At Remote Production Sites
DONALD P. GALMAN
Information obtained from a gas monitoring system
can be used to help maximize uptime, efficiency, safety,
The scene is an offshore oil drilling platform. The sun
goes down, and the search for oil goes on. The crew, however, is never in the dark about what’s happening. Smart
field devices monitor every variable that affects production: temperature; humidity; flow; pressure; positioning;
vibration levels; gas leaks.
Fugitive gas leaks can occur at valves, seams, body
castings—almost anywhere in the mix of gas extraction,
gas purifying and gas delivery equipment. Safety is a
paramount concern, but time and money are also critical business drivers (one hour of downtime can cost an
oil producer up to $250,000 in profits, according to one
industry source). As a result, producers are taking a closer
look at field bus instrumentation such as gas monitors, to
determine how the components of a safety instrumented
system (SIS) can be used to aid productivity, efficiency, and
profitability—as well as preventing catastrophic events.
Today, most distributed control systems support the
implementation of field buses on their system where fire
and gas monitoring systems reside with process automation systems. The systems share the same control network
and are able to use common visualization, engineering
and asset management tools, while the logic executes
separately for each system. The integration of these systems also satisfies some of the requirements of a SIL2/SIL3
system design (see Figure 1).
Connecting a gas detection system to a field bus has
N Additional information can be obtained for preventive maintenance and troubleshooting, reducing
N Remote locations can interrogate instrumentation
through wired, wired-to-wireless or wired-to-less
wire communication protocols.
Most universal gas
transmitters offer a common
platform that supports all
N Operators can interrogate the transmitter directly
by using a magnetic wand on the display or, if the
device is mounted in hard-to-reach areas, by using
handheld instrumentation. These options provide
operators with added mobility and time to focus
on more productive tasks.
N Safety engineers, chemists, operators and others
working as a team can more accurately predict
instrument failures, and respond faster and more
efficiently to maintain uptime.
Figure 1. SIL2/SIL3 system
According to one safety engineer, “Sharing a common
platform can reduce costs related to installation or custom
integration as well as provide a unified view of control