Best Order for Control, Safety and Fire & Gas Hot Cutover

Several weeks ago, we had a meeting with many of our global consultants, whom we often feature here on the blog. I had the opportunity to meet some new faces and will be sharing their stories in future posts.

Emerson’s Julian Gonzalez is one of the Solutions Consultants I met, and had a great story to share. He was with an oil & gas producer and was a project manager for large modernization projects, which included an onshore gas plant and several offshore production platforms. The producer he was working with was challenged with modernizing their process control systems, safety instrumented systems (SIS), and fire and gas system (FGS).

Even bigger, was that they wanted to modernize these systems while not losing any production—a hot cutover in industry parlance. This is like updating the electronics in your car while it’s cruising down the highway.

I was thrilled to learn that his upfront research included one of my blog posts from many years ago, More Thoughts on the Hot Cutover Process. That post referenced the thoughts of Emerson’s Aaron Crews on the importance of the upfront organization of information—locations of valves and their bypasses, potential workarounds where bypasses don’t exist, cutover order, etc.

One area Julian did not find information in his upfront research, was the best order to perform the hot cutover when you’re doing the control system, SIS, and FGS. Julian indicated they ended up starting with the control system, since it was critical to have the process operating in a stable manner, and the operators fully trained and comfortable operating with the modern control system.

The fire and gas system was next followed by the safety instrumented system. Given the nature of hazardous areas located in oil and gas production facilities, the bypasses had to be extremely well planned and executed by the most experienced project team members to move safety instrumented function (SIF) by SIF from the old safety instrumented system over to the new safety instrumented system.

Julian noted that he’d be co-presenting some of the innovations from the project at the Sep 30-Oct 4 Emerson Exchange conference in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. One of the presentations will be about retrofitting existing NEMA 12 field mounted cabinets to accommodate DeltaV components, CHARMs and DeltaV SIS Safety Logic Solvers (SLS) with a unique swing frame design pre-wired to the new marshaling. The design allows for a hot cutover and avoid a costly shutdown with lost production.

The project team had to address several challenges. A detailed site survey was required to identify space for retrofits. Special marshaling assemblies were required to match legacy DCS boards. Access was required for existing and new marshaling. Loop drawing mismatches needed to be resolved for every loop. Each cabinet had a unique design hence a unique solution. Special structure had to be developed to conduct FAT and ship the components to site. The swing frame design provided a path to efficiently switch over, loop by loop.

A second presentation with Emerson project manager Madhav Kasture will look at the project management aspects of this project. If modernization and hot cutover projects in your future, you’ll want to join us in Dallas and connect with Julian and Madhav on their experiences.

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