A year of safe operation of Thi Vai refrigerated LPG storage
A year ago, on 20th of March 2013, PetroVietnam and PV Gas held the inauguration ceremony of the Thi Vai refrigerated LPG storage project.
The project is located in Vung Tau LPG depot, built on a 16ha land of the Thi Vai Port gas project, Cai Mep Industrial Zone, Tan Thanh district, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province. The project is invested by PV GAS with storage capacity of 60,000 tons of refrigerated LPG, in a 30-year operating time, to serve the needs of storing LPG in bulk for not only PV GAS but also other LPG importers, with the aim to increase and stabilize the LPG supplying capacity in long term. This will contribute to ensuring the national energy security and create the advantage in LPG business activities for PV GAS, the leading LPG supplier in Vietnamese market as oriented by PVN and PV GAS.
This important project belongs to the Master Plan on development on Vietnam's seaport system of group 5 for Southern focal economic area period 2020 – 2030 approved by the Prime Minister. To be specified as an important investment orientation that will create favorable condition for PV GAS in LPG business activity, the completion and putting into operation of Thi Vai refrigerated LPG storage has a significant meaning to the socio-economic development for the country as well as for Ba Ria - Vung Tau province. This project contributes to the completion of the infrastructure system of the gas industry in Southern focal economic area, the largest LPG consuming area of the country. Besides, it also creates jobs for local labor forces. With this storage, PV GAS is able to enlarge its market confidently, actively make business and firmly hold the market share to regulate the commodity amount in bulk and increase the storage capacity. This will contribute to the national energy security and raise its position in LPG supplying market in Vietnam.
Right after the inauguration ceremony, this largest LPG storage in Vietnam and Southeast Asia was handed over to PV GAS Vung Tau Processing Company (KVT) – an owned company of PV GAS in April 2013. The project is the expansion of the existing storage, built on a 5.6 ha area with main storage tools of 2 refrigerated towers with storage capacity of 30,000 tons each, 2 pressurized tanks, each with 2,000 ton storage capacity. The refrigerated storage is facilitated with a state-of-the-art technology and equipment system which have been presented at Vietnam for the first time. After completion of the refrigerated storage, the total storage capacity of PV Gas VT terminal system reaches 71,000 tons and can receive ships of 500 to 60,000 tons load. The technology equipment system of the refrigerating storage is connected and linked with those of existing terminal storage system, which are all controlled by a central control room at the refrigerated storage.
When assigned the task of receipt and operation of the refrigerated storage, KVT defined it as an important and difficult task, as it remained many potential challenges during the receipt and operation processes such as: inexperienced operators having not yet accessed to new technology and equipment system; having to operate the existing storage system and, at the same time, displace the old control room to enable the existing systems to be connected with the systems and facilities at new control room; receiving heavy-lift ships of up to 60,000 tons for the first time; high risk of breakdown; difficulties in isolating and cleaning the refrigerated equipment in the case of breakdown; requiring much time to study new technology system from many different manufacturers...;
Anticipating the potential difficulties and risks of the processes, KVT leaders divided it into two main phases: Risks in phase “Commissioning - receiving” and risks in phase “Operation”. All leaders and employees of KVT and associate units throughout PV GAS were unanimous to put forward preventive measures to deal with these risks in high determination: “Safe and effective receipt and operation of refrigerated LPG storage”.
To cope with risks and difficulties, KVT carried out appropriate solutions for each specific phase. In the phase “Commissioning - receiving”, KVT deployed the following measures: appointing operators to participate and follow up right from the very beginning of the process; establishing the Receiving Team comprising specialized groups to assign groups, individuals to study the facility system; sending operators to Thailand for refrigerated LPG storage operation training; appointing operators to attend equipment/system training courses sponsored by reliable organizations. organizing indoor training courses for refrigerated LPG technology for operators; appointing experts to take part in the processes of Loop test, Function test, unloading/loading commissioning on all systems; coordinating with relating units like DAK/PEN to complete the processes of OMM, Start-up, Commissioning…; appointing all operators who would receive and operate the refrigerated storage to take part in the whole commissioning process of the refrigerated LPG storage project…KVT provided all favorable conditions for operators to implement all tasks and operations during the commissioning process under the supervision of experts and contractors; prepared the plan of relocation of each control system and took additional control measures to ensure safe operation during the removal; came into agreement on the plans with other member units like PV GAS PMC, PV GAS Services;
To avoid risks during the receiving of heavy-lift ships, KVT implemented the following solutions: completion of the receiving process of 60,000 ton refrigerated LPG ships, knowledge popularization and communication for parties before the arrival of the reefer ships; sending more experienced staff to support the docking and unloading processes of the ships; coming into agreement on the detailed docking plan with parties to the commissioning; checking the supporting system for the landing (measuring wind speed, measure the ship approach angle) to ensure its good operation before ship landing; sharing the experience of the receiving large ships from incidents all over the world…;
After the successful receipt of the refrigerate storage, the operation work still showed many difficulties and challenges that KVT always paid much attention to, such as the unstable operation of new equipment, the inexperienced operator team; arising more new and complicated operation movements that operators have not yet accessed...KVT tacked with these challenges by implementing following solutions at the same time: regularly meeting with associate parties to withdraw experience from ship receiving works; organizing specialized meetings to discuss and study new operation sections and equipment; operation training and testing for 100% operators before assignment; setting up detailed work plan weekly/daily as requested; studying design, OM, datasheet of equipment, documents of vendors/contractors to build 33 processes for operation sections; exchanging points of view with POSCO experts about potential risks in operation and troubleshooting measures; opening the claims book for recording comments and sharing experience of troubleshooting measures...
With such a range of solutions implemented synchronously in harmonious coordination by and between various departments, KVT has achieved praiseworthy results as follows: successful receipt of the refrigerated storage; safe and constant operation of the refrigerated storage from April 2013 up to now; good and safe control of the docking/leaving processes of reefer-heavy container ships without hiring Loading Master. The refrigerated storage has imported total volume of more than 329,600 tons of LPG from 15 voyage shipments, exported safely over 322,000 tons of LPG on 314 pressurized ships and 611 tank trucks. The operator team has firmly grasped the refrigerated technology and actively managed the operation of the refrigerated storage, which is highly appreciated by the contractor POSCO's experts. The refrigerated storage meets all conditions of security, safety and environment as regulated by Laws.
KVT leaders and personnel are aware that although KVT has achieved certain successes and targets, difficulties and challenges still remain in the safe operation and management of the refrigerated storage in upcoming years. KVT will continue to enhance its spirit of solidarity and sense of responsibility in the labor safety task to successfully complete the production missions SAFELY – CONTINUOUSLY– EFFECTIVELY.