LNG Canada and its prime contractor, JGC Fluor BC LNG JV, announced the launch of YOUR PLACE, a province-wide workforce development program aimed at attracting, recruiting, training, supporting and employing women to work in the construction trades on the LNG Canada Project.
Keeping the process running: addressing cooling challenges at refineries and chemical plants
Heavy industrial applications such as manufacturing, chemical processing, and oil and gas refining utilize cooling towers and other equipment to cool the water integral to their operations. As environmental regulations and challenging market conditions place higher demands on these industries, improved cooling technologies are emerging to help address these challenges.
In the oil and gas industry, many cooling towers currently in service were built as part of the original refinery construction and are fast approaching the end of their service lives. In order to meet today's production demands and industry requirements, these towers must be upgraded or replaced with more efficient products and better long-term maintenance plans must be instituted.
Cooling Tower Operation and Types
Cooling towers are specialized heat exchangers that reduce the temperature of water by bringing it in contact with air. Water, which has been heated by an industrial process, is pumped to the cooling tower through pipes. The water sprays through nozzles onto banks of heat transfer material called "fill," which slows the flow of water through the cooling tower, and exposes as much water surface area as possible for maximum air-water contact. As the water flows through the cooling tower, it is exposed to air, which is being pulled through the tower by an electric motor-driven fan.
When the water and air meet, a small amount of water is evaporated, creating a cooling action. The cooled water is then pumped back to the process equipment where it absorbs heat. It will then be pumped back to the cooling tower to be cooled once again.
Different types of cooling towers are suited for different industrial cooling needs. Field-erected towers (FEP) are constructed on site, designed for large heat loads, and are engineered to address the specific application. FEP towers are well-suited for power and heavy industrial uses, and are frequently found in refineries and chemical processing plants.
Factory-assembled towers (FAP) are constructed in modules at a manufacturing facility and then shipped to the processing plant in as few pieces as possible for final assembly. FAP towers are available in a range of cooling capacities and box sizes and include standardized mechanical and structural components.
In order to meet today's production demands and Oil and Gas industry requirements, many older cooling towers constructed of wood must be upgraded or replaced with more efficient products.
For refineries and chemical processing plants, open circuit wet cooling towers, coupled with shell and tube or plate and frame heat exchangers, provide an economical method for rejecting heat. These towers are designed to wet bulb temperature and can cool water to a lower temperature than some other technologies. But, refineries and processing plants also employ other methods to achieve cooling.
Air Cooled Heat Exchangers (ACHE)
Evaporative cooling towers described above use heat transfer fill to effectively distribute the hot process water and increase its surface area for more efficient cooling. The tradeoff is that many fill types require relatively clean water to run effectively. Lower quality water containing particles and debris will clog the fill and reduce performance.
For situations where water is scarce, unavailable or expensive, ACHEs are an alternative cooling technology. ACHEs are built to handle the high heat loads common in oil and gas and chemical processes, require infrequent maintenance and do not evaporate water for cooling.
Air cooled heat exchangers (ACHE) use only air flow to cool hydrocarbon products and other fluids in tubes. Hot process fluid from the plant flows through fin tubes while cooling air flows across them. ACHE work well for higher temperature hydrocarbon applications. These heat exchangers are employed by oil and gas industry because no water or water chemistry maintenance is required and they do not create the vapor plume of evaporative towers. However, they cannot cool water or process fluids to temperatures as low as wet cooling towers since they are designed to dry bulb temperature.
Other specialized heat exchangers, including evaporative condensers and closed circuit fluid coolers are also employed to cool processes and fluids throughout chemical plants.
For situations where water is scarce, unavailable or expensive, air cooled heat exchangers (ACHE) are an alternative cooling technology. ACHEs are built to handle the high heat loads of oil and gas and chemical processes, require infrequent maintenance and use no water.
Challenges for Oil and Gas
In oil and gas refineries, industrial equipment is often jacketed or sleeved with flowing water to cool fluids and absorb process heat. This equipment generates a very large heat load that can disrupt operations if not properly handled. Cooling towers are used to cool this process water for reuse. The towers must not only be able to handle the heat load, but also handle problems unique to the industry. Leaks in the process can cause hydrocarbons to contaminate the cooling water and vice versa. Lower quality, non-potable water is often used to cool plant processes. Meeting environmental regulations limiting hydrocarbons, water usage and drift rates present challenges to plant operators. New industry regulations often require cooling towers to lower the drift rate to 0.0005% of circulating water flow, which can be difficult to achieve in older evaporative cooling towers. Many cooling towers currently in use are not equipped to handle these demands.
A few decades ago, field-erected towers commonly used wood structural members. These cooling towers are coming to the end of their service lives, experiencing mechanical failures, requiring frequent unplanned maintenance that interferes with production and impacting facility productivity. The heat transfer fill in the towers also degrades over time, getting plugged with waste from dirty cooling water and breaking down from the weight of debris.
A good portion of the industry is in need of new towers and better long-term maintenance plans. "A lot of the existing cooling towers are either aging out or suffering from lack of proper maintenance," says Alan Christian, president of Christian Power Equipment, Inc., a company that specializes in equipment for power, process and pollution control. "It's significant enough that I would call it a trend [in the industry]."
Replacing Old Towers
Replacing aging wooden cooling towers is a challenging undertaking. Because they are integral to the production process, maintenance, repair and replacement must be accomplished within short scheduled outage periods. Some replacements are done one cooling cell at a time, allowing the plant to continue to operate - a practice known as "on-line construction." Rental of temporary cooling equipment is often necessary. In order to combat replacement logistical challenges and high costs, cooling tower manufacturers offer a range of technology solutions in both FEP and FAP towers. Refineries and chemical plants can replace old, deteriorating towers with modular field-erected towers or pre-assembled package towers that are project and site specific.
"A lot of these refineries were established between 1950 and 1970 when the original towers went in. They built up the refineries around [the towers]," says Pam McLaughlin, sales engineer at Hastik-Baymont, Inc., a company that specializes in engineered equipment solutions for the oil and gas and process industries. "Most places, unless they're new grassroots refineries, don't have a whole lot of lay down area to do tower repairs or replacements on a basin that's already erected. There's just not a lot of available space."
To work with these constraints, SPX Cooling Technologies has modularized the production and field assembly processes for counterflow FEP towers. The modular Marley F400 Cooling Tower, for example, erects faster and requires less site lay-down area compared to traditional tower construction methods while offering the same powerful capabilities to keep up with large heat loads. Modular components are shipped "just in time" to the job site, reducing construction duration and manpower requirements. Assembly processes are safer and uniform factory-assembled modules ensure consistent product quality.
New cooling towers like the Marley F400 counterflow tower include modular pre-assembled components that ship "just in time" to the job site to reduce construction time and manpower requirements.
Factory-Assembled Tower Considerations
Factory-assembled cooling towers are a viable alternative for oil and gas applications with low to medium heat loads. They offer faster delivery and installation and more site placement flexibility, allow for shorter outages and loss of production time. In case of expansion, additional cells may be added to provide more cooling capacity. FAP towers designed for process applications include industrial-grade materials and construction, heavy gauge steel structure, integral cold water basin and robust mechanical components built for reliability and longevity.
An example of a factory-assembled tower designed for industrial applications is the Marley NC Everest Cooling Tower. Its exceptional cooling capacity can replace three, four and five-celled FEP cooling towers. The NC Everest addresses many of the process industry's requirements, including the lowest available drift rate of 0.0005% and Factory Mutual (FM) approval.
A factory-assembled cooling tower engineered for industrial applications, the Marley NC Everest has 50% more cooling capacity compared to other pre-assembled towers and is able to process the same heat load as FEP towers with as many as five cells.
"This advanced design factory-assembled cooling tower can be delivered with 60 percent shorter lead time and installed in about 20 percent of the time it would take to build a traditional field-erected cooling tower," says Scott Maurer, global product manager for factory-assembled products at SPX Cooling Technologies. "With no costly concrete basin construction required, simplified piping and electrical wiring, and more flexible site placement, the cost benefits of factory-assembled towers become clearer."
New Designs for a New Era
As environmental and market demands put pressure on oil and gas refineries and chemical processing plants, they must take measures to ensure their facilities and equipment are modern and efficient. Old deteriorating cooling systems must be replaced by new technologies and designs, made with durable materials and components and backed by reputable manufacturers and supported by knowledgeable engineers and service technicians. Cooling systems must also be part of comprehensive monitoring and maintenance programs that extend the equipment's profitable service life and alert plants to potential problems before a crisis arises.
Both evaporative cooling and dry cooling solutions play important roles in refineries and chemical plants. The selection of the correct technology for specific industrial cooling applications is dependent on many factors, including plant conditions, environmental considerations, water quality and availability, profitability and other operational issues. The help and advice of reliable, knowledgeable and experienced process engineers, equipment manufacturers and preventive maintenance experts are essential to plant efficiency and longevity.
More from Industry News
Ritchie Bros., the world largest industrial auctioneer, will host one of the largest pipeline construction equipment auctions ever, selling more than 4,700 items over two days at its site in Columbus, OH. Every single item in the auction will be sold without reserve.
As electrical machinery evolves and matures at an exponential pace - alongside increasingly available power grids to supply them - the oil and gas (O&G) landscape is witnessing major change. This is a positive shift as electrification not only meets ever tougher demands for lower global emissions, but also ticks boxes for improving O&G's availability and reliability. What's more, alongside greater productivity for operators, it adds up to greater safety for plant workers and the wider public too.
The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) is disheartened with the federal government's rejection of the proposed Senate amendments to Bill C-69.
Canada's oil sector is missing a significant opportunity to benefit from the global commodity price and finally receive fair market value for Canadian resources, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers' (CAPP) 2019 Crude Oil Forecast, Markets and Transportation report.
The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) is expressing extreme disappointment with the decision by the Trudeau government to not accept the full slate of amendments for Bill C-69 proposed by the Senate following lengthy consultation with Canadians.
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health, safety, and environment of Canadians. The Government enforces laws that protect Canada's air, water, and natural environment, and we take this responsibility very seriously.
It is now clear the federal government is ignoring the Senate and the will of Canadians, damaging the country's economic future by not accepting the package of amendments the Senate proposed to Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
A landmark gift from Pembina Pipeline Corporation is ensuring working landscapes across the Canadian Prairies also work for conservation. Its $1-million investment in Ducks Unlimited Canada's (DUC) Revolving Land Conservation Program will protect approximately 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of important wetland habitat. At the same time, communities across Alberta and Saskatchewan will benefit from a host of environmental benefits. The joint announcement was made and celebrated by Pembina and DUC at a ceremony held at one of DUC's conservation project sites located east of Camrose.
CIRCOR Industrial Valves, a leader in designing and manufacturing flow control technology, features its commitment to ONE CIRCOR, ONE Solution, an initiative to provide the right solution for each customer by effectively drawing on the technical capabilities of CIRCOR's trusted brands, like Leslie Controls, Spence, RTK, Nicholson, and more. With a broad range of products to match to requirements and the technical expertise to design optimized systems for specific customer applications, CIRCOR engineers and provides integrated critical steam solutions for process industry, oil and gas, district energy and power systems.
Newly released estimates from satellite data show global gas flaring increased by 3 percent in 2018 to 145 billion cubic meters (bcm), which is equivalent to the total annual gas consumption of Central and South America.
Pulse Oil Corp. is pleased to announce the key findings of Pulse's enhanced oil recovery ("EOR") study.
Encana Corporation has provided an update on its share buyback program and disclosed its intention to execute a substantial issuer bid (SIB) to fulfill its previously announced 2019 share buyback. In addition, the Company signed an agreement to exit China, strengthened its production outlook for the second quarter of 2019 and reiterated its original capital investment plan.
Canadian oil sands production is set to enter a period of slower annual production growth compared to previous years. Nevertheless, total production is expected to reach nearly four million barrels per day (mbd) by 2030 - nearly one million more than today, according to a new 10-year production forecast by business information provider IHS Markit.
Canada's next federal government has an opportunity to help define a strategic, long-term vision for the growth of Canada's oil and natural gas sector, one that promotes jobs and a healthy economy for all Canadians, while being part of the solution to meet growing global energy demand with responsibly developed energy, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
Parliamentarians need to support Bill C-69, as it was amended by the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, according to the leaders of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
nVent Electric plc has introduced a new standardized design for its nVent RAYCHEM Mineral Insulated (MI) heating units; industry-leading equipment designed to provide superior freeze protection and process temperature maintenance for high-power, high-exposure industrial heat-tracing applications. The new heating units ensure greater operational reliability and corrosion resistance in harsh environments.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited has entered into an agreement, subject to regulatory approval, to acquire substantially all of the assets of Devon Canada Corporation , for a cash purchase price of C$3.775 billion (subject to closing adjustments), with an effective date of January 1, 2019 and a targeted closing date of June 27, 2019.
AltaGas Ltd. has celebrated the grand opening of its Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal (RIPET), located in Prince Rupert, British Columbia - the first marine export facility for propane in Canada. The facility began introducing propane feedstock in mid-April, and the first shipment departed the terminal on May 23, 2019 bound for Asia.
Capital spending shifts and increased free cash flow generation included in Husky five-year plan update
With a focus on generating increased free cash flow, the updated Husky Energy five-year plan shows reduced capital spending to achieve an annual average of $3.15 billion for 2019 - 2023 versus the previously planned 2018 - 2022 annual average of $3.5 billion. Total capital spending over the 2019 - 2023 five-year period is reduced by about $1.7 billion, with total free cash flow before dividends expected to reach $8.7 billion at a flat $60 US WTI planning price.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) must decide whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the proposed Tilt Cove Exploration Drilling Project, located 300 kilometres southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
PetroShale announces financial and operating results for first quarter 2019 and provides operational update
PetroShale Inc. has announced its results for the first quarter of 2019, including a production rate averaging 5,036 boe/d, up by 52 percent from 2018, and increased revenue from year to year.
Speaking at the closing of the AIPN 2019 International Petroleum Summit (IPS), Ryan Lance, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ConocoPhillips spoke about his company's "hyper focus on returns" highlighting that the "returns the energy industry has generated have been negative over the last 10 to 15 years. Investors are frustrated. We chase the cycle up only, they have to chase the cycle back down on the back side. We recognize it's a mature industry growing at 1 percent per year. There's a lot of companies, some tremendous companies ... that have dramatic growth profiles. But when they put a hundred percent of their cash flow back into the business, don't pay the shareholder a fair amount of money, they're actually destroying value in the long run.
In less than four years, the Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility has captured and safely stored four million tonnes of CO2, ahead of schedule and at a lower cost than anticipated. Four million tonnes of CO2 is equal to the annual emissions from about one million cars. Quest has now stored underground the most CO2 of any onshore CCS facility in the world with dedicated geological storage.
Oil potential remains abundant beyond shale, according to Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
How does the oil and gas industry plan its future in the ever-changing operating environment? The Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) International Petroleum Summit, held in Houston, focused on a number of themes which will help companies determine a strategy for the years ahead.
Over the past decade, uncertainty has been constant in Canada's oil and gas industry, brought on in part by unknown investment outlooks, lack of market access, and a complex regulatory process. According to PwC Canada's 2019 Energy Visions report, there are two main factors that could catalyze change for the oil and gas industry: a national energy strategy as well as further technological innovation.
Events like this happen once a year, at most. On June 27 - 28, 2019, the world's largest industrial auctioneer, Ritchie Bros., will sell more than 120 pipelayers and other pipeline construction equipment at its auction site in Columbus, OH. Every single item will be sold without minimum bids or reserve prices.
Crude-oil-to-chemicals technology could boost per-barrel profits for refiners and petrochemical producers: IHS Markit
A revolutionary new chemical process technology, called crude oil-to-chemicals (COTC), could more than double the profitability derived from a barrel of crude oil, according to a new, independent economic assessment from IHS Markit.
Canada's vast gasoline production and transportation infrastructure ensures flexible and reliable supply for Canadians but unique market conditions in each region drive prices at the pump, according to a new report released by the National Energy Board (NEB).
Canbriam Energy Inc. and Pacific Oil and Gas Ltd. have announced the signing of definitive documents for the acquisition by PO&G of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Canbriam for cash consideration. Canbriam's Board of Directors has provided unanimous approval of the Transaction, and all of the officers, directors and significant shareholders of Canbriam representing greater than 90 percent of the outstanding Canbriam shares have entered into support and lock-up agreements in favor of the Transaction.
Fuelled, Canada's leading energy equipment marketplace, announced an agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc., LIT, in its capacity as the court appointed Receiver of Trident Exploration. This agreement will allow Fuelled to act as the exclusive sales agent for Trident's surplus oil and gas equipment. Fuelled is representing the Receiver on the divestiture of approximately 250 pieces of production equipment located in Western Canada. "We look forward to working closely with the Receiver on this engagement while we continue to deliver an unparalleled customer experience to our online buyers" said Austin Fraser, VP of Fuelled. "Trident's equipment includes gas compression, separation, dehydration, refrigeration, MCC's and other gas processing equipment that we believe there is strong demand for from our customers domestically as well as in the US and Overseas"
The International Gas Union (IGU) released its 2019 Wholesale Gas Price Survey at Flame 2019. The survey is the eleventh to be undertaken in a series that began in 2007. The eleven surveys examine the dramatic changes in wholesale price formation mechanisms during a period of key developments in the global gas market.
Athabasca Oil Corporation has reported strong operational and financial performance in the first quarter of 2019. With its resilient business model, the Company is well positioned to generate free cash flow in 2019 and beyond.
Pfannenberg, a manufacturer of thermal management and signaling technologies, announces a new video highlighting the ease of installation of its line of PATROL signaling devices, including both audible and combined visual-audible signal models. Pfannenberg signaling devices are designed to be installed in less than a minute. Video viewers can see a direct head-to-head comparison with competitive signaling alarms that take considerably more time to install.
TC PipeLines, LP reported net income attributable to controlling interests of $93 million and distributable cash flow of $116 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Baker Hughes, a GE company announced that the Baker Hughes international rig count for April 2019 was 1,062, up 23 from the 1,039 counted in March 2019, and up 84 from the 978 counted in April 2018. The international offshore rig count for April 2019 was 251, up 4 from the 247 counted in March 2019, and up 57 from the 194 counted in April 2018.
From 2016 to 2018, capital investment in Canada's upstream oil and gas industry (essentially, exploration and production) increased 15 percent compared to 41 percent in the U.S. over the same period, finds a new study released by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
Schlumberger introduced the IriSphere look-ahead-while-drilling service at the Offshore Technology Conference. The new service provides the industry's first application of electromagnetic (EM) technology for detecting formation features ahead of the drill bit in oil and gas wells.