UK wind turbine manufacture by Siemens

This article was published in the April 2014 issue of the INSIDER:

In a new manufacturing investment in Hull and Humberside, on the northeast coast of the UK, the Siemens Energy business and Associated British Ports will together invest a total of GBP310m ($500m) in two manufacturing sites, which will create up to 1000 jobs. The project to redevelop this part of the old fishing docks in Hull, known as Green Port Hull, was started some five years ago by the last Government. In fact Siemens have now expanded their original plans, and will invest in a second site nearby at Paull, creating a plant for the manufacture of wind turbine blades incorporating the next-generation of blade technology.

This plant will be the first manufacturing plant of its kind, and involves GBP80m of the GBP160m ($265m) Siemens is investing. Each blade will be 75 metres long: when rotating they will cover an area the size of 2.5 football pitches. The Green Port Hull facility will also involve an investment of GBP150m ($250m) by Associated British Ports, and will create a construction, assembly and service facility for Siemens wind turbines.

The Siemens view

Dr Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens and chief executive of their energy business, said: “Our decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is part of our global strategy. We invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity. The offshore wind market in Great Britain has high growth rates, with an even greater potential for the future. Wind power capacity has doubled here within two years, to roughly 10GW. By 2020, a capacity of 14GW is to be installed at sea alone, to combine the country’s environmental objectives with secure power supply. Projects for just over 40GW are currently in the long-term planning.”

Roland Aurich, chief executive of Siemens in the UK, said: “Being able to further increase our presence in the UK with this significant commitment is great for Siemens, for the UK economy and for future generations, who will benefit from more secure and sustainable, low carbon energy.” Siemens employs about 13,700 workers in the UK, with 4000 of these in the energy sector.

The outlook

UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the BBC (after a winter of storms): “Offshore wind is producing 80-85% of the time. We are the leading country in the world for offshore (wind) investment.” The Siemens news is a fillip for the wind power enthusiasts, who have recently seen offshore farms scaled back for various reasons, including the danger they pose to rare species of migrating birds. The typical price for power generated by new offshore wind farms in the UK is GBP100 per MWh, about twice the current price for power in the UK, with the difference subsidized by levies on consumer energy bills.

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consulthttp://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

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Emerson spends GBP20m on Aberdeen service centre

Emerson has broken ground on a new GBP20m office and service centre at Dyce, Aberdeen, Scotland to support the North Sea oil and gas industry. The Aberdeen facility is one of a series of new regional service centres Emerson Process Management is opening around the world as part of its ongoing commitment to provide local support, training, and services for its customers.

“Today’s ground breaking is the first milestone in the construction of this important new facility which will provide our customers operating in the North Sea with an enhanced range of services and support,” said Stuart Brown, General Manager, Emerson Process Management UK and Ireland. “This investment demonstrates our commitment to the growing number of large oil and gas installations in the area that will require lifecycle support to keep their operations running efficiently and profitably.”

The facility will support a range of services and solutions from both Emerson Process Management and Emerson Network Power. A 2600sq.m office accommodating sales and support will be linked to a 3065sq.m service centre and provide a customer collaboration suite and meeting facilities.

The facility will house Emerson Network Power’s global training centre for industrial systems, as well as offering its sales, design, project management, commissioning and maintenance services. A lifecycle service centre will support Emerson Process Management customers’ North Sea installations. In addition, an Integrated Operations (iOPs) centre that uses a working model of a production enterprise, will help address customers’ needs for streamlined decision-making, easily accessible expertise and the safe, collaborative collocation of essential personnel.

“The greatly expanded resources available within the new facility will build upon our well established operations in Aberdeen,” said Brown.” These include the oil and gas sales and support team, specialist oil and gas industry metering and measurement services, as well as Emerson Network Power’s industrial grade AC and DC UPS system solutions to support wide-ranging onshore and off-shore process and safety critical applications.”

The fully equipped training centre will further enhance Emerson Network Power’s industry-leading capability to manage and deploy accredited engineers for both planned and emergency offshore service support work.

Services available from the new centre will include enterprise asset management, engineering and operations support services, products and systems training and education, total metering management, metrology consulting, and calibration and production data validation. For customers with urgent service needs the centre will also provide repair services and emergency spares.

The new facility will replace the existing offices located in nearby Kirkhill, Aberdeen, and is one of over 400 services centres Emerson Process Management has worldwide. When fully operational in mid-2015, the facility will have a team of over 150 Emerson personnel.

The facility will be located within the D2 Business Park, a major new business hub currently being developed by Miller Developments, a division of The Miller Group, one of the UK’s leading property development companies.

David Milloy, Joint Managing Director, Miller Developments, said: “Since its launch last year, D2 is quickly establishing itself as a prime location for business in Aberdeen and we are delighted Emerson has recognised its potential. Not only does D2 have a fantastic location with superb transport connections, but occupiers like Emerson can also benefit from the ability to create a bespoke package of facilities which are tailor made to suit their needs.”

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consult http://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

CCS, and Government funding for innovation

The UK Government has announced that it will provide GBP100m ($160m) for FEED work on two Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, which by 2015 will be submitted for review in a GBP1Bn commercialization competition, which will lead to support for the design and construction of commercial scale CCS. The two initial projects supported are at the Peterhead natural gas driven CCGT power station, in Scotland, and at the Drax solid fuel power station, in England.

All initial press coverage was devoted to the Scottish investment, as the London-based UK Government is trying to show how they support Scotland, in the face of a possible Scottish devolution vote in September. Here Shell and Scottish and Southern Electricity plan to capture up to 10m tonnes of CO2 over 10 years, ie over 85% of the CO2 emissions, and transport this by pipeline offshore to the depleted Goldeneye gas reservoir, 100km away under the North Sea. The gas could then potentially be used for enhanced oil recovery projects in other North Sea oil wells. The CO2 capture process here is based on the use of amine solvents to treat the exhaust gases.

The second FEED project financed is the White Rose CCS Project, run by Capture Power Ltd, a consortium of Alstom, Drax Power and BOC. The project will involve the creation of a new oxy-fuel combustion plant, where coal is burnt in pure oxygen to produce a stream of 2m tonnes a year of pure CO2: it would be based at Drax power station, which is a coal and biomass fuelled plant, located inland at Selby, Yorkshire. A new 17m tonnes pa pipeline by the Yorkshire Humber CCS Trunkline would transport the gas to storage offshore in saline aquifers – this is being developed by National Grid Carbon Ltd, and would serve a cluster of CCS plants around the Humber estuary.

US support follows UK and European format

In the UK, the Government-funded Technology Strategy Board suggests which areas of technology and innovation should receive encouragement: for each identified major subject area, a ‘Knowledge Transfer Network’ is established, to facilitate the relevant UK innovation communities of manufacturers, users and researchers to connect, collaborate and find out about new opportunities in key research and technology sectors. Priority areas are established where seed funding is made available to promote further projects. Typical relevant areas are advanced materials; the digital economy; high value manufacturing; energy and greenhouse gases; electronics, sensors and photonics. The EU runs similar schemes, for example on robots, and Carbon capture/storage (CCS).

Last Month the INSIDER reported on a visit by President Obama to Vacon Drives in North Carolina, where he started the second manufacturing innovation hub, concentrating on energy efficient electronic systems. In another presentation he has announced that four new US hubs are planned this year. A hub in Detroit, Michigan will concentrate on advanced lightweight materials, and a major hub in Chicago, started with $70m of Dept of Defense funding, but supplemented by $250m of State and private funding, will concentrate on ‘Digital Manufacturing design and Innovation’ taking advantage of digital technology and data management. This already involves 40 companies, 23 Universities and 200 small businesses. Obama believes Germany has over 60 such hubs, which develop the ideas, then the production, and then train the workers: so why should the USA not learn from this model, to re-invigorate US manufacturing industry? Obama hopes that Congress will follow his lead.

Shell developments with CCS

Shell is already participating in a number of CCS projects worldwide including the largest CO2 capture demonstration facility in the world, the European CO2 Technology Centre in Mongstad, Norway. In January 2013, Cansolv Technologies Inc (a Shell group company), working in partnership with RWE npower, successfully captured the first tonne of CO2 at the Aberthaw Power Station in South Wales, the world’s first integrated sulphur dioxide and CO2 capture plant. Cansolv Technologies is also providing the CO2 capture technology for the SaskPower Boundary Dam project. This C$1.35Bn development will see the integration of a rebuilt coal-fired 110MW power generation unit with carbon capture technology. The facility will be fully commercial by the summer of 2014, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum. Also in Canada, Shell announced plans in 2012 to progress with the Quest CCS project.

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consulthttp://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

Ineos plans to make a killing with shale gas

It was in the INSIDER last November that we reported on the Ineos Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant labour problems, which arose from the turndown in the oil quantity being delivered from the North Sea via the BP Forties pipeline. Because of that uncertain supply, and the ethane feedstock supply contract which runs out in 2017, the petrochemical plant had an uncertain future.

So Ineos have said that they will look to import ethane from the USA, and are conducting studies for the construction of a receiving terminal in Grangemouth. Meanwhile, the company have other European cracker complexes which also require ethane supplies, to produce ethylene for the European market as a whole. First priority has been to gain ethane supplies for the Rafnes (Norway) cracker, and one 15 year contract has been signed with Range Resources (USA) for 400,000 tpa ethane, to be delivered via the Mariner East pipeline to Marcus Hook in Philadelphia. From there it will be shipped in three new custom-built (by Evergas) ethane tankers, to Rafnes. At the Rafnes facility, TGE Gas Engineering of Germany is constructing a new ethane storage tank of 17,000 tonnes capacity, with a completion date of December 2014, bringing total site storage to 30,000 tonnes. US shipments are expected to start in earnest in early 2015.

The cost savings are significant

The drive behind this project is the cost savings achievable with US shale gas. Already Rafnes produces ethylene at a cost of $950/tonne, ie quoted as well below the European average. Ineos Olefins and Polymers Europe expects the Rafnes costs to drop to near $500/tonne, with the access to low cost US shale-gas derived feedstocks.

So Ineos is looking at further expansion plans: FEED for a 33,000 tonne storage unit at Grangemouth is being quoted by Babcock International, in competition with TGE, and another tanker build project is being brought forward, with two further in consideration. At Rafnes an expansion of the cracker capacity to 50,000 tpa will be completed by end 2015. A further ethane supply contract has been signed with Consol Energy, and there are discussions with other suppliers continuing.

David Thompson, Ineos procurement and supply chain director, commented “This [Consol] contract adds to our supply portfolio providing for long term sourcing of advantageously priced US ethane for our European crackers. It will allow us to continue to consolidate the competitiveness of Ineos ethylene production in Europe.”

The future for Grangemouth

The options for Grangemouth are still open, and could involve trans-shipment from Rafnes. Plant modifications costing GBP300m would be needed to prepare the Grangemouth site to change the feedstock to shale gas-derived ethane. Ineos has four crackers, with further plants in France and Germany as well, giving a total production capacity of 3 million tpa, sourced from both oil and gas feedstocks. So there is a large market demand for efficient low cost plant operations.

Natural shale gas and oil shale reserves occur in hard dense deposits of shale, which were formed from ancient sea basins millions of years ago. Shale is more than just natural gas: the Energy Information Agency (EIA) reports: “Shale plays known primarily for natural gas production – or where horizontal drilling initially targeted natural gas – are also seeing accelerating oil-focused drilling.” In the North Dakota shale gas area “total oil production has approximately tripled since 2005”. Shale gas is sought in geographic areas where there can be natural gas, and shale oil reserves, in shale rock.

The history tells a story

From 1860, Young’s Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company Limited produced oil from shale or coal by “treating bituminous coals to obtain paraffine therefrom”. This company was based in Boghead, near Bathgate in Scotland – the centre of the shale oil industry in the UK that continued until 1920, when the six surviving shale oil companies were purchased by the forerunner of BP. In 1924 the Grangemouth refinery was positioned there, largely because of the large local pool of skilled workers, trained in refining in the Scottish shale oil industry. A map of the shale oil pits and mines can be seen on www.scottishshale.co.uk, and they are spread across the lowlands from Dundee to East Kilbride, with Grangemouth in the middle. Production from 1880 to 1940 totalled around 2m tpa.

So you might be forgiven for thinking that Ineos might be sitting in the middle of an area where shale gas, equivalent to that being processed into ethane for them in the USA, might be right under their feet, associated with the already proven shale oil deposits. Ineos are very forward thinking.

  • The US Energy Department has approved exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Cameron LNG project of Sempra Energy. This approval of up to 1.7 billion cubic feet/day from the Louisiana terminal to countries with which the US does not have a free-trade agreement is the sixth such approval from the US since 2011. The total allowed LNG export level has reached a potential 8.5 billion cubic feet/day.
  • The Nexen Buzzard field, 60 miles northeast of Aberdeen, is the UK’s highest producing oilfield, sending 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day via the Forties pipeline to the Kinneal terminal for processing at Grangemouth. It began production in 2007. ABB has recently won a service contract to support the Integrated Control and Safety System (ICSS) on-board the Nexen Buzzard platform. The contract offers a number of new advanced services such as ServicePort (system and process optimisation) and ServicePro (asset management) and includes a maintenance management package with an associated KPI reporting tool. ABB will also host a full scale replica of Nexen’s offshore control network in their Aberdeen office, to perform configuration management and comprehensive testing of all software changes prior to installation on site.

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consulthttp://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

E+H invests $40m in US production

Endress+Hauser is set to serve its customers in North and South America with more US-made products. The Swiss specialist for measurement engineering and process automation has invested over 40 million dollars in expanding its plants for flow, level and pressure measurement engineering in Greenwood, Indiana.

Producing, assembling and calibrating at sites all over the world is one of Endress+Hauser’s central business strategies. “We want to move our production as close as possible to our customers,” said Klaus Endress, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group, during the inauguration ceremony for two new buildings in Greenwood, Indiana. “Being close allows us to respond quickly to the special needs and requirements of individual markets and customers.”

One important factor for this concept to work is globally uniform quality standards. “Here in the US we manufacture at the highest level,” stressed Hans-Peter Blaser, Managing Director of the flow engineering plant in Greenwood. An extension to the new building occupied only five years ago has created nearly 8,800 square meters of additional space. “This gives us the chance to increase capacity and to produce additional lines of instruments locally.” The systems for calibrating flowmeters, unique on the continent, have now grown to include the latest technology for gas calibration.

The plant for level and pressure engineering moves into a new building with over 9,800 square meters of floorspace directly next door. “After years of strong growth, this will make us fit for the future,” explained Managing Director John Schnake. The additional production areas will increase the scope of production and will allow more products to be delivered directly from the Greenwood plant. The vacated facilities space will allow for a new visitor and training center for the US sales organization.

American business with Swiss roots
Over the past years Endress+Hauser has strongly grown its market share in the United States. Todd Lucey, Managing Director of the US sales center, believes that one of the key drivers of their success is this expanded local manufacturing capability. “Over 80 percent of the measurement instruments we deliver in the USA today are now made in the USA. And we will continue to grow this share into the future,” he said, adding: “We are a proud American company – with strong Swiss roots.”

Endress+Hauser has had its own sales center in the United States since 1970; for over two decades, the company has also manufactured there – for the US market, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Flow, pressure and temperature measurement devices are produced in Greenwood, Indiana where the US sales center also is headquartered. Endress+Hauser manufactures sensors for liquid analysis in Anaheim, California while the subsidiary SpectraSensors in Houston, Texas, specializing in gas analysis, operates a plant in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Over 700 people work for Endress+Hauser in the United States – a tight network of representatives with another 350 sales engineers and service technicians supporting customers nationwide.

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consult http://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

60th Anniversary for Endress+Hauser

Endress + Hauser is this year celebrating its 60th year as a specialist in measurement and automation. The following is their press release recording this achievement for the family owned company, released just after welcoming their 10,000th employee.

A global network of companies, a range of high-quality products and solid family-based foundations: 60 years after its foundation, the measurement engineering specialist Endress+Hauser still continues to expand. This success is due to the continuity of a prudently run family-owned business whose first and foremost principle is to satisfy customers’ needs and requirements. ‘First serve, then earn’ was one of the mottoes of company founder Georg H Endress (1924-2008) – and it has lost none of its validity to this day!

Headquartered in Switzerland, the company is today a world leader in measurement and automation engineering, with products synonymous with precision and reliability. The company’s independence, fully owned by the founder’s family, has been laid down in a charter and is bound to be upheld in future. Firmly anchored are also the fundamental principles of the Endress+Hauser Group: a corporate culture resting on trust and a sense of responsibility is the solid groundwork for sustained growth and technological innovation. This ‘Spirit of Endress+Hauser’, filled with life by the company’s leadership, makes values such as modesty, loyalty, commitment and fairness the compass points for entrepreneurial actions.

From the device to the system
The last 60 years have left their mark on the Endress+Hauser Group – in the positive sense: the vendor of devices and instruments became a full-range supplier who supports its customer in operating their plants reliably, efficiently and environmentally compatible throughout their entire life cycle. “Our strength is that we are entirely driven by the market,” says CEO Klaus Endress who manages the company in the second generation. “We learn from our customers and strive to create sustained and outstanding benefits and value for them.”

Today, over 40 sales centers and over 70 representatives around the globe sell products, services and solutions delivered by Endress+Hauser and production sites in 12 countries are engaged in manufacture and development. Thanks to the global roots in various different regions and industries, the Endress+Hauser Group is well able to cope with cyclical fluctuations. The lean and highly networked organization guarantees flexibility and rapid response. 

Almost coinciding with the 60th anniversary, another remarkable landmark has been reached – the company welcomed its 10,000th employee. Around 500 new jobs have been created worldwide in the last 12 months alone. Continuity is held high in the family-owned business: in spite of the finance and public debt crisis in 2009, no employees were laid off – with the result that a new sales record was promptly accomplished in the following year after the economy had begun to recover.

Outlook
With sales totalling 1.5 billion euros, the Endress+Hauser Group marked up another record year in 2011 – in spite of a strong Swiss franc and a flagging economy in Europe. “Although the market is extremely volatile today, 2012 will be an excellent year for us,” says CEO Klaus Endress. “We trust in our strength and look ahead with confidence, but we must stay alert.” With well-targeted acquisitions in biotechnology, gas analysis and energy management, Endress+Hauser has recently rounded off its product portfolio. With an equity ratio of over 70 percent, the company is largely independent of lenders and is well equipped to meet the challenges of the future.

Endress+Hauser: 1953 to today

It all began rather small and inconspicuous: on 1 February 1953, Swiss engineer Georg H Endress and German banker Ludwig Hauser set up their company in a backyard in Lörrach, Germany. The first level measurement instrument was patented just two years later and these innovative measurement instruments soon enjoyed a good reputation in the industry. As early as 1957, sales exceeded one million Deutschmarks.

In the subsequent decades, the fields of operation were expanded to include flow, pressure, analysis and temperature, with new production sites built or bought for development and production. With a growing number of sales partners, Endress+Hauser gradually conquered first the European market and the Asian and the American markets soon followed. After Ludwig Hauser’s death, the Endress family became sole shareholders in 1975. At that time, the company had around 1,000 employees. 15 years later, the headcount reached 4,000 with sales in excess of 500 million Swiss francs.

At the dawn of the digital transmission and communication era around 1990, Endress+Hauser was actively involved in various fieldbus initiatives. In early 1995, the company founder placed the business in the hands of his second eldest son Klaus Endress who runs it to this day. Responding to the challenges of globalization, Klaus Endress developed the international network of production and sales, while at the same time steadily expanding – and still expanding – the service range (project planning, maintenance, calibration) and extensive automation solutions (monitoring, control, system integration).

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consult http://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com