Clear environmental considerations and constraints, a solid design basis memorandum with scope of work, defined legal and regulatory requirements, well stated logistics and shipping constraints, organized client relations, construction constraints and well written contracts are solid foundations to projects.
The use of well defined project management procedures and stages such as Business Planning, Front End Loading ( Concept Development FEL 1, FEL 2 and FEL 3 ) Implementation (FEL 4 and execution) and Close-out activities lead to successful projects. Guidelines and checklists per engineering discipline are useful to cover all deliverables. Understanding about the different oil and gas technologies, costs, schedules, engineering disciplines and having good relationship skills helps to make solid decisions. Process knowledge, the use of specifications, the implementation of new proven technologies, review of equipment options, implementation of government regulations and amicable client relations are key in successful projects. Schedules, vendor management, and cost controls are needed on a day to day basis.
Refinery processes need to handle different feedstocks, for instance heavy oil, light oil and shale oil. Some oils have high viscosity and need to be heated up and pressurized to be desalted, others are corrosive and require different metallurgies, a few require more or less hydrogen to be processed by hydrocrackers or reactors to increase the octane number of the end products. Also, certain oils change in composition depending on the season, so essay testing needs to be done frequently. All these variables affect the total capacity of a refinery. The bottleneck of the refinery may change depending on the oil being processed.
Fuel specifications vary depending on the location where the fuel will be used and determine feedstock mixing ratios. EPA CFR regulations change from time to time, affecting blending, planning schedules and overall production yields.
Gas processes need to be designed based on their gas composition. Natural gas needs to be cleaned out of water, H2S and CO2 to be processed and well designed and operated amine plants will keep operations running for long. Aluminum exchangers are fragile and deserve extra considerations, depressurization can make carbon steel brittle, single and mixed refrigerants are options for LNG plants and the technology used in liquefaction greatly affects capital costs, efficiency, weight and space requirements. Compressors are expensive and a good equipment selection and process will keep operations running smoothly. Regulatory bodies greatly affect LNG process design and operations. NFPA 59A regulates the design of LNG facilities.
Some consideration that need to be taken into consideration while designing an FLNG facility are motion, broad range in gas compositions, weight distribution, safety, shape of ship, connections to other ships, spill protection and storage tanks. Regulations vary from country to country.
Conventional oil needs to be processed efficiently and with safety in mind. Some oils may present H2S and CO2, which will need to be treated according to local and federal regulations.
Heavy oil is all about viscosity, density and sand. Layouts are different to the ones of conventional oil facilities and different instrumentation also needs to be used. Oil /water separation processes need extra considerations, pipelines need to be designed for on/off cases. SAGD operating conditions will be changing and process needs to be designed accordingly. Open pit oil sands are similar to mining processes and have very similar technical requirements as well, such as erosion, process control, separation, frothing control, etc. Diluents are needed at different stages of heavy oil processing.
Each polymer process is a bit differently and unique, but they all have viscosity issues, shear degradation considerations, and require gas, liquid and solid handling. Some reactions are highly exothermic, some technologies are energy intense, an overall process control strategy is of paramount importance to get a quality product. Copolymers, blends, extruders and fancy reactors are norm.
Regulatory bodies such as EPA, PHMSA, FERC, local and federal regulations can make or break a project and need to be consulted and checked right at the beginning in order to comply with their requirements. The level of government specifications change accordingly with safety and may be quite extensive.
Ethylene cracking is an energy intensive process, a good process needs to integrate the energy generated during cracking, green oil needs to be minimized using process conditions all over the plant, compressors need special considerations, operating conditions of naphtha and gas ethylene cracking furnaces are a bit different. Location of acetylene reactors may increase recirculation but also performance.
We have process design experience in the following areas
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