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18 February 2015

The Client:

Gasco Energy Limited is responsible for importation, storage and bottling of Liquified Petroleum Gas in Malta. The company is a joint venture between Multigas Limited and Liquigas SpA of Italy.

The Gasco Consortium was chosen as the preferred bidder as a result of a competitive tender, issued by the Privatisation Unit within the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment in 2008. Part of the obligations set out in the terms and conditions required Gasco to build and operate a new state of the art and fully certified LPG bottling and storage facility at Benghajsa with an investment of over Euro 25 million.  The new storage and bottling plant had to be fully compliant with the EU stringent criteria.

ESI were brought on board to design and deliver an integrated and fully automated Process Control and Safety System (Fire & Gas Detection and Emergency Shutdown Systems) for the new Gasco plant. This is one of the few Liquigas plants (in Europe) that is fully automated.


The Solution

Due to established partnerships with Siemens A&D and Dräger, global leaders for providing Industrial Automation and Safety systems, Gasco were offered a state of the art solution based on internationally renowned and trusted brands. ESI brought the technical expertise to the table whereby they were able to build on these products to develop a bespoke and flexible solution for this LPG bottling application that satisfied Gasco’s particular needs.


The SCADA system implemented at Gasco is a bespoke solution based on a Siemens Automation system, designed specifically to monitor and control the core components of the gas plant, including the LPG tanks, plant equipment, electrical switchgear, administration facilities, firefighting systems and weigh bridges. The system includes over 183 different combinations and over 500 input/output points which integrates with a Dräger Fire & Gas detection system over a high level communication link.

This Fire & Gas detection system is based on a Dräger REGARD panel with connections to over 50 field devices including UV/IR flame detectors, LPG gas detectors, manual call points, sounders and beacons.

Due to Gasco’s location in a quarry, their safety requirements were such that in the case of an emergency the plant would be immediately evacuated and the system implemented would take over to shut down and make it safe. The client therefore required a solution that was fully automated and integrated so that in the case of an emergency, the said solution would raise the alarms and trigger off all necessary processes to render the plant idle and safe without any human intervention.

The specifications also required that the solution would communicate directly with the LNG carriers. Access to vessels is via a quay at a third party provider. The gas is then pumped 3km from the vessels to the Gasco plant. This posed an additional security risk and the requirements were such that the solution needed to communicate directly with the vessel to stop the pumps should a threat be detected. The systems being implemented did not cater for this out of the box, however ESI were able to find a way around it that catered for this safety requirement.


Most of the installations were carried out within ATEX classified areas.

The Benefits

The solution provides Gasco with a fully automated and integrated system managed through a single, customisable and user-friendly interface.  The Graphical Interface is highly intuitive allowing the systems operator to easily handle the day to day procedures. No specific technical skills are required to operate the user interface making it easy to train new operators, or those with basic computer skills.

The single alarm handling and management allows the systems to communicate and trigger off all necessary processes outlined to secure any threat detected and shut down the plant without the need of any human intervention.

Both systems may be monitored and controlled remotely over the Internet, crucial in emergencies.

ESI’s technical expertise and in-house engineering and development capabilities allowed them to develop a bespoke and tailored solution that catered for their particular needs and that would otherwise have not been available out of the box.

“ESI were also crucial in guiding us through the scoping process and identifying the operational rationale that is critical for a system such as ours. Although we knew what we wanted, the granular details are difficult to lay-out and ESI were instrumental in helping us define our requirements and build the operational matrix.” said, Paul Agius Delicata – CEO.

To date we have had a very positive experience with ESI both in terms of the solutions and the service they provide. We have learnt a lot from them. They have the technical tools, skolls and experience. They are approachable, professional and hands-on. ‘

Industrial & Process Automation
Fire & Gas Detection and Safety Systems
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