Wireless instrumentation helps boost production, cut costs at Argentine natural gas producer

Tecpetrol uses data from Rosemount wireless transmitters. Results in production increase of $4 million while reducing maintenance costs by 62% and supervisory control costs by 35%.


Tecpetrol had to add instrumentation in congested areas, which saved wiring costs.Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology, is enabling Tecpetrol to boost production while reducing maintenance and operations costs at natural gas compression and delivery facilities in Argentina.

“With better information for improved measurement and control we have been able to produce an additional $4 million in natural gas, cut our maintenance costs by 62%, and reduce our supervisory control costs by 35%,” said Odin Fernández, Tecpetrol production manager.

Tecpetrol began using Smart Wireless, based on the IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) standard, in early 2009 to track gas venting, comply with environmental regulations, measure gas sold to third parties, and perform AGA3 calculations needed for economic balance of its facilities.

Initially, the company installed Emerson’s Rosemount wireless pressure, differential pressure, and temperature transmitters at wellheads in its Campo Duran field. Smart Wireless Gateways collect the real-time data and deliver it to the company’s DeltaV digital automation system. A Daniel ultrasonic flow meter installed for custody transfer measurements also allows Tecpetrol to cross-check the wireless data for quality control, while a ROC flow computer monitors remote points of the architecture.

After seeing the benefits of this initial installation, Tecpetrol added a similar wireless network to its Aguarague Field. Both installations enabled the company to enhance control and productivity. They now have access to data that was not available before, or that had to be checked manually by staff reading local gauges.

“Employee safety has been improved. We’ve cut our trips to the field by 15% and reduced human error,” Fernández added. “The operators can obtain diagnostics and check on plant processes remotely, which helps them better manage their time and work more efficiently.”

Installation costs for the Smart Wireless devices were also $120,000 less than for a wired solution. A wired network would have been very difficult to install because the areas monitored are densely packed with piping and rotating equipment.

“The Smart Wireless devices were easy to install and everything was up and running within a day,” Fernández said. “The network has been operating smoothly ever since.” The company is currently planning to expand its use of wireless technology to additional facilities.


Visit Control Engineering’s Wireless Channel.

Edited by Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com

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