Transforming the energy sector
The international energy sector will be significantly reshaped over the next 20 years as the US rises to become the undisputed global oil and gas leader and reorients global trade flows, according to the IEA’s 2017 World Energy Outlook A radical reshaping of the energy sector driven by production output from the US and a growing trend towards electricity and renewables will transform traditional ways of meeting energy demand.In what has been described as an ‘extraordinary’ World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified four major trends that are profoundly reshaping the energy sector: the resurgence in oil and gas production from the US, continued cost reductions for clean energy technologies, such as solar PV, wind and batteries, the growth in the share of electricity in the energy mix and China’s move towards a cleaner growth mode.These are changing the face of the global energy system and upending traditional ways of meeting energy demand, according to the 782-page document.
Spearheading the UAE's new gas chapter
The Sharjah National Oil Corporation is leveraging existing infrastructure and natural resources to ensure greater gassecurity for the UAE as it explores gas storage in the region In November 1978, a team of engineers crisscrossing 600,000 acres of Sharjah’s desert pinned down a sweet spot; the Sajaa asset.Their efforts paid dividends. When the Sajaa-1 well was drilled in May 1980 to 16,656 feet – roughly six times the height of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – it was one of the largest gas discovery in the UAE at the time. The engineering team worked without today’s technological luxuries – real-time updates from mobile phones and satellites – and navigated their way to success by unrolling dog-eared maps of the desert on the hot bonnets of their four-wheel drive vehicles. This pioneering spirit heralded the beginning of Sharjah’s energy industry.Fast forward three decades and Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC) was established in 2010 by the Amiri decree of Sharjah’s Ruler His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. Tasked with exploration, production, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, SNOC was also handed the golden keys to operating and managing the Sajaa assets.SNOC had access to the other legacy infrastructure pre-2010. Sharjah’s bullish streak after the discovery of the Sajaa asset continued with the discovery of the nearby Moveyeid field in October 1981. Just one year later, the first cargo of 500,000 barrels of condensate was exported from the Sajaa plant on the oil tanker ‘Amoco Savanah’ – the birth of Sharjah’s gas exporting business. Gas sales started in 1983 to Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) and later to Dubai and the Northern Emirates in a new pipeline network.
IMO sulphur fuel cap: what now?
Charles Daly examines the possible avenues various supply chain players will take to adhere to the IMO’s new cap on the sulphur content in bunker fuel After much deliberation and consultancy work, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has finally decided that the global cap on ship’s fuel oil sulphur be set at 0.5%. This limit shall come into force from January 1 2020.Furthermore in a parallel action, the Chinese authorities have decided to implement the 0.5% sulphur limit at 11 major Chinese ports with effect from January 1 2017. These include Shenzen and Shanghai. It will be interesting to see if this is followed by other countries in the Pacific Rim in the months ahead.As always this 2020 limit will apply to signatory states. The full list of signatory states has not yet been revealed, but at the last round in the application of Annex VI, Russia was a significant non signatory.The implications of this global cap are very significant and will have a number of unintended consequences which will only emerge after the passage of time.
An international concept in a captive market
Executives at Oiltanking Matola explain how they are introducing the independent storage model in sub Saharan Africa to create more opportunities for supply chain players Oiltanking Matola is introducing a new storage concept in the captive markets of sub Saharan Africa in a bid to unlock opportunities for suppliers and distributors in the region.Traditionally, the African storage market is a captive one, comprised of national and international oil companies and traders.However, since Oiltanking acquired the former Galana Terminais project to enhance its ability to serve new market segments along the east coast of Africa, executives have been nurturing the concept of independent storage to open up the market in this region.The facility, situated in the Port of Maputo, Mozambique, is Oiltanking’s first petroleum products facility on the African continent, and offers access to fuel importers in Mozambique, the eastern half of South Africa as well as the land-locked countries of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine J.C (Lo) Vanhaelen, managing director of the facility, explains that they are creating economies of scale by offering this relatively new concept in the region.
South Africa's newest energy asset
Burgan Cape Terminals – the latest energy asset in South Africa – brings greater flexibility and optionality to a flourishing market When Burgan Cape Terminals officially opened in August 2017, it signalled a new storage era for the Western Cape of South Africa.The facility in the eastern mole of the Port of Cape Town, is the province’s first independent storage facility, and, unlike other privately owned storage terminals in the region, is not dependent on pipeline connections to feed it liquid products.In addition to this important milestone, the facility, which is 70% owned by VTTI with Jicaro and Thebe Investment Corporation owning 15% each, offers flexibility for oil companies in where they chose to source their product from as well as offering the option for blending.Currently, the facility has a capacity for 122,000 m3 of diesel and petrol storage and will offer the option to blend bioethanol and biofame. It has been designed to receive fuel product by sea, store it, and distribute it onwards by truck.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine Jaap Koomen, general manager of Burgan Cape Terminals, says that the facility provides an essential alternative for local fuel supply needs and will significantly reduce the chances of fuel shortages that have previously been an issue in the Western Cape.
Africa breathes a sigh of relief
As crude prices finally recover, storage operators in the continent are starting to see light at the end of the economic tunnel. Criselda Diala-McBride reports For the past three years, the steep and prolonged decline of crude oil prices has put a question mark on the oil market’s immediate future. As the forward curve for the commodity flipped into full contango, terminal operators in regions like the Middle East reaped rewards.Others were not as fortunate, however. In Africa, for example, tank storage companies faced mounting pressure. With revenues plunging, government subsidies drying up, and forex letters of credit getting harder to come by, storage businesses had been negatively affected, leading to a reduced bottom line.But the decision by both OPEC and non-OPEC groups to freeze output – initially from January to June 2017, then until March 2018, before extending it further to the whole of next year – may brighten prospects for the continent’s bulk liquid storage sector.With the oil production deal in place, observers believe the market may soon reach equilibrium. In early November, Reuters data notes that a six-month sweet crude spread has slipped into backwardation, a first since November 2014, prompting oil traders to pay more for immediate delivery as demand picks up.
Achieving better risk prevention in Chinese terminals
LBC Shanghai Shipping is making tangible progress towards better risk prevention with the use of a specialised risk prevention management system In recent years, accidents in storage terminals have made headlines in China, prompting local authorities to strengthen regulations and to very significantly step up law enforcement.The same trend can be observed across industries, as the Chinese government prioritises sustainable development under its ‘China Dream’ campaign.Numerous factory closures were reported in the second half of 2017. As plants were forcibly shut down after failing government inspections, many businesses, including multinationals, saw their supply chain impacted as a result. Strict regulations have actually been in place for years already, but authorities met difficulties enforcing them.Today, better enforcement takes the form of more rigorous audits and by-the-book punishment if the company is found non-compliant.Considering the risk to get thrown in jail, general managers now treat these matters much more seriously than in the past. In the wake of the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress, this ultimately positive trend is set to continue.When accidents or incidents occur, terminal operators face dire legal consequences (penalties, suspension of license, jail time), as well as impact on revenue, repair costs, insurance premiums, not to mention staff motivation, company image and stock value.
One gauge, double the protection
Radar level gauges with two separate and independent electrical units and a common antenna can provide a cost-effective solution for tank overfill protection. Emerson’s Johan Sandberg explains how, in terms of independence and technology diversification, devices using this 2-in-1 technology are compliant with IEC 61511 and API 2350. The potential overfilling of tanks or vessels is a major safety concern within the process industry, especially in bulkliquid storage applications where spills can have catastrophic consequences.The incidents at Buncefield, Jaipur, Puerto Rico and West Virginia are just a few examples of where the overfilling of tanks storing chemicals and petroleum have caused major environmental harm including water pollution, fires and explosions, resulting in large-scale asset and property damages, injuries and fatalities.The need for reliable overfill prevention technology installed on these vessels is obvious, yet there are still many old and poorly maintained storage tanks in service, often with non-existing, non-functioning or obsolete overfill prevention equipment.
Tank jacking: reviving an ageing asset
Tank jacking is historically not unknown in Asia. In the early 1970’s tanks were jacked due to settlement problems in Malaysia and Singapore. The methods have changed due to improvements and more stringent safety requirements, but the principles remain the same.In those early years the foundation re-levelling was carried out manually and the spreading of sand, gravel or bitumen-mix was done by using baskets.The biggest difference today is that, besides settlement problems, there are even more reasons to jack the tanks, such as tank bottom replacements, remediation of polluted materials, installation of secondary containment liners and/or the application of external coatings on the underside of the tank bottom.Many of the tanks that were constructed in the 60s and 70s are reaching the age that major maintenance repairs are required. Patching and other local repairs will not be effective and will only shift the problem a few years forward. In combination with the jacking techniques these repairs can be executed in such a way that the tanks are being returned to an ‘as-built’ status, extending their safe operational lifetime for an even longer period.
Digitalisation: future-proofing terminal operations
The digital revolution has been a long time coming for the storage sector but many operators are now realising the commercial need to further automate processes in an increasingly competitive market.The role of digital technologies to make established processes more efficient, flexible and faster can help storage operators maintain a competitive business offering in the face of volatile market trends.One of the main drivers for this shift to greater tank terminal digitalisation is strong demand not only from business partners such as traders and suppliers but also from company headquarters.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, Michael Martens, managing partner at Implico, says that many business partners of terminal operators began migrating their business processes and setting up electronic interfaces a long time ago to ensure a greater level of integration with standard systems.‘The scenario is familiar to many tank terminal operators,’ says Martens. ‘Many of their customers in the mineral oil business are now moving to paperless processing, and this naturally includes the processes in the tank terminal itself.‘Accordingly, the tank terminals now need to open up and make standard interfaces for digitalisation available.’
Tank storage management: from analytics to intelligent automation
Internet of Things technologies promise to generate rich sources and large quantities of data from tank storage operations. It is widely believed that the data, such as those from newly instrumented sensors, as well as collected via PLCs and SCADA systems, can potentially be used to create analytics and insights, and as a result improve efficiency for terminal operators.However, the reality is few have found it easy to bridge the long gap between discrete sensors and operational optimisation. Even those who have proactively aggregated rich datasets have found that operationalisable insights are hard to come.What lies in between analytics and operational outcomes is intelligent automation. Atomiton, a technology leader in industrial IoT, headquartered in Silicon Valley, has created a new category of solution called ‘Digital Terminals’, that can discover and execute intelligence across daily operational processes at tank storage terminals. The secret, according to the company, is to enable intelligence within, rather than take data out of the operational loops.
Automating the supply chain
Collaborative tools are helping to automate liquid storage terminals and optimise all multi-modal product movements The efficiency of liquid storage terminals has steadily improved as operators employ web-based collaborative process-optimisation tools to help streamline and enhance supply chain logistics.Starting at the dock, these tools have made it easier to manage vessel activities that impact terminal performance. They have automated complex tasks, such as demurrage reporting, and facilitated process innovations from virtualtendering and just-in-time arrivals to the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) for benchmarking and trend analysis.Now, these tools are moving beyond the dock to encompass all multi-modal product movements to, from, and within terminals as the industry continues to automate an expanding range of logistics processes while taking a more holistic approach to streamlining operations.
Overfill prevention guarantees safer operations
A Swiss chemical manufacturer protects their facility and tank transport operators with the latest in overfill prevention and static grounding solutions A European chemical manufacturer looking to enhance safety during the loading of hazardous liquid chemicalsinvested in the latest overfill prevention and static grounding solution.The manufacturer, based in Switzerland, fabricates various kinds of chemical liquids, and tank trucks arrived from across Europe to load at its facilities.A key priority for the manufacturer is that all trucks can load at the facility, and that every load is executed to the highest level of safety.After reviewing the entire loading process, the types of vehicles loading there, and the particular safety needs of the client, Scully, a worldwide solution provider for overfill prevention and static ground verification suggested a SIL2-rated safety solution which consists of the Scully Intellitrol 2 control monitor installed at the loading bay, in combination with the Scully stainless steel chemical overfill prevention sensor. The Intellitrol 2 is used as the ultimate safety device as it combines both static ground verification and overfill prevention to prevent spills and explosions.Overfill prevention is accomplished by continuously checking the sensors. In many installations, the sensors are typically installed in the tank vehicle. If the truck has multiple compartments, every compartment would need a sensor installed on top of the tank.
Miniaturisation of rupture disks for chemical tank storage
Miniaturised rupture disks from 1/8” to 1” deliver protection against overpressurisation at low, medium and high set burst pressures For more than 85 years, the rupture disk has served as an effective passive safety mechanism to protect againstoverpressure or potentially damaging vacuum conditions in storage tanks and other enclosed vessels used for chemical processing.However, as these pressure relief devices become increasingly miniaturised to sizes as small as 1/8”, the manufacturers of such devices are running squarely into design and raw material challenges that often requirere-engineering the product itself.Fortunately, leading rupture disk manufacturers have embraced this challenge with novel structures and design elements that have led to a new category of miniaturised options from 1/8” to 1” nominal size at all ranges of pressure including low (15-1000 psi), medium (350-16,000 psi) and high (1,500-70,000 psi).