The great Mediterranean gas project

2013-08-19 - ABB has supplied a uniquely integrative multisystem automation solution for the new Medgaz gas pipeline that connects North Africa’s largest gas producer with the gas transmission networks of Europe.

By ABB Communications

Panorama of the receiving terminal, Spain.


The Medgaz gas pipeline started delivering natural gas in March 2011 from the gas compressor station on the Algerian coast to the receiving terminal in Spain.

The 210 kilometer pipeline connects the gas fields of Algeria, the region’s largest gas producer, with the gas transmission networks of Spain and southwestern Europe. It delivers up to 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, and will in time be expanded with a second pipeline to double transmission capacity to 16 billion cubic meters a year.

Built at a cost of $1.2 billion, the pipeline is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the Mediterranean region in recent years. It was classed a TEN-E (trans-European energy networks) priority project by the European Union for the interconnection and interoperability of electricity and gas networks within Europe and neighboring regions.

The heart of the Medgaz pipeline is the compressor station and receiving terminal. That is where the gas is compressed from 45 to 200 bar and injected into the pipeline for transport on the seabed at a depth of up to 2,160 meters. When the gas arrives at the receiving station it is filtered, regulated and measured, ready for injection into the Spanish gas transmission network.

Normally, it requires three control systems and three separate control rooms to control the compressor station, receiving terminal and pipeline. But ABB’s uniquely integrative multisystem automation system enables the station and the terminal to be monitored and controlled by remote from one control room, with just a leakage detection system for the pipeline.

The ABB solution integrates the distributed control system, fire and gas system, and emergency shutdown system for both the compressor station and the receiving terminal, using the same Extended Automation System 800xA platform – thus eliminating replication and achieving significant cost savings.

System 800xA’s ‘power of integration’ capability enables users to seamlessly integrate all their automation and information systems using the same 800xA extended automation platform – from electrical integration and communications to safety, asset management and enterprise resource planning – and in an environment that is designed to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Medgaz is jointly owned by several Algerian and European energy companies: Sonatrach, Cepsa, Iberdrola, Endesa and GDF Suez.


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