StatoilHydro wireless install
27 March 2008
Monitoring pressures on wellheads often requires daily visits, which are both impractical and hazardous. Now, StatoilHydro claims to have found a solution that, it claims not only eliminates the need for daily visits, but enables continuous monitoring.
Applying Emerson Process Management’s wireless self-organising mesh field network allowed the Norwegian energy company to monitor wellhead annular pressure and heat exchanger pressure on its Grane offshore platform. Emerson believes the platform, off the coast of Bergen, Norway, boasts the first offshore wireless installation in Europe.
Highlighting his concerns of reliable operation in harsh environments, Geir Leon Vadheim, instrument lead at Grane Operations, StatoilHydro, added: ‘We also needed to address the issue of how we would integrate the data gathered by the wireless gateway into a third party system.’
Following the installation, Vadheim said: ‘As it turns out, the integration was easy and the performance of the Smart Wireless transmitters has exceeded our expectations.’
The wellhead area is crowded by metal pipe work, metal walkways above and below, together with other metal obstructions. Despite the challenging environment, as each transmitter was powered up, the devices found the gateway and the mesh was established. As new devices were added, they joined the mesh.
Continuous monitoring enables unusual readings to be identified earlier and action taken to investigate and rectify faults before they develop into serious problems.
The Smart Wireless network on the platform includes 22 wireless Rosemount pressure transmitters, which replaced traditional gauges. Ten pressure transmitters are mounted on a wellhead or used to measure annular pressure. A further twelve pressure transmitters monitor inlet pressure and pressure drop over the heat exchanger. Each transmitter relays data back to the operator consoles in the control room. A wireless gateway was mounted outside the process area on one side of the platform, at a height where it oversees the wellhead area.
Vadheim said: ‘We are delighted with the performance of the Emerson Smart Wireless network in these challenging conditions
‘Following a short training programme, our instrument engineers are very confident about adding more wireless devices to our installation as required. These typically take around two hours to install compared with up to two days for a conventional wired unit.’
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