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Costain has selected ABB System 800xA controllers to manage a Cheshire, UK gas-storage facility that is designed to hold more than 160 million cubic metres of gas.

The facility, designed as a potentially unmanned site, is being built for E.ON at Holford in Cheshire and will store gas in eight salt caverns deep underground.

The processing plant consists of several gas compressors that maximise the pressure of the gas stored and the gas withdrawn from the caverns into the National Grid transmission system.

Additionally, an on-site drying plant removes water from the gas as it leaves the caverns.

Some gas is always left in the cavern to maintain the minimum pressure required to sustain the cavern structure.

The maximum pressure is carefully controlled whenever gas is injected into or withdrawn from the cavern.

The 800xA system is being supplied to Costain, which is responsible for engineering, procurement and construction of the plant.

The ABB system will control the import of gas into the caverns for storage and export of gas into the National Grid; this includes the complex control required to handle these transfers in both free-flow and compression modes.

Both import and export flow is metered to fiscal standards with on-line gas analysis.

Computation of the energy flow is used as the primary-control set point for injection and withdrawal.

Plant safety is critical and the TUV certified AC 800M HI controllers are used as the safety instrumented system to control the processing plant, associated pipelines and the well heads, which are situated up to 2km from the processing plant.

Availability and efficiency of the plant are crucial, and the AC 800M helps to ensure these key factors.

The 800xA system also interfaces to fire and gas monitors around the plant, third-party packages such as the compressor-unit controls, access security and CCTV monitoring of the plant.

This provides integrated visibility for the operators of the process, along with plant security and safety aspects.

The ABB 800xA control system supports IEC61850, allowing the controllers to link to intelligent electrical devices on switchboards, motors and other electrical equipment.

E.ON also wants to use the AC 800M HI controllers to gather asset data to allow predictive maintenance and discover which instrumentation needs recalibrating, reducing OPEX costs and cutting total cost of ownership.

ABB Automation Tech – Instrumentation and Automation

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