Qatargas launches upgrade of earliest production facility, with new DCS, wireless mesh

Qatar Gas 1 in Ras Laffan Industrial City to undertake major automation improvements, with DCS and mesh network architecture from Invensy Process Systems. Production continues during upgrades. Link to photo.
By Control Engineering Staff February 16, 2009

Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar – The busy Qatargas facilities are upgrading early generation production lines while expansion continues. Even as four new liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains are being designed and built, the original three will be upgraded, some including new major automation platforms.

See, learn more about the Ras Laffan complex .

The Qatar Gas 1 project has awarded a contract to Invensys Process Systems (IPS) to provide control processors, gateways, local area networks and network security with its Foxboro I/A Series distributed control system (DCS) Version 8, including mesh architecture. Link to Ras Laffan Industrial City photo from Qatar Petroleum , www.qp.com.qa/qp.nsf/web/bc_rlc.

Production at the huge facility has to continue due to the company’s critical supply contracts. The three operating trains at Ras Laffan produce approximately 10 million tons of LNG primarily for export to Spain and Japan. The current expansion program is designed to increase production to 42 million tons by 2010 for customers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

“Our goal is to keep our clients’ distributed control systems running at peak performance levels,” said Mohsen Sorour, IPS business development manager. “Qatargas’ existing Foxboro I/A Series DCS system runs versions 6 and 7. IPS will migrate this nodebus-based system to our latest mesh-based technology, and by retaining existing field wiring and system cabinets and using online upgrade procedures, we can ensure that plant downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.”

The upgrade will give Qatargas improved compatibility between different generations of system components at Qatar Gas 1, as well as extend the lifecycle of the overall control system there.

“Because the upgrade will be carried out in phases, different generations of products and software will be able to interoperate as one system,” said Jambulingam Balu, lead instrumentation and control systems engineer, Qatargas. “This approach ensures that we can budget for staggered investment cycles whilst extending the life cycle of the control system and in turn enhancing the plant’s performance.”

Also see: Criteria for PLC vs. DCS evaluation and
Power up: 50,000 I/O points; redundant controllers; digital control, simulation .

Edited by Peter Welander , process industries editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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