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Shell Prelude FLNG named as FieldComm Group 2017 Plant of the Year

06 November 2017

The Shell Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) plant/ship of Royal Dutch Shell, which will be located in the Timor Sea off the North West coast of Australia, has been named as the FieldComm Group 2017 Plant of the Year.

This annual award is presented by FieldComm Group to recognise the people, companies and plant sites around the globe that are using the advanced capabilities of FOUNDATION FieldbusHART and WirelessHART technology in real-time applications for improved operations, maintenance, and asset productivity. This is the second award presented to a Shell facility, with the first being awarded in 2011 to Shell Scotford in Alberta, Canada.

Having recently completed the journey to its final destination, 200-km off the Australian mainland, it will be connected to Deepwater gas wells and is scheduled to begin regular operations in 2018. The 488m x 71m vessel’s 14 production facilities, rising eight stories above the deck will extract and process around 3.6 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) during its 25-year lifespan.
“FieldComm Group technologies are used in every phase of the Shell Prelude FLNG project and form the backbone of the intelligent predictive maintenance system,” said Kyle Dickson, control and automation engineer for Shell Prelude FLNG. “The use of device templates is delivering conformity and quality assurance throughout the commissioning process. This has enabled a small team to achieve impressive loop check rates while maintaining high levels of quality assurance. Once commissioned, equipment and unit modules will use the diagnostics and alerts provided by both HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus technologies to great effect, specifically avoiding numerous plant trips and enabling unprecedented levels of remote support and deep-level diagnostics.”
Rong Gul, senior automation engineer and subject matter expert (SME) for smart instrumentation and instrument asset management with Shell Global Solutions, reports that Prelude’s process applications employ more than 8,000 FOUNDATION Fieldbus devices, including 2,500 valve positioners, located on all control and monitoring devices, and connected only to the DCS; more than 4,500 HART devices connected to the DCS and PLCs via HART multiplexers, and used predominantly on devices connected to safety instrumented systems (SIS) and fire and gas (F&G) systems.
WirelessHART is used on some specific applications. Use of the advanced diagnostics and rationalised device alerts has enabled predictive and targeted maintenance execution. Prelude is dependent on having a fully realised remote monitoring group of engineers advising on device issues. Commonly it has been possible to identify issues, specifically pertaining to control valves before a fault escalates and results in a plant upset or outage. While still in a start-up phase, Prelude is operating vast amounts of utility and marine systems, and the benefits of an intelligent instrument management system are already being realised.

At the peak of its recent commissioning efforts Prelude’s staff was performing more than 500 loop checks per week, and checking multiple streams of complex functions. The vessel’s utilities plant was also running 24/7, which made maintenance challenging. Thanks to using templates for its parameters, Prelude’s staff and contractors achieved total time-savings of 80% for device commissioning and loop checking across all devices using device templates; time savings for the valve positioner loop check procedure was more than 80% for the full loop test; tested all device types during the FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) in less than three days, compared to previous test using traditional methods, which took more than two days to test just three device types; and human error during FAT was quickly identified allowing for fast correction.

“In a nutshell, proactive maintenance was embedded from Day 1 on this project, rather than adding it as a work process on a running facility,” said Gul. “FAT preparation and testing, training, templating, selection of smart instrumentation, rigid work processes, and a management and maintenance organisation firmly supporting the technology are mandatory to make proactive maintenance succeed.”

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