Best Practices (BP) are strategies, techniques, methods or procedures that have proven to produce results of the highest value to an organization. These practices focus on improving work processes, quality management, safety and reliability enhancement. The capturing of these BP items by early implementation has proven to add significant value toward achieving operational excellence within Saudi Aramco. Various BPs and methods have been employed within the organization, among these are; gas flaring elimination, extension of desiccant lifecycle utilizing dynamic adsorption time control module, adoption of a nonmechanical means for removing soot formation from sulfur plant Super-Claus converters, and relying on a healthy key performance Indicator to closely monitor our daily operations.
Being environmentally responsible, preservation of the environment is one of the key corporate values for Saudi Aramco. Diligent effort continues to be expended to phase out any gas flaring and releases, even from process upsets. To facilitate further minimization of flaring companywide and target these relatively small streams, Saudi Aramco established a comprehensive Flaring Minimization Program (FMP), which is a corporate best practice. The program is tailored to be specific to each operating facility and includes a real time Flare Monitoring System (FMS), to log, control and monitor flaring activities. The development and implementation of the FMS significantly improved the effectiveness and reliability of monitoring and reporting of facility flaring losses. The facility specific FMP identified the short- and long-term mitigation measures to reduce facility flaring. FMS and FMP have been successfully commissioned and deployed as BPs at almost all Saudi Aramco refineries, gas plants and NGL fractioning plants. In addition to conserving valuable natural gas resources, the flare minimization initiative has resulted in significant reduction in emissions of air pollutants, such as SO2 and NOx.
Another BP currently being deployed within the organization is the successful implementation of the Dynamic Adsorption Time Control Module for dehydrators in Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Recovery Trains. The module optimally utilizes the available dehydrators capacity by applying dynamic adsorption time for dehydrators based on available desiccant capacity, processed gas flow and incoming water content. As a result of this optimized utilization, the frequency of regeneration cycles is reduced. This results in extended desiccant lifetime, and reduced lost revenue and energy consumption over the desiccant lifecycle.
Another example of a typical success story relies on the outstanding benefits of applying BP for an online sulfur wash technique at Saudi Aramco Sulphur Recovery Plants. The online sulfur wash is a feasible means to remove soot formation from Super Claus converters and restore unit capacity without mechanical removal. The sulfur wash technique is a common practice to remove this soot and restore normal pressure drop across the catalytic converter. This technique has been successfully deployed and is being implemented at Saudi-Aramco gas operating facilities.