Environment & Safety Gas Processing/LNG Maintenance & Reliability Petrochemicals Process Control Process Optimization Project Management Refining

November 2019


Special Focus: Instrumentation and Automation

The future of digital transformation and smart manufacturing
Saudi Aramco: Abualsoud, Y.  |  Buhulaiga, E. A.

In today’s challenging oil and gas operations, it is vital to have a robust operating system that supports each facility’s goal of operational excellence (OE). Digital transformation and smart manufacturing are being implemented by Saudi Aramco as a coined umbrella term: integrated manufacturing operations management system (imoms).

Building industrial networks to serve IIoT and digitalization
Emerson Automation Solutions: Logue, C.

Two of the terms growing in popularity over the past few years are “digital native” and “digital immigrant.” Natives are those individuals young enough to have known computers and the internet since childhood. For them, such technologies have always existed. Immigrants, either through age or circumstance, had no exposure until later in life. Hopefully, for them, such technologies are a welcome addition to work and life, but they can remember times when most activities were more manual, local and isolated.

Process engineering, optimization and advanced process control
APC Performance LLC: Kern, A.

A recent <i>Hydrocarbon Processing</i> “Industry Perspectives” survey found that process engineering and optimization is the number-one topic that readers want to read about most. Process engineering and optimization rated higher than the next-highest topic (maintenance and reliability) by a factor of 2:1, and higher than every other topic by a factor of at least 4:1. Process control and instrumentation made the top ten list, albeit below process engineering and optimization by a factor of 7:1.

The future of wireless control
Consultant: Boger, H.

In 1864, James C. Maxwell predicted the existence of radiowaves by means of a mathematical model. The so-called Maxwell equations are the most famous and successful formulas. In 1884, John H. Poynting realized that the Poynting vector would play an important role in quantifying electromagnetic energy. In 1888, bolstered by Maxwell’s theory, Heinrich Hertz first succeeded in showing experimental evidence of radiowaves using his spark-gap radio transmitter. The prediction and evidence of radiowaves were the beginning of wireless power transfer (WPT).


Pay attention: LockerGoga and Trisis/Triton demand an improved cybersecurity strategy

The need for a solid cybersecurity strategy has been discussed and debated for nearly half a century. However, the basic worm-type attacks first documented in 1972 are still with us today. Why? The reason is because even the most basic measures to protect control systems from these types of attacks are still not systematically employed.

Hydrocarbon Processing Awards

Hydrocarbon Processing Awards Winners

<i>Hydrocarbon Processing,</i> the downstream processing sector’s leading technical publication, has announced the winners for its third annual awards. The <i>HP</i> Awards celebrate innovative technologies and people that have been instrumental in improving facility operations over the past year.


Unlocking FCC potential with an innovative catalyst solution
W. R. Grace: Tavares, T.

In 2010, a JV embarked on the deployment of a MHY zeolite technologyb developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This novel zeolite technology improves traditional zeolite catalysts through the introduction of highly interconnected channels of medium pore size, which enhance diffusion of feed molecules inside zeolite crystals, leading to higher-value product yields, improved process efficiency and increased refinery profitability.

FCC catalyst deactivation studies to mimic refinery conditions for high-propylene applications

The fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) is a conversion unit located at the heart of many refineries. Its main purpose is to crack crude oil-derived feedstocks into valuable liquid products, primarily LPGs (propylene and butylenes), and gasoline and light-cycle oil (LCO) precursors. The process uses a fluidizable catalyst, comprising an alumina-silica framework and tailored for each refinery to meet its specific needs. Often, the changing of a catalyst includes catalyst testing evaluations, employed by about 50% of the FCCUs in the world. The testing process is cumbersome, in which multiple methods are available to refineries.

Process Optimization

Accurate prediction of phase equilibrium properties—Part 2
Independent Researcher/Inventor: Katyal, A.

Phase equilibrium properties, such as bubble point, hydrocarbon dewpoint, water dewpoint, phase envelope, two-phase compositions, compressibility factor, hydrate equilibrium properties, etc., for hydrocarbon mixtures have been calculated accurately using the Peng-Robinson cubic equation of state by implementing constant and temperature-dependent binary interaction parameters in the Van der Waals mixing rule.


Diversifying the future: Incentives for worldwide adoption of renewable fuels and chemicals—Part 2

Bio-based, renewable fuels and chemicals can reduce the environmental footprint of maintaining global transportation and product demands, while also offering supplementation of traditional fossil fuels in a global environment with increasing energy demand. The renewable energy sector is large and growing rapidly.

When digital transformation hits all four sustainability buckets
Aspen Technology: Morse, P.

Sustainability is emerging as a critical business topic, as many companies focus resources toward lowering emissions, waste and energy use in their production processes. This important concept can apply broadly to company operations, especially when considering the expansive view of the triple bottom line that measures the impact of company operations on profits, people and the planet.

Environment and Safety

Use submerged combustion systems to efficiently destroy hazardous plant waste
Selas-Linde North America: Predatsch, E.  |  Armstrong, P.

In the production of clean fuels, plastics and other hydrocarbon-based products, refineries and petrochemical facilities generate unwanted (waste) byproducts. Having no market value, the undesired byproducts must be recycled, minimized or eliminated. Depending on the feedstocks, end products and reactant materials, the unwanted materials can be gases, liquids or multiphase materials.

Valves, Pumps and Turbomachinery

Using ball valves in high-temperature applications
Emerson Automation Solutions: Jablonski, J.  |  Helfer, W.

Ball valves are often an economical solution for controlling flows in refinery high-temperature applications, but their application can be complex, particularly in high-temperature uses.

Water Management

Sustainability and the water management company’s role
Veolia Water Americas: Perpich, W.

Water is key to the hydrocarbon processing and chemical processing industries. Yet, it is not an infinite resource, which creates operational, financial and regulatory risks. The true cost of water can include insurance and litigation costs and disposal costs, plus the capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) of water infrastructure.

Improved cooling system performance begins with data
Emerson Automation Solutions: Dalebroux, J.
Consultant: Aleynik, B.

Refineries consume large amounts of energy and water to refine crude oil into products. Up to 10% of crude oil’s energy content is consumed during processing, and it takes 1.5 bbl of water to process one barrel of crude oil. Refining processes also generate large quantities of excess thermal energy that needs to be expelled into the environment using a once-through or recirculating cooling system.


Editorial Comment: Honoring the industry’s best … take 2!
Hydrocarbon Processing Staff: Nichols, Lee

Due to Tropical Storm Imelda, Hydrocarbon Processing issued its first force majeure in postponing the third annual HP Awards.

Reliability: Improve condition monitoring with shock pulse technology
Hydrocarbon Processing Staff: Bloch, Heinz P.

Shock pulse technology is generally well known to vibration analysts and reliability technicians. A handheld combination of sensor and display meter would typically be used to detect discontinuities in bearings and would respond to the impact of two masses. The resulting shockwaves will create a shock pulse of a certain magnitude that commonly manifests itself at a particular repeat frequency. The respective magnitude of relevant excursions and their trends can be observed by the person entrusted with the monitoring task.

Process Safety: Process safety in a connected world
ARC Advisory Group: Gupta, M. S.

Traditionally, conversations around automation and safety have focused largely on logic solvers and instrumentation. However, new disruptive technologies and a rapid expansion in networking and computing resources have broadened the scope of automation’s reach. These transformative technologies and approaches promise to reduce incidents and increase production in ways industry could only imagine in the past; but while the “pieces” are available, organizational silos and entrenched cultures stand in the way.

Inspection: Best practices for inspecting guyed structures
Contributing Editor: Anwer, A.

Guyed structures are common in petrochemicals, oil and gas and chemical industries. Half of the installed flare structures at many facilities are guyed. Various routine inspection programs are in place to examine these structures. This work describes some very basic checks, which should be in place to maintain their mechanical integrity.

Digital Technology: Cut oil and gas lifecycle costs with intelligent packaged power
Rockwell Automation: Matheys, J.

Oil and gas companies have realized big cost savings over the years by having suppliers source all elements of the electrical control system in a fully integrated package. However, this methodology fell short of delivering the kind of insights and efficiencies that companies expect and require in oil and gas operations today.

Digitalization: Maximize assets with a digital investment framework for oil and gas
EY Oil and Gas, Ernst & Young LLP: Shong, F.  |  Chung, W.  |  Thapar, R.

Oil and gas investments are diversifying as the industry leans toward a more digitally conducive environment. Asset analysis was initially evaluated based on an asset’s technical parameters, pricing and operationality. In this new digital world, however, variables such as service quality, innovation, compliance, flexibility and scalability require quantification. Refinery data continues to be critical to evaluate investments, but is often incomplete.

Industry Perspectives: There’s still time to vote for the best!
Hydrocarbon Processing Staff: Nichols, Lee

The nominees for the 2019 Top Project awards are out. Using <i>Hydrocarbon Processing’s</i> Construction Boxscore Database, the editors have identified nine projects that are anticipated to significantly impact the global or regional downstream industries.

Hydrocarbon Processing Staff: Nichols, Lee

Total plans to take a final investment decision (FID) on the Nigeria LNG expansion project by the end of this year. If greenlighted, the 7-MMtpy LNG train would increase the Bonny Island LNG terminal’s capacity to nearly 30 MMtpy. If built, Train 7 is expected to be operational by 2023.