Improving Bulk Liquids Storage Terminal Management

A safe, reliable and efficient bulk liquids storage terminal requires effective order execution. As part of a terminal management system, the execution of these orders must consider scheduling, asset and use management, process control, safety instrumented functions and reporting for the business systems.

Emerson's Ramon Badell

Emerson's Gerry Snow

In the continuing Bulk Liquids Storage Terminals Webinar Series, Emerson’s Ramon Badell and Gerry Snow present on the topic of Management and Information Processing for Terminals on August 17 at 1pm CDT.

Ramon and Gerry will highlight the need for robust operations management practices to effectively deal with increased complexity and growing need for information management. A well-integrated terminal management system can improve profitability, reduce operating costs, optimize assets, and improve safety performance.

They will discuss common operational challenges, the operational business cycle within a terminal, advanced applications for one or multiple terminals, and have a question and answer portion at the end.

Some common challenges include the inefficient use of terminal assets, inaccurate and/or ill-timed terminal customer communications, reconciling physical inventory versus book inventory, and closing the books in a timely and accurate manner. The challenges, if not addressed, can result in limiting throughput and growth, falling short of customer expectations and missing revenue opportunities. Continue Reading

Digital Transformation of the Gas Value Chain

As liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant come online across the globe, the fundamental nature of the gas market is changing with supply finding demand and pricing variability decreasing. The October 25-27 Gas Asia Summit, as part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), brings together business leaders and technical experts in the natural gas and LNG industries to discuss trends, innovations and collaboration opportunities.

Emerson’s Jonas Berge will be participating on a technical panel on digital and data management. His presentation will be Digital Transformation of the Gas Value Chain. Here is the abstract for his presentation:

Emerson's Jonas Berge

A summary of technology, experience, and results from digitally transforming operations with pervasive sensing and Industrial IoT (IIoT) based on wireless sensor networks and analytics integrated with cloud and existing systems. Information is compiled from feedback from early adopters in gas production, processing, and LNG transportation, and where applicable also from refining, petrochemicals, and chemicals.

Pervasive sensing and IIoT technologies such as digital sensor networks, analytics software, and cloud help plants including LNG carriers by digitally transforming operations to save personnel’s time, reduce cost, and increase output in four primary domains: reliability/maintenance, energy efficiency, HS&E, and production. Each domain has many applications complementing existing plant automation, and plants are constantly innovating new solutions. Some of the most popular applications which sites have implemented in each domain will be reviewed with case studies from around the world. Applications where these new ideas can be applied include condition monitoring of compressors, pumps, blowers/fans, steam traps, relief valves, pipes, instrumentation and control valves, performance monitoring of heat exchangers, cooling towers, air cooled heat exchangers; energy management; monitoring emergency safety showers and eyewash stations, manual valves, shutdown valves, H2S, effluent temperature; monitoring wellheads and control panels, control valves and dampers, consumables inventory, and LNG storage temperature profile for leak detection etc. Reducing manual data collection rounds for operations and maintenance are also covered. Continue Reading

DCS Cybersecurity Tips and Updates

Emerson's Rick Gorskie

Most of the process manufacturing facilities across the world is considered critical infrastructure. From the energy we consume to the medicines we take, manufacturers work to deliver these products as safely, reliably and efficiently as they can. And with the threat of cyber-attacks growing more common, cybersecurity remains a growing concern and focus.

Emerson’s Rick Gorskie has been sharing a series of Cybersecurity Moments. Although they are specific to the DeltaV distributed control system, much of the guidance is beneficial no matter what control or data acquisition system you might have. I’ll recap a few items from his recent posts in the Emerson Exchange 365 community here.

In a post, Cybersecurity Protection Starts at The Front Gate!, Rick opens highlighting the critical importance of the human element in cybersecurity:

No matter who you are or what your job title is, YOU are an integral part of the cybersecurity protection at your site. The very moment that you pass through the front gate, your cyber-related actions could possibly lead to the compromise of your site’s cyber-protection strategy. Human error is responsible for some of the worst data breaches on record and, because of a lack of cybersecurity awareness, organizations are risking their reputation, customer trust, and potentially their bottom lines when employees mishandle data.

Education of the plant staff in the collection of cybersecurity policies and procedures is critical. Some of these elements to highlight and continually reinforce include spear-phishing or phishing, indiscreet use of USB sticks, computer lock screens, unauthorized software downloads, and strong passwords (see Rick’s earlier post, DeltaV Secure Passwords: The Do’s and Don’ts). A security-minded culture must be built as a safety culture has been built, in the vast majority of manufacturing facilities. Continue Reading

Improving Petrochemical Plant Operational Performance

Emerson's David Gustafson

Top performing petrochemical producers operate safely and securely, reliably, use energy efficiently, and achieve operational efficiently. The difference between top and average performance can be and has been measured across these four areas. In fact, it is estimated that across the global industrial sector, annually as much as $1 trillion is lost as a result of subpar performance.

I connected with Emerson’s David Gustafson about a new 4-step roadmap process for petrochemical producers to improve operational performance. This process is described in a whitepaper, 4-Step Roadmap to Top Quartile Performance, which you can register to download. I highlight a few items from the whitepaper.

Whitepaper: 4-Step Roadmap to Top Quartile PerformancePerformers in the top quartile of their industry peers achieve:

  • HSSE [Health, Safety, Security and Environment]: 3X fewer recordable process incidents
  • Reliability: 4% higher availability and half the maintenance costs
  • Energy: 30% lower emissions and 30% less energy use
  • Process: 20% lower operating costs and 10% higher utilization rate

Moving into this top quartile of performers also means your plant can experience a 15% improvement in operating margins. Headwinds from achieving these levels of performance improvement include increasing regulatory compliance challenges, aging plant equipment, use of different from traditional feedstocks, and loss of expertise from retirements.

While easy to state the four steps to improvement, in practice they can be difficult to implement. These steps include: Continue Reading

Monitoring Your Medium Voltage Switchgear

When I worked in the offshore oil & gas business many years ago, production platforms typically had low-voltage electrical systems running motors no larger than 480VAC. Over the years as the process sophistication grew and motors with variable speed drives replaced engine-driven compressors and other assets, the need for medium voltage systems (between 1KV and 35KV) grew. For most other industries with access to an electrical grid, these medium voltage systems are common.

Emerson's Craig Abbott

Like other assets in a plant, these electrical systems should be monitored to avoid unplanned downtime and operate more reliably. In this 19:21 YouTube video, IntelliSAW – Safely monitor medium voltage switchgear, Emerson’s Craig Abbott describes how medium voltage switchgear should be continuously monitored to avoid safety, reliability and lost production incidents.

He opens citing some numbers showing that plant assets, often designed for a 20-year lifespan, exceed 25 years in age. He describes the cost to fix failed assets being 50% higher than servicing that asset before the failure condition occurs. And the earlier the problem is identified and resolved, the less the cost. He also notes that 20% of power disruptions are due to failure of electrical system components.

Craig shared several examples of where a component failure has resulted in millions of dollars in lost production, so the business case for continuous monitoring can be very strong. Continue Reading