Emerson automates Shanghai petrochemical complex

Shanghai, China—Emerson Process Management reports it recently completed a digital automation project at Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Co.’s $2.7-billion, 10-plant ethylene cracker complex.


Shanghai, China— Emerson Process Management reports it recently completed a digital automation project at Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Co.’s $2.7-billion, 10-plant ethylene cracker complex. In 2003, SECCO picked Emerson as its digital automation partner for the integrated petrochemical facility, which is located in the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park about 30 miles from the city.

The complex will annually produce 900,000 tons of ethylene and more than 2 million tons of other related petrochemical products for use in plastics and synthetics manufacturing applications. The ethylene cracker is SECCO's core plant in the complex. It is reportedly the largest in China and one of the largest in the world.

Emerson says SECCO used its engineering and project management expertise to integrate and coordinate multiple suppliers, enabling complete construction in just 27 months, which was three months ahead of schedule. Startup of the ethylene cracker plant in March 2005 took just 10 hours and 45 minutes, which SECCO says was a world record for a project of this magnitude. SECCO is a joint venture between Innovene (formerly BP), Sinopec, and Shanghai Petrochemical Corporation (SPC).

“Our facilities and expert personnel at Pudong enabled us to partner effectively with SECCO, shaping a cutting edge solution,” says Sweechee Lee, Emerson Process Management China’s GM. ''We were also able to call upon Emerson experts among our more than 4,000 global engineering and technical service professionals, particularly from centers in India and Singapore.''

Emerson installed its PlantWeb digital architecture throughout the SECCO complex, which contains 47,000 control loops, 40,000 instruments, and about 13,000 intelligent devices networked in the world's largest FOUNDATION fieldbus installation. This consists of an all-digital, open communications approach, which connects measurement and control equipment, such as sensors, actuators, and controllers, in processing applications.

Rather than using a centralized project organization run by an overall project contractor, SECCO chose an integrated project management team approach, under which each key plant in the complex had a lead project contractor. As the main automation supplier, Emerson not only engineered and implemented the automation and control systems, but also helped manage multiple international and local suppliers for each of the 10 plants in the facility.

''When you look at the complexity of building 10 units at one time, and asking all of them to start up in a short time frame with minimum disruption, it's pretty amazing,'' said Jack Brinly, SECCO’s deputy project director. ''At the beginning, we saw no probability of finishing in early 2005, but we were able to finish three months earlier than originally planned, and Emerson deserves much of the credit for making that happen.''

Zhang Ziliang, SECCO’s project director, adds that, ''On such a massive and centralized scale, this is probably the first project of its kind ever. In practice, the performance of the complex is outstanding. We have achieved our objectives, and on the whole it is very satisfying.''

SECCO adds that the integrated complex project also had no major accident and zero fatalities during construction, which included more than 50 million man-hours of labor. The site reportedly also included leading environmental standards.

''We’re honored to be part of the partnership that has made the SECCO project successful,'' says Mike Train, Emerson Process Management, Asia-Pacific’s president. ''It’s gratifying that Emerson's engineering and project management expertise, and the technology of PlantWeb with FOUNDATION fieldbus played a key role in helping SECCO realize its vision.''

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Control Engineering staff

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