Improved efficiency, modified automatics and better control of
load shedding for a state of the art oil refinery
The predecessor of Slovnaft started out in 1895,
as “Apollo” - an oil refinery in Bratislava. Even then
the operation was at the cutting edge of technology
supplying the most-valuable distillates including aviation
oil and artificial ice. Now part of the MOL Group, Slovnaft
continues that tradition, focusing on the production of
low-sulphur diesel and polypropylene, with the help of
These days Slovnaft can take in six million tonnes of crude oil
every year, turning it into consumer grade petrol and diesel,
polyethylene, polypropylene, and numerous other products.
The refinery is a significant operation, covering more than five
square kilometres and employing more than two thousand
people. With all the latest technology installed it rates 11.5
on the Nelson Complexity Index; an industry measure of how
much value can be added to crude oil entering the facility,
making it one of the most complex refineries in Europe.
All that equipment requires a lot of electricity to keep
it running, and at Slovnaft that power comes from five
electrical generators, 70 transformer stations, and 12 110kV
transformers, all managed through ABB’s MicroSCADA Pro.
To keep a better eye on the infrastructure Slovnaft wanted
faster servers, more workstations, and improved interfacing,
all of which ABB was able to provide.
Investment in the plant has continued apace, with more
equipment constantly improving the quality of the products
produced, but placing increasing burden on the underlying
infrastructure. To manage the expanded operations Slovnaft
needed a wholesale upgrade to the monitoring and control
systems, including servers, automated systems, power
regulation, and workstations. The new system was expected to
manage the expanded infrastructure, with greater operational
visibility and distributed management. Improved efficiency,
modified automatics, and better control of load shedding all
came within the project requirements.
Following years of piecemeal upgrades Slovnaft has been left
with more than 70 substations scattered around the site, so
bringing them all under a single management system was a key
objective for the project.
Three new substations supported IEC 61850, but integrating
with the rest required the use of LonTalk. ABB is firmly
committed to IEC 61850, and has representatives on the
specification board, but interconnection with legacy equipment
can rarely be avoided which is why support for protocols such as
LON remains equally important.
For the substations supporting IEC 61850, Protection and
Control IED Manager PCM600 was used for IED configuration,
allowing Slovnaft to have one dedicated tool for configuration
and disturbance recording evaluation for all IEDs from ABB’s
Relion® product family. Additionally, Integrated Engineering Tool
IET600 was used for the IEC 61850 system configuration and
Integrated Testing Tool ITT600 for diagnosis and testing.
MicroSCADA Pro itself was upgraded to SYS600 9.4 FP1, with
monitor pro graphics, but the work also involved reconfiguring
the existing power lines and modification of systems including
Automatic Switch-off Unit, Isolated-network Automatic and
Substation Automatic Switching. This reconfiguration brings
greater management clarity, and flexibility, to the network.
For resilience a Hot Standby is maintained – a separate system
which constantly echoes the status of the primary and stands
ready to take over in the case of system failure.
With 20 workstations now distributed around the site, and
across different departments, everyone can contribute to
balancing the needs of the facility. More than 900 ABB’s
SPACOM and RE500 protection relays keep everything under
control and with remote management now extended to every
substation, the 12 110K transformers, and the five generators,
Slovnaft has greater visibility, and control, than ever before.
The introduction of a new interface to MicroSCADA Pro aligns
the application with the paradigms used in the latest version
of Microsoft Windows, providing an intuitive interface which
can be customised by individual users. Faster servers ensure
that data is presented promptly and completely, allowing
operators to make accurate judgements and, thanks to the
interconnections across the site, to quickly implement those
The large screens, and innovative interface design, was what
attracted Slovnaft to the latest version of MicroSCADA Pro.
20 workstations now display that high-quality information
to managing staff across the site, and the migration was
performed without any disruption to the operation of the
refinery, or its supporting infrastructure.
MicroSCADA Pro can now be used to remotely manage
the entire electrical network, and with support for the latest
industry standards it ensures that Slovnaft can maintain
the technical lead that has served it so well for more than a