Global Processing

Foxboro Instrumentation Helps Major Russian Refiner Automate

February 26, 2008

Global demand for petroleum products is high and expected to grow steadily as power requirements of developed and developing countries increase. The market is highly volatile however, and success lies in the effectiveness with which suppliers of petroleum and its byproducts can respond to market dynamics. To gain advantage in this active market, petroleum suppliers throughout the world are increasingly automating production, business, and customer operations. But although this automation is extending throughout and beyond the enterprise, its value remains highly dependent on the quality and application of the field instruments that are vital to both monitor and control of production processes.

With reliable, accurate data on temperature, pressure, flow, and level, for example, refiners can not only boost their output, they can also benefit from better information on the performance of all production equipment. This enables them to optimize both the availability and utilization of their production assets.

Recognizing the importance of instrumentation to operational and business success, a Russian refinery operated by one of the world’s leading petroleum producers has selected the Foxboro Measurements and Instruments division of Invensys as its primary device technology supplier. The Russian company that operates this refinery controls one of the largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world, from which it provides more than two percent of the world’s total petroleum production.


As they evaluated instrumentation options, refinery process engineers were seeking to get the best price, the best technology, and the best performance guarantee they could find. After comparing alternatives, they concluded that Foxboro process instrumentation from Invensys met all criteria and specified instrumentation of the following types:

• Temperature and pressure transmitters, to monitor pressure and temperature at virtually every process point. The refiner selected Foxboro temperature and pressure transmitters for performance, application versatility, and dependability. Contributing to both performance and flexibility was availability of a wide variety of electronic modules, and mounting configurations, and of multi-range and multivariable instruments, that can accommodate absolute, gauge, differential pressure, along with temperature.
• Buoy-mounted level transmitters, to monitor the volume of tank and distillation columns. Foxboro level transmitters are well suited for petroleum process operations because they have been designed to provide reliable and accurate measurements in applications involving corrosive liquids, low and very high temperature liquids, low and medium viscosity, high static pressure and vacuum service processes, or settling solids.
• Flowmeters, including magnetic, vortex, and mass flowmeters, to measure the flow rate and transmit an electrical signal which correlates to movement of petroleum at various stages of the refining process. Foxboro flowmeters combine a flow tube, signal cable, and transmitter and provide best-in-class accuracy along with simplified start-up, all in a compact, efficient, and durable design.
• Positioners, to control valve operation throughout the line. The Foxboro line of positioners covers all control applications from traditional pneumatic control, 3-15 psig control through the latest 100% solid state sensing and control circuitry to all modern mainstream communications protocols.


The refinery has now implemented Foxboro instrumentation across its entire process line, from crude to finished product tank farms. This includes temperature and pressure measurement instrumentation at the crude distillation, catalytic cracking, saturated gas plant, hydrocracker, reformer, blending, vacuum, and coking operations. It also includes level measurement at the tank storage, distillation, and blending units, and measurement of flow from crude tank to finished tank. Foxboro instrumentation is also used on boilers, emissions control, and recovery systems.

The Foxboro implementation is now at just one refinery which contributes part of this company’s global output of more than 50 million tones of processed petroleum per year. Based on the success at this site, however, Foxboro instrumentation is now under consideration for other refineries operated by the same company.