A storage innovation pioneer
Spanish-based storage & pipeline operator CLH is transforming core processes and systems across its global network to ensure safe, sustainable and competitive operations against a transitioning energy environment Deep transformative change is required across the global energy supply chain to meet radical emission reduction and energy decarbonisation goals.For Spanish storage operator CLH, continuous innovation of operating processes and systems has been a key factor in its capacity to adapt and transform business operations to constantly changing energy environments. Its raft of innovative projects, led by developments in the latest technological innovations, underscores its focus on increasing the efficiency and quality of its services in a sustainable way.A pioneering project it has recently implemented is to centralise operations across all its facilities into a single facility monitoring centre. This centre, which is at the cutting edge of hydrocarbon logistics technology, means it is possible to supervise and manage the company’s plants remotely, thus ensuring the safety of operations and allowing for an agile and immediate response when necessary.
Oil price showing remarkable resilience
Despite a tumultuous series of geopolitical, economic and regulatory events, the global oil price is showing impressive reliance. Nnamdi Anyadike explores how global markets have reacted to geopolitical conflicts, political tensions, tanker shortages & the looming IMO 2020 regulation Global crude oil prices this year proved remarkably resilient to upside pressure. Oil’s stubborn refusal to budge far from a narrow trading range centred on $60 per barrel, despite being buffeted by the ‘on-off’ US/China trade war; simmering tensions in the Middle East and political unrest in Venezuela – not to mention the threat of an economic downturn next year – is a far cry from its skittishness in previous years.An example of this resilience was the response to the large-scale supply disruption that followed the mid-September drone attack on the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in the east of the kingdom. The attack temporarily shut in about 5.7m b/d of crude production capacity. But although the Brent price spiked to $71/bbl on Monday, September 16 – the first trading day following the attacks – it very quickly fell back. Indeed, by mid-October it had dropped to back $58/bbl. This, the IEA’s October ‘Oil Market Report’ points out, wasactually $2/bbl below the pre attack level.
A long road ahead
As momentum behind global energy efficiency improvements falters, the International Energy Agency sets out the divergent pathways the world could follow over the coming decades to supply growing populations with cleaner and more efficient energy sources. Jasmin McDermott reports Global energy markets are today defined by deep disparities. Energy related emissions reached another historic high in 2018 despite the presence of stated policies to curb emissions in line with international climate targets. Despite the promise of energy for all, 850 million people have no access to electricity. Geopolitical tensions cast a shadow over work to ensure well-supplied oil markets.The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2019 does not make for comfortable reading and highlights the strain all energy markets would experience if existing energy policies remain unchanged.Its Current Policies Scenario, which shows what would happen if no additional policy changes were made, shows energy demand rising by 1.3% each year to 2040, with increasing demand for energy services unrestrained by further efforts to improve efficiency. This would result in a ‘relentless upward march’ in energy-related emissions, as well asgrowing strains on almost all aspects of energy security.At the other end of the spectrum, the Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario sets a way to meet sustainable energy goals and is fully aligned with the Paris Agreement. This scenario requires rapid and widespread changes across all aspects of the energy system and charts a path to meet objectives related to universal energy access andcleaner air.
A tipping point: what does climate action look like?
We're at a tipping point.Now is the time when the fight against climate change must transform from talk to action. The need to transition from one to the other generally becomes apparent when the talk -- already so tired, already so played-out -- takes on a renewed spirit of starkness and urgency.For me, that happened this past March, at the IHSMarkit CERAWeek conference1. A former boss of mine, BP CEO Bob Dudley, said: 'We are operating in a world that is not on a sustainable path.'Dudley's not an outlier; 93% of his peers are wholly convinced2 that climate change is real.
The European green deal: changing the storage industry
For the first time in its history, the European Commission (the civil service of the EU) has proposed a flagship policy on the environment. Its objective: to make the EU the first climate neutral continent by 2050. It is called the European Green Deal.Its name is not an accident, it is deliberately designed to reflect the new deal for Europe, also known as the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War 2. The European New Deal is arguably a defining policy for the next 30 years; a historical measure that has the potential to change business and investment strategies in a significant manner.The policy is a political response to 1) climate protests in Europe 2) the rise in popularity and importance of Green parties in the EU (and in the European Parliament) and 3) commitments made by the Commission president von der Leyen and her executive vice president Timmermans during the European Parliamentary in order to be acceptedin their new roles.
The storage outlook
Six storage operators from across Europe, the US, Middle East & Asia reflect on events and developments from 2019 and share their thoughts with Tank Storage Magazine on what 2020 could have in store for their company and the industry…
Simulation software: prevention with precision
Engineering Software Steyr’s (ESS) risk assessment simulation software for tank storage facilities offers predictive precision that helps operators mitigate risk Undeniably, global damages from extreme natural events are on the rise. Tank storage facilities are often greatly affected by such disasters. Tank storage facilities for both oil refineries and chemical plants contain immense volumes of flammable and hazardous liquids. They are, by their very nature, high-hazardous environments. Even the smallest leak or rupture can lead to not only property loss and production interruption but can also provoke incidents that can easily spin out of control and lead to catastrophes.Furthermore, these disasters can affect surrounding areas profusely and lead to costly cleanups and have harm the environment irreversibly and account for tremendous loss.Tank storage facility managers, staff, and even suppliers, both on-shore and off-shore, face many challenges when it comes to running facilities safely while also striving to meet market and regulatory requirements. It is critical for facilities to assure that spillage is contained. The task is to both avoid risk and revamp facilities to meet the demands of regulation and to best protect the planet. It is vital to better quantify, manage, and assess catastrophe risk.
Managing the five stages of project grief
In any new automation project, the technical issues underpinning it can be daunting. However, the people issues can be seen as insurmountable. Steve Elwart, director of systems engineering at Ergon Refining, draws on his 40 years of oil industry experience to suggest ways to overcome project grief in employees Outside of my life as an engineer in the oil industry, I am also an ordained minister. In my time I have officiated at many funerals. As I look out at the mourners saying goodbye to a loved one, I see the similarity of employees mourning the loss of business as usual. Whether it is the dearly departed or a business process near and dear to them, people can exhibit the same five stages of grief.
Why it pays to line the inside of a storage tank
When it comes to the storage of various liquids, such as oil, decisions on what kind of internal lining should be used on tanks may not be the first thing operators consider. However, the impact through choosing a wrong lining can be costly.It can compromise the quality of the stored contents, potentially reducing production capacity, and, in extreme cases, cause a shutdown of the facility. An unplanned shutdown can cost up to $12 million a day in lost operational time sochoosing the right lining to properly protect the tank and its contents is vital. It is also critical that the quality of theproduct stored in tanks is not compromised. Contamination, for example from rust or a previously stored chemical can affect the financial performance of the facility.The right lining can also help to future proof business, allowing the company to respond to changing market requirements. Current market conditions mean today’s storage tanks should be flexible enough to hold a range of liquids and adequate protection allows the freedom to change the contents of the tank when required.Therefore, in order to mitigate the financial risks and ensure tanks perform optimally, taking some time to choose the right lining is time well spent.
Managing the entire construction lifecycle
Ballast Nedam Industriebouw is undergoing a transformation from a civil contractor into an all-round contractor as it maximises synergies within its portfolio of businesses.Following Renaissance’s acquisition of Ballast Nedam shares in early 2016, the company has benefited from a wider scope of knowledge and expertise as part of the partnership.Part of Ballast Nedam NV, Ballast Nedam Industriebouw focuses entirely on industrial construction projects within the chemical, oil and gas sectors.Cor Kerkhof, chief operational officer explains: ‘We carry out all aspects of industrial construction, of any conceivable size and complexity: from maintenance, improvement and renovation to completely new construction projects, in existing plants or installations. We specialise in civil work and architectural constructions, aboveground and underground infrastructure techniques, as well as piping and mechanical work and electrical installations.’Implementing full-scale projects in countries such as Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and in the Middle East is Renaissance’s core business.
Inventory optimisation software improves decision-making process
The latest version of Endress+Hauser’s SupplyCare plots the exact position of a storage tank and visualises all tank inventory on a map to increase productivity and ensure accurate information for decision-making The storage of bulk liquids requires tanks of all shapes and sizes depending on whether the product is hydrocarbon, chemicals or edible oils.However other factors determine the types of tanks required. The closer the product comes to the end user means that smaller tanks are required. In many cases customers tend to move tanks or silos to be close to the point of usage.To ensure that a tank or silo can be quickly and easily detected, Endress+Hauser has developed SuppyCare – an inventory management software that automatically detects the location of an asset via GPS and is visualised on a map.Many tanks at the end user’s location are stationary and cannot be moved. However, there are a wide range of applications where tanks and silos are frequently displaced to other locations over their lifetime. Typical applications for non-stationary tanks include fuel supplies in mines or at large construction sites such as highways. They can also be found in agricultural areas, for example fertilizer silos or tanks on big farms that are moved during the vegetation period to minimise operation time.
Floating roof seals: a technical analysis of sealing systems
A technical problem exists in the development of floating roof seals. Over the last 90 years, the development of these seals has not solved augmented requirements specified by tank users and environmental regulations, but rather produces something simple and cheap.One of the problems for seal suppliers was created by the Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards from API giving rim seal loss factors for the evaluation of emissions from tanks with floating roof. But these evaluations can only be used for the type of seals and dimensions of seals that had been tested by API in a fixed test bench, somedecades ago.Most of the seal types marketed today have not been tested by API or anywhere else. These uncertainties mean that a number of suppliers offer their newly designed seals with very optimistic efficiency figures. To add some clarity, Imhof sets out what information from API is sound, what was learnt from other seal and emission tests, and what has been learnt from decades of seal application.
Tank cleaning innovation utilises advances in submerged jet mixing technology
Submerged mixing technology has been utilised in KnightHawk Industries’ next generation tank cleaning devicethat is simple to install and highly reliable in operation.The device employs submerged jet mixing technology (SJM). This technology by itself is not new. However, the company’s Turbo Mixer incorporates significant system improvements that proved highly successful in a recent application at a Texas refinery.In early 2016, the refinery’s maintenance engineering group met with KnightHawk engineers to discuss the Turbo Mixer application for a storage tank approximately 219 feet in diameter with an average of 8-12 inches of sludge build up and in isolated areas a couple feet. This tank needed to be cleaned quickly, and with minimum processinterruption, while maintaining a high level of plant safety.
New app solution digitally transforms operations
A new solution by UK-based MHT Technology digitises paperbased checklists, enabling operators to carry out their checks quickly and efficiently with an easy to use smartphone app. SAFE OPSSafe Ops was created when Inter Terminals, a client of MHT Technology, collaborated with them to find a solution with their current operations. The dangers of manual paper-based checks became evident to their client when they assessed their operations for risks. Despite years of experience, they recognised there is always the possibility of shipping the wrong product to a customer. A simple mistake can result in the forced shut down of the customer’s site and the destruction of contaminated stock. Operators using paper-based systems often become unintentionally complacent using the same procedures day after day resulting in shortcuts being taken.
Preventing the dark data creep
How do companies end up with so much unused and obsolete data and how does the industry adopt a more effective way of preventing this and optimising a better way of managing asset data within Industry 4.0? Linear thinking is a thought process where logic, rules, reasoning and more rules are used to solve a problem. This way of thinking tends to form a straight line where one thought leads to the next one and so on and so forth. Technical people are often thought to be the largest group of linear thinkers in the process industry. These technical people work with and oversee asset data. However, the question is, how effective is linear thinking in managing asset data within the growing structure of Industry 4.0? Not very, there is still room to do this more effectively. It is important to note the risks that linear thinking has on an organisation such as creating silos.
Advanced data analysis: increasing the bottom line
Quality inventory data is imperative for profitable and efficient terminal management. It has historically been a time-consuming task, and subject to human error, but improving supply chain operations, optimising planning, and strategic scheduling activities can all see improved performance with the collection of high-quality inventory data. The best way for businesses to remain nimble in this ever-changing market is to find a next-generation terminal automation system (TAS) upon which to rely.Terminal operators can no longer rely on traditional data gathering techniques. Inefficiency, mistakes and unhappy customers can all result and hurt the bottom line. Luckily, installing and utilising the next generation of TAS can help simplify and maximise the use of generated data points in order to remain competitive in a fast-paced market.The market, especially in developing economies, is poised for modest growth in coming years as terminal operators seek both to increase their storage capacity and to upgrade or replace their existing terminal automation systems to adapt to the increasingly complex business and regulatory environment they face.
Bund lining made simple
Since 2005, the landscape for those concerned with the largescale storage of flammable liquids has changed markedly. The operators of tank farms now do so according to increasingly stringent legislative requirements regulated by the Competent Authority (CA) as designated under the Control of Major Accidents and Hazards (1999) regulations. The CA brings together three separate government bodies – the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA) in England, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the HSE and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland.Their remit is to comply with the regulations set out in CIRIA C736 BS EN1992-3:2006 and specifically tightness class 1, BS EN 1992-3:2006 – Water retaining, BS EN 1992-1-1:2004 – Durability. The scrutiny and oversight of these agencies in their role as the COMAH CA forms the backdrop against which the quality of the secondary containment provisions of terminal operators across the country is rigorously reviewed and re-assessed. Simply stated, bunds must be large enough – 25% of the total capacity of the tanks they encompass or 110% of the largest tank within the bund – and they all must have a bund floor permeability of <1 x 10-9 m/s with earth walls no greater than 1 x 10-7 m/s.
Harnessing the potential of the industrial internet of things
Understanding the challenges of I–IoT is key to achieving its full potential in the industry On a misty morning, it is easy to say that every tank storage terminal looks much like any other. Cold concrete underfoot, storage tanks rising high into grey skies. But today under damp, heavy Rotterdam clouds, with drizzling rain not stopping at any point soon, there’s something different going on. Something special. Green boxes. Lots of them. Striking, against the dull mist and rain.These boxes are actually Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, each attached to valves, pipelines, and storage tanks. These sensors make a passive object, such as a valve, smart. They provide knowledge and insight into a tank storage site. A real-time lens enabling customers a pioneering overview into this aspect of their operational process – all in one small green device.Like its products, the inventors of these devices, TWTG stands out against the other solution providers in the oil and gas industry for its flexible and agile solutions.The original founders, who are college friends, Dimer Schaefer and John Tillema entered the world of tank storage technology when they were approached by industry giant Vopak to develop some groundbreaking prototypes.
Four strategies to a stronger data foundation
Digital transformation can be difficult to navigate, but proven strategies can build sustainable transformation Manufacturing organisations that store and transport product over long distances are spending more resources and energy than ever to track, trend, and analyse processes and product. This dedicated monitoring and analysis is critical as companies try to do more with less in the face of a changing global economy and workforce.The organisations having the most success in this arena are doing more than just adding instrumentation to devices across the plant. They are fundamentally altering the people, behaviour, and processes they employ across facilities to improve decision support. Rather than focusing on individual initiatives, highly successful organisations are finding unique ways to incorporate digital technologies and advanced data analytics as part of a comprehensive digital transformation programme.For one North American midstream company, a strong digital transformation programme delivering reliable data analytics wasn’t just about sustainability, but also survivability. Discrepancies in record keeping and product tracking had the potential to result in claim settlements in the millions of dollars. The organisation worked with Emerson’s data integration team to design and implement strong data analytics to comprehensively redesign how they handled and analysed data. The change helped them avoid a $2.5 million claim in the first few months. Four key strategies that helped them can benefit any organisation beginning its own digital transformation journey and looking at dataintegration is a key enabler.
The digital future of the downstream supply chain
Implico envisions a connected, cross-company downstream supply chain that links all entities via an architecture of shared web services. Jasmin McDermott spoke with CEO Tim Hoffmeister about this future-oriented concept and the effect it has on the operations of terminals, refineries, service stations, hauliers and other downstream units. Jasmin: First, let’s take a look at today’s tank storage sector. Where do you see the industry now, and how did we get there? Tim: Tank storage has certainly come a long way. One major achievement that the industry made in recent years is to embrace digitalisation. Today, most tank storage operators are well aware of the tremendous benefits it offers. And many of them have already started to implement corresponding means and methods at their locations. This is an essential step in the journey: to understand why this is done and what profits it brings.Another great accomplishment is the ongoing automation and digitalisation of key work processes. The downstream sector has transitioned from ‘pen on paper’ to ‘digital data’ and this has changed the business entirely. Data – which is arguably the most valuable resource in the industry – is no longer put down in folders and ledgers. It is stored in data bases, like S/4HANA by SAP, and accessed via the cloud. In some cases, it is even being analysed by artificial intelligences that make predictions and initiate actions based on their evaluations. This produces a number of strong advantages: It speeds up operations and makes them more efficient, flexible and secure. It enables new and better services.It fosters cross-company collaboration. And it lays the foundation for revolutionary technologies such as big data or blockchain.
Human versus machine - have we entered the 4th industrial revolution?
Innovation and human vs. machine are topics that are regularly being discussed heavily within the tank storage industry. Where is the industry heading to? Should the industry keep to old techniques that work or should new techniques be embraced? These questions were central at Opslagtanks 2019 conference organised by the International Institute for Research (IIR).The day kicked off with a wake-up call by Fountainheads, motivational speakers and trend scouts, aimed to surprise and welcome the audience to have an open mind.An open mind is needed in the storage industry as challenges such as the global Paris climate Agreement, governments being involved in degassing of ships, reducing nitrogen, energy transition and delivering operations with low emissions are central to businesses in their annual corporate plans. Koole Terminals asked the audience whether innovation is a utility or necessity to improve. The key would be in collaborating between government parties and industrial parties. So far this has proven to be promising and cost effective. Koole is heavily involved in finding solutions and stated that innovation is certainly a necessity.
New opportunities for Mediterranean hubs
The Mediterranean region offers several important benefits for businesses looking to maximise business potential in the storage and distribution supply chain.Many companies are still investing in plants that drive liquid bulk flows, underscoring the region’s importance as a key consumption market. Additionally, as global trade flows carve a new path, new production centers in the US and Middle East are looking for more distribution hubs on the continent outside of Northern Europe. The new opportunities for storage and logistics businesses operating in the Mediterranean area was further debated and discussed during the third Med Hub Day in Tarragona, Spain. The two-day event hosted by the Port of Tarragona and ChemMed looks to enhance the potential of the Mediterranean as a sustainable alternative to the northern ARA region.