PlantWeb to enable digital automation of North West facility

Oil sands ‘upgrading’ facility to deploy Emerson’s ‘intelligent’ digital control system.

North West Upgrading (NWU), has awarded Emerson Process Management a contract to digitally automate an oil sands bitumen upgrader to be constructed 28 miles northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. The $2.6 billion facility will have a 231,000 bopd capacity when complete in 2015.


The upgrader will transform bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands into light, low sulfur products suitable for use by refineries to produce gasoline. Emerson’s PlantWeb digital architecture will form the backbone of the facility’s ‘intelligent digital’ technology control systems.


NWU president Robert Pearce said, ‘Finding ways to reduce the high cost of both construction and oil sands processing is a key objective of our project planners. By standardizing on Emerson’s PlantWeb technology, we expect to achieve a consistent and durable process. This technology will be an important factor in reducing costs while supporting plant reliability and productivity.’ Emerson will also supply engineering and project management services throughout construction, commissioning of automation systems and ongoing service support.

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