Houdini project employs intelligent valve technology

11 October 2010

The pneumatically operated on/off valves that are used in Shell’s Houdini petrochemical project in Singapore, employ the latest technology, intelligence and diagnostic potential. Metso was awarded the umbrella contract for all pneumatically operated on/off valves in the new parts of the plant.

The company’s contribution to the project includes around 1,350 valve assemblies with new technology. All pneumatically operated on/off valves in the project are equipped with Neles ValvGuard VG9F intelligent safety valve controllers in place of more conventional solenoid valves and limit switches. This enables the plant to carry out full diagnostics on all on/off valves via the DCS asset management system.

It is believed that the Houdini project is the first to have applied this advanced pneumatically operated on/off valve set-up on such scale, anywhere in the world. Peter Beerepoot (Shell ECC Project, Manager Process Automation Group and Instrumentation) is satisfied with the decision to use ValvGuard throughout the Houdini project. He said: “There is always a risk in using a new product on such a scale, but we were convinced of the advantages the valve controller offered. Houdini was a complex project, but the end result speaks for itself. We started the plant up with no major hiccups in just 29 days, which was most satisfactory.” Shell announced the Houdini project’s successful completion in May 2010.

The new plant is set up for FOUNDATION Fieldbus, using the FDT/DTM technology. Metso’s supplied Neles ball valves, high-performance triple eccentric disc valves, V-port segment valves, eccentric rotary-plug valves and pneumatic cylinder actuators, as well as Jamesbury ball valves, butterfly valves and pneumatic actuators. Metso also included some third-party valve products in order to provide a ‘“Total Project Approach’ from a single vendor.

The Neles ValvGuard VG9F is connected to the safety system and the FOUNDATION Fieldbus DCS system for full diagnostics and configuration. VG9F intelligent safety valve controllers are also mounted on all pneumatically operated on/off valves outside the Metso range.
The Houdini project

Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (SEPC) project in Singapore is the company’s largest petrochemicals investment to date and its second world-scale petrochemicals project within Asia in four years. The project was announced successfully completed in May 2010.

According to the Houdini project plan, each of the new chemical production units has started up. The world-scale ethylene cracker complex started up in March 2010, and one of the world’s largest monoethylene glycol plants started production in November 2009. The project also includes modifications to the Shell Pulau Bukom Refinery, enabling it to process a wider range of crudes to supply feedstock to the cracker. A new ethylene jetty and cryogenic terminal enable the import and export of ethylene.

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