Wireless Level Enhances Safety for Natural Gas Company

 For industrial companies, safety is a constant challenge and often requires thinking outside standard operations to keep it a top priority. Recently, Seneca Resources, a natural gas exploration and production company, addressed a safety challenge it had during drilling activities when it needed to establish the level of drilling mud and floc-water. Because the mud was being transferred, several level checks were required throughout the day. Unfortunately, since Seneca’s cable level systems were unreliable, it needed a worker to climb to the top of the tank and take a manual level reading of the mud. Seneca’s EHS experts performed a random audit and expressed concern for the safety of the personnel. A better way was needed.

 The company could have achieved an immediate improvement had they been able to use a wired system, but the logistics of tank moves and rig-up/rig-down made a more mobile solution necessary. It also had to be self-powered. In addition, the viscous nature of the product dictated that the level measurement had to be non-contacting, since the material would have coated and fouled a guided wave radar system. Further complicating the issue, Seneca only had a single 2-inch process connection available.

 Working with the wireless experts at Emerson, Seneca settled on a wireless solution, featuring WirelessHART®, the self-organizing, self-healing mesh network. Through an Emerson 1410 WirelessHART Gateway, using a self-powered WirelessHART adapter, Seneca was able to employ the Rosemount 5408 non-contacting radar.

 This fully wireless solution solved Seneca’s challenge by integrating seamlessly with its Red Lion Graphite HMI, was self-powered, could be installed in a horizontal or vertical tank position, and was robust and reliable. Due to the nature of WirelessHART, the mesh network only needed to be configured upon initial commissioning. This eliminated the need for setup/teardown crews to handle the tank monitoring. In addition, a huge number of installation steps were eliminated.

 Seneca Resources achieved notable results from this solution:

  • Improved safety and reliability in collection of drilling mud and floc-water tank levels
  • Coupled with the Red Lion, Seneca can pull this data directly into SCADA and generate reports to ensure proper invoicing
  • Drilling rig personnel, engineers, and management have access to real-time data and local/remote alarming
  • Integrates data directly into PASON systems and only pay for one wired device
  • Establishes wireless infrastructure for other “like” issues