Petrobras launches five-year refinery upgrade program

Brazilian refinery upgrades center on sophisticated automation improvements for process and energy control. Included is the ABB System 800xA platform. Link to more.


Sao Paulo, BrazilPetrobras , the Brazilian oil producer, is undertaking a five-year large scale automation upgrade at its refinery fleet to boost capacity and reduce internal energy consumption. The ambitious project covers 10 locations, that combined account 80% of the company’s refining capacity. ABB will be serving as the main automation supplier, providing process automation and power management systems for deployment over the refinery fleet.

The ambitious scope of the project aims to increase production by up to 40% from current levels of 1.6 million bpd, particularly for cleaner forms of energy, including low-sulfur fuels and biofuels. In addition to building new units for distillation, hydrotreatment, cooking, desulfurization and other processes, Petrobras is improving internal electrical power distribution by constructing 50 new substations and modernizing about 40 others to the new IEC 61850 global standard for interoperable substation automation devices.

The new control systems will be built on a System 800xA platform, and will integrate process control, electrical distribution, and safety systems (see photo) into one comprehensive architecture. This enables refinery operators to monitor and control the systems from a single interface and run power management applications and intelligent IEC 61850 substations in the process automation system.

Petrobras expects significant cost savings from this integration, including optimization of all automation and electrical assets, simplified engineering, streamlined maintenance, improved energy efficiency, and lower initial investment costs compared to running non-integrated systems.

One aspect of the installation that ABB has demonstrated elsewhere is its high-speed load shedding functions. These ensure that a fault in the site’s electrical system do not impact production or escalate into a plant shutdown. System 800xA supports IEC 61850, the standard for power distribution and substation automation. It includes a recently released IEC 61850 interface that fully integrates switchgear and protection intelligent electrical devices (IED) for the power distribution side of an industrial plant.

Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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