Shell Rescues Startup


Shell engineers utilized the full capabilities and advantages of HART Communication to facilitate device configuration, loop testing, startup checks, valve tuning and real-time centralized device status and diagnostics in a 155,000 bpd expansion at the Scotford facility in Canada. The result was a safe and efficient start-up, continued safe and reliable plant operation, real-time daily instrument troubleshooting, and a transition to predictive ongoing maintenance.

Their decision to broaden the application of HART technology beyond the use of handheld device configuration saved time and money in all phases of this project. With all the HART data available in one centralized control room, operations, maintenance and instrumentation staff had ready access to valuable device information which ensured total confidence in both operators and engineers that all devices were functioning properly.

HART technology enabled Shell to realize benefits and savings throughout the expansion project and the plant’s ongoing operation:

  • fast and safe device configuration, programming and commissioning of 1,200 HART devices from 26 vendors;
  • loop function testing and process variable simulation performed in 30% of the time normally required without potential for human error;
  • simulation of critical and complex safety narratives involving more than 15 inputs and multiple outputs for more than 50% in overall time saving;
  • eliminated the need to add external hardware to more than 700 smart valve positioners saving approximately $2,000 per valve;
  • monitoring secondary transmitter temperature variables remotely to improve efficiency in preventative maintenance on heated instrument  boxes saving more than $200,000 per year; and
  • re-calibration, parameter checks and device diagnostics performed from central control room rather than at each individual transmitter location provides saving of $100,000 annually.

Having devices from 26 different vendors, they still did not have to do any special device testing for interoperability. All of the HART devices were plug-and-play and connected properly to their asset management system. They are using the ability to open a virtual window and unlock all the power of HART Communication for any type of measurement device supplied by all of our manufacturers.

Shell Scotford is home to three distinct operating facilities: Upgrader with 255,000 bpd total capacity (since 2011 expansion); chemicals which manufactures 530kt/yr of styrene monomer and 604 kt/yr. of ethylene glycol; and refinery with a 100,000 bpd capacity. Total staff on site is more than 1,300 (plus contractors).


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