Major Emerson Cat Cracker project at BP Whiting Refinery

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A view of the BP Whiting Refinery, photo courtesy of BP

Emerson Process Management is providing process automation technologies and services to help British Petroleum (BP) further enhance the safety, reliability, and performance of its Whiting refinery in Northwest Indiana, USA – without the costly downtime often required for such projects.

The project to upgrade the process control system of two fluid catalytic cracking units is part of a strategic BP-Emerson automation upgrade programme. It follows BP’s earlier multi-billion-dollar Whiting Refinery Modernisation Project, which was one of the largest investments in BP history. Emerson also provided process automation for that massive upgrade, which helped BP boost its heavy-crude capacity more than four-fold.

The Whiting refinery is BP’s largest and a major supplier to the Midwest and other parts of the United States. One of the key benefits that Emerson brings is its experience managing “hot cutover” projects – upgrading units while the operation continues running, which helps BP maintain a secure supply of fuel for its customers. Catalytic crackers are primarily used to produce high octane gasoline in the refining process.

Emerson has already provided upgraded automation technologies for one of the cat crackers, implementing a new DeltaV distributed control system. Diagnostics available in the DeltaV system can help BP detect problems well before an unintended loss of operation, saving money and improving efficiency.

For the second cat cracker, Emerson will provide a DeltaV control system and integrated DeltaV SIS safety system. The integrated control and safety system will provide a common operations and engineering environment and access to extensive diagnostics across the unit. The complete automation upgrade also includes Emerson’s Fisher control valves and Rosemount measurement instruments.

“The ability to use our resources and experience from one stage of the upgrade programme on another stage helps BP manage project cost and schedule risks,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “Our commissioning and start-up expertise developed in previous projects also helps BP safely and reliably improve performance without unexpected downtime, providing significant benefits to its customers that rely on a predictable supply of gasoline.”

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