BP, Emerson Extend Automation Services Agreement

BP plc and Emerson unit Emerson Process Management have inked a new 10-year agreement through which Emerson will provide automation services to BP’s upstream oil and gas operations. The agreement extends the existing arrangement between BP and Emerson, and will permit Emerson to offer an expanded scope of technologies and expertise to support BP’s Field of the Future program for enhanced operating efficiency and oil recovery.

Emerson has provided BP with a wide array of final control devices, intelligent instrumentation, asset management, reliability solutions, distributed control systems and integrated safety systems, as well as a comprehensive set of project consulting and lifecycle engineering services, said John Gardner, president of global strategic accounts at Emerson, told Rigzone in a statement.

Under the new agreement, Emerson will continue to supply automation system technologies, including distributed control systems and safety instrumented systems, but will now also provide valves and measurement instruments, as well as technologies for supervisory control and data acquisition, asset management, and machinery health monitoring. Emerson – BP’s main automation contractor – also will continue to deliver a range of project and support services that include system engineering, installation, configuration, testing, and ongoing support. The agreement also provides for ongoing maintenance of existing systems.

The agreement underscores BP’s commitment to safe and reliable operations, as well as its commitment to remaining at the forefront of upstream oil and gas technology, said Adrian Luckins, vice president of global project solutions at BP, in an Aug. 17 press statement.

Emerson’s integrated control and safety system and reliability solutions are used at onshore and offshore oil and gas production facilities, as well as in BP's downstream refineries.

“One of the areas where we contribute, particularly in shale operations, is in promulgating standard solutions to operate equipment to reduce both capital expenditures and to improve operating performance,” said Gardner. “Common applications found in this industry like separators, well head control and well testing all can benefit by an optimized and standardized automation approach.”

Automation, often coupled with seismic data, is allowing operators to maximize the rate of production from subsea reservoirs without risking damage to the reservoir’s integrity from issues – such as water intrusion – or the undersea production equipment needed to operate effectively by preventing corrosive effects, Gardner said.

“By carefully monitoring the well’s production, optimal rates of chemical injection can be achieved essentially to improve corrosion control or to minimize or eliminate hydrate blockage and, at the same time, minimizing the cost of chemical treatments needed for that,” Gardner said. “Improved measurement through pervasive sensing strategies, including downhole metering, also gives operations and maintenance staff early warning of changing conditions in the production process so they can make dynamic adjustments to improve safety and reduce risk of damage to equipment, threats to personnel safety or environment risk.”

Today, 65 percent of all projects over $1 billion are considered a failure, either because they are over budget by more than 25 percent or the schedule slips significantly, said Gardner, who named three big levers customers can use to get capital projects back on track. These include:

  • Reducing the complexity of projects
  • Reducing the work steps required
  • Reducing the impact of project changes

Emerson facilitates better decision-making that will keep processes running and enterprises making the right decisions to optimize the company’s performance, Gardner said. The company does this by supplying wireless technologies, offering pervasive sensing capabilities that include a wide and expanding array of intelligent field devices that are deployed more widely than ever before.

“Wireless communications technology has been the driver of pervasive sensing by aggressively driving down the installed cost of instrumentation, eliminating almost 75 percent of the installed cost relative to older wired technology.”

Coupled with a large and expanding group of software applications, these field networks of intelligent instruments can be implemented to dramatically increase the amount of information about the process, its health, and what actions are needed day-to-day to keep the enterprise running smoothly, Gardner noted.

“The net result is better decision-making at the plant and customer enterprise levels. As customers modify their work practices so they can take advantage of these new technologies, they also gain an organizational effectiveness benefit, making their staffs much more nimble.”

BP and Emerson have been working together for over 90 years.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com


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