Emerson to automate oil sands project
The upgrader will process bitumen, a molasses-like viscous oil, into light, low sulphur products such as diluents and ultra low sulphur diesel as well as other products that can be used by refineries to produce gasoline. Under the contract, Emerson will provide digital automation services, and install its PlantWeb digital architecture that networks intelligent digital technology throughout processing facilities.
The $2.6 billion North West Upgrader project will be constructed in three phases. The facility built in the first phase, with construction to begin in late 2007, will process 77,000 barrels of bitumen blend per day and is expected to be operational in 2010.When the entire facility is completed in 2015, the upgrader will have a total processing capacity of 231,000 barrels per day. The bitumen, blended with a light liquid condensate, will be transported to the upgrader via pipelines from the oil sands region of northern Alberta.
Canadian oil sands - with reserves that are second only to Saudi Arabia's oil reserves - are expected to be a key resource in meeting the world's petroleum demand for the next century.
"Emerson is widely recognized as today's leader with respect to process instruments and automation systems," said Robert Pearce, president of North West Upgrading. "We expect to benefit greatly from their experience in applying these technologies to the processing of bitumen, integrating the engineering phase of the project, and bringing state-of-the-art efficiency to the operation of our upgrader."
Finding ways to reduce the high cost of both construction and oil sands processing is a key objective of project planners, according to Mr. Pearce. "By standardizing on Emerson's PlantWeb technology, we expect to achieve a consistent and durable process. This technology will be an important factor in reducing costs while supporting plant reliability and productivity."
North West is relying on Emerson to supply the full scope of automation products and services through its local business partner Spartan Controls Ltd. and Emerson's Hydrocarbon and Energy Industry Center in Calgary. This team is currently developing plant-wide automation standards to ensure that individual process units integrate smoothly into the overall upgrading process.
Emerson will supply engineering and project management throughout the three phases of construction, hands-on commissioning of automation products and systems, and ongoing service support. Efficiencies of PlantWeb technology will contribute further to lower capital costs for construction.
"We are pleased with the opportunity to work closely with North West Upgrading and their project management and EPC contractors and to deploy our industry-leading PlantWeb technology," said John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management. "We are committed to helping North West succeed with timely engineering and development assistance in the project phase to achieve ongoing operational excellence while controlling costs."
About North West Upgrading
North West Upgrading Inc. is a Calgary-based, privately owned company committed to building an independent heavy oil upgrader in Alberta's Industrial Heartland. The upgrader will enhance the economic value of Alberta's bitumen and heavy oil production by producing light, low-sulphur products and diluent. The upgrader will have a total processing capability of 231,000 barrels per day of blended feedstock (150,000 barrels per day of crude bitumen) over three phases. North West anticipates it will receive regulatory approval by fall 2007, with construction to begin immediately allowing for start up for the first phase in 2010. All three phases are expected to be operating by 2015.
About Emerson Process Management
Emerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and other industries. The company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Its brands include PlantWeb, DeltaV, Fisher, Micro Motion, Rosemount, Mobrey, Bristol, Daniel, Ovation, and AMS Suite.
Emerson (NYSE:EMR), based in St. Louis, is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Sales in fiscal 2006 were $20.1 billion.
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