ABB Integrates Control Solution for North African Gas Producer

Aug. 20, 2013
The Medgaz natural gas pipeline, linking Algerian gas fields to Spain and other parts of southwestern Europe, can now be controlled by a single integrated control room.

The 210 km Medgaz gas pipeline, which delivers up to 8 billion cubic meters (cbm) of natural gas each year from its gas compressor station on the Algerian coast to the receiving terminal in Spain, now has an integrated multisystem automation solution to replace what normally requires three control system and three separate control rooms.

ABB has supplied its Extended Automation System 800xA platform to the project, enabling both the station and the terminal to be monitored and controlled by remote from one control room, with just a leakage detection system for the pipeline. The system integrates the distributed control system, fire and gas system, and emergency shutdown system for both the compressor station and the receiving terminal, using the same platform to eliminate replication and reduce costs.

ABB introduced the latest enhancements to its 800xA automation platform earlier this year at the ABB Automation & Power World event in Orlando, Fla. Outlining the advances, Tobias Becker, head of ABB’s Control Technologies business, called the 800xA updates a “major step forward in functionality.” They enhance collaboration, increase asset utilization and increase energy efficiency in industrial applications.

Becker also pointed to improved operator functionality and what ABB refers to as the “power of integration.” In this case, the Medgaz pipeline can integrate all its automation and information systems using the same 800xA extended automation platform—from electrical integration and communications to safety, asset management and enterprise resource planning—and in an environment designed to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Built at a cost of $1.2 billion and owned by several Algerian and European energy companies, the Medgaz pipeline is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the Mediterranean region in recent years. It is the region’s largest gas producer, connecting the gas fields of Algeria to networks in Spain and southwestern Europe. It was classed a TEN-E (trans-European energy networks) priority project by the European Union for the interconnection and interoperability of electricity and gas networks within Europe and neighboring regions. The annual delivery of 8 billion cbm of natural gas is expected to be doubled with the addition of a second pipeline.

The compressor station and receiving terminal are at the heart of the Medgaz pipeline, compressing gas from 45 to 200 bar and injecting it into the pipeline for transport on the seabed at a depth of up to 2,160 m. When the gas arrives at the receiving station, it is filtered, regulated and measured, ready for injection into the Spanish gas transmission network. 

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