ABB wins contract for Cerilon’s first gas-to-liquids plant

By Keefe Borden09 March 2023

Canada’s Cerilon has hired ABB to provide front-end design services for automation, electrical and advanced digital technology for its first gas-to-liquids facility.

The $2.8 billion greenfield site in North Dakota, USA, will produce up to 24,000 barrels (3.8 million liters) per day of high-performance synthetic energy products including ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), naphtha and lubricant base oils from natural gas reserves.

The first phase of the build is scheduled to start operating in 2028. The site also aims to integrate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to collect CO2 emissions at the location for transport to underground storage reservoirs.

The project will use automation and digital twin technology, which provides a virtual replica of a physical process or facility to test scenarios and ensure the design is future-proof and fit for purpose.

“No other GTL facilities in the world have CCS, making us the least carbon intensive. We appreciated ABB’s visionary approach for this project. Their team understood the requirements and presented us with excellent automation and digitalization solutions,” said Cerilon CEO Nico Duursema. “ABB has pioneered power and automation technologies and holds market leadership in these areas. We look forward to collaborating with them and leveraging their competencies.”

ABB will develop the Automation Design Basis (ADB) methodology which will influence and guide the automation project throughout the system lifecycle execution.

Serving as the core strategy guidance, it includes reference frameworks, specifications and requirements, as well as engineering and maintenance activities, to ensure safe, reliable and smart operations at the GTL facility.

The design will also include the application of advanced digital solutions for performance optimization and operational integration, resulting in a future-proof plant design that can be replicated for additional new builds.

“It is a privilege to be selected as Cerilon’s automation partner to help create one of the most technologically advanced GTL facilities in the world while meeting the challenges of the energy transition head on,” said Brandon Spencer, president of ABB Energy Industries. “By incorporating CCS technology, this project will help accelerate global decarbonization, minimizing emissions to ensure future energy infrastructures are more sustainable.”

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