruption to their plant. With some safety systems there are testing and maintenance requirements that can only be performed offline. This equally applies to changing or adding hardware or software where you have to take the plant offline or wait for a scheduled shutdown. From an operational point-of-view this is certainly not preferred and costs the end user a lot of money,” said Griffiths.

HIMA customers are also demanding HART communication, which the company is now developing into its controller range, according to Griffiths.

“Another thing they’re looking for is remote I/O. We are currently developing a remote I/O module which uses less processing power as all the processing is done on the one controller.”

The HIMax system achieves non-stop operation by way of several design features including its operating system which functions with two memories — a running memory and a shadow memory.

“If you have a software change, it is updated on the shadow memory. All process variables get transferred to the shadow memory. At the end of a completed scan cycle the shadow memory takes over from the running memory and it then becomes the running memory,” said Griffiths. “We are able to do this because the speed of the processors, at 600MHz, allows seamless transfer.”

According to Griffiths, plant engineers will be able to add and remove hardware modules online, without the need to take the system offline like traditional safety systems. This includes system bus modules, CPUs, communication modules, and I/O modules.

It also means at the start of the project engineers can specify what they need, therefore minimising their costs.

“In the future when you want to expand the system, you can add to it without taking it offline. When it’s online, there’s no need to take it down ever,” Griffiths said.

HIMA has found a niche in the oil and gas industry with its new product, and so far hasn’t seen any others like it on the market.

Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation hosted its safety systems business, ICS Triplex, at the show, and shared a stand with strategic test and measurement partner, Endress+Hauser, proving the company is determined to make a big splash in the oil and gas processing sector this year.

Rockwell Automation displayed a scalable process automation system called PlantPAx which is designed to meet a company’s entire enterprise needs with a single platform and development environment. Designed to offer seamless information flow between the plant floor and the rest of the enterprise, PlantPAx “has everything plus more,” according to Rockwell Automation Business Development Manager —Process Solutions, South-Pacific, Andrew Sia.

The Rockwell Automation stand was manned by a team of industry managers that look after the vertical oil and gas market — an area in which the company expects significant growth in 2009.

“We are at the Expo to establish relationships and getter a better foothold on the industry, primarily using our PlantPAx process automation system solution, specifically designed to address the needs of the DCS market”, saidRockwell Automation Industry Solutions Manager—South-Pacific, Corrie van Rensburg. “This allows us to supply a complete process control system, which was traditionally the realm of DCS vendors. ICS Triplex complements our position in this market,.”

According to ICS Triplex Engineering Services Manager, Lee Scott, to be a successful player in the DCS market these days vendors must offer process control and safety capabilities as well.

“The message today is capability. Rockwell Automation is a global organisation that has a broad range of capabilities within the oil and gas industry. Our message to the industry is that we are fully immersed in ¬ the oil and gas business,” he said.

“Part of the Rockwell Automation group of products, ICS Triplex’s new safety product, Aadvance, is a scalable process safety solution rated to SIL3. This is a big deal in oil and gas and makes it an ideal solution for smaller distributed safety control systems.

“Aadvance can be configured to suit particular architecture requirements as well as SIL3-rated applications, meaning customers can customise their system to suit the requirements of the plant.”

An overwhelming theme coming from the Rockwell Automation stand was the company’s complete solutions approach to the oil and gas sector–ideal for customers who don’t want to worry about integrating different systems.

“Rockwell Automation is able to offer a completely integrated solution, from the field right down to the control and management. Our systems are able to integrate freely with each other. Whether the plant is in Australia or overseas, it is network-enabled so we can maintain it,” said van Rensburg.

The company has invested heavily in its product specialists, hiring staff with specialised skill-sets to suit each industry.

“Typically a company has had to go to two different suppliers for PLC and DCS. We supply both and because we use a common platform, we can supply them with a process control function while seamlessly integrating ancillary equipment,” said van Rensburg.

“Whether you want process control, or logic control, it’s seamlessly integrated into the same platform . And we can also integrate a safety controller, with the help of ICS Triplex.”

According to van Rensburg, Rockwell Automation’s main product focus in the oil and gas market throughout 2009 will be its PlantPAx process control system, followed by its Aadvance safety system and a range of medium- and low-voltage variable speed drives. The company also views its solutions and services offerings as highly important to its business model.

“We are seeing a shift in the market towards providing complete solutions. Due to the recent changes to the economic climate, a lot of customers are losing their internal engineering capability. This is forcing them to purchase systems from suppliers rather than just equipment. Here, Rockwell Automation is present as the complete plant automation supplier,” said van Rensburg.


Victrex plc, a UK-based provider of high-performance polyketone materials including Victrex Peek polymer, Vicote coatings, and Aptiv films, formally entered the Australian oil and gas market through its presence at the Australasian Oil & Gas Expo.

The company’s exhibit highlighted its expertise in the oil and gas industry along with the latest developments in its polymer technology research for the sector.

Victrex Peek polymers are increasingly used in oil and gas applications for their unique combination of high-performance properties, including chemical, electrical, hydrolysis, temperature and wear resistance, teamed with mechanical strength, says the company.

Peek polymers have already been used successfully in downhole and subsea electrical connectors, seal rings, bearings and bushings, compressor parts, and wire and cable insulation in the sector, while emerging applications include subsea umbilicals, production tubulars, flexible hoses, and composites, Victrex said.

Parts, components, and systems made with Victrex Peek polymer are designed to result in improved operating performance and reduced risk of downtime associated with component failure, enable longer equipment service life in severe conditions, achieve higher production rates, reduce downtime, and lower maintenance requirements.

“As the oil and gas industry moves to more aggressive and demanding operating environments, and new alternative solutions come into play, the selection of technologies and materials is a critical success factor,” said Victrex global marketing manager for oil and gas, Robert Navo Jr.

“With more than 30 years of experience developing Victrex Peek polymer technologies and more than 20 years of experience in demanding oil and gas environments, we can bring significant insight to customers in the Australian marketplace.”

Victrex senior market development manager, Kenny Yu, is responsible for the company’s push into the Australian market. “The oil and gas industry located in Australia represents a significant opportunity for Victrex, and we believe our unique high performance materials are designed to meet the specific needs of this industry. We have two decades of experience in this sector, in more than 30 countries globally, and we look forward to bringing this expertise to Australia,” he said.

Areva T&D

At the recent AOG Exhibition, Energy transmission and distribution provider, Areva T&D displayed the PIX — an air-insulated, medium voltage switchgear device designed for the safe operation of oil and gas processes.

“With the high current ratings available — up to 50kA, 4000A, 17.5kV — and a full 1-second Internal Arc Classification, the complete Pix range ensures maximum operator safety,” said Oil & Gas Industry Director in Perth, Jones Ponudorai.

“Ease-of-operation, high availability and versatile configurations including a dedicated ‘slimline’ motor control centre, allow a wide range of applications.”

The oil and gas market is an area on which the company will“remain focussed”, together with power generation, mining and metals, railways and building industries.

“As a global leader in electricity transmission and distribution, Areva T&D is at the forefront of providing solutions for complex oil and gas production, transport, delivery, and processing of crude oil and gas in relation to refining, petrochemicals, coal bed methane and fertilizers,” said Ponudorai.

The company’s solutions include power distribution packages; containerised substations; power management; pipeline telemetry and control; HV substations including GIS; and sub-sea power connectivity.

“Australia has more than $100 billon worth of petroleum projects under development or in planning stages, such as Gorgon and Wheatstone projects. Oil and Gas markets are important for us. We have

already started the operations of our regional oil and gas office in Perth,” said Ponudorai.

“Our operations in Australia are local with global linkages. AREVA T&D has a very strong presence in Australia with manufacturing facilities for power transformers, distribution transformers and medium voltage switchgear. We also have a strong presence with our automation products and services for the electrical network management.”

Ponudorai says local companies can expect AREVA T&D to add value by offering full-customised engineering solutions and packages.

“The customised prefabricated substations are perfect for the time-critical oil and gas projects, and our proven turnkey capabilities in Australia, complete with strong in-house engineering and project management, will serve our oil and gas customers with comprehensive solutions,” he said. “AREVA T&D solutions provide excellence in all aspects, and the offering has inbuilt safety and reliability.”

AREVA T&D’s new regional Industry centre in Perth will supply to the rest of Australia, and will be supported by a “large pool of expertise in this field” from the company’s other regional offices including the global oil and gas centres in Jakarta, Houston and Stafford.

Send this to a friend