Automation Upgrade Keeps BP’s Largest Refinery Running

Feb. 2, 2016
In a ‘hot cutover’ DCS upgrade for two fluid catalytic cracking units in Whiting, Ind., Emerson Process Management will help improve safety and reliability while avoiding downtime.

Need some Polish dumplings in the heat of summer? Try Whiting, Ind., and it’s Pierogi Fest in late July. Need some heavy crude to go with that? Whiting is a good place for that too, where BP undertook a multibillion-dollar modernization project a couple years ago to boost its heavy-crude capacity more than fourfold at its largest refinery.

As main automation contractor (MAC), Emerson Process Management provided the process automation for the project. Now, as part of a strategic automation upgrade program, BP and Emerson are working together to upgrade the process control system for two fluid catalytic cracking units.

Catalytic crackers are used primarily to produce high-octane gasoline in the refining process. As a major supplier to the Midwest and other parts of the U.S., it is important for BP’s Whiting refinery to keep operations running while the units are being upgraded, making Emerson’s “hot cutover” expertise key.

“The ability to use our resources and experience from one stage of the upgrade program on another stage helps BP manage project cost and schedule risks,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “Our commissioning and startup expertise developed in previous projects also helps BP safely and reliably improve performance without unexpected downtime, providing significant benefits to its customers that rely on a predictable supply of gasoline.”

Emerson has already provided upgraded automation technologies for one of the catalytic crackers with a new DeltaV distributed control system (DCS). Diagnostics available in the DeltaV system can help BP detect problems well before an unintended loss of operation, saving money and improving efficiency.

For the second cat cracker, Emerson will provide a DeltaV control system and safety instrumented system (SIS). The integrated control and safety system will provide a common operations and engineering environment and access to extensive diagnostics across the unit. The complete automation upgrade also includes Emerson’s Fisher control valves and Rosemount measurement instruments.

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