Emerson to automate $2.6-billion oil sands project in Canada

Austin, TX—Emerson Process Management reports that it recently won a $27-million contract to serve as general automation contractor for a $2.6-billion oil sands extraction project in Canada.


Austin, TX— Emerson Process Management reports that it recently won a $27-million contract to serve as general automation contractor for a $2.6 billion oil sands extraction project in Canada.

Located 200 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta, the Long Lake Oil Sands Extraction Project is a joint venture by Canada-based OPTI Canada Inc. and Nexen Inc. It will be the oil and gas industry's first project to combine an oil sands extraction facility, which recovers and dilutes bitumen, with a field upgrader, which processes bitumen into synthetic crude. This combined operation will produce approximately 60,000 barrels per day of synthetic crude within three years.

The joint venture reports that adopting Emerson's PlantWeb digital architecture to deliver process automation and asset optimization was key in reducing the total project’s automation budget to $91 million from an initial original $152-million estimate based on traditional control and systems technology. Emerson's smart safety instrumented system (SIS) will enable the Long Lake Project to use digital intelligence to maximize plant and personnel safety.

Emerson and Spartan Controls Ltd., its local business partner in Alberta, also will provide engineering, project management, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance and operations support.

By combining its automation and project management expertise with the front-end design and construction led by engineering and procurement contractors, Emerson expects the digital solution will help OPTI Canada generate $4.2 million in annual operations and maintenance savings for the upgrader. Finding ways to reduce the high cost of oil sands extraction and processing in this remote area has been a key objective of the project’s planners, according to George Cushon, OPTI Canada’s automation project manager.

'Costs in the automation area will be controlled by applying advanced technologies, and leveraging of Emerson's advanced control service capabilities and expertise,” says Cushon. “The all-digital plant utilizing Emerson's PlantWeb is another important step in reducing capital and operational costs while improving plant safety, reliability and productivity.'

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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