It’s not every day you get to write about building a new refinery in North America. In fact, not every year or even every decade. But the North West Redwater Partnership is building a bitumen (not crude) refinery in Canada to take advantage of the tar sands there.

I’ve often talked with Cliff Pedersen, who is Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the North West Redwater Partnership. He has been an integral part of the Open O&M interoperability work that I’ve written about at Automation World and on my personal blog.

This is significant in many ways. First, just building a new refinery is amazing. And it can take advantage of technological advances developed over the past 20 years. Then, it should be able to incorporate the interoperability advances that Pedersen, Alan Johnston and others have been developing for several years. The proof will be at the handover from the EPC to the owner/operator with what we hope will be current and usable information about the equipment and processes in the plant.

We’ll keep our eye on the project and see how it goes. And congratulations to the far-sighted management that sees possibilities and does something about them.

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