The history of Servelec’s Remote Operation solution, termed by Centrica as ‘Simplification’ goes back to 2006 when a helicopter transporting seven support workers to one of Centrica’s gas platforms crashed, tragically killing all those on board. This event was the trigger for asking the question, ‘how can we improve safety and minimise manned interventions?’

During the months that followed, a blueprint was developed by Servelec Controls and Centrica for the retrospective upgrade of manned platforms, or normally unmanned installations (NUI), that require regular intervention. The aim was to enable these assets to become almost entirely unmanned and remotely controlled from an onshore control room in real-time, including black start situations.

At the end of 2012, Servelec Controls began formally working on a Remote Operations solution for Centrica, which would ultimately support the simplification of their first platform, DP6. Given the complexities and ever changing ideals, the concept and design phase took place over several years as it was absolutely essential to ensure that the end solution was as close to perfect as possible. In 2016, the project to engineer the Remote Operations solution for DP6 began with ambitious timescales for completion in early 2018.


Drivers for simplification

In addition to the desire of ensuring the safety of their offshore workers, OPEX costs were forcing Centrica to consider early decommissioning of their assets in the Eastern Irish Sea. Investigations proved that by investing in Simplification of their assets, which included the removal of redundant topside plant and accommodation, maintenance costs would be significantly reduced. By Investing in a state of the art integrated control and safety system (ICSS) and electrical control system, which could be operated from an onshore control room, a 60% reduction in manned interventions via helicopter could be achieved resulting in a dramatic improvement in safety, reduction in OPEX and enhancements to ‘end of life’ forecasts for the ageing brownfield assets.


Benefits of Remote Operations

Following completion of the DP6 project, Centrica expect to achieve:

  • A 60% reduction in manned helicopter intervention.
  • Delayed asset end of life by 15 years.
  • Return on £65m investment inside of 2 years due to remote operation capability.
  • Demonstrable improvement in safety of support staff by way of minimised intervention.
  • Significant reduction in OPEX.
  • Reduced risk profile and therefore reduced insurance costs.
  • State of the art ICSS and instrument technologies ensuring lifetime supportability.


The Servelec Controls Remote Operations solution

Centrica and Servelec Controls have been collaborating on a Remote Operations solution that has been ten years in development. During this time, Servelec Controls has investigated and tested diverse, emerging and unreleased technologies to ensure that the Simplification solution would support the platform until end of life. Servelec Controls was first asked to conduct a FEED study and produce a report, which would ultimately set the benchmark for the remote control conversion of several NUIs.

The ICSS upgrade solution provided by Servelec Controls is based on Emerson DeltaV technology to complement Centrica’s legacy Rosemount DCS equipment that would allow for a more proven upgrade path.

For this solution DeltaV offers all of the expandability required for remotely operating an offshore platform including:

  • Alarm management
  • Asset monitoring
  • Fire and gas detection and control
  • Emergency shutdown
  • Electrical system monitoring and remote control

All of the above is remotely operable from the onshore control room, including the ability to come back online from a black-start situation.

Servelec’s flexible and dynamic approach ensured an ambitious project timeline was achieved from order placement to completed FAT in six months.

Servelec Controls has demonstrable success working on productive offshore assets and is regarded as an industry expert in complex brownfield project execution – minimising downtime for our clients.

As an independent integrator, Servelec Controls has a wide-ranging automation platform knowledge and is competent and certified to install and support most of the world’s leading OEM’s portfolio of products including ABB, Emerson, GE, Invensys/Schneider, Rockwell and Siemens. Servelec Controls was able to leverage this multi-platform knowledge to ensure a smooth integration of legacy control and safety equipment into new systems.

Find out more about Servelec Controls’ Remote Operations solution.

Case Study : Simplification of Centrica’s DP6 offshore gas platform

Download the Centrica DP6 case study here

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