St. Louis-based Emerson Process Management has won a $27 million contract to serve as general automation contractor (GAC) for a $2.6 billion oil sands extraction project in Canada.
The Long Lake Oil Sands Extraction Project, 200 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta, is a joint venture of two Canadian companies, OPTI Canada and Nexen.
It will be the oil and gas industry’s first project to combine a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) oil sands extraction facility that recovers and dilutes bitumen with a field upgrader that processes the bitumen into synthetic crude.
The operation will result in the production of approximately 60,000 barrels per day of synthetic crude within three years.
The joint venture’s adoption of Emerson’s PlantWeb digital architecture to deliver process automation and asset optimisation was said to be key in reducing the total Long Lake project automation budget to $91 million from an original $152 million estimate, which was based on traditional control and systems technology. Emerson’s smart safety instrumented system (SIS) will enable the Long Lake Project to use digital intelligence to maximise plant and personnel safety.
Emerson and Spartan Controls, Emerson’s local business partner in Alberta, will supply automation specific engineering, project management, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance and operations support.
By combining its automation and project management expertise with the front-end design and construction led by engineering and procurement contractors (EPCs), Emerson expects the digital solution will assist OPTI Canada in delivering annual operation and maintenance savings of $4.2 for the upgrader.
Finding ways to reduce the high cost of oil sands extraction and processing in this remote area has been a key objective of project planners, according to George Cushon, project manager of automation for OPTI Canada.