GasSecure sold to Dräger

The Norwegian venture‐backed company GasSecure AS has been sold to Dräger Holding International GmbH for approximately 500 mNOK ($61m). The company will strengthen Dräger’s portfolio within gas detection, with the newly developed wireless gas detector for the oil and gas industry. The sale is the proof of GasSecure’s success both in the market and as a venture backed investment.

Stefan Dräger, Executive Board Chairman of Dräger, and Knut Sandven, CEO of GasSecure

Stefan Dräger, Executive Board Chairman of Dräger,
and Knut Sandven, CEO of GasSecure

GasSecure was founded by Knut Sandven and SINTEF in 2008, based on core technology from SINTEF, with R&D Director Håkon Sagberg joining the company in 2009, and has been financially supported by Viking Venture, Investinor, ProVenture Seed and SINTEF since 2010.

Chairman of the Board, Eivind Bergsmyr from lead investor Viking Venture commented: ‐ “Dräger is in our opinion the ideal buyer for GasSecure. They have the capability and distribution power to scale the unique and promising products of GasSecure with their worldwide distribution network. Dräger understands how to develop an innovative company further and has been willing to offer a competitive price acknowledging the outstanding achievements”.

Continues as a separate company

Dräger will continue to keep GasSecure with its 11 employees as a separate company under the leadership of founder and CEO, Knut Sandven: “We are truly impressed by Mr Sandven and his team and what they have achieved so far, and want to make sure we integrate this capability into the Dräger organization in a tailored and effective way”, says Dräger Executive Vice President M&A, Brigitte Dautzenberg. GasSecure’s products and technology are successfully field proven in the harshest offshore environments and climates from Alaska, the North Sea and Australia being bought by major global operators. The GasSecure product offering provides extended detection coverage, exceptional safety and cost performance to operators. This has become even more important with the current cost focus in the oil sector.

Natural next step

GasSecure CEO Knut Sandven commented on the change in ownership as a natural step in expanding the GasSecure influence and success further:‐ “Growing a startup from first concept to a successful company with global reach means going through different phases. The venture companies were perfect owners in the startup phase with their continuous support, commitment and experience. Now it is all about distribution, support and scaling where a prime industrial brand such as Dräger is the best partner we could ever imagine. This is a huge recognition of our innovative technology, the GasSecure team, and our vision for new, revolutionary products”.

GasSecure has been regularly featured in the INSIDER Newsletter, since the first mention of their novel wireless hydrocarbon gas detector at an Invensys OpsManage meeting back in 2011. Last mention was in July 2014, when a deal was announced with Yokogawa for joint marketing of ISA100 wireless systems using the GasSecure gas detectors.

65th Birthday for Delta Controls

Process instrumentation specialist Delta Controls Ltd has been a world leader in the design and manufacture of high quality temperature and pressure measurement instruments since its formation in 1950. Industrial process instrumentation has seen many changes over these 65 years, as shown by the Delta Controls investment in R&D and its continuous product range evolution, which now includes some of the highest performing, reliable and accurate transmitters and switches available.

In addition to the fundamental advances in technology which have occurred during these 65 years, the Delta Controls engineers have contributed to significant improvements in the reliability, accuracy and repeatability of the process instrumentation industry, and also to reducing the size of the instruments which have changed from being large, heavy and unwieldy to the considerably more compact and convenient models the company offers today.

Delta Controls made its name in the design and manufacture of temperature and pressure process switches for hazardous areas. Today the company offers a comprehensive range of industrial instrumentation to the process and power industries worldwide, focusing on critical applications where safety, reliability and accuracy are vital.   In addition to its ‘off-the-shelf’ products, Delta Controls is known for its custom solutions which meet individual and highly complex technical requirements.

Delta Controls products are used in a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, power generation, petrochemical, water and wastewater, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, pulp and paper, and chemical engineering.

Delta Controls now supplies a full range of pressure, temperature and flow switches and transmitters for process monitoring, alarm and safety shutdown applications, as well as for all ancillary equipment.

See www.delta-controls.com

Netherlands takes action over gas field earthquakes

The following article appeared in the HazardEx newsletter this week, and is of particular relevance to the UK current discussions over the safety of fracking in Northwestern UK. The HazardEx newsletter can be accessed via www.hazardexonthenet.net

The Groningen gas field was discovered in the 1960s, and is a conventional gas reservoir, it does not use fracking. As the gas is extracted, small earthquakes have occurred as the ground, the roof of the reservoir, settles, presumably as a result of the reduction in the gas pressure below. Tens of thousands of homes have had to be shored up because of damage caused by the earthquakes

The government of the Netherlands apologised on March 2 for ignoring risks posed by earthquakes caused by production of natural gas in the northern province of Groningen. The apology follows a February 18 report by the country’s independent Safety Board that found that the government, together with Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon, had put profits before safety in exploiting the Groningen gas field.

Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp said he was very sorry that the safety interests of Groningers had not received the attention they deserved. He said safety would now come first and that necessary measures would be taken to address the problem.

Last month Kamp ordered production at the Groningen field, Europe’s largest onshore gas field, to be cut by 16% for the first half of 2015, sending prices in northwest Europe surging. He is due to make another decision on production at the field on July 1.

Earthquakes were definitively linked to production at Groningen in 1993, but they became more frequent and intense after production was increased in 2008. Increased gas revenues provided important revenues for the state as the Dutch government pursued unpopular austerity policies.

After a 3.6 magnitude earthquake in 2012 — greater than any Shell and Exxon had forecast — regulators warned the government that citizens’ safety was at risk and called for production to be cut as quickly as possible. But the government did not order a reduction in production until last year, and then only a relatively small one.

The Groningen field accounts for two-thirds of Dutch gas production and the Netherlands supplies about 15% of Europe’s total natural gas, providing an important alternative to Russian gas.

In the wake of the Safety Board report, Dutch political parties across the spectrum are calling for Groningen never to return to former production levels, with left-leaning parties seeking further cuts in production.

Shell and Exxon have so far set aside 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in compensation after 30,000 buildings were damaged by recent earthquakes, although no serious physical injuries have been reported as a result of the quakes.

MicroMotion Heavy Fuel Viscosity Meter

Emerson Process Management has introduced the Micro Motion Heavy Fuel Viscosity Meter (HFVM) ‘Viscomaster’, the next generation of the Micro Motion 7829 Viscomaster direct insertion viscosity and density meter. Making use of the same rugged and reliable tuning fork design as its predecessors, the HFVM incorporates a new robust low friction Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coating. This makes it ideal for tackling the most demanding of process applications such as marine heavy fuel oil (HFO) combustion control, marine gas oil (MGO) viscosity control and land-based fired heaters.

The head-mounted transmitter is hazardous area approved and has the flexibility to connect to control systems via a wide range of digital and analogue protocols. System integration and start up commissioning costs are significantly reduced due to the support from 4-20mA, HART, WirelessHART and RS485 Modbus communications. The HFVM accepts and processes external signals from other field instrumentation such as temperature and mass/volumetric flow devices, enabling the meter to calculate and output enhanced process measurements while minimising installation and cabling costs.

“We designed the HFVM Viscomaster to help solve problems that our customers face on a daily basis such as maximising engine power output irrespective of fuel quality variations, optimising HFO/MGO cut-over times and reducing fiscal exposure through improved NOx/SOx management,” said Andrew Sgro, Micro Motion density and viscosity product line manager.

The HFVM also incorporates a new diagnostic capability called Known Density Verification (KDV) that checks the meter for measurement alarm conditions, sensor integrity and the presence of coating, erosion or corrosion. This new technology expands the availability of diagnostic information in critical viscosity and density measurement applications which can result in significant maintenance costs and cycle time reductions.

Marine approvals for the meter include Lloyds, Germanische Lloyd, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and Bureau Veritas (BV).

Ex ic – Intrinsic Safety’s New Protection

The following is a press release which is actually from MTL Instruments, about a new Whitepaper describing Ex ic. So it is worth reading: don’t be put off by the corporate speak of the first paragraph!

Power management company Eaton has released a new whitepaper, Ex ic – Intrinsic Safety’s New Protection Level, that helps users and manufacturers understand more about Ex ic, the new intrinsic safety protection level for electrical apparatus in flammable environments. The paper is authored by Phil Saward, training and technical consultant, within Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds Division. Phil Saward has 25 years’ experience in hazardous area products and applications and has served time on various Foundation fieldbus.

The paper is available to download directly from http://www.mtl-inst.com/white-papers.

“The concept of a third level of protection for intrinsic safety has existed for several decades,” said Phil Saward. “Only in recent years has it been formally adopted into the major standards systems in common use worldwide. Meanwhile, other methods of protection have filled the gap. In particular, Ex nL has provided a workable, but somewhat loosely defined alternative until its recent withdrawal from international standards. The paper therefore covers the essential differences between Ex ic and Ex nL, and discusses the pros and cons of the two.

The whitepaper deals primarily with the impact on countries that follow IEC and ATEX practice – but there are parallels with the ‘non-incendive’ technique that is adopted in North America. The paper is aimed at those who are familiar with the principles of explosion protection for electrical apparatus, but will also appeal to readers who are responsible for compliance to the ATEX Directive and relevant IEC standards.

Topics covered include: What is Ex ic?; The position of Ex ic in the Intrinsic Safety family; Changes to the IEC standards; Why things are changing now; Background and links to the ATEX directive.

One of the most helpful elements of the whitepaper is the inclusion of a case study which demonstrates how the new Ex ic standard can fundamentally change the design of a Foundation fieldbus network, compared with implementations that were based on the Ex n standards. This practical illustration will help readers understand the potential impact in terms of network design and hardware selection.

Fanuc increases robot capacity

FANUC today announced the purchase of 695,000 square meters of land in Japan to increase production capacities for the installation of new CNCs, servo motors and servo amplifiers, as Europe’s demand for robots grows. Under the purchase agreement FANUC is purchasing land from the “Mibu-hanyuda Industrial Park,” with the first phase beginning in September 2015.

FANUC will also expand its laboratories situated in the Headquarters site including the construction of four new factories. With this expansion, testing equipment will be introduced to complement FANUC‘s expert knowledge, to continue to create new and innovative products.

Chris Sumner, vice president, FANUC Europe said: “One of the major reasons behind the increase in our production capacity at FANUC, is the high demand we’ve seen from European manufacturers. As factories look to implement more automation technologies within their manufacturing processes, many have realised the cost-saving potential and increased rate of production that this brings to their businesses. We’ve seen this reflected in our orders over the last twelve months, in the UK in particular we have seen orders increase across the board by over 50 per cent.”

Yokogawa and Cisco Deliver Cybersecurity Solutions for Shell

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has announced a collaboration with Cisco Systems Inc to deliver the Shell SecurePlant initiative for Shell worldwide. SecurePlant is a comprehensive security management solution for plant control systems that was jointly developed as an initiative between Cisco, a leader in the IT industry, Yokogawa, a leader in mission-critical plant automation systems, and Shell. The three companies have agreed to proceed over the next three years with the implementation of SecurePlant at around fifty Shell plants globally.
Industrial producers around the world face a wide range of operational challenges in areas such as cybersecurity that pose a pervasive threat to safety and availability. Most companies with global operations, however, still take a relatively simplistic plant-by-plant approach, such as implementing operating system security patches and anti-virus pattern file updates. As a result, security levels tend to vary at each plant.
In the general practice of control system security management, individual control system vendors extensively validate security patches and anti-virus pattern files to confirm that they do not interfere with system operation, and then report the results to their customers for implementation. Since plants tend to use a variety of control systems and equipment from different vendors, occasionally with multi-generation platforms from a single vendor, this process is often complicated. For this reason, plants increasingly have a need for plant-wide integrated services that take a more holistic and efficient approach to the management of system security. With the aim of standardizing security practices at Shell plants around the world and minimizing control system vulnerability, Yokogawa and Cisco collaborated on the design of the SecurePlant service and will jointly provide deployment and operational services.
The SecurePlant solution is designed as a standard solution that consists of the delivery of OS patches and anti-virus pattern files for control systems and the provision of real time and proactive monitoring of solution delivery, as well as a help desk operation to manage this solution.
Supplier-certified Windows security patches and virus signature files are distributed from a SecureCenter to the SecureSite at each plant via Shell’s existing global network. The real time and proactive monitoring capabilities enable the centralized management of plant security. A customer help desk operated jointly by Yokogawa and Cisco is available 24/7/365 to manage solution related incidents.
Moving forward, Yokogawa and Cisco will continue to offer comprehensive security solutions involving the deployment, operation, and monitoring of control system environments. These services are applicable to plants of all sizes in a wide variety of industries, including facilities spread out over a large geographic area. In addition, both companies will leverage their technologies and experience to develop deep industrial automation (IA) solutions such as remote system maintenance, remote plant asset management and Big Data on the top of a secure remote access platform to help companies in making faster decisions, reducing total cost of ownership (TCO), and achieving operational excellence.
This press announcement was made at the ARC Forum in the USA on 10 February 2015: this year sees the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yokogawa.

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