Centrica Storage Easington

Centrica and Vodafone to build gas plant of the future

Easington plant will become the first plant in the oil and gas sector to install a 5G-ready mobile private network

Energy giant Centrica and Vodafone are to build the gas plant of the future at their Easington facility by launching the first 5G ready mobile private network (MPN) for the oil and gas industry.

The MPN will help CSL digitalise much of its critical maintenance and engineering operations. This will allow the company to assess the risk and urgency of repairs in real time, streamline activities, reduce cost and increase environmental and worker safety by creating a fully connected digital ecosystem.

A mobile private network is a dedicated, secure mobile network for a specific site. Providing more reliable coverage than Wi-Fi, the low latency, high performance network will deliver ubiquitous secure and localised outdoor and indoor coverage for mission-critical monitoring, control and communications.

Improved worker and environmental safety and increased efficiency are key goals in CSL’s business roadmap. The advancements in network performance, availability, reliability and latency offered by an MPN mean that new overlay services can be implemented to address all of these priorities. 

The mobile private network, built by Vodafone Business using Ericsson equipment, will enable the overlay use cases to support a digital maintenance ecosystem for CSL. This means employees will be connected to digital applications across the entire site, increasing productivity while also helping CSL to reduce cost.

Additionally, the mobile private network will allow CSL to have real-time visibility of work conducted at the plant, offering clarity around the condition and status of the various elements of the facility around the clock.

This will ensure not just productivity but also safety, as connected workers will be alerted of potential gas emissions which will be rapidly identified and managed in line with industry guidelines.

Paul Stevens, Information System and Technology Director at Centrica Storage said

“The mobile private network we are building at our Easington terminal will help us address 1970s problems with a 21st Century solution, taking our business to the future from the moment it’s live. Safety is a critical measure of success at Centrica Storage and the solution we are putting in place in Easington will reduce risk for everyone on our site. By using this technology ahead of our peers, we will establish ourselves as leaders in the future of oil and gas processing.”

Dedicated solely for Centrica’s use, the MPN’s low latency, high speed and very stable connection, will enable devices and equipment throughout the Easington plant to record and transmit data.

Greg McKenna, CEO of Centrica Storage Limited added:

“The mobile private network will provide Centrica with a conduit through which we can connect a myriad of internet-enabled devices which now range from handheld personal devices to augmented reality headsets.  This will improve safety, verification, asset performance and remote monitoring which ultimately leads to a safer, more reliable and cost efficient plant.”

This real-time indoor and outdoor monitoring of the plant and its equipment will improve maintenance and safety. Workers will be alerted to any gas emissions, for example, or receive early warnings of any equipment on the point of failure.

Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business, said:

“Mobile private networks will revolutionise the way oil and gas plants are managed by increasing efficiency while also improving workers’ safety. Thanks to this powerful technology Centrica Storage can now start building the gas plant of the future and we are really excited to be with them on this journey”.

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