2019 Fall Refining and Equipment Standards Meeting
By – Sumedha Sharma
The 2019 API Fall Refining and Equipment Standards Conference, Nov 18- 21, Atlanta, Georgia, saw a gathering of industry professionals, technical committee members and visitors alongside a gamut of industry exhibitors showcasing their technology. A Welcome Breakfast preceded the General Session during which David Miller, Director, API Standards Program, announced the recipients of the API Awards. He also presented the API years of service awards and Certificate of Appreciation awards. The recipient list included names such as Carlos Davila, CraneChem Pharma & Energy for 40 years of service, and Travis Griffith, Worley Engineering for 35 years of service, amongst other distinguished industry professionals recognized for their dedicated years of service to the API.
The program also included an orientation for new API members and first-time attendees. Steve Crimaudo, Manager, Downstream Standards, provided information on API standards committees, their modes of operation, subgroups (task groups, resource groups), the composition (balance between operators, manufacturers, contractors, service companies, and consultants), and membership. Steve also detailed the Standards Development process. He stressed that the process is always consensus-based, balloting is wed-based, and voting rights are participation dependent. Standards committee decides when new Standards need to be developed. Standard documents are always written for flexibility as performance-based documents and all comments are considered and resolutions documented. Steve emphatically answered the quintessential question of what ‘should’ and ‘shall’ stand for, with respect to Standards documents.
The conference also saw several technical presentations from the industry showcasing highly sophisticated yet practical technologies like super low density and high impact strength insulation bricks, laser 3D scanner for equipment/plant interior/exterior applications, among others. Day-long industry exhibits also displayed technologies and applications from companies like AMOT, BASF, Becht Engineering, Cleaver Brooks, Dynamics Scientific Production Center, Emerson, FS Elliot, Gas and Air Systems, Groome Industrial Services, HarbinsonWalker, Ingersoll Rand, InServ, Mascoat, ParFab, Refractory Construction, Vector Systems, Umicore, Nationwide Boiler, WIKA, WJE, amongst others. The exhibits provided an opportunity for attendees to not only witness the technologies on display but also network and initiate business and/or collaborative relationships.
Several task-groups and sub-groups met to discuss various equipment Standards for Heat Exchangers, Fired Heaters, Instruments and Control systems, Fixed equipment, Aboveground Tank Inspection, Refrigerated Tanks, General purpose Steam turbines, Inspection codes, Piping - Valves, Shop welded storage tanks, pumps, turbine testing among others. Bob Whitsitt chaired the task group for Heat Exchanger Standards. The group worked on discussing and developing consensus on establishing Standards for various design aspects of Shell and Tube heat exchangers, Texas Towers, among others. Tom Cox Chaired the Task group on API standard 560 for Fired Heater. The task groups commenced with introductions and followed with approval of meeting minutes, and review of plan. Draft standards drawn over a period of around 6 months to 1 year were discussed and deliberated on to establish consensus. Instrument and Control Systems subgroups commenced with a discussion roundtable before breaking into task-groups to develop consensus on Standards. The roundtable emphasized discussion on contributed questions that were ranked per priority (high, medium, low) and sub-divided per topics (field instruments, control system, safety etc.).
The conference highlights included a grand welcome reception open to all attendees and the Operating Practices Symposium, an exclusive symposium for Refining and Petrochemical companies only. Both these events provided an excellent opportunity for relevant industry peers to network. The Symposium is targeted to be an industry wide forum to bring together the professionals within to share information on ‘safe operating procedures’ and exchange examples of ‘best practices’ within refineries and petrochemical plants. Symposium included technical exchanges on experiences gathered from industry incidents, or ways of mitigating loss and avoiding mishaps in facilities and operating plants.