Emerson Unveils Large Petrochemical Project in China

The ethylene cracker complex is said to be the largest Foundation Fieldbus installation in the world.

Austin, Texas-based Emerson Process Management and China’s Secco Petrochemical Co. unveiled the details of a $2.7 billion, 10-plant ethylene cracker complex project at a recent press event in Shanghai, Republic of China. During the event, Emerson touted its support to Secco in terms of rapid project completion time, state-of-the art process control technology, resource savings and safety.

Located in the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park about 30 miles from Shanghai, the complex will annually produce 900,000 tons of ethylene and more than 2 million tons of other related petrochemical products used in the plastics and synthetics industries. The ethylene cracker, Secco’s core plant in the complex, is the largest in China, as well as one of the largest in the world.

Secco used the engineering and project management expertise of Emerson to integrate and coordinate multiple suppliers, enabling completion of the complex—from bare ground to a fully functional world-class facility—in just 27 months, three months ahead of schedule. Startup of the ethylene cracker plant in March 2005 took just 10 hours, 45 minutes, a world record, according to Secco, for a project of this magnitude.

Emerson installed its PlantWeb digital architecture throughout the Secco complex, which contains 47,000 control loops, 40,000 instruments, and some 13,000 intelligent devices networked in the world’s largest Foundation Fieldbus installation, according to the companies. Foundation Fieldbus is an all-digital, open communications approach that connects measurement and control equipment such as sensors, actuators and controllers in processing applications.

According to Secco, the integrated complex project has a world-class safety record, with no major accidents and zero fatalities during construction, which included more than 50 million man-hours of labor. The site also boasts adherence to leading environmental standards. Recognizing the key role of automation in the successful project, Secco recently presented Emerson with its Excellent Supplier Award.

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