ABB major contract for Ichthys LNG

ABB has been appointed the main electrical contractor (MEC) for a new semi-submersible central processing facility (CPF) at the Ichthys oil and gas field in the Timor Sea off Western Australia. The order is valued at $15 million. ABB was awarded the MEC contract by the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the central processing facility, Samsung Heavy Industries. When completed in 2016 the CPF will be the largest offshore production facility in the world.

The Ichthys oil and gas field is estimated to contain 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas and 527 million barrels of condensate, and have an operational life of more than 40 years. Gas from the field will undergo preliminary processing at the offshore CPF to remove water and raw liquids, including a large proportion of the condensate. The condensate will be pumped to a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel anchored nearby, from which it will be transferred to tankers for delivery to markets. The gas will be transported from the CPF through an 885 km pipeline to an onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing plant near Darwin, Australia.

The Ichthys oil and gas project will have an initial production capacity of 8.4 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas and 1.6 million metric tons of liquefied petroleum gas a year, as well as about 100,000 barrels of condensate a day at peak. The $32 billion project is a joint venture between Japan-based Inpex Corporation and Total E&P Australia.

ABB was selected for its ability to provide a complete and integrated electrical solution for the entire central processing facility. The solution has an exceptionally compact footprint and comprises a comprehensive range of ABB power products and systems, including high voltage air and gas insulated switchgear, low voltage switchboards, and liquid-filled and dry-type transformers. ABB is also responsible for design, engineering, installation, commissioning and project management.

“We are delighted to have been selected as a principal supplier for one of the largest and most prestigious projects in Australia’s growing oil and gas industry,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “Our ability to provide a complete and integrated electrical solution, coupled with our extensive local resources and track record in similar oil and gas projects in Australia, were key to our winning this order.”

This is the second major contract that ABB has been awarded for the Ichthys oil and gas project. In 2012 ABB won orders worth $80 million to supply power technologies and medium voltage drive systems for the new onshore LNG processing plant near Darwin.

A fiasco after five years of work on ISA100.12

The ISA100.12 subcommittee co-chair Dick Caro has announced in a personally written article on the Control Global website that ISA100.12 has abandoned its work after four years without finding a single convergence solution […that met the requirements imposed on them]. This introduces a review article in the March INSIDER Newsletter covering the work of ISA100.12 into wireless instrumentation.

This seems to be the end of the line for the so-called “convergence” attempts by the ISA to co-operate with the industry and develop a unified approach to wireless communications with plant instrumentation, that allows the simple use of both WirelessHART devices and future ISA100 devices on a plant together. The main story in the March issue of the INSIDER looks at the history of ISA100.12, from the viewpoint expressed by Dick Caro, and from the viewpoint of his co-chair on the ISA100.12 committee, Paul Sereiko, as well as from the external view apparent to an industrial media editor. In conclusion it appears from the European viewpoint to be a commercially driven decision by the ISA, which is surely unusual for a non-profit making body set up to establish industry standards for the benefit of American process instrumentation users and suppliers. It is the type of problem that could be anticipated from an American commercial operation.

The result now is that the industry – the users and the suppliers, in the USA and worldwide – will sort this hassle out themselves, without involving the ISA, if there is no willingness for them to be involved in a non-partisan standards discussion. However it is regrettable that the investment of time, money and expertise by the industry into the work of ISA100.12 can be allowed to be just thrown away, or filed, by the ISA management, without even the publication of a final report, which obviously would help future industry efforts to sort out the problem. After all, the industry has put in the effort, and paid for the time and expertise involved in the meetings, so they should be able to judge the results for themselves.

But then what is the ISA viewpoint about this apparent fiasco?

The Challenger disaster

This blog was written on the day the BBC screened their new drama documentary about Dr Richard Feynman’s role in the Challenger commission of enquiry.

Dick Feynman was the must read physicist at Caltech in the 60s when I was a physics undergrad, and his role in this enquiry is played brilliantly by William Hurt. The enquiry parallels the wranglings of certain ISA committees, with the same commercial interests and off screen agendas – such as “We mustn’t let the Russians know our ICBM rockets don’t work in cold weather”. It shows how the system can be manipulated by politicians and other interests to try to cover up the facts, that are made obvious when you have a Nobel prize winning mosquito like Dick Feynman buzzing around within, and outside.

The ISA needs to have some mosquitos imported!

The BBC is to be congratulated, with the writer, Kate Garside: probably not available as yet in the USA, the website for UK viewers is

Début for Azbil Corp at the ARC World Industry Forum

Last month most of the news flow seems to have emerged around the ARC World Industry Forum, which took place in Orlando, Florida from February 11-14.With around 24 companies acting as sponsors at the conference, and attending as exhibitors in the ‘Innovations Showcase’ area, there were even more magazines and websites present to report on the event – 29 listed as sponsors, and 40 media companies in total!

Just like last year the major name noticeably missing from the exhibition, out of the main process automation suppliers, was that of Honeywell. But this provided a major opportunity for Azbil, the former Yamatake – who had a license agreement with Honeywell until 2002 – to make an impressive entrance to the ARC Forum scene, perhaps building on their recent acquisitions and initiating further expansion plans.

Azbil business profile
Based on nine months of their current financial year Azbil is a $2.2Bn sales turnover company, of which 90% is in the home Japanese market. The major proportion of exports go to China, followed by the rest of Asia: North American sales are fairly insignificant in group terms, but are around $1.5m.

The name Azbil*
The word Azbil was introduced on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the company, to signify “human-centered automation” as the new direction for the business. The group philosophy is to “realize safety, comfort and fulfillment in people’s lives and contribute to global environmental preservation through human centered automation”. The management – Seiji Onoki, chairman, and Hirozumi Sone, president and ceo – are striving to extend it both inside and outside Japan, in a drive for global growth.

Three new acquisitions
The management method adopted to achieve the global growth is seen to be by strengthening ties with global partners, and so over the last three months Azbil has announced three acquisitions: Telstar of Spain in the Life Automation business; Taco of Japan, a specialist in pneumatic technology and oil mist lubrication systems; and VorTek Instruments of USA, a vortex flowmeter manufacturer.

The background to the company and these three acquisitions is the topic for a major article in the March issue of the Industrial Automation Insider Newsletter,

*Azbil, I now discover, represents, or is short for – ‘Automation Zone Builder’ !