Innovation from ABB Leads to Significant Increase in Maximum Gas Production

  • Upgraded control of electric frequency converters has prevented 126 shutdowns of export compressors since October 2019.
  • As a bonus, available power has significantly increased, and in conjunction with new control algorithms on the compressor side, this contributes to an increase in maximum gas exports from Kollsnes to Europe.
  • A digitalization pilot ensures data capture and documents the improvements.

The results speak for themselves. A substantial increase in production from Norway’s largest gas export facility yields significant value. New control algorithms for the electric frequency converters have significantly increased the maximum power that can be supplied to the export compressors. This enables an expansion of the maximum gas export from the facility.

“This comes at a very opportune time as Europe has a great need for more gas. ABB’s solutions for improving compressor operation have been a key factor in boosting production,” says Tor Ove Lussand, Head of ABB Energy Industries in Norway.

The positive results were achieved through years of collaboration between ABB, Equinor, and Gassco. Interdisciplinary expertise from various fields played a crucial role in this success. Back in 2012, there was identified potential to increase uptime for the ex-port compressors at Kollsnes. These compressors are driven by electric motors connected to the power grid via frequency converters. Network disturbances often led to compressor shutdowns to prevent mechanical damage. The downtime required to bring the compressors back into full operation resulted in production losses and reduced revenue.

Photo credit: Equinor
Photo credit: Equinor
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ABB developed a new control algorithm for the frequency converters, allowing them to withstand voltage disturbances on the electrical network. The journey from idea to full implementation at the facility was lengthy and involved several important development stages. Verification took place both in a compressor lab at NTNU and in practical operation.  

The solution has so far prevented 126 shutdowns of export compressors and two shutdowns of the entire facility. Measured in savings, this represents significant value. As an additional bonus, the new control algorithm increased the maximum available power for the compressors.

To fully utilize the increased efficiency, a new regulation solution was also developed on the compressor side. Together, these solutions significantly boosted the maximum gas export from Kollsnes to Europe. 

"It has been incredibly inspiring to follow the development from idea to implementation. Throughout the process, it has felt like we are a team moving in the same direction," says Arne Marius Ditlefsen, Technical Lead at ABB.

The digitalization pilot developed in the project allowed for assessing the potential and documenting the solution’s impact through data collection, organization, and accessibility. This included process data such as pressure, temperatures, and flow rates, as well as high-resolution electrical data. The ability to integrate this data has provided new insights and enhanced system understanding.

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