Friday, May 25, 2018

How Technology is Saving the Petroleum Industry

To say the oil and gas industry has had a tough couple of years would be a bit of an understatement. Today, public perception is that oil and gas companies are not keeping up with the times. Not only are organizations, like Google, spearheading clean energy projects that threaten oil and gas, but other industries are also adopting new technology at faster paces.
From robotics to artificial intelligence, organizations across verticals recognize that in order to stay relevant among consumers, they have to change with the times. So why are oil and gas companies still lagging behind?
Luckily, there’s still time for companies within these fields to revamp their operations and propel themselves to the modern-day playing field. All organizations existing in traditional verticals can learn how to reignite progress within their companies by assessing the problems that plagued oil and gas, as well as the technological advancements that have the potential to turn things around.

The Problem: Slow to Adopt Technology

Like many other industries, the oil and gas industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation.
Unlike many other industries, however, oil and gas companies have been slow to adopt technological innovations on the software front. Lloyd’s Register accurately summarizes the current state of the industry:
“Innovate or die. In today’s Energy industry, the speed of adoption lags behind that of other industries; industries that are subject to the same rash of safety, legal, commercial and financial pressures faced by Energy companies, such as Aerospace.”
Many of the reasons that the industry is slow to evolve are understandable; the capital that was once plentiful has seen a rapid decline and the industry is stuck in the “old way” of doing things. Discussing the current state of the industry, Shiva Rajagopalan, CEO of Seven Lakes Technologies, a mobile field data capture platform working in the oil and gas industry, says:
“Ironically, the reason oil companies have been slow to invest in more efficient practices is due to their wealth. High market prices and a steady influx of capital allowed them to hide inefficiencies. The focus was growth and reserves exploration. If they are killing it in the market, why should they change? There is an old-guard that doesn’t necessarily understand how technologies can drive bigger business value.”
While this enormous undertaking may scare others, entrepreneurs should view this as a massive opportunity.

The Opportunity: Digital Transformation

The oil and gas industry, combined, are multi-billion dollar industries; big oil is big money and the time is now to bring the industry into the digital age.
The following are top technologies that have been adopted in other industries, yet have been slow to integrate into the oil and gas industry.
Robotics: The industry was slow to adopt the use of robotics before 2014, but now companies climbing out of the collapse are implementing them. For example, Iron Roughneck, which was developed by a company called National Oilwell Varco Inc., automates the dangerous and repetitive tasks of connecting drill pipes on oil rigs.
While technologies like these do add value to the companies, there is potential for workers to lose their jobs, which is a recurring fear that many have when it comes to robots.
Chris Blackford, the founder of Sky-Futures, a drone company for the oil and gas industry,explained that “the inspection data we can collect in five days takes rope-access technicians about eight weeks.”

Artificial Intelligence: In the oil and gas industry, AI allows companies to uncover trends that pinpoint and predict inefficiencies. Leveraging AI to improve performance operations from C-level to field worker, automate processes, streamline manual business operations, and connect with IoT devices, makes every arm of the company more efficient and profitable.
“To survive the current era of cheap oil, we will see the democratization of tools like AI, automation, and IoT. The oil and gas sector must capitalize on such business intelligence, otherwise, they will undoubtedly be left behind in a worldwide digital revolution,” says Rajagopalan.
Cloud Computing: As the oil and gas undergo this enormous transformation to a digital infrastructure, cloud computing will prove to be a powerful engine. The sheer amount of data companies can harness and further analyze through automation, will reduce operational expenses, down well times, and lessen risk. As more oil and gas companies integrate cloud computing, this will empower field workers to optimize production.
“To take effective action, the entire production chain, from COO right down to on-site well engineers, need to see the very detailed cost and production data, narrowed down to the invoice level. By leveraging cloud computing capabilities, accuracy and transparency are achieved in the shortest amount of time to drastically improve well-cost management,” explains Rajagopalan.
Even industries that aren’t traditionally progressive can no longer afford to staunchly opposed change and digital transformation. Luckily for organizations that may have been slow to adapt, emerging technologies, including cloud computing, AI, and robotics can be easily implemented and impactful almost immediately.
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Petrochemicals Flowchart Follow the path of raw materials into everyday applications

Petrochemicals are the foundation of a wide range of industries, and the manufacturing of consumer goods.
ICIS has designed a flowchart to help you follow the path of petrochemicals from raw materials into everyday applications. The chart takes you through the refining and processing of hydro-carbon based raw materials and feedstocks, to building blocks and their derivatives, right up to their application in everyday products.

The flowchart covers:

  • Energy sources
  • Refining & distillation
  • Feedstocks
  • Cracker products
  • Aromatics & derivatives
  • Olefins & derivatives
  • Chemical intermediates
  • Polymers
  • Applications


Global Supply and Demand Database

A global reference in petrochemical market data, the ICIS Supply and Demand Database brings you a wealth of data covering refining, petrochemical feedstocks, base chemicals, intermediates and derivatives markets.
It incorporates four fully reconciled databases in one easy-to-use interface, providing you with supply, demand, production capacity, and trade flows to empower long-term, evidence based decision-making.
Search, shape and export historical and projected data from all over the world, looking back to 1978 and forward up to 2030, across 160 countries and 100 markets.

Global consulting expertise

Our consultants enables businesses to address specific, long term challenges across global petrochemical, energy and fertilizers industries.
Our consultants are experts from the industry and fully understand the overlying market trends and will work alongside your business to help you:
  • Assist with identifying high risk areas
  • Plan to mitigate or eliminate risks
  • Provide insight to successfully plan for 2016 and beyond.

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  • pc flowchart

Digital Tranformation by 2020

Azerikimya Production Union will build a number of new units by 2020, said Fazail Yusifov, deputy head of Modernization and Reconstruction Department of Azerikimya, on the last day of the 4th international conference “Oil refining and petrochemistry of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia,” which has kicked off on November 28.
He went on to say that construction of new units started last year and will cover the period until the end of 2019.
“Four new steam pyrolysis furnaces and a pressure swing absorption (PSA) hydrogen treatment unit will be built within the framework of the petrochemical production’s modernization project, and this will make it possible to bring purification of the hydrogen fraction to 99.9 percent,” he said. “It is also planned to build a new hydrogen electrolysis unit, a new propane-propylene fraction (PPF) purification unit, which cleans raw materials from polluting substances and poisons (sulfur, water, arsenic, mercury, phosphine, mono and carbon dioxide), a dry gas cleaning unit, a new distributed control system (DCS) for ethylene and propylene plant (EP-300), and a new ethylene and propylene storage facility.”
Addressing the conference, he noted that at the same time, a lot of work is being done to modernize and reconstruct the existing units.
“In particular, we plan to reconstruct the existing propane-propylene fraction separation unit in order to increase propylene productivity from 136,000 to 187,000 tons, modernize hot and cold sections, existing C2 and C3 selective hydrogenation units, and this means replacing existing isothermal reactors with new ones,” he said. “We expect to optimize the work of existing compressors of pyrogas, ethylene, propylene and a propylene heat pump, as well as upgrade auxiliary facilities and infrastructure. The work on the construction of treatment facilities, modernization of existing power substations and increase of the efficiency of the electrical system is underway.”
Rasim Ibrahimov, chief engineer at the Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery told reporters that Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR increased the depth of oil refining at the Refinery to 92 percent.
Last year, this figure was 89.5 percent, according to him.
“Since we abandoned fuel oil production, the depth of refining has grown and now stands at 92 percent,” said the chief engineer.
Ibrahimov also noted that SOCAR plans to keep this level in 2018 as well.
Currently, the Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery is being modernized, after which its production capacity will increase from 6 million to 7.5 million tons per year.
SOCAR announced the liquidation of the Azneftyag refinery and its merger with the Baku Oil Refinery named after Heydar Aliyev, in 2015. This decision was made in the framework of works to improve and optimize the structure of SOCAR.
The refinery meets Azerbaijan’s entire demand for petroleum products and exports 45 percent of the products. The petroleum products processed at the plant include automotive gasoline, aviation kerosene, diesel fuel, black oil, petroleum coke, and others.
The company plans to produce high-quality oil products as part of the next stage of the reconstruction work to be carried out at the Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery. Under the program, the oil refinery will produce Euro-5 standard diesel in 2019 and the Euro 5 standard petrol in 2020.
The cost of upgrading the Baku Oil Refinery will be about $1.5-1.7 billion.
SOCAR is wholly owned by the government of Azerbaijan. SOCAR participates in joint ventures (including ventures in Georgia and Turkey), consortia, and operating companies established with SOCAR’s participation.
The company includes such production associations as Azneft (the enterprises producing oil and gas onshore and offshore), Azerikimya (the chemical enterprises) and Azerigas (distributor of gas produced in the country), as well as oil and gas processing plants, service companies, and the facilities involved in geophysical and drilling operations.
In 2016 the international conference “Oil refining and petrochemistry of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia,” took place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, and this year moved to one of the oldest and largest cities of the East – Baku.
Over the past four years, the conference has turned into the largest regional venue and the most significant event in the industry of the Caspian region and Central Asia, each year traditionally bringing together the heads of the biggest oil and gas companies, oil refineries and petrochemical plants of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as foreign partners representing world engineering and technology companies.
Source: azernews
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Eyes wide open: The cons, and pros, of a big petrochemical plant

There are trade-offs to living in the shadow of a petrochemical plant.
The tax revenue can help fund schools and public safety services. The plant may employ generations of residents and keep contractors, from plumbers to electricians, hopping. A thriving plant can keep the hotels booked, the restaurants full and retailers busy.
But those living closest to the plant must contend with flares that light up the sky, noises that can rattle the house, hypersensitive security guards, the possibility of pollution and the risk of explosions that can level houses and snuff out lives.
This was the balanced picture of life in a petrochemical community that the Post-Gazette’s Anya Litvak provided in a two-part series last Sunday and Monday. During the winter, she and photographer/​videographer Andrew Rush traveled to St. Charles and Ascension parishes in Louisiana, the latter alone is home to 32 plants, so they could report on what Beaver County residents can expect from the $6 billion ethane cracker and petrochemical plant Shell plans to build there.
In addition to two main stories chronicling the pros and cons of the parishes’ major industry, the project included three important sidebars — “How to Stay Safe Near a Chemical Plant,” “How to Track Health Impacts” and “How to Talk to Shell,” a big player in Louisiana’s petrochemical industry, too. It was important to gather the impressions, observations and experiences of people directly affected by the industry. Locally, all we have so far are the promises by Shell and economic-development officials and the concerns of the plant’s opponents.
In the towns of Norco and Geismar, Ms. Litvak and Mr. Rush  found residents happy to have the employment and tax revenue and largely resigned to the risks. Of course, the more one benefits from the plant, the more sanguine about the danger one may be. “If it’s my time, it’s my time,” said Barbara Dixon, a third-generation petrochemical company retiree whose home was rocked by an explosion in 1988 before she and her husband, Randy, had a chance to move into it.
Candid communication is key to a productive company-community relationship. By and large, Louisiana residents and officials said the chemical companies are good neighbors, who are upfront when they can be and quick to address problems when they occur. But as Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said, that doesn’t obviate the need for vigilance or, if the company falls short in some area, correction.
Much of this should sound familiar to Beaver County residents, or at least those old enough to remember the era of thriving mill and mine. Those enterprises also supported entire communities but brought pollution, the risk of explosion and other problems. Today, with the right planning and regulation, Beaver County will be better poised to leverage the benefits and minimize the risk than it ever was during the heyday of coal and steel.
As part of that planning process, county officials and community representatives might want to make their own trip to St. Charles and Ascension parishes and gather their own insights into how to manage the petrochemical industry. They should go with an open mind — and book their hotel rooms in advance.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Know the importance of refining and petrochemical manufacturing

Americans know that products produced from petrochemicals are essential to modern life. Petrochemicals are used to manufacture just about everything not made of wood, plants, other living things or metal. These products include everything made of plastic, medicines and medical devices, cosmetics, furniture, appliances, TVs and radios, computers, parts used in every mode of transportation, solar power panels and wind turbines.
I’ve been saying these things for a long time, and now there’s new evidence to back up my points. A recent poll conducted for NPRA, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, found that 90 percent of Americans believe our nation’s petroleum refineries and petrochemical manufacturing plants are among America’s “most important” or “important” industries.
This is because Americans who drive to work in cars and trucks powered by gasoline and diesel and spend their days surrounded by thousands of products made with petrochemicals realize that America’s fuels and petrochemical manufacturers play a vital role in their lives every day.
A total of 44 percent of Americans believe the refining and petrochemical sectors are “among the country’s most important industries,” while 46 percent consider the sectors “among the country’s important industries,” according to the poll conducted for NPRA by Opinion Research Corporation.
When asked what they associated with the refining and petrochemical sectors, and allowed to give multiple responses, those polled listed: oil, gas or fuel (76 percent); critical to America’s competiveness (67 percent); manufacturing (64 percent); science and high tech (62 percent); and keystone to other U.S. industries (57 percent).
The poll surveyed 1,000 adults and was demographically and geographically proportioned to accurately reflect the opinions of all adults in the nation based on the latest U.S. Census figures. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
Just as “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” there’s no such thing as an energy source or a source for the building blocks of other products that is free of downsides – and every American grounded in reality knows that.
For example, electric-powered vehicles – touted as “the next big thing” for more than 100 years – are expensive, have limited range, require rare earth minerals produced almost exclusively in China, and lack a nationwide refueling infrastructure.
Electric vehicles now get a taxpayer-funded subsidy of up to $7,500 each, and owners get a $2,000 tax credit for installing a home charging station. If the owners of all of the approximately 250 million passenger vehicles in the United Sates received these big subsidies the cost to taxpayers would top $2 trillion – an amount our deficit-plagued federal government simply could not afford.
In another example, a move by the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline to reduce petroleum consumption has drawn criticism from environmentalists, poultry and meat producers, the boating industry, automakers, outdoor power equipment manufacturers, motorcyclists, snowmobilers, fuel manufacturers and others.
These groups have raised concerns about harm that the increased use of ethanol could cause to engines and to the environment, and about increases in food prices caused by the diversion of growing amounts of corn from the food supply to the fuel supply.
And despite efforts to come up with alternatives, people around the world continue to rely on petrochemicals because they have a proven record of versatility, affordability and reliability.
The results of the NPRA poll show that our nation’s citizens understand that NPRA members strengthen America’s national and economic security, preserve high-tech American manufacturing jobs, and efficiently produce fuels and petrochemicals that benefit every American every day.
The reality is that fuels and other refined petroleum products and petrochemicals can and must continue playing a critical role in building a stronger, more prosperous America and in improving the lives of American families.
Source: thehill
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US chemical capacity to increase by more than 50 million tonnes

There are 325 projects cumulatively valued at $194 billion in capital investment that have been announced since 2010, with 49% of the investment completed or under construction, 45% in the planning phase, and 6% of unknown/delayed status, according to the ACC.
This 325 number has skyrocketed over the last five years from the 97 projects worth $72 billion in investment in 2013.

While this capacity number includes all types of feedstock-based projects, the construction and capacity boom largely point to shale gas and the abundance of it in the U.S.
After years of high and volatile natural gas prices, domestic supplies of abundant and affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) have created a competitive advantage for U.S. chemical manufacturers.
Companies from around the world are investing in new projects to build or expand their shale advantaged capacity in the U.S.
Source: analysis.petchem-update
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