Ichthys: HIMA engineers safeguard natural gas megaproject

HIMax and Planar4 controllers safeguard the state-of-the-art exploration and production plants of INPEX in the Ichthys gas field off the coast of Australia.

Modular mammoth project

Automation technology from HIMA ensures that everything runs smoothly before production starts for the "Ichthys" natural gas production megaproject of the Japanese energy company INPEX off the coast of Australia.

Based on a modular design, the HIMA solution includes the systems for emergency shutdown (ESD), fire & gas (F&G), as well as for high-integrity pressure protection (HIPPS). Moreover, the scope of supply also includes cybersecurity and network management for the relevant hardware. Functional networking with all relevant plant areas was also part of the solution. The ESD system, as well as the fire and gas system are based on HIMax safety controllers with SIL 3 classification, however the SIL4-conformant hardware platform Planar4 is used for the HIPPS system.

Global teamwork – the decisive success factor

Global coordination on the one hand, and local collaboration on the other were the key factors for successful implementation of the largest order in HIMA's history. Over several years, safety experts from HIMA have planned and prepared all the necessary steps to ensure successful production start and safe plant operation.

To fulfill the tight schedule, the global project team worked beyond national borders and cultural differences locally in Singapore with other participating contractors. Without the worldwide project management coordinated from Brühl, the interlocking process steps which took several years would not have been implemented successfully.

"Complex large projects such as Ichthys require the efficient cooperation of all partners and suppliers on a global scale. The HIMA safety solutions in accordance with SIL 3/SIL 4 and safety-related networking in combination with professional project management were fundamental for the safe and profitable operation of our systems."
Jerome Combes, INPEX ICSS Core Team Manager

The technical details

For the Ichthys megaproject, HIMA delivered a total of 430 control cabinets with safety technology, including the protective devices for the semi-submersible central processing facility (CPF) and for the ship that serves as the floating production, storage and offloading facility (FPSO).  The HIMax systems used are in conformance with the standards IEC 61508 and IEC 61511, and fulfill the SIL 3 requirements. Planar4, which is used for the High Integrity Pressure Protection System (HIPPS), is the only safety system worldwide that is permitted to be used in accordance with IEC 61508 up to SIL 4. The integrated diagnostic routines ensure fast error signaling and easy fault rectification – even without trained personnel. Remote diagnosis is possible in conjunction with the communication options. Moreover, HIMA executed the functional test of the complete integrated control and safety system on a total of more than 1200 control cabinets. The onshore and offshore facilities, as well as the pipeline are connected to a total of 25,000 safety-related input and output points. Secure networking was implemented using HIMA's own safeethernet protocol. The cybersecurity and network management also includes installation of the associated hardware, as well as components, such as smoke detectors for the living quarters of employees. Numerous workstations and servers with an additional recovery system are also part of the Ichthys order volume.

HIMA solution ensures high safety and availability

For large plants such as "Ichthys", safety and availability are the highest priority – people, environment, and plant must be effectively protected. At the INPEX plant, HIMax and Planar4 safety controllers enable uninterruptible system operation, which contributes to increased plant availability and productivity.

  • Maximum safety: TÜV-certified HIMax (SIL 3) and Planar4 systems (SIL 4) effectively protect employees and plants
  • Cybersecurity:networking via safeethernet and wired Planar4 system minimize the risk of cyber attacks
  • Seamless integration: For the INPEX process control system, hardware and software sub-functions were developed, integrated, tested, and validated beforehand
  • Efficient project management:A global team ensured punctual delivery in spite of the gigantic dimensions of the project
  • Everything from a single source: The global team planned, coordinated, and delivered the functional safety architecture (ESD, HIPPS, F&G) for the megaproject
  • Cost-efficiency: Modularized and standardized controllers offer cost-efficiency and high manufacturing quality, as well as comparably short delivery and installation times
2015年9月,位于韩国的Ichthys液化天然气项目的大型中央处理设备在建中。所有图片来:© INPEX

Background: About Ichthys

The Ichthys gas field is the most extensive discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia in 40 years. The Ichthys gas field is being developed by INPEX, the largest Japanese oil & gas exploration company. For transport and processing of the incredible resources, INPEX built several of the most modern offshore and onshore plants in the world as well as an 890 km pipeline that goes to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Darwin. The complete plant is scheduled to be operational in the third quarter of 2017. Then, a projected 8.9 million tons of LNG will be produced annually.

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