(EnergyAsia, June 28 2011, Tuesday) — US engineering giant Honeywell said it has been selected by Iraq’s largest refining company as its main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor to upgrade the automation systems at its plant in the town of Baiji.

The US$9.6 million contract by North Refineries Company (NRC) calls for an upgrade of its existing control system to improve operational efficiencies, reliability and safety at the refinery.

Honeywell said it will replace the plant’s 30-year-old single loop instrument control system with its solutions that will fully automate the facility. The new automation investment will allow NRC to maximise productivity while offering full scalability to support future technology upgrades.

Honeywell said its technology will manage a wide range of processes, helping to optimise yield while reducing maintenance costs by up to 30%. The US firm will also provide technical training to NRC employees to “promote seamless migration” from the plant’s existing systems.

Abdulghafoor Abduljabbar, director general of North Refineries Company, said:

“The refinery is the largest of its kind in Iraq and is a vital part of our country’s energy industry. Our primary goal is to optimise production levels and our decision to invest in a state-of-the-art automation solution reflects that.

“From the start, we were aware that selecting the right technology partner would play an important role in this project’s success. Our decision to work with Honeywell was based on their track record and ability to meet and exceed our requirements.”

Norm Gilsdorf, President of Honeywell Process Solutions, said:

“As Iraq’s hydrocarbon industry grows there is a focus on improving efficiency and reducing downtime caused by the continued use of legacy equipment. By using our latest automation suite, the North Refinery will become more efficient, maximising yields and further contributing to Iraq’s economy.”

Honeywell opened a full-service office in Baghdad last October to supply technology solutions such as process automation equipment to Iraq’s oil and gas industry. The company plans to open several more offices in southern and northern Iraq over the next few years.