The StocExpo conferences regularly cover technical issues, highlighting new developments and explaining how new ideas can help operators. The Asia and Middle East events were no exception, with speakers from around the world presenting their ideas and experiences with a variety of issues
CONFERENCE REPORT The StocExpo conferences regularly cover technical issues, highlighting new developments and explaining how new ideas can help operators. The Asia and Middle East events were no exception, with speakers from around the world presenting their ideas and experiences with a variety of issues
Speakers at StocExpo Asia in Singapore this past October covered a number of technical areas but with an established and highly professional terminalling sector already in place they tended towards the more sophisticated end of the business. In particular, several speakers gave presentations on the use of IT and management systems to improve efficiency and profitability.
Vatsan Menon, vice-president of marketing and sales for DNR Process Solutions, spoke about integrated enterprise solutions for terminals and began by saying, "When operating a terminal you have to take charge of assets right down to the people cleaning the terminal." In order to stay competitive and viable, petroleum terminal operators need to harness knowledge and synchronise activities across suppliers, logistic providers and customers. "He who is fast, accurate and reliable has a better chance over his competitors," Vatsan said. Terminal owners need to focus on their core business while at the same time having the assurance that perturbations to their business are kept at bay. "Close partnership with suppliers becomes equally important as their customers are to their business," commented Vatsan.
Terminal automation can either be a dream or a nightmare and Tony Tielen from Honeywell Enraf took it upon himself to take delegates through this tricky business. "Process instrumentation is widely available, field-proven and has been in use for a number of years now" said Tony. However, each terminal is different. "Systems integration has become a main issue: there are numerous subsystems, databases and reporting facilities that result in distributed information." This can result in high costs to integrate all the data flows, which can be avoided. He said that application know-how is the single most important ingredient for successful terminal automation projects, since systems have to be able to recognise such aspects as floating roof monitoring and roof immersion compensation. He concluded with a small equation: "technology + domain knowledge + service = terminal automation as it should be".
Warren Galbraith from Endress + Hauser (E+H) spoke about his line of expertise, tank gauging. He explained that safety on tank farms has been highlighted recently as a result of the Buncefield explosion in England. "Safety is the protection both of personnel and the environment but also of course the 'assets' themselves," he explained. The inquiry into the Buncefield incident has stressed the need for each tank to be given a maximum operational level and both high level and high-high level alarms. This places new demands on tank gauging accuracy and reliability. Operators want accuracy with minimal maintenance; they want reliable performance with changing products; flexibility of installation; and overspill protection has to act as an independent system.
Warren recommended that operators should consider verified high level alarms to eliminate spurious alarms. Systems should always be able to transmit the verified values, he said, and operators should consider remote maintenance or observation.
Martin Keulemans, account manager for Oilinmotion, presented a paper on terminal management. He covered the current challenges facing terminal managers and offered IT solutions that can provide essential management information. A terminal manager wants safe operations, a grip on product flows and stocks, an overview of all relevant processes, efficient operations and compliance. Effective control can be achieved if all operational and decision-making data are readily available, if structured work processes are applied, if decisions are made and documented at the appropriate level, and data is entered only once and controlled during inputting. "Proven IT systems provide essential management information through portal technology," he said.
Martin recommended that an IT system should include a 'dashboard' to give the operator an overview of what is happening throughout the terminal. He also stressed that investment in hardware – gauging, pumps, valves and so on – can be wasted if it is not matched by investment in management information systems. "Make it a strategic business improvement project," he recommended. "Plan the project and split it into small value-adding parts. Start with the portal – deliver information for one or two areas and learn and expand from there. The portal will immediately show benefit and create more demand. Add more applications for more business processes over time, for more users."
A fork to remember
Paul John Hollingsworth, CEO of Lightning Protection International (PTI), spoke about the effects lightning can have on storage terminals and noted that lightning damage accounts for 20 per cent of insurance claims from terminals in North America. LPI has developed a four-step system to protect storage tanks against lightning strikes, which begins with the definition of the area to be protected. A bonded earthing system is designed for that area and power lines are also protected. Finally, the system also protects signal, data and communication lines.
While lightning damage is very prevalent in the US, where there is a lot of storage capacity in areas prone to electric storms, most lightning occurs in the tropics – for instance, Indonesia has 160 days of storm weather a year on average.
The conference chair and director of business management in HMT, Andrew East, spoke about tank emission regulations and the landing of floating roofs, contrasting US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Chapter 19 of the American Petroleum Institute's (API) Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards.
Petra Meekers, sustainability manager for BioX Group in Asia, presented a paper at StocExpo Asia in Singapore this past October outlining the essential elements for end-to-end custody options in the supply chain for sustainable biomass. "The markets for biomass for energy are developing rapidly and becoming more international," she said, but there is growing pressure to ensure that this development is not carried out at the expense of the environment. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) issues certificates to companies who can show that they are acting responsibly and those found to be burning forests to free up land for palm plantations will not be certificated. This is a particular concern in Malaysia and Indonesia, but it is also a feature in the soybean oil sector in Argentina. "Over-exploitation should be avoided and sustainability criteria implemented," she said.
No more corrosion
Vice-president of sales for Mascoat Products, Michael Stelmach, explained the difference between conventional and ceramic insulation coatings (CICs). CICs are designed for applications that usually have multiple issues, i.e. heat retention or PP applications. Sometimes they can be used in combination with conventional insulation materials when there are, for instance, problems with access.
The long-term effects of CICs greatly outweigh conventional insulation, Michael said. CICs protect metal against corrosion, are easy to repair or touch up, do not need regular maintenance, experience virtually no wear, are easily inspected and offer constant substrate protection as opposed to conventional insulation. "CICs are comprised of microscopic glass and ceramic particles encased in a high grade acrylic binder," Michael said. "They are water-based and therefore have no harmful solvents." He gave an example of a tank storage facility where the operator applied CICs to the tank top. Previously the tanks were imploding due to pressure differentials while cleaning, but the new coating controlled the radiant heat transfer, so preventing further damage.
CEO and commercial director of CarboVac Environmental, Ties Mulder, gave a very technical presentation on carbon absorption vapour recovery technologies. "The recovery process consists of three parts," he explained. The first is the absorption of hydrocarbons on activated carbon; the second is the regeneration of the carbon by means of vacuum; this is followed by the re-absorption of the hydrocarbons in a liquid product. From an environmental point of view, recovery is better than thermal oxidation, since "combustion generates secondary emissions such as NOx, COx and SOx".
During the unloading of a tank, inert gas or exhaust vapour is injected into the void space to avoid the build-up of an explosive atmosphere. The overall vapour concentration after unloading is relatively low. Ties went through the system of loading and unloading of a tank through a vapour recovery unit (VRU) and finished by explaining the effects of emissions on the environment.
A month after the Singapore conference StocExpo hosted a Middle East event in Bahrain. This particular event included many technical presentations with fewer focusing on regional issues. Tony Quinn, principal advisor of bulk liquid storage for Challenger Financial Services Ltd, was the first to bring delegates to the technical side of things by talking about the tank terminal market and development in 2007. "The UK has four times as many storage facilities than China," he stated, sending a flutter of surprise around the attendees. With oil storage, terminals tend to have large tanks and a high turnover; this is due to it having a low rate per tonne, deepwater access, pipeline facilities and generally low hazard characteristics. With chemical storage, the tanks are smaller, there is low throughput reflecting the high rate per tonne, and products are complex to handle with high flammability or corrosive properties.
"The Middle East produces the most oil and the US consumes the most oil," said Tony adding that major players in the terminal business are not growing that quickly, "Therefore they are being cautious and consolidating." He said that financial buyers are driving independent owners out of the market but an end of the contango in the products market will change the future earnings of some facilities and devalue the market. "What will happen to investments in storage?" Tony asked, answering "Only time will tell."
Next to the stand was Bapco's superintendent of major projects, shutdown and major maintenance department and the maintenance division, Aziz Bucheery. He gave a rather animated talk about the success factors and measures in Bapco's Tank Repair Programmes (TRP). He began with mentioning a major tank fire in November 1972. This happened because of general shell corrosion and grooving and, as a result, the company introduced a crash programme of On Stream Gauging (OSG), revealing the bad condition of 76 tanks. In January the next year TRP was established. Through this Bapco introduced best practices such as "cleaning using super sucker vacuum tankers, using high quality coating systems, improving inspection techniques" and other such methods. To clean and desludge using a super sucker vacuum tanker time is reduced by 50 per cent, cost is reduced by 33 per cent and it minimises tank entry, not to mention the environmental advantage of reducing solid waste.
Aziz also mentioned aluminium geodesic dome roofs, the life expectancy of which is 30-plus years compared to steel cone roofs, which last between 10 and 12 years. They are also relatively maintenance-free and are corrosion resistant. After many more examples he finished by stating that "The approximate direct cost savings resulting from best practices are $700,000 per annum."
"The largest European disaster site since World War II," is how the former oil depot at Buncefield, north of London, has been described. And in the aftermath of the investigation into the explosion, lessons learned from that catastrophe are constantly at the forefront of safety presentations. Robert Brown, director of business development for ICS Triplex Silvertech, took the opportunity to look at the impact of the incident on the European fuel distribution sector and on the lives of those employed by or living close to the depot itself.
Buncefield was a major strategic fuel terminal with around 400 tanker movements per day. On Sunday December 11, 2005 the site held more than 35 million litres of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. On Saturday 10 at around 7pm tank 912 started receiving unleaded motor fuel by pipeline at a rate of some 550 m?/hour. At 3am on the Sunday the level gauge on the receiving tank was stuck at two-thirds full and filling continued. At 5.20am the tank began to overflow and the protection system failed. At 6.01am a number of explosions occurred and fire raged through more than 20 large fuel storage tanks, burning for three days and injuring 43 people in the process. "The environmental, social and economic impact was massive," said Robert. "There was contamination of groundwater from both fuels and fire fighting foam compounds, there was the problem of the disposal of more than 25 million litres of contaminated fire water and many residents will never return to damaged homes." There have been more than 100 job losses since December 2005. On February 21, 2006 the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) issued a Safety Alert asking that sites "…review the adequacy of maintenance arrangements for storage tanks and bunds, and their associated safety critical equipment such as level measuring and alarm systems".
Robert then went through a few of the recommendations contained in the report of the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board, such as "operators of Buncefield type sites should review the likelihood of a vapour cloud arising from a loss of containment due to overfill". This had not previously been seen as a credible accident scenario.
Total plant reliability was the subject of a presentation by Nayef A Al-Dossary, senior engineer for Saudi Aramco, who began by reciting the company's mission statement: "To become a learning organisation that exceeds its customers' expectations by optimising plant reliability, production and flexibility." Reliability is important as it reduces operating costs and improves production and asset effectiveness, safety and environmental performance. "If you have mechanical reliability, process reliability and human reliability you will maximise production availability, capacity and effectiveness, reduce the cost and resources required for maintenance planning and administration, lower energy cost and most of all create a less stressful work environment," Nayef said.
Keep it sealed
The second day of the Bahrain conference once again witnessed many presentations focusing more on the technical side of things rather than the commercial. The first to speak was Andrew East of HMT, talking about primary and secondary seal inspections. Andrew explained the two major sources of storage tank emissions: wind and heat. Wind has a large effect on vapour losses - as air flows over the tank, air and hydrocarbons are drawn up from the vapour space and through the seal.
Primary seals are prone to certain damage. There can be gapping between the primary shoe seal and tank wall, the fabric can be torn or worn between the shoe seal and the rim, and there can be damaged or corroded metallic components. Andrew recommended that terminal operators repair or replace existing primary seals and install secondary seals on all storage tanks. Secondary seals come with many advantages, Andrew said. "They have a tremendous reduction in stored product emissions and evaporative losses resulting in fiscal saving, reduction of air pollution and minimal fire risks. Additionally, they maintain purity of stored product, reduce the amount of water entering product, keep the interior shell wall clean and centralises the floating roof."
The next speaker was Richard Siereveld, business development manager for Enraf. His presentation was nicely named "Keeping control of the shift" and proved very entertaining. He pointed out that "in 1900 England was the centre of world business and finance, had the strongest education system, was the world centre of innovation and invention and the currency was the world standard of value". Clearly not much of this applies any more, illustrating Richard's thesis that businesses need to be able to cope with long- and short-term changes in the economic and market environment.
One of the most important current trends is the rising price of oil, although on the day of Richard's presentation the headline price actually fell by 1.5 per cent to $94.89/bbl. Nevertheless, this is many times higher than it was just a few years ago; any company still wedded to its long-term plans laid in a low oil price environment is looking at the world the wrong way. Another rapid shift is coming in the ways that IT can help businesses operate more efficiently. "Technology is an enabler," Richard said.
Rob O'Brien, international sales manager for Mixing Solutions, explained by side entry mixers can be a good idea: "To achieve and maintain homogeneity of finished products, and to prevent the accumulation of bottom sludge and water deposits in crude oil tanks." Fixed angle mixers for product tanks improve product quality and uniformity; swivel angle mixers for crude oil storage tanks additionally minimise cleaning costs.
The correct selection and installation of side entry mixers will maintain maximum storage capacity with increased revenue, minimise tank repairs to floor and lower shell plates and reduce risk of damage to floating roofs.
[post_title] => What's in it for you? [post_excerpt] =>
The StocExpo conferences regularly cover technical issues, highlighting new developments and explaining how new ideas can help operators. The Asia and Middle East events were no exception, with speakers from around the world presenting their ideas and experiences with a variety of issues [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => whats-in-it-for-you [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-07-28 15:22:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2011-07-28 14:22:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.hazardouscargo.com/whats-in-it-for-you/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )