In 2019, there was an abundance of natural gas in production, especially as shale continued to be a major source of product. This abundance of natural gas created an opportunity for new LNG operations to liquify natural gas, making it easier and more cost-effective to ship domestically and internationally.
However, in 2020, there are concerns about whether the global market needs as much LNG as is available. This has created questions about the sustainability of LNG production at new LNG plants over the long haul.
This picture of economic uncertainty has created the need for LNG operators to ensure they have the right processes in place to create an efficient, safe, and cost-effective method for supporting the pipelines that deliver gas to their facilities.
5 Focus Areas for New LNG Plants
Consider these five areas to optimize production at new LNG plants:
- Meet the unique requirements of operating a gas feed.
- Focus on Control Room Management.
- Build out the SCADA system.
- Ensure HMI compliance with API 1165.
- Utilize software to support the control room.
1. Unique Requirements of Gas Feed
Operating a pipeline feed to an LNG plant carries its own unique requirements to ensure safety and efficiency. This includes the development of a natural gas supply for feed gas to the plant.
Depending on how gas supply is fed to the feed pipeline, gas processing (e.g. removing compounds and liquids) might be required prior to liquefaction. In some situations, the feed gas is received as pipeline quality. In other cases, the gas process facility is located in the LNG train ahead of liquefaction.
For new LNG plants, determining the nature of feed is critical to designing the plant for efficient operations and competitive position. To ensure the ideal level of performance, ensure that your team is tracking the unique operating approach and determine the resources required for this process. Then, strategize methods to optimize performance while still meeting the production, operating, and commercial requirements.
2. Focus on Control Room Management
Many LNG facilities are subject to regulations from a variety of agencies, including PHMSA. While PHMSA does not have siting authority of LNG plants, PHMSA has the authority to “establish and enforce safety regulations for onshore LNG facilities.”
If your LNG plant is subject to PHMSA oversight, then you will need to follow the safety standards outlined by PHMSA in the transportation of gas by pipeline.
This includes following the tenets of Control Room Management outlined in the CRM Rule (49 CFR Part 192 for the transportation of gas) to support safe operations.
For new LNG plants, ensure that the controllers, control room manager, and other control room personnel are trained on the requirements of the CRM Rule to ensure compliance with PHMSA oversight for operating an LNG plant.
When creating the Control Room Management Plan and the API 1165 Pipeline SCADA approach, look for opportunities to optimize and streamline pipeline operations.
3. Build out the SCADA System
A SCADA system is a critical component of effectively, efficiently, and safely managing an LNG facility.
For LNG plants, this requires a specific SCADA build-out to ensure monitoring of compressor stations, pump stations, hazardous liquid terminals, and the new LNG plants.
The SCADA system should be used to monitor and supervise PLCs, control sensors, actuators, and other devices used to support LNG production.
To ensure efficiency and safe operations, ensure that your SCADA system is capturing the appropriate amount of data that can be converted to information to help controllers achieve situation awareness and make critical decisions.
4. Ensure HMI Compliance with API 1165
Hand-in-hand with optimizing the SCADA system is ensuring that HMI displays in the control room are in compliance with API 1165.
API 1165 is due for an update in 2020 to take into account the availability of new technology. However, the basic principles remain for the design and implementation of displays used for the monitoring and control of information in a pipeline SCADA system.
This includes ensuring controller understanding of what is presented to them on the HMI displays through these key elements:
- HMI Philosophy
- HMI Style Guide
- HMI Design Guide
The anticipated update to API 1165 will bring this recommended practice up to modern standards through more contextualized information that creates a deeper level of understanding for controllers.
For now, ensure that HMI displays used in the control room are aligned with API 1165 to ensure that controllers can perform their tasks supporting safe operations of an LNG plant.
5. Use Software to Support the Control Room
After meeting the unique requirements of operating a gas feed to an LNG plant, focusing on Control Room Management for PHMSA-regulated plants, building out the SCADA system, and ensuring HMI compliance, the next critical area to support LNG operations is utilizing software to support critical areas of the control room.
Software can support LNG operators by organizing documents, automating processes, creating logs, ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations, and producing records that satisfy a PHMSA inspection or audit.
For new LNG plants, software is the ideal method to ensure efficiency, safety, and compliance to optimize performance during uncertain economic conditions.
Consider the EnerSys POEMS CRM Suite
EnerSys built the POEMS Control Room Management (CRM) software suite to provide operators with modern tools to support pipeline operations.
The POEMS CRM Suite is geared towards operators who want to continue using their existing SCADA system and HMI and need the tools to centralize and organize all records required for conformance to the PHMSA CRM Rule.
LNG operators can utilize the POEMS CRM Suite to:
- Create electronic logs of control room activity.
- Manage the alarm rationalization process and monthly review.
- Support shift handover (SHO) and console workload monitoring requirements.
- Perform point-to-point verification between the control room and field equipment.
- Satisfy a PHMSA audit with accurate recordkeeping.
We believe these tools will help LNG operators as they navigate the current challenges in the market operating new LNG plants.
To schedule an educational call with our team to discuss how the CRM Suite can add value to your operation, contact us directly on our website, via email at email@example.com, or by phone at 281-598-7100.