Borouge: World’s largest polyolefin plant is HIMA-protected

HIMax safety controller provides critical reactor shutdown control to Borouge-3 LDPE plant in Abu Dhabi while meeting demanding cycle time and data logging speed requirements.


Each millisecond counts

Borouge’s site in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is the world’s largest integrated polyolefin complex producing polyethylene, polypropylene and low density polyethylene (LDPE). Seeking to increase capacity the company embarked on adding the Borouge-3 LDPE plant to the existing facility. Following an in depth review of suppliers, Borouge and Honeywell signed an MOU for providing the latest state-of-the art distributed control (DCS) and emergency shut down (ESD) systems for the expansion. HIMA, a subcontractor to Honeywell, is supplying the reactor shutdown system (RSD) for the LDPE Unit.

Within the petrochemical industry safety is the number one priority, especially when it comes to reactor shutdown in an explosion hazard environment. What’s more the profitability of the process plant is based around having manufacturing always available with very little actual downtime. With this in mind both of these factors were key specification requirements for Borouge during the supplier selection phase.

To meet these requirements, HIMA recommended the implementation of its SIL 3 certified HIMax safety controller. When it comes to the critical element of safety, HIMax offers extremely fast response. Essentially the key challenge was to achieve application cycle time which is half the process safety time. The maximum process safety time allowed for a RSD system is less than 100 ms considering more than 500 I/Os. HIMax was more than capable of delivering this thus giving Borouge the confidence that should the reactor have a safety issue shutdown is assured.


Fast data logging

Any expansion involves a huge capital investment. It is therefore imperative that the plant needs to maintain its operational efficiency to guarantee a return on investment (ROI). ). Having the plant always available requires operators to have full visibility of vital operations. Delivering a sample rate of less than 100 ms for 256 analogue points, HIMax delivers extremely fast data logging (FDL) including trend data availability in this time critical environment. With this high degree of overall system diagnostics, operatives can easily localise errors and adapt a proactive response to any changes in the manufacturing environment.

Should an issue be indicated then plant personnel are able to react quickly and take corrective action. This ensures that plant uptime is maintained thus delivering that vital ROI. Furthermore, HIMA offered rapid seamless DCS integration that included installation, commissioning and testing.


Technical details

The HIMax system configuration for this project consists of a triple redundant processor, redundant communication modules and redundant I/O modules installed in RSD system cabinets located in the safety instrumented system (SIS). One remote IO rack is installed in the central control building with two communication modules as well as IO modules required for the mimic panel console.

By combining high quality and extreme reliability which is proven in the field, HIMax delivers a fit and forget solution for the Borouge-3 plant. Essentially a flexible SIL 3 platform, its capabilities matched this project perfectly as the system was engineered to provide uninterrupted system operation in conjunction with rapid safety shut down. Due to the fact that HIMax is one of the fastest safety PLCs in the world today, HIMA was able to offer a unique solution which combines RSD and fast data logging (FDL) in a single system (PES).

  • Maximum safety thanks to reliable and fast reactor shutdown
  • Fast data logging (FDL) ensures safety in time-critical environment
  • Increased plant availability due to diagnostic data
  • Flexibility during system modifications and extensions
  • Complete solution comprising hardware, software and engineering services
HIMA ensures safety in Borouge-3 LDPE plant in Abu Dhabi by providing a state-of-the-art RSD system. All photos: © Borouge
HIMax safety PLC increases plant availability by offering a high degree of overall system diagnostics and fast error localisation.

Background: About Borouge

Borouge is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), one of the world’s major oil and gas companies, and Austria based Borealis, a leading provider of chemical and innovative plastics solutions. Borouge-3 is the latest expansion of their polyolefin plant in Abu Dhabi and manufactures ethylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), alongside associated butane, utilities and offsite facilities. The plant is producing about 4.5 tonnes of polyolefin per year.

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