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Automation System Uses OPC for Metering Stations

ABB’s project delivery for the West African Gas Reclamation Project includes OPC connectivity and communication for the automation and SCADA systems, as well as the fire and gas systems.

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When completed in late 2007, the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) will traverse 620 miles (1,033 kilometers) both on and offshore from Nigeria’s Niger Delta region to its final planned terminus in Ghana. The World Bank estimates that Benin, Togo and Ghana can save nearly $500 million in energy costs over a 20-year period as WAGP-supplied gas is substituted for more expensive fuels in power generation. The pipeline will be owned and operated by West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited, whose shareholders consist of ChevronTexaco West African Gas Pipeline Ltd., Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Overseas Holdings Limited, Takoradi Power Company Limited, Societe Togoliase de Gaz and Societe Bengaz.

WAGP must have integrated communication between numerous intelligent devices, analyzers, and other components with the control and SCADA systems to provide needed real-time information from all parts of the pipeline, which spans several countries. Used in the solutions provided for this project by ABB, OPC helps make this needed connectivity possible.

EPC Willbros West Africa Inc. chose ABB for this project for its comprehensive scope of supply and the ability to reduce overall project risk, construction schedule and cost, by modularizing, installing and testing the systems before shipping them to Africa. This turnkey solution minimized risk because the units were fully integrated and assembled prior to shipment. Lack of qualified technical oil and gas resources for testing and integration on site was not an issue.

ABB is supplying six modular stations for WAGP, including five gas pipe regulation and metering stations and one compressor control station. The pipeline will enable customers in Benin, Ghana and Togo to access Nigeria’s immense resources of natural gas (which had previously been flared, meaning burned off as waste), to fuel power generation and industrial development. The regulation and metering stations enable each country to accurately identify product custody transfer.

ABB’s integrated project delivery includes: System 800xA Extended Automation for process control, SCADA Vantage System, VoIP Telephone Service, Satellite Communication, Safety Systems (800M HI controllers), Fire and Gas Systems, and Electrical Components (including switchgear, transformers and MCCs).

The project scope also includes integrated local and wide area networking structure for VoIP telephone communication and SCADA control via satellite. This will enable communication and control between the remote control center, the compressor station, and five regulation and metering stations for the facilitie’ SCADA, process control, safety and fire and gas systems. ABB’s SCADA Vantage system has been fully integrated with Chevron’s Enterprise accounting system. It will provide data backfill, should communication be lost (due to sandstorms or heavy rainstorms, etc.).

ABB’s System 800xA and SCADA Vantage both use OPC for connectivity and communication throughout this highly integrated environment. OPC also provides the connectivity for the Fire and Gas Systems.

Additionally, during 2007, ABB will provide seven Gas Quality Metering Stations, each with chromatographs, other analyzers and SCADA Vantage as above to provide data on the supply gas into the pipeline. These analyzer type shelters will be located at the Chevron and Shell gas plants and to N-Gas in Nigeria.

The 800xA control system provides improved data visibility through data integration. It gives operators the flexibility to look at data granularly or to see an overview with just a few mouse clicks. One display shows a map of West Africa, indicating pipeline monitoring sites from the highest, least detailed level. The operator can “drill down” to as much detail as is needed, perhaps to see an overview of a specific site to visualize and understand utilities, or view the health of totalizers in valves and even the actual control positions of valves. System 800xA also aids in optimization. For example, an operator can direct the system to bypass a location and to rely solely upon the stations currently operating at maximum efficiency while a repair is made. 

The power provided to remote communities by the West African Gas Pipeline will help raise the standard of living in those communities. A study, commissioned by Chevron, estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 primary sector jobs will be created in the region by WAGP. New power supplies, fueled by gas from the project, will stimulate the growth of new industry.

For more information on ABB’s integrated solutions for pipeline operations, visit

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