Process to impress
Aggreko Process Services (APS) provides major customers in the hydrocarbon processing industry with tailor-made, engineered solutions that significantly increase the bottom line.
The business is a division of Aggreko, a global leader in the provision of power, temperature control and oil free air solutions. As an alternative to traditional methods of unit modifications, APS uses experienced engineers to help a client evaluate their specific needs, design and engineer a solution, and complete the final implementation.
“Through APS we provide our customers with temporary, uniquely engineered, energy solutions, with particular focus on the refining and petrochemical industries,” Maarten Martens, general manager of Aggreko Process Services explains. “We focus on the issues surrounding the processes themselves, and in all cases APS is much more than simply rental and provision of our services. It is a total solution, utilising our engineers and plant management programmes, which is relatively unique in our industry.”
As an international company, Aggreko has considerable experience with APS in the US, however, Maarten explains that it is a relatively new concept to the European sector: “We began planning for APS in Europe at the start of 2006, and started running it during the summer of the same year.We feel that it has been received extremely well by the European industry, and now that we have it up and running it is a true highlight of our business. It means that we can do a lot more for the industry utilising specialised personnel who understand the specific needs of a local business or customer.”
Maarten admits that the global nature of Aggreko allows close co-operation between the various international divisions: “APS operates on a continental level, providing services to clients throughout Europe and the US. We have very close contact within the company in order to utilise our shared experiences in the best possible way. It is a very specialised product and service that we offer, so it is extremely important that we exchange our knowledge internally to benefit our customers in the best fashion. For example, if we develop something at a refinery in Houston in the US it is entered into our global solutions database so that it can be used internationally.”
APS provides the hydrocarbon processing industry with unique engineered solutions that increase the bottom line, by combining the company’s vast experience in the field with its extensive fleet of portable equipment, such as pumps, cooling towers, heat exchangers and chillers. APS works closely with individual clients to establish the exact requirements, engineers and designs integrated solutions to meet those requirements, and implements the solution.
“Our focus is the process industries, such as refineries and petrochemical companies,” says Maarten. “Within these sectors there are considerable challenges in daily operations, including bottlenecking in the process itself, fluctuations in demand of the end product, and significant temperature and operating problems. Where APS can help is by offering a total packaged solution, through which we use our own highly experienced engineers and plant management systems to see any bottlenecks in the system, design a system and then use the equipment necessary to install it and make it effective. This whole process can be completed extremely quickly. For example, the entire operation, from initial consultation with the client through to installation, can be done within 30 days. Compared to engineering firms this is incredibly quick.”
APS can be used for a variety of projects, including ‘de-bottlenecking’ of main fractionator overheads, reducing tower pressures, increasing main air blowing capacities and alkylate production, improving fuel gas balance, LPG recoveries and H2S loadings, and reducing the vapour pressure for product storage. Through its innovative approach, and experienced personnel Aggreko Process Services can provide clients with considerable advantages. For example, as many of the projects are temporary in their nature they require minimum expenditure of a client’s budget, typically being expensed through operating and maintenance. Further benefits include the short turnaround times of APS’ projects, which allow customers to capture fluctuating market opportunities faster.
The nature of APS’ projects means that close customer service is vital to the organisation: “We complete work with all of the major refinery customers around the world, and customer cooperation is very important,” says Maarten. “We aim to work in the local area during the execution of our business so that our service centres and equipment are close to the refineries. If we have local businesses it makes it very fast to operate. It is very rare in the petrochemical industry to have as wide a network of sites as ours, but the processes in the industry would simply not work without it.”
The type of projects completed by APS mean that safety concerns are vital: “At present, the key issue throughout the industry is safety and the environment,” Maarten explains. “They are the first two considerations that we have before starting a project. We have specialised employees who understand what must be achieved in a refinery environment, and they are certified to all of the relevant industry qualifications. Within our company health and safety is incredibly important, it is not just a slogan in the business, but is something that we strive towards every day. It will be key to the industry in the future, of course it is important to make money, but if safety and the environment are not assured there is no future for a plant or refinery.”
APS functions as a division of Aggreko, a solutions driven, globally networked infrastructure of rental power, cooling and heating equipment and expert technicians. The company is the international leader in the rental of power, temperature control including industrial cooling units, dehumidification units and oil-free compressed air systems. Aggreko provides 24/7 availability and service support, using more than 2000 employees in over 100 locations in 28 countries.
Moving away from APS, Maarten reflects on the chemical industry as a whole: “I think that there are many opportunities in the industry for us, and that we will be able to provide for these. Refineries, and the petrochemical industry are changing rapidly, I believe that we can help them overcome these changes and there will be a good market for APS. As in any new project the key challenge will be to introduce our full range of services to the industry, and our customers. Previously clients had to go through many stages to get the required help, whereas we do it all,” he concludes.
Aggreko Process Services