Valmet proves strong enough for Goliat

Jun 12, 2015

Making its way from the Hyundai yard in South Korea in early 2015 to its home in the Barents Sea, the giant Eni Norge owned Goliat floating, production, storage and off-loading (FPSO) plant is the first ever to equip all of its automated pneumatic valves with intelligent valve controllers. Valmet's range of stainless steel controllers, featuring plug-and-play functionality and an easy-to-use remote graphic interface, was chosen for the project.


Text: Lisa Kettman-Kervinen
Photo: Eni Norge

Named for its sheer size and power, Goliat is due to be fully installed and operational by the end of 2015 approximately 100 km northwest of Hammerfest, Norway in the Barents Sea. The colossal FPSO plant, owned 65% by Eni Norge and 35% by Statoil, will produce both oil and gas. It boasts a diameter of 107 meters and is equipped with the world’s latest technical solutions that enable it to operate reliably in the extreme Nordic cold climate and darkness during the harsh winters.

Goliat is one of the largest industrial projects ever and the first oil field to be developed in the Barents Sea. It is also the first FPSO plant to have chosen to equip all of its automated pneumatic valves with stainless steel valve controllers in order to enhance safety and minimize the operational and maintenance costs associated with its large number of valves.

Maintaining maximum control of the giant

Our special portfolio of stainless steel smart controllers was selected for the close to 900 pneumatic actuated control, on-off and emergency shutdown (ESD) valves in the Goliat plant. Now all the automated valves on the offshore platform will be under continuous online condition monitoring, enabling Eni Norge and Statoil as well as their maintenance partners to better monitor and report valve performance for the asset management purposes of the owners.

According to Oddvar Ims*, who is responsible for electronics, instrumentation, control and telecommunications for the Goliat project, the platform is well equipped with electronic nerve fibers in all of its production equipment and auxiliary systems. Approximately 200 devices, such as compressors and heat exchangers, feature model-based performance monitoring. Alerts with appropriate action proposals will be given whenever real performance deviates from the model’s expected performance. This gives Goliat the sheer power to beat all other offshore platforms when it comes to maintaining maximum control over the entire plant.

A smart move with speed and agility

To guarantee that everything works seamlessly, Eni Norge chose ABB to be the main supplier for the automation, instrumentation complete with all the valves, telecommunications and electronics. ABB, in turn, chose Neles to supply the smart valve controllers. For us this project represents our largest offshore delivery to date.

What made this project special is that ABB and Valmet partnered closely from the very early phases onwards. We listened very carefully to the highly technical requirements needed and reacted quickly with a solution that could deliver to the demanding specifications. Our agility was greatly appreciated by ABB as well as Eni Norge and Statoil.

“It was important for us that we truly understood the requirements. This allowed us to make the necessary modifications to our products so that they perfectly fit the ABB system,” says Juha Yli-Petäys, Valmet (former Neles). “For example, we made a new version of our ValvGuard™ VG9000 firmware for the ESD valves as well as designed a stainless steel version of SwitchGuard™ for the on-off valves. We made joint tests with ABB to prove to Eni Norge and Statoil that we had all the capabilities that they required. Throughout this process, we were able to demonstrate our speed and outstanding agile response to them.”

Predictive diagnostics help cut costs

Our ability to bring intelligence to any valve made us the ideal choice for the demanding offshore environment. The unrivalled third generation diagnostics and plug-and-play functionality of the stainless steel smart valve controllers convinced Eni Norge and Statoil that Valmet could meet their targets.

“Our superior third generation diagnostics is one of the biggest assets of our product portfolio. For operators, the easy-to-use graphic interface quickly shows them how a valve is functioning,” Juha states. “This enables our customers to better optimize their processes and effectively manage the maintenance work. Especially in an offshore environment, the costs of unscheduled maintenance can be incredibly high.”

We have the know-how, but even more importantly, we know how to add value with our offering to the offshore business.

Aiming for growth offshore

Moving strongly into the oil & gas, refining and petrochemicals market has been a strategic long-term objective. To support goals of growth, we have been focusing on developing our product portfolio to bring exactly the right characteristics of our intelligent valve controller offering to the growing marine and offshore markets. Goliat is a perfect example of how the stainless steel product range supports customer processes in rough operating conditions.

“Global oil and gas production is growing at a brisk pace, and customers are operating in more severe conditions, which place more demands on the components. Few competitors are able to provide such rugged and reliable components,” says Sami Nousiainen, Director, Smart Products. “We already have good coverage with our product portfolio for this market.”

“Due to our leading position in advanced valve technology, services are an important part of our offering,” Juha says. “We have experts close to the final location of Goliat who are specialized in oil and gas projects that can respond to any need that may arise.”

Goliat-sized success

Goliat will be able to effectively use the diagnostic information provided by the smart controllers and integrate this with its asset management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to optimally manage maintenance scheduling and the number of staff needed onboard. This results in significantly fewer working hours and less risk for the operators’ health and safety. Moreover, the system considerably lowers any negative impact on the surrounding marine environment.

With intelligent predictive diagnostics and maintenance capabilities, offshore as well as onshore project owners can decrease operational costs by reducing the number of valves needed overall. Maintenance costs are cut too as service visits can be better scheduled in advance and occur only as needed, which reduces servicing time and associated expenses.

Safety of the operations and the personnel is also paramount. Therefore, truly knowing the condition of the valves at any given time enables the operators and management to have a full picture of how to best mitigate risks. This is exactly what the stainless steel smart valve controllers from Neles bring to the Goliat plant.

*) Reference: Tar siste stikk på diagnostikk' ('Takes the last trick in diagnostic') in AUTOMATISERING | 07 2012 magazine

Text originally published in 2015, and slightly updated in April 2022, due to the company name change to Valmet.