Playing it cool
The capture and recovery of gasoline and crude oil vapours, to drastically reduce emissions of environmentally hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOC) is a vital factor in modern oil and gas production.
Aker Kvaerner Cool Sorption is among the world’s leading manufacturers of state-of-the-art vapour recovery units (VRUs) used to treat these hazardous emissions. The company, a division of Aker Kvaerner, is currently manufacturing the world’s largest ever VRU in conjunction with Statoil.
Jacob Turman, area sales manager, at the company elaborates: “Our company was acquired by Aker Kvaerner in 2004, and is now a 100 per cent fully owned Aker Kvaerner company. Today we are among the top three VRU suppliers in the world. We provide a broad range of vapour recovery installations for land based distribution terminals, and VOC systems for marine and offshore technology, such as shuttle tankers and large onshore reception terminals for crude oil and condensate production, predominantly on the Norwegian shelf.
“We supply a wide range of VRUs for the recovery of gasoline and crude oil vapours to customers working upstream, through to downstream distributors of the products,” he continues. “Our main clients include Shell, BP, Statoil, Petronas and many of the other major players in the industry. I believe that we have supplied a VRU to nearly all of the industry’s key players. The nature of our work means that cooperating closely with our clients is very important. Although each product may be thought of in-house as standard, it is always made to fit the exact loading profile of the client.
Jacob believes that operating as part of Aker Kvaerner increases the company’s already excellent reputation in the industry: “It has benefited us tremendously. Being a privately owned, Danish company in a highly competitive industry was becoming increasingly difficult. Being part of Aker Kvaerner provides the necessary mother company guarantees for larger projects, and the reputation of the Aker Kvaerner name alone opens many doors in the industry.”
The business is currently working on a prestigious contract for Statoil, designing and delivering the world’s largest VRU system for capturing and recovering crude oil vapours: “The project will be the largest ever vapour recovery system, for use at the Mongstad terminal,” says Jacob. The new system will be used to treat VOC vapours emitted from the ship loading of crude oil at Statoil’s Mongstad facility in Western Norway. It is a vital project, as the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority directives demand that VOC abatement is completed on the premises.
Based on the company’s market-leading carbon bed absorption technology, the unit will capture, recover and treat VOC vapours, which are emitted during the handling of crude oil and associated products. Planned to be in operation by the end of 2007, the state-of-the-art system will have a peak capacity of 36,000 cubic metres per hour vapour rate. The unique project confirms Aker Kvaerner Cool Sorption’s position as one of the world’s leading suppliers of VOC recovery systems.
In addition to this high-status project, Jacob explains that the company sees exciting opportunities in a number of emerging markets: “We have had considerable success in the Russian sector over the last year, which is an area that we have been trying to develop for some time. The speed of the developments is faster than we expected, with orders coming in at a good pace. It will be one of the key markets for us in the future, both for the number of terminals built, and the entire turnover of crude oil each year.”
Safety is a core value throughout Aker Kvaerner’s operations: “Our HSE culture is one of the critical factors in our success, and we will never compromise safety, health or the environment in any of our manufacturing processes. For all projects we have an HSE team that works with the client, with respect to the internal Aker Kvaerner guidelines,” says Jacob.
The company’s HSE strategy is based around the belief that all incidents can be prevented. To maintain this aim, it applies a systematic and measurable approach to continuously improving its HSE culture and performance. In 2004 Aker Kvaerner introduced it’s ‘Just Care’ programme, which emphasises the importance of personal responsibility in HSE within the business. Just Care emphasises that whilst management commitment to HSE is vital to the success of the business, strong personal and team engagement are equally important to reaching a zero incident target rate.
Reflecting on the current market conditions, Jacob is confident of further success for Aker Kvaerner Cool Sorption: “We have experienced a high turnover and number of projects recently, and there is no reason why this should not continue, particularly with new markets such as Russia and China emerging. The key challenge for us will be to keep the competition from lowcost competitors at bay, whilst continuing to develop the right piece of technology for the market needs.
“I believe that the company will continue to grow, hopefully doubling in size over the next five years. This expansion will be a result of both organic growth and through acquisitions, and continuing to develop the correct piece of technology for the market needs. I think that we are looking at a very bright future over the next five to ten years,” Jacob concludes.
Aker Kvaerner Cool Sorption