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Wireless HART technology helps boost production and cuts costs

29 November 2010

Smart Wireless technology, based on the WirelessHART (IEC 62591) standard, is enabling Tecpetrol to boost production, while reducing maintenance and operations costs at natural gas compression and delivery facilities in Argentina.

Odin Fernández, Tecpetrol production manager. quotes some impressive figures: “With better information for improved measurement and control, we have been able to produce an additional $4 million in natural gas, cut our maintenance costs by 62%, and reduce our supervisory control costs by 35%.”

Tecpetrol began using Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless in 2009, to track gas venting, comply with environmental regulations, measure gas sold to third parties, and perform AGA3 calculations needed for economic balance of its facilities.

Initially, it installed Emerson’s Rosemount wireless pressure, DP, and temperature transmitters at wellheads in its Campo Duran field. Smart Wireless Gateways collect the real-time data and deliver it to the company’s DeltaV digital automation system. A Daniel ultrasonic flow meter installed for custody transfer measurements also allows Tecpetrol to cross-check the wireless data for quality control, while a ROC flow computer monitors remote points of the architecture.

After seeing the benefits of this initial installation, Tecpetrol added a similar wireless network to its Aguarague Field. Both installations enabled the company to enhance control and productivity. They now have access to data that was not available before, or that had to be checked manually by staff reading local gauges.

“Employee safety has been improved. We have cut our trips to the field by 15% and reduced human error,” Fernández said. “Operators can obtain diagnostics and check on plant processes remotely, which helps them better manage their time and work more efficiently.”

Installation costs for Smart Wireless were also 88,000 Euros less than for a wired solution. A wired network would also have been difficult to install because the areas monitored are densely packed with piping and rotating equipment. “The Smart Wireless devices were easy to install and everything was up and running within a day,” said Fernández. “The network has been operating smoothly ever since.”

The company is currently planning to expand its use of wireless technology to additional facilities.


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