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"Islanding System" for Saudi Berri Gas Plant

Saudi Aramco, after a two-year collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has successfully tested a groundbreaking new power generation system at Berri Gas Plant.

One of the two 150 MW Mitsubishi power-generation units helps provide consistent power to the Berri Gas Plant.

The new "islanding" system means that the plant can continue operating under its own power generation despite interruptions in electricity supply from the utility company. Islanding involves isolating the plant and its generators from the local power grid.

Previously, any disturbance from the local grid could cause a blackout, severely disrupting operations and causing revenue loss and making flaring necessary. The new system means plant generators can now withstand any disturbance to the power supply.

The success of the test owes much to the cooperation and teamwork between Berri Gas Plant, Power Systems and Consulting Services, plant representatives said.

Before the test, a dynamic simulation was set up in Japan allowing company engineers to prepare for any "what if'" scenarios and predict equipment behaviour.

"The nature of the engineering work was outstanding to the degree that the comparison of the actual test results with the simulation was almost identical. In fact, the actual results were even better," said Waleed Ghemlas, island test commander.

By partnering with Saudi Electrical Co., plant engineers ensured there was minimum disruption to operations during the tests.

"The achievement not only improves system availability, but it also positions both Saudi Aramco and MHI as leaders in the power generation industry at large for the application," said Mahmoud Sabban, a turbine engineer from Consulting Services.

Power systems lead representative Mulla Musaab said, "Another dimension of the test outcome is that it paved the road for a well-defined practice for islanding operations that can benefit local power industries. Overall, this will strengthen the grid reliability during various complex operational scenarios."