Environment & Safety

Brazilian developments in the biofuels market

Since the 1970s, Brazil has been a world reference in automotive biofuels, especially bioethanol produced from sugarcane. In 1973, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) forced a sharp rise in oil prices, triggering a massive slowdown in the country’s economic growth, which had been going through what was dubbed the “economic miracle,” with growth at an average of 12% of GDP. This study gives an overview of the biofuel sector in Brazil, along with the main business challenges and opportunities in this area.

Circular economy: Getting in the door of opportunity ahead of a vanishing polymer market

Bjacek, P., Accenture

Significant change is coming to the hydrocarbons industry. Up to 43% of the global conventional polymer production expected by 2040 may disappear due to circular economy (CE) initiatives. In addition, due to the growth in wind turbines and solar panels, and in lightweight composite materials in cars and planes, advanced materials waste is just beginning.

Roundtable: The skills gap: How to bridge it and how to close it

Marx, J., Airswift; Stuart, J., Lloyd's Register; Peet, H., Energy Jobline

The skills gap is not a new phenomenon for the oil and gas sector. An aging workforce and increased competition for tomorrow’s technical talent have left the industry nervous about its future. On the heels of the 2019 Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), a panel of experts came together to discuss the sector’s ongoing struggle with the skills gap and what oil and gas/energy companies can do about it.

Digital: Technologies are advancing industry beyond alarm management

Hollifield, B., PAS Global

Let’s face it, alarm management is a fully mature body of knowledge. Since the mid-1990s, industry has improved thousands of alarm systems, transforming them from overloaded nuisances to valuable operator tools for abnormal situation detection and response.

Editorial Comment: Processing a sustainable future

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

An emerging topic along the entire oil and gas value chain is the move toward sustainability. Each company has a somewhat different definition of what sustainability means to its operations.

Onsite

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

FCCU catalyst reformulations: Reducing risk and guaranteeing value with collaboration/testing

Hellenic Petroleum S.A.’s Aspropyrgos refinery is located near Athens, Greece. It has a total refining capacity of approximately 7.5 MMtpy and a Nelson complexity index of 9.7. The refinery was built in 1958 and has undergone several upgrades, including the installation of a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU).

Can ammonia be a future energy storage solution?

Ammonia is well known as a fertilizer. However, it is also a potential carbon-free fuel and an excellent solution for storage of renewable electricity, especially if the syngas needed for producing the ammonia is made by electrolysis.

Executive Viewpoint: Succeeding against cyber attacks

No doubt exists that the added connectivity that modern control and automation systems deliver offers a myriad of benefits. By embedding computing within the process and utilizing edge and cloud technologies, it can provide greater visibility. It creates a digital thread for the plant and allows both equipment and the processes to be analyzed, as well as giving prescriptive advice.

IMO 2020 stability and compatibility headaches

Curcio, L. E., Barsamian, A., Refinery Automation Institute, LLC

The year 2020 will be a mess from the fuel oil stability and compatibility points of view. The year will be price-driven, so the temptation to “cut corners” is great—meaning that a highly variable number of blend components to manufacture the fuel oil will open a “Pandora’s box” of complex and questionable fuel formulations.