We are passionate about process control, and strongly believe in the benefits the right technology can deliver to hydrocarbon production and processing plants.

Greenfern Dynamics has extensive experience implementing value-adding process control solutions in hydrocarbon production and processing facilities, with target sectors including:

All aspects of LNG production:

gathering system optimisation, through liquefaction optimisation, refrigerant control, liquids fractionation, utilities optimisation to BOG management

  • Ammonia
  • Acid
  • Ethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Production and gathering, onshore and offshore
  • Gas processing and Oil separation
  • Oil refining facilities

We take pride in our ability to apply the concepts from this depth of experience to new and unusual control and optimisation challenges.

Hydrocarbon Processing Plant Characteristics

Many of our team have been working in hydrocarbon processing plants for a high percentage of their career. We are acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities in this industry. Process and environmental safety is an aspect of operation we take very seriously. We understand that plants have many distinct challenges, including long (and sometimes variable) dynamics, limitations with instrumentation, and complex (often non-linear) interactions.

These plants present challenging process control problems, and often significant operational benefits from the application of advanced control. Operational benefits can include direct financial benefit by controlling a product quality closer to a spec and increasing yield, or raising throughput, through to automating repetitive tasks which unloads site personnel to focus on higher value activities.

Greenfern Dynamics Solutions

Our control solutions have provided measurable and compelling paybacks to hydrocarbon processing clients. We have helped clients realise value through increased production, reduced energy and operating closer to product specifications. We have also provided other benefits including improving process operability and safety, operator situational awareness and site environmental compliance.

Our solutions have typically demonstrated improvements when audited of 2 to 5% in relevant throughput and yield KPIs with energy efficiency benefits often double that again.

Choice of Control Technique

We have implemented solutions ranging from regulatory control, through advanced regulatory control (ARC) schemes to advanced process control (APC) techniques such as Model Predictive Control (MPC). Our choice of solution depends on both the characteristics of the process and the client’s level of familiarity with advanced control.

APCs are now a standard method of control in most large hydrocarbon processing facilities, due to the recognised benefits they can bring. These APCs can be applied to process units with multivariable dynamics, through to control and optimisation of entire process areas. We are experts in the whole range of techniques required to implement and maintain successful multivariable controllers.

We have used APCs to maximise process throughput, reduce variability, and close optimisation gaps. APCs can be used to assist operators to manage competing process objectives, often when the number of controlled variables is much greater than the number of process adjustments (the ability to manage “non-square” processes is one of the strengths of MPC technology).

We also have experience and capability to provide real time optimisation of larger and more complex optimisation problems, potentially managing the whole facility. The software we have used is inherently capable of managing non-linear process characteristics which can result in unconstrained optima and mixed integer problems. This software is incredibly flexible, and does not require all inputs to be controlled by APCs. Examples of these non-linear optimisation projects include a whole site optimiser, and a steam header application where all manipulated variables are binary or integer variables.

Hydrocarbon Processing Expertise

  • Oil and Gas Production (Onshore and Offshore Platforms/FPSOs)
  • Onshore Gas Gathering systems (including Coal Seam Methane fields)
  • Gas plant operation (both JT/Expander and refrig separation)
  • Crude oil and Condensate stabilisation
  • LNG Liquefaction (mixed and pure refrigerant, 4 process designs)
  • Distillation (multidraw, atmospheric, vacuum, LPG, extractive, catalytic, azeotropic, aldehyde/ketone/alcohol)
  • Product blending
  • Hydrotreating
  • Reforming / Isomerisation
  • Fluidised Catalytic Cracking (FCC)
  • Hydrocracking / Creosote Cracking
  • Coking
  • Liquid / liquid and solvent extraction
  • Solvent and catalytic Dewaxing
  • Boilers and utilities
  • Furnace operation and optimisation
  • Reactor operation (catalytic polymerisation, ethylene, polypropylene, bitumen, gas to liquids)
  • Methane reforming
  • Vinyl Chloride Monomer Pyrolysis
  • Gas processing (Dehydration and Sweetening – Benfields and Amine processes)
  • Propylene purification and polypropylene production
  • Ethane cracking and Ethylene production
  • Ammonia and Acid Production
  • Laboratory instruments

We also have expertise in alarm management, operator graphic design for situational awareness, traditional regulatory control and project management of process control projects.