[ID] => 11322
[post_author] => 6150
[post_date] => 2019-07-31 09:16:11
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-31 08:16:11
[post_content] => The International Liquid Terminals Association’s (ILTA) 39th Annual Trade Show kicked off in Houston this past 3 June at the George R Brown Convention Center and the neighbouring Marriott Marquis hotel, which hosted the conference sessions – making life easy for weary travellers such as HCB to get back to their hotel rooms after a long day of networking and learning.
The leading minds in liquids terminals convened for discussions on everything from hurricane safety to truck driver issues. It was standing room only at some of the presentations and discussion panels as everyone wanted to get as much information and insight as possible from the premier names in the industry. It was an amazing turnout with more than 650 attendees contributing to the 28 conference sessions.
Close to 3,600 participated in the show altogether, with many arriving before the main event to join the Annual ILTA Golf Tournament at Wildcat Golf Club, where more than 170 players met to test their skills on the green. The day was hot, but the golfers had an excellent outing with plenty of opportunity to catch up with friends and business associates.
Throughout the event, the key topics of health and safety, international projects and operational developments were widely discussed by a huge range of industry experts. Presentations were constantly happening, even during lunch, where topics as diverse as geological hazards and their impacts on industry in treacherous regions were mentioned.
Melanie Little, senior vice-president at Magellan Midstream Partners, got conference proceedings under way with a presentation about improving performance strategies, outcomes and goals. Her premiss was that while many companies have a written strategy, team members are often left not understanding how these wider strategies link with their individual jobs and roles, ultimately impacting functionality and morale in different areas. Little spent the presentation demonstrating how clear strategies are able to provide platforms for senior leaders to develop and communicate essential outcomes throughout the business structure and attain success.
FARMS AND STORAGE
Keeping risk at an absolute minimum – if not completely eradicating it – is a key aim when it comes to the work involved in expanding storage terminals. Kinder Morgan’s professional engineer Earl J Crochet spoke about how to maximise tank storage capacity without increasing risk. Wherever possible, storage terminals should be maximising the amount of product that can be safely stored while simultaneously minimising and eliminating involved risks. Crochet’s session examined different ways to increase the utilisation of existing assets, including deploying different forms of technology, automation, procedures and personnel.
A key discussion point raised by Crochet was that most people tend to focus on fill rate, rather than the rate of rise when adding to tanks. Depending on tank configuration, the same flowrate has different rate of rise; skinny, tall tanks are worse than short, wide tanks, causing inherent risk. However, the main takeaway from the presentation was that procedures are by far the most important part of the process. Crochet stated that procedures are more important than technologies and are vital as it is “almost impossible to ‘cookie cutter’ existing facilities” due to the specifics of each tank and abnormal procedures.
Crochet also spoke about the upcoming fifth edition of API 2350, expected to be released later this year, which could have ramifications on current storage terminal practices. Currently, the fourth edition provides a description of the minimum requirements required to comply with modern best practices and eliminate risk. These are based on reaction times, defaulting to 15-, 30- or 45-minute intervals based on categories that are further based on the technologies. Anything less than 10 minutes requires “human factors analysis” – although Crochet points out that no one can agree on what this actually is. The anticipated fifth edition is expected to keep the majority of the previous edition, but also include a new Category 0, demonstrate what is meant by reaction times of less than 10 minutes and explain the preference for risk-based analysis.
Unfortunately, there will always be some who fit the mantra that “common sense isn’t so common” as Crochet explained, taking to the stage again to discuss the human element in managing risk and safety. Over the last three decades in the industry, Crochet stated how he personally has experienced a huge amount of change when it comes to health and safety regulations, but more can always be done. As Crochet stated rhetorically: “Why do we need health and safety professionals? Because people do stupid things.”
The introduction of the presentation included some cringe-worthy images of workers incorrectly connecting rail cars and misusing a forklift before going into a detailed analysis into the correct number of fire watches needed for welding on an internal floating roof tank. Crochet went on to explain that the correct answer was that there should be at least seven, but there are no specified amounts of fire watches needed because each scenario is different, and the number of fire watches should always be as many as possible. The example used by Crochet had one watch on top of the steel roof, a second on top of the internal floating roof, one under the internal floating roof and then four more on the ground at compass points, but more should be available.
Taking a look at connectivity was Jason Schmitz, director of digital solutions at Trinity Consultants, and Bill Jayroe, global channel director at Cority, in their presentation and a subsequent panel discussion: ‘Mobility and Connectivity for Terminal or Tank Farm Operators’. Connectivity and digitisation were possibly the most talked about subjects among visitors and presenters. As the industry has seen in recent years, the addition of electronic mobile devices and equipping outside operators has improved operational efficiency and access to policies, procedures, guidelines and checklists; however, these additions can come with a range of challenges and barriers. Session participants were actively encouraged to share their own observations and real-world experiences as this topic affects a huge swathe of the industry on a truly global scale.
One of the most prominent issues that arises with increased connectivity and mobile devices is that worker distraction rates increase, impacting safety. Solutions to this issue include updating job hazard analyses and expanding training programmes to include this area of safety. Furthermore, the banning of personal devices has become a commonly adopted business practice, not just for distraction reasons, but also for explosion risks – the latest selfie for Instagram can wait, particularly when working in explosive atmospheres. Following on from the explosion risks, Schmitz and Jayroe discussed how the wider industry should invest in intrinsically safe devices to further lessen risks.
Further to this, Schmitz and Jayroe discussed how there are differences in the adoption of new technologies on an individual level. There are some employees who have an aversion to technology for a variety of reasons, but one of the key factors is simply a lack of understanding. The easiest way to rectify this is to ensure usability of devices is as clear and concise as it can be and that there is an appropriate system of training to instil confidence in new users.
A second reason for individuals being reluctant to adopt new mobile technologies and systems is the perception that it can increase their workload. As with many changes and alterations in any workplace, switching to a new method or system can take time and, initially, appear to be slower at yielding results. This can then have a knock-on effect for individuals as it may seem that their workload is increasing to achieve the same levels of results as before. Many find themselves feeling like they are working harder to accommodate the new systems and technologies, particularly if there is a parallel system running alongside or if paper back-ups are required. Once again, the best course of action is rigorous training and efficient system design. It can also help to have a soft launch of new technologies, so individuals are able to see the new and old systems in parallel and explore the differences.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
No matter the sector of the industry, safety and security are essential, and there was a large push at ILTA to promote a greater understanding and adherence to stringent safety operations. There were plenty of presentations and discussions on the topics, including communication of safety excellence to staff or contractors, protecting against sabotage, how to prepare and accommodate inspections and learning from near misses.
Continuing the steady stream of presentations in the Marriott conference rooms, Commander Charles Bright, cargo and facilities (CG-FAC-2) at the US Coast Guard, and Amy Graydon, deputy director infrastructure security compliance division at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ensured attendees left knowing the latest updates to terminal facility security.
Hazardous materials stored in liquids terminals in the US are generally subject to regulations under the DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) and Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). Bright and Graydon explained how there may be the introduction of additional background check requirements for Tier 3 and Tier 4 facilities in the US as there is currently an increase in CFATS activity. Furthermore, their presentation went on to describe how facilities should ensure the reporting of chemicals of interest, including confirming existing CFATS facilities have accounted for “material modifications”.
The conference closed out with an inspiring presentation by author and motivational speaker Walter Nusbaum. Nusbaum took the time to describe the seven traits of successful individuals and teams, ultimately challenging attendees to critically evaluate themselves and their commitment to personal and professional improvement. It will be interesting to see the changes implemented by those who took the message to heart and acted upon their self-evaluation.
Following the conference, three training sessions were held offering attendees the opportunity to develop their understanding of terminals, tank construction, Clean Air Act regulations and spill prevention, control and countermeasures (SPCC). These courses were taught by industry experts in their respective fields and were ideally suited for more recent members of the liquid terminal universe who wished to refine their skills and delve into some greater specifics in the industry.
OUT ON THE FLOOR
Over in the George R Brown Convention Center, more than 340 exhibitors showcased their products, services and technologies as visitors filled the floor with energy and footfall. This is an ever-popular showcase for the industry and, by the end of the 2019 event, ILTA was able to announce that 75 per cent of 2020’s floor space had already been sold or booked.
Scully exhibited its tank truck safety products, including its overfill prevention units, a myriad of sensors and grounding equipment. The Scully team worked tirelessly in Houston to describe each and every dynamic, fail-safe fluid detection and handling system it produces. Certified to ISO 9001, the self-checking technology developed by Scully ensures safe, efficient and reliable transportation, storage and handling of valuable liquid resources.
Boasting decades of experience, Scully caters to the chemical and petroleum industries as well as the rail industry, aviation and others. As digitisation was one of the major talking points between attendees and the focus of presentations, Scully was well placed to offer digital solutions for terminals to increase safety and improve efficiency.
Sky Eye Measurement showcased its abilities in providing solutions for road fuel and LPG transloading, water cut and volume measurement. Sky Eye Measurement has developed cutting-edge automatic custody transfer equipment and moveable refined fuel and LPG transloaders, available for sale or lease, that can go from road-ready to operational in just ten minutes.
Grown on the concept of providing immediate, top quality rental and permanent solutions with a commitment to safe, application specific measurement solutions to fit process, Sky Eye Measurement strives to provide and manufacture the best equipment in the industry. Setting its targets high, Sky Eye Measurement is working to expand its operations further south, extending out of its current markets in the US, Canada and Mexico into Central and South America. It is a region regarded by many as underdeveloped but can provide great rewards as the economies in the area continue to grow year on year despite recent geopolitical turmoil.
ILTA will return to Houston on 8 to 10 June 2020 for the 40th Annual Trade Show. Once again, the exhibition will be located in the George R Brown Convention Center and the conferences will be in the Marriott Marquis. Full details about booth and hotel reservations can be found in the ‘Events’ section of the ILTA website.
[post_title] => ILTA: Sweet George R Brown
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[post_modified] => 2019-07-31 09:19:02
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-31 08:19:02
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