Emerson PlantWeb-based digital revamp for Motiva Norco

Digital architecture consolidates seven units of 225,000 bopd refinery to single control room.

Motiva, a refining and retail business jointly owned by Shell and Saudi Aramco has completed a major digital automation project at its Norco, Louisiana refinery. Motiva Norco, one of the largest refineries in the world, processes 225,000 bopd. Emerson Process Management was the prime automation contractor on the project which leveraged Emerson’s PlantWeb digital architecture. Project scope encompassed seven process units and consolidated five separate control rooms into a centralized, integrated control room.


Norco operations manager Jeff Funkhouser described the situation before the upgrade, ‘Modernization of instrumentation and controls had not kept pace with other improvements to key units at the refinery. Poor reliability and frequent shutdowns were undermining the refinery’s efforts to serve the market effectively. Our instrumentation was not up to the challenges of the 21st century.’ Emerson’s PlantWeb solution leverages Foundation Fieldbus communications to network Emerson’s DeltaV digital systems, Rosemount instruments, Micro Motion flowmeters and Fisher valves. Diagnostic information is collected by AMS Suite’s Intelligent Device Manager which delivers alarms and data to operations and maintenance personnel.


The re-instrumentation project has already yielded ‘solid results’ for the facility, including its best reliability utilization year on record, and increased output with no new units or major investment.

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