The Berri Gas Plant department (BGP) has successfully commissioned and started-up a new, more efficient ethane liquefaction exchanger at the Ethane and NGL Recovery plant.
The new liquefaction heat exchanger has permanently replaced BGP’s existing ethane liquefaction unit and is the latest in their efforts to increase plant energy efficiency.
The Older System
The existing ethane liquefaction system was complex, consisting of 30 pieces of equipment and two big compressors to reach the required conditions for the ethane liquefaction system. This system was hard to operate and costly to maintain due to the quantity of instruments and the age of rotating equipment.
The old system also negatively impacted the environment by flaring 4 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of ethane due to recycle compressor trips. The liquefaction rate was also limited to 20 million metric scfd.
BGP recognized an opportunity to improve its ethane liquefaction process and minimize energy consumption by integrating the ethane and NGL recovery plant (Plant F-20) with the liquefaction process.
The initiative uses the available cryogenic process stream from de-methanizer overhead (-160° F) to liquefy ethane product. A side slip stream of de-methanizer overhead exchanges heat with the ethane product from the de-ethanizer reflux drums using a brazed aluminum heat exchanger (BAHE).
The new system is capable of producing 25 million metric scfd of liquid ethane along with keeping ethane outlet temperature as low as -105°F by maintaining methane gas inlet flow.
Saudi Aramco acting president and CEO Amin H. Nasser visited joint ventures Sadara (Sadara Chemical Company) and SATORP (Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemicals Company) at Jubail Industrial City to check on their progress of the downstream projects.
The two site visits reinforced the company’s partnerships with The Dow Chemical Company, Saudi Aramco’s partner in Sadara; and with France’s Total SA, Saudi Aramco’s partner in SATORP.
Sadara, Saudi Aramco’s joint venture with The Dow Chemical Company, is on track to begin operations in the second half of 2015.
Construction of the multi-billion dollar project — the world’s largest chemical complex built in a single phase — is more than 94% complete as of May 2015, with teams to ensure that all timelines are achieved, including that for “first products.”
The megaproject has 26 world-scale manufacturing plants and will introduce 14 new technologies to Saudi Arabia and the first naphtha cracker in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Sadara’s safety record during planning and construction is impressive with nearly 1 million man-hours of planning, 9 million man-hours of engineering and 370 million man-hours of construction completed while maintaining a total recordable incident rate safety record of 0.036.
Sadara is set to create thousands of direct jobs at the complex and the adjacent PlasChem Park, advanced products for consumers in emerging markets, new value chains taking the Kingdom’s chemicals industry beyond commodities and new specialty chemical plants and downstream businesses that result in thousands of indirect job opportunities.
“Sadara won’t just grow manufacturing — it will grow technology,” said Nasser. “The multiplier effect will be nothing short of transformational.”
SATORP, the Saudi Aramco joint venture with France’s Total SA, is a world-class complex refinery.
As the seventh most complex refinery in the world, SATORP is capable of converting 400,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy crude oil into low-sulfur gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. In addition to naphtha and clean gasoline, SATORP also produces more than 1 million tons per year of paraxylene, benzene and propylene, as well as petroleum coke.
With 80% of project construction executed by Saudi subcontractors from various disciplines, and an overall Saudization rate of 64.4%, SATORP “is a pacesetter for Saudi participation,” Nasser said.
SATORP has also reached a milestone of one full year of operations with no lost time injuries.
“With more than 5 million safe man-hours and best-in-class recordables, SATORP has demonstrated that safety is ingrained in the culture here,” said Nasser.
Nasser was accompanied on the visit by Abdulrahman F. Al Wuhaib, senior vice president of Downstream, Warren W. Wilder, vice president of Chemicals, and Ahmed A. Al Subaey, executive director of Marketing Supply and Joint Venture Coordination.
Saudi Aramco’s Khurais Producing Department (KhPD) and Abqaiq Plants Operation Department (APOD) awarded for excellence by the Frost and Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council.
This years’ event was held in Carlsbad, California, and saw KhPD receive two awards under the category of Sustainable Leadership and Engineering, and Production Technology Leadership, while APOD earned its award under the newly-introduced category of the Big Data and Advanced Analytics Leadership.
KhPD’s Sustainabilty Leadership Achievements
KhPD’s award for Sustainability Leadership recognized Khurais’ resource and energy optimization efforts over the last three years. In this time, KhPD improved its energy intensity performance, groundwater conservation efforts, environmental compliance and flare minimization efforts.
In recent years, KhPD has proactively handled sustainability challenges. It has instituted a culture of effective performance monitoring, adapted to and adopted industrially-accepted best practices, established KPIs to measure sustainability performance, and assessed fit-for-purpose technology for possible deployment. And the results speak for themselves.
The KhPD 2014 energy intensity index has dropped significantly by beating annual corporate targets for four years in a row.
KhPD also maintained good levels of fugitive emissions such as SOx, NOx and H2S in 2014. Wash water consumption index and flare minimization targets also favorably exceeded the corporate-mandated levels.
Engineering and Production Technology Leadership Achievements
KhPD’s second award under Engineering and Production Technology Leadership recognized Khurais’ development and deployment of its innovative integrated analytical engineering performance monitoring tool.
The tool, which recently earned a U.S. patent, goes beyond typical monitoring systems and has become key for the ongoing operational excellence efforts at KhPD; such as energy conservation, crude yield enhancement, resource optimization and equipment efficiency.
It performs incentive evaluation or lost opportunity assessment (by measuring additional revenue, energy savings, and resource conservation); provides diagnostic and advisory capabilities that help engineers and operators make the right decisions to close performance gaps; and prioritizing which initiatives to implement.
APOD’s Big Data and Advanced Analytics Achievements
APOD’s winning project was the implementation of an innovative, first-of-its-kind energy KPI system at Abqaiq Plants that was developed in-house and has been filed as a patent.
The system transforms huge amounts of operational data into predictive and actionable insights for the operation team. The system is used as an operational and engineering tool to supervise and improve energy performance. The system explores energy consumption at the equipment level and provides advisory intelligence to the operators for further adjustment.
When detecting an energy KPI anomaly, the system automatically point outs which process/equipment caused the anomaly, the root cause and corrective actions, and the operating unit responsible for the corrective actions.
The new system embeds engineers’ process knowledge, operation experience, KPI familiarity, and analytical skills to identify the causes of energy deficiency and what actions are required to remedy the deficiency. This approach reflects realistic production scenarios and saves time when troubleshooting KPI deviation issues. The system performs gap and root cause analysis by analyzing historical and real-time plant data and events.
Saudi Aramco has achieved a landmark by energizing its largest Tie-in Platform (TP-20) with a 230 kV submarine composite cable.
TP-20 lies in the world’s largest offshore field, Safaniya, and the energizing was the first in a phase of long-term plans to upgrade the Safaniya offshore field, referred to as the Safaniya Master Plan.
TP-20 will be the main crude oil gathering and power supply hub for North Safaniya offshore field. It is designed to provide 152 MW of electric power via a 46 km, 3-core 230 kV submarine composite cable (power and fiber) from a Saudi Electricity Company, newly-built 380/230 kV onshore substation.
This 46 km, 3-core 230 kV submarine composite cable is the longest of its kind in the world and was installed as a single piece without a field splice. Considering the value of equipment at stake, the laying of the submarine cable was an extremely critical and complex operation.
The entire length of the submarine cable was transported from the manufacturer on a single vessel, known as a deep water cable laying vessel. Then with the help of a shallow water cable laying barge, the cable was installed from onshore to offshore TP-20.
With the complete 230 kV electrical substation, the weight of TP-20 exceeds 6,000 metric tons. This staggering load cannot be handled by an industry standard marine crane. Therefore, the installation of TP-20 was performed using a unique float-over method. Careful measures and plans were developed to ensure successful construction and installation of the platform. Several construction workshops, design analyses and model reviews were conducted to review all aspects of the design and to ensure its safe installation.
Subsequent to the energization of TP-20, TP-18 and the nine wellhead platforms in central Safaniya field were also successfully energized under the same project. TP-18 is designed to provide 62 MW of electric power being fed via a 44 km, 3-core 115 kV submarine composite cable from a newly-built 230/115 kV onshore substation.
A complete electrical power system is delivering power to Safaniya’s remote offshore loads and has increased crude oil production more than 70 MBOD from the central Safaniya field – all this after a complex and challenging commissioning operation.
A look back at the discovery that changed the Kingdom (PDF, 2.2MB): Seventy-seven years ago, the Prosperity Well (Dammam Well No. 7) produced oil in commercial quantities and Saudi Arabia’s transformation began in earnest. One man played a pivotal role in making it happen. Geologist Max Steineke refused to give up when many around him began to doubt that the Kingdom was home to vast amounts of hydrocarbons.
Blazing a trail in Jazan (PDF, 3.7MB): Over two days at the Jazan Economic Forum (JEF) , government officials and the captains of Saudi industry set out in detail the plans for the economic transformation of the southwestern region. Massive in its scale, the Jazan Economic City ( JEC) is an effort to achieve balanced economic development in the Kingdom as part of a wider program of diversification.
Saudi Aramco’s 2014 Annual Review and Citizenship report (PDF, 2.6MB): By all accounts, 2014 was a landmark year for Saudi Aramco. Together, the more than 61,000 men and women of Saudi Aramco — the largest workforce in the company’s history — achieved remarkable progress on the journey to transform the company into the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals enterprise.
Going against the grain (PDF, 1.7MB): For decades, Saudi Aramco has waged a largely unnoticed battle against the dominant presence on the Saudi Arabian landscape: sand. It’s a relentless battle but one that has to be maintained on a daily basis to ensure the safety of Saudi Aramco’s employees and the wider communities of the company’s Southern Area Oil Operations.
‘Abbrev.’ (PDF, 1.1MB): Saudi Aramco news in brief.
View The Full Edition (PDF, 11.9MB)