PROMOTING RECENT PROJECTS & GROUNDBREAKING TECH SOLUTIONS
- Written by Lavinia Iancu
ROMANIA OIL & GAS CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION 2016, an event focused on the most recent projects and innovative technological solutions in the oil and gas industry, took place during November 9-10 in Bucharest, facilitating a meeting between government officials, regulating agencies’ representatives, top managers, independent experts, advisers, academics and experts in the field.
Established to reach the highest standards, the conference aimed at detailed analysis of the natural gas market in Romania and in the region, the operations and plans of the large players, the role of new technologies in increasing production, exploration, exploitation and transport of resources, the Black Sea’s potential, the importance of interconnecting Romania’s gas transmission system with the countries in the region, the development directions in the downstream sector, the improvement of the refineries’ operating performances and of energy efficiency, the expanding of the fuel distribution network, the strategic coverage of new transport routes.
The first day of the event, focused on natural gas, started with a review of the industry’s current situation. Costin Neagu – Executive Director at Petroleum Club of Romania (PCOR), pointed to the most important issues related to Romania and the European Energy Union in 2016, and mentioned the targets for 2017 and the coming years – real competition on regional energy markets, the need to cut red tape and excessive regulation, better coordination at European level. He also stressed Romania’s important contribution in 2016: achieving the framework for real natural gas transactions on the stock exchange, as 30% of the gas produced in Romania will be traded transparently and in real competition conditions, so that the end consumer gets the best possible price; getting the funding from the European Commission for the 528 kilometres of the new gas pipeline (BRUA); the inauguration of the gas interconnector to Bulgaria; imposing clear obligations for the storage of natural gas in order to ensure safe consumption, as the National Authority for Energy Regulation (ANRE) will carry out regular checks to verify the meeting of these obligations.
University Prof. Dr. Eng. Niculae Napoleon Antonescu - Honorary Rector with the Petroleum-Gas University in Ploiesti (UPG), recalled the most important topics of debate of the 23rd edition of the World Energy Congress (October 9-23, 2016) with direct reference to natural gas, which continues to have a large share in the global energy mix as a source of primary energy as well as for the population consumption. In his opinion, Romania registers a paradoxical situation: the output has decreased by a third since its peak in 1976, and yet there is still a surplus of gas as the consumption have fallen and imports have increased by almost 500% in 2016 against the previous year, which has negative consequences for the largest national producer – Romgaz, which was forced to close wells, because the imported gas prices are lower than the domestic price. A new warning refers to the dramatic changes in the UPG. Although the level of training of future specialists in the oil and gas industry is high, the number of graduates is declining, and many of them seek jobs abroad.
Florin Tobescu - Head of International Relations Department with the National Authority for Energy Regulation (ANRE) has added to the introduction delivered by the PCOR Executive Director with new information about the changes occurred lately on the European energy market. In the light of the dynamism of latest changes, impacting on all European community members, it should be noted the European energy system transformation with complex challenges on energy security (reducing the carbon emissions, etc.). The speaker highlighted the situation of the nationwide fossil fuels, with a significant share in the country’s energy balance. There are fears about resource depletion, yet, the probability to make use of the hydrocarbon reserves in the Black Sea in the future, in terms of economic efficiency, provides some comfort. Florin Tobescu reiterated ANRE’s role to support the industry - improving the regulatory system in cooperation with the government, adopting measures to ensure sustainable development, noting, however, that a fairly long time is needed to implement them. In Europe, concerns are heading in the direction of bringing the natural gas market to the level of electric energy market. Florin Tobescu also mentioned the decrease of natural gas consumption in 2016, with substantial influence on the market. He added that each player on the market should be available and especially involved in this process in order to support the market operation.
Sorin Gal - Director General of Directorate General for Management, Evaluation and Concession Oil Resources/Reserves with the National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR), referred to the discoveries and the considerable investments in offshore (over USD 2 billion), noting that the Black Sea has not yet entered into Romania’s energy basket. The official made remarks on the Romanian capital, hardly present in this area as compared to foreign investors. Regarding the future, Sorin Gal stressed that he expects the production to start, following the discoveries by Black Sea Oil & Gas in the area of shallow waters in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea, and also the start of the projects in the deep waters by other major players. Decision making depends on political factors, taxation, gas price, the NAMR representative said. He added that, together with the Romanian Petroleum Exploration and Production Companies Association (ROPEPCA) and with the Romanian Black Sea Titleholders Association (RBSTA) the NAMR has drafted an amendment to the Petroleum Law, which is to enter Parliament after the elections.
“The companies investing in oil and gas industry must be supported by a proper and clear legislation. Otherwise the exploration work will be harder to carry out, costs will be higher, investor interest will decrease and Romania will lack breakthroughs and will not be able to sustain the current production in the coming years,” the NAMR representative underscored.
Eugenia Gusilov - Director, Romania Energy Centre (ROEC), has sketched the geopolitical and geostrategic global and European framework, emphasizing the most significant influences on the international gas market. Compared to the previous speakers who believe that changes take place fast in Romania in comparison to other countries in the region, the ROEC analyst opines, on the contrary, that things are moving too slowly in our country. On the international market, it appears that geopolitical risks currently have no impact on prices, as it was in the past. We are dealing, instead, with a glut of resources offerings as a result of the production cycle. This is the consequence of various factors: the shale oil revolution, the change in Saudi Arabia’s strategy, the higher Russian hydrocarbons production, Iran’s entry on the market, etc.
In this context, Eugenia Gusilov recalled Daniel Yergin’s prediction: the low price of oil will lead to the delaying, to freezing of projects, and this is what has happened. Another factor listed, decisive in the developments dynamic, is the OPEC’s changing position, seen through the first attempt in recent years to stabilize the world oil market by the agreement on production cuts. Other remarks focused on the attractive Russian discounts on the gas market - a strategy that puts additional pressure on domestic producers, on the offer to the European market, on the decrease of natural gas consumption, on competition for maintaining the customers.
UNLOCKING THE VALUE OF PRODUCTION AND INTERCONNECTION PROJECTS/NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO REDUCE COSTS, IMPROVE EFFICIENCY AND MAXIMIZE COMPETITIVENESS
The turning to account of domestic production and the diversification of energy sources and transport routes are strategic objectives to strengthen Romania’s role as an active player in promoting regional energy security. As an area of great interest in the light of the identified reserves, the Black Sea can significantly contribute to the increase of domestic natural gas production, while providing Romania with real opportunities as producer and exporter in Europe. Our country supports initiatives at regional level aiming at integrating the regional energy market, among which the most important natural gas transmission projects are: BRUA (Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria), the AGRI project, the Vertical Corridor, the Southern Corridor, the cross-border interconnection projects.
In support of these initiatives and not only, the participating companies and institutions’ contribution to the event Romania Oil & Gas Conference 2016 was materialized in presenting the latest technological solutions aiming to increase the industry’s technical and economic performance and efficiency.
As noticed by Alexandru Patruti - Scientific Counsellor with CNR-CME, as moderator of the conference’s first scientific-technical session, the global trend of falling oil prices continues, whereas nationally take place events that can be regarded as out of the box. He referred, like the previous speakers, to a paradoxical situation in Romania: “it is for the first time we face falling production and increased imports, due to domestic events and to the regulated price for gas, which prevents domestic producers from competing with the international ones.”
Siemens, one of the most important technology companies in Romania, revealed 10 options as programs dedicated to energy management in industry. Following an overview on the recent developments on the oil market and despite the continuous changes affecting the energy market worldwide, Daniel Ghimis - Head of Sales Oil & Gas Solutions, SIEMENS ENERGY, expressed his belief that fossil resources will continue to play a crucial role in the future and that natural gas will continue to be the backbone of the global energy supply, and natural gas will become even more important in the decades to come. An analysis conducted by the Information Research Centre - IRC identifies natural gas from gas-bearing clays as the fastest growing segment in the global industry. He stressed the important role of high efficiency cogeneration systems for heat and electric power (CHP) in terms of improving the reliability of energy supply, of cutting carbon emissions and of maximizing the tariff benefits.
ROMGAZ representative Eugen Sorescu - Head of Exploration Contracts and Risk Analysis Department, summarized the main challenges and risks related to the development of a gas field located in the deepwater Black Sea. A possible model for the development of the mentioned deposits was explained, starting from the features of the oil system of Pontian age, the particularities of wells emplacements and various technology options for the development and exploitation of the gas reserves in the Black Sea, given that the real volume of recoverable resources is not yet known. Thus, in his view, in making the decision to turn to development and operation, in addition to geological and technological challenges, the risks associated to market volatility play a significant role as well as the contractual terms, the project management, taxation and legal provisions.
The latest developments in the Black Sea were mentioned by Eugenia Gusilov - Director, ROMANIA ENERGY CENTER (ROEC), who examined by turn the situation in Ukraine, Turkey and Romania.
The ROEC analyst highlighted important issues concerning the reforms in Ukraine, a country going through a period characterized by the deep contraction in economic activity since 2014. For example, energy reform requires Ukraine to become energy independent by 2025.
Turkey has ended the ‘ice-age’ relations with Russia and currently runs two new projects for energy infrastructure: the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu and the Turkish Stream pipeline. Turkey also wants to become a key state for the transit of natural gas in the region and to mend relations with Russia as soon as possible.
Regarding our country, Eugenia Gusilov reviewed this year’s main challenges for the energy sector – the developing of the new national energy strategy 2016-2030 (in the stage of debates), the lack of a stable and predictable tax environment, the slow pace of reforms, delays regarding the construction of gas transportation infrastructure - which leads to the already known conclusion: Romania has enormous unexploited potential.
The interconnection of natural gas transmission systems in Romania and Republic of Moldova is on the agenda of negotiations at the highest level between the two countries since the ‘90s.
“Currently, the interconnection of natural gas transmission systems between Moldova and Romania are actually the interconnection of the Republic of Moldova’s transmission system to the European Union and the alignment with the ongoing processes in this geographic area,” said Natalia Timofte – Scientific Researcher at the Energy Institute with the ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, whose work deals with this topic in full. The author considers the interconnection with Romania could become an important alternative for Republic of Moldova as direction and natural gas supply source against the traditional one, i.e. Russian natural gas supplied mainly through Ukraine’s transport system.
The complexity of relations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine and the statements by Russian energy giant Gazprom on the possible cessation of natural gas supply through the Ukrainian transmission system after 2019, when the transit agreement of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine expires, calls for speeding up the completion of this interconnection, Natalia Timofte stressed.
The solutions aiming the gas market proposed by COMOTI include equipment for compressing natural gas, screw compressors, centrifugal air blowers, turbocharged group, centrifugal compressors for air and gas, but also designing, 3D modelling, CFD numerical simulation, stress and vibration analysis, automation, overhaul, maintenance, dynamic balancing, compressors and gas turbines testing, etc.
Since 1990 COMOTI has marked several milestones, listed by Leonard Trifu - Marketing Manager with the company, among them the strategic decision to diversify the business and to expand of the energy market (1992), the establishment of the National Research and Development Institute for Gas Turbines COMOTI (1996), the start of the collaboration with GHH Rand (1997), the delivery of the first screw compressor (1998), delivery of 100 complete gas screw compressor packages (2008 ), the development of the high pressure compressors of up to 45 bar, and the expander group electric generator (2012), the start of collaboration with Man Diesel & Turbo (2015). The constant care for manufacturing these products of high reliability, the accumulated experience and the international recognition of the professional competitiveness have contributed to the building of a respectable portfolio of partners and customers, such as GHH Rand, Pratt & Whitney, Man Diesel Turbo, MND, Linde Gas, OMV Petrom, Transgaz, etc.
From small applications up to turnkey projects, BOSCH REXROTH – global supplier and local partner (present in Romania since 2010), offers its clients innovative elements and solutions and complete system services tailored to the specific requirements of each industry (hydraulic, controls and electrical drives, mechanical transmissions, linear motion and assembly from single source). Cristian Turturica - Development Manager of the company, highlighted the main business lines, the standard and specialized services, the applications and offshore and onshore equipment for the oil and gas industry, and the benefits of operation and control technology from Bosch. Safe and energy efficient, it is designed to put in motion machinery and systems of any size.
The drilling operations costs reach particularly high levels, whereas the impact of geological uncertainties on such costs is proportional. Viorel Dragomir and Ruslan Cantemir - Drilling Engineers with OMV PETROM, detailed the types of geological uncertainties, of which some are related to the pressure of pores and fracture pressure, to the designing of the well, offering as example relevant case studies for geological risks, cutting the risks and their impact on the drilling operations. The impact of geological uncertainties on the drilling costs for the analyzed wells is between 7 and 25% and can in extreme cases lead to loss of the well or a part of it. The larger the number of available data from offset wells, the smaller the uncertainty is. New technologies are being developed to help the risk mitigation and the contribution of them help improve the overall process.
The overview, from a technological point of view, offered by WEATHERFORD’s Manuel Molina - Technical Sales Manager, filled up the picture of innovative solutions for equipping wells for exploitation. Thus, the versions promoted by Weatherford include safety equipment (TRSV safety valves with retrievable tubing), RFID intervention on hydrostatic systems, sand control options, etc. In order to monitor the drilling operations, the company has a broad portfolio of services and products, of information processing in real time helping to accelerate production, reduce operational risks and maximize the hydrocarbons recovery from deposits. Weatherford is the only provider offering a full range of detection optical sensing technologies, also benefiting from over 900 installations worldwide.
The PETROLEUM-GAS UNIVERSITY (UPG) has recommended an alternative approach to the modelling of the gas diffusion in flexible pipelines and risers, used for offshore oil & gas production. Marius Stan - Associate Professor with the University of Ploiesti, has described in his presentation a model used to study gas diffusion through layers of flexible pipelines depending on time. The temperature gradient pipe is considered as temperature dependent permeability rates. This model is coupled with a calculation that indicates changes in pressure and volume of vapours resulting in the annular space. Associated mathematical models and methods for solving the results obtained are presented in MathCad with a user-friendly interface that helps in data entry and processing results. To avoid gas diffusion effects in terms of maintaining balance in pressed corrosive environment created by their penetration, ventilation gas in the annulus is required.
THE STATE OF THE REFINING CAPACITIES AND PROSPECTS OF ENLARGING THE FUEL DISTRIBUTION STATIONS NETWORK IN ROMANIA
Opening the second day of the event, dedicated to the DOWNSTREAM segment, Univ. Prof. Dr. Eng. Niculae Napoleon Antonescu briefly approached the state of the refining capacities and of the petrochemical industry in Romania, as compared to the previous period. Currently, the number of refineries in our country has fallen from ten, operational before 1989, to only four, of which only three produce fuels. Regarding the total refining capacity, it fell from the peak of 34 million tons of oil processed in 1989 to only 10.3 million tonnes of crude oil processed in 2015. Although the number of refineries has drastically diminished, the fuel distribution network is constantly expanding, he pointed out.
Cantemir Mambet - Independent Consultant in Risk Management & QHSE brought additions related to the upgrades and overhauls that took place in 2016 at the three refineries. The expert praised, in the local context, the fact that large operators continue the strategies to increase profitability, although costs represent a serious obstacle in the development of investments focused on increasing the complexity, a trend that will continue in 2017 as well.
Under the new strategy over long-term, MOL will continue to operate refineries with high degree of complexity, efficiency and profitability, in order to rank over medium-term as one of the main refining companies in Europe, in terms of the net margin of cash flow. The group plans to rank among the top 25% companies in Europe by overall efficiency and to further improve energy efficiency.
In line with the MOL vision over medium-term on the trends of the fuel market, with the rapid spread of alternative technologies and the changes in consumer behaviour, the company aims significant diversification of its refining operations by 2030 and aims at gradually increasing the share of non-fuel products to over 50% by 2030 (from the current level of below 30%), with carefully selected investment projects, mainly focused on the chemical and petrochemical value chain. Another objective of the company is turning the ‘traditional’ fuel sales operations into a market leader in terms of mobility services for end consumers, said Camelia Ene - Head of Retail, MOL Romania (at the date of the conference) in her message. The Group has introduced a new retail concept - Fresh Corner, launched in 2015 in 28 stations in the region, with plans to reach 40 fresh corner stations by the end of 2016 in Romania, and to reach 300 stations in the region.
On expanding the network of gas stations and the strategic coverage of the transport routes also spoke Hamza Karimov - General Manager, SOCAR PETROLEUM. After a short presentation of the ‘Land of Fire’, of the company SOCAR and its role in the region, the manager highlighted the historical friendly relations between Romania and Azerbaijan, which last for more than 550 years. He outlined the main differences between the SOCAR Petroleum offer against the partners on the fuel market (including Azeri traditional cuisine products available at the fuel stations) as well as the customers’ benefits, noting in particular the importance of the team in achieving the company’s objectives. “SOCAR Azerbaijan continues its successful investment projects in Romania. Each new station opened also means creating new jobs, as dozens of locals are recruited. Since the beginning of the activity in Romania, SOCAR has encountered a friendly and active environment, and has received much attention and care. I strongly believe that such fruitful cooperation will continue in the future as well,” Hamza Karimov said.
PETROTEL-LUKOIL, with a processing capacity of 2.4 million tons per year, is the third largest refinery in the country after Petromidia and Petrobrazi. In 2016, the refinery continued the modernization process in order to achieve the targeted objectives: maximum safety operation, lower environmental impact, cuts in costs of energy consumption, meeting the processing plan. Thus, by implementing some major projects – optimization of heat processes; upgrading the wastewater treatment; optimization of the fuel gas system; the decrease in the sulphur content of the propylene; the programme to increase energy efficiency; optimization of the Amine washing systems; SOx and NOx dust removal from FCC combustion gases - has met all obligations related to the environment in accordance with Order 2014/738 /EU, said Constantin Dumitrache - Head of Technology Development Department. The overall investments for environment have exceeded USD 120 million, and the investments to eliminate historic waste from pits amounted to USD 40 million.
Global market leader in the distribution of chemicals, BRENNTAG provides innovative technological solutions and services applicable in various industrial fields. Laurentiu Ghita - Oil & Gas Business Development Manager, focused during the conference on the preservation of fuel in tanks in refineries, storage facilities, pumping stations, distribution skids using biocides. The advantages of the offered solutions, i.e. broad spectrum activity, rapid inhibition of microbial growth and enzyme synthesis, long-term preservation, complete system protection, proven effectiveness, are complemented by the high quality of products. In addition, the company provides technical support for the processes optimization, consultancy and lab tests.
The Catoni Group was founded back in 1846, has branches in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iraq, provides port agency services to vessels, various port services, inward and outward clearing, road transport (conventional & oversized), air, sea, freight forwarding & logistics (door to door), international trade, having trustworthy external partners, including BP, SOCAR, Turkish Petroleum, Shell, Fugro, Transocean, M-I SWACO, Petrobras, ExxonMobil, Ocean Rig, etc. The most important projects of the group, carried out in Turkey, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, but also in Romania, were presented by Krasen Georgiev - General Manager, CATONI & CO ROMANIA.
SHAPING THE FUTURE IN PROCESS AUTOMATION
The concept of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and WirelessHART communication, used by leading companies in the field of process automation, including Emerson, could not be avoided from an event dedicated to innovative technologies. In his statement, Danny Vandeput - Director Pervasive Sensing Strategies EMERSON EUROPE, insisted on how to increase operational performance through the two solutions shaping the future in the field of automation of industrial processes in general and for refineries in particular. Having an experience of over 22 years in the industry, the Emerson specialist revealed that the automation process is the only leverage connecting operations to business performance. Unfortunately, only 5% of the companies currently benefit from an appropriate IIoT strategy in terms of improving equipment reliability and maintenance, he noted.
IMPROVING EFFICIENCY AND MAXIMIZING COMPETITIVENESS
In 2016, the national transporter of crude oil and derived products by pipeline and rail CONPET celebrated 115 years of existence of oil transmission through pipelines in Romania and 25 years since establishment. A brief history of the company, to mark the significant moments over time, was presented by Mircea Aurel Nita - Director Corporate Management, Human Resources and Communications. The activity of strategic importance, carried out by Conpet is influenced decisively by the supervision and maintenance of the infrastructure in conditions of maximum security.
Alexandru Catalin Ionescu - Head of the Strategic Projects Department, described in his presentation focused on managing the pipeline integrity, the main technical requirements, the necessary tools and technologies used for the In-Line (ILI) inspection of pipes, pointing out to the advantages and disadvantages of the presented technologies, the features found, the means of reparation and the positive effects of this method. At the moment, Conpet has extended the ILI method to almost the entire import transport subsystem, and to a few lines of domestic transport subsystem, covering a total of 1,913 km.
VTU Engineering develops and designs innovative solutions in the upstream and downstream areas, separation and drying hydrocarbons, gas purification, water purification, etc., is specialized in the optimization of equipment in order to improve product quality and energy efficiency. Eduard Sarbu - Process Engineer, revealed the concept, the results and the applications for the methodology of CFD (computer fluid dynamics) simulation used for wastewater treatment. The analysed case study findings reveal that, based on the CFD models, tailor-made solutions can be designed to the existing specificities, with considerable consequences in terms of reducing the plant footprint and the total capital expenditure (CAPEX) of the unit.
In terms of managing pipe integrity in refineries, Gheorghe Paraschiv - Industry Manager, BUREAU VERITAS ROMANIA, offered a complete solution for inspection during operation (On Stream - OSI), noting the benefits - such as cutting administrative costs, savings by combining new complementary services; non-destructive tests (NDT) and leak detection and repair programme (LDAR) - and the possibilities to reproduce this method. The company’s representative exemplified with solutions already implemented by Bureau Veritas in Germany and Austria.
The ATLAS COPCO solution for efficiency and safety in the oil and gas industry is called Speciality Rental. It is a division of Atlas Copco Compressor Technique, which serves industrial customers around the world providing solutions of equipment rental for temporary needs of compressed air, nitrogen, electricity. The presentation delivered by Marius Cristescu - Rental Manager Romania & Bulgaria, focused on the applications for petrochemical and refining industry and on the projects developed both domestically and internationally, to refineries in Romania, Belgium, Singapore, the US.
The event presentations and the photo gallery are available in full atwww.blackseaevents.com