STS AIChE December 2017 Workshop-Only Meeting | AIChE

STS AIChE December 2017 Workshop-Only Meeting

Tuesday, December 5, 2017,
6:00pm to 9:00pm
In-Person / Local
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055
United States


6:00PM - 7:00PM Workshop I

7:00PM - 8:00PM Workshop II

8:00PM - 9:00PM Workshop III

*Drinks and Snacks will be provided.



Please register here.


Workshop I

Title: Refineries and Chemicals Pre-Turnaround Activities via Interface Management

Abstract: This workshop discusses an efficient mode for tracking Pre-Turnaround activities of Refinery & Chemical plant maintenance projects and Unit upgrades via Web-based Interface Management System similar to that used for offshore mega-Projects.  This plan is meant for Small-to-Medium sized Plants where there is no Refinery & Chemicals Pre-Turnaround Activities via Interface Management regimented mode of operation for plant turnarounds. The plan ensures absolute priority for smooth & efficient execution of plant turnaround for ensuring HES (Health, Environment & Safety), controlling the budget over runs, schedule delays within the constraints of safety and quality.  This approach amalgamates the Interface Management experience from offshore oil and gas mega-projects and is applicable to Pre-Turnaround activities for Refinery & Chemical plants thus merging the best lessons learned from both the Worlds.


Rafiq (Rick) Khadimally, has managed the crucial aspect in Project Management & Interface Management capacities on several oil refinery maintenance projects during turnarounds at LaGloria Refinery in Tyler Texas & Aramco-Petromin Jeddah Refinery, etc.  Throughout his career of nearly three decades of project management & interface in USA and international, Rick has performed this role almost of equal duration on

A) Offshore Jacketed Platforms, TLP’s, SPAR, Drill-Rigs, and as well as on

B) Refinery unit-upgrades, maintenance projects during Plant Turnarounds.

Rick holds an MBA degree in Global Energy from Bauer College of Business (University of Houston), an Executive Development Project Management program from Rice University, and BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Engineering & Technology where he topped the list with two medals. He is Project Management Professional certified as PMP.  

Workshop II

Title:  Become a Better Startup Engineer

Abstract:  The excitement of solving a startup problem is one of the best feelings a chemical engineer can have, especially if it is a difficult problem that others haven’t been able to solve.  Startup work isn’t for everyone…the pressure can be overwhelming when problems occur.  The key to dealing with the pressure is to methodically use basic engineering fundamentals, such as heat and material balances, to identify and solve problems.   

Successful startup engineers prepare in advance, before going to the site.  Familiarizing oneself with the P&ID’s in advance may save valuable site time.

Once at the site, the engineer uses the pre-startup time to maximize familiarity with the equipment, piping, and DCS.  The best time to identify and solve problems is before feedstock is in the plant.

After feed has been introduced, the startup engineer monitors DCS screens and trend data, answers process questions and offers to help in any way possible.   There is often a need in the controller tuning area, and basic tuning is easy for most process engineers to learn. 

This presentation discusses typical activities performed by startup process engineers, both before and during startup, to maximize their contribution to the team.  Some of the subjects include:

1.       Line flushing procedures   *

2.       Hydraulics in general and pump hydraulics in particular *

3.       DCS control loops:  basic configurations and tuning    *   

4.       Reconciling plant operating data using simulations and process design data*

5.       Instrumentation and analyzers:   some common problems *

6.       A general approach to starting a distillation column   *

For items with an asterisk (*), there will be an example from a real startup to illustrate the concept.

Bio:  Charles Herzog served the oil refining and petrochemical industries for over 40 years before retiring from full-time work in 2015.  During his career, Charles has had assignments covering a wide variety of skill areas, including:

a.       Process design

b.      Ethylene plant operator

c.       Startup tech support

d.      Advanced process control (Multivariable and DCS-based)

e.      Test run management and accounting

f.        Ethylene technology, specializing in high purity distillation operations

Charles was one of the pioneers of QDMC implementation in the 1980s at Shell’s OL-5 unit in Norco, La.  His advanced level control algorithm led to the concept of ‘ramp variables’ being designed into MVPC software.

Charles is the sole inventor of the ‘Heat and Material Balance Method of Process Control’, patented by Stone & Webster.  This ‘invention’ is a process control strategy to maintain on-spec, steady operation in high-purity distillation systems, in the presence of equipment constraints.  

Charles holds a Masters of Chemical Engineering degree from Rice University, and is a licensed P.E. in Texas and Louisiana.  

Workshop III

Title: MILP – a Versatile Method for Production Optimization

Abstract: In essence, Optimization is to find ways to improve performance of a system. So, one could assume that Optimization would be routinely applied to all but the simplest production activities.  Yet, optimization is not commonly practiced.  Furthermore, there is even some apprehension about Optimization amongst process engineers.

Part of the problem is that traditional engineering curriculum emphasizes only one of the many optimization methods and furthermore the emphasis is usually on details of the algorithm. This optimization method, called Non Linear Programming (NLP), is unfortunately fairly restrictive as it requires that all describing relationships (or functions) be continuous with continuous derivatives. Even then, in general, NLP cannot guarantee global optimum and moreover the solution methods usually lack robustness.

However, there are other optimization methods. One in particular works well for systems that includes functions that are not continuous for which derivatives could not even be defined.  It may also include functions that incorporate discrete variables (such as On or Off) or may span multiple operating regimes (such as low and high severity operations).  This method guarantees global optimum and furthermore the solution method is fast and robust.

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce you to one such method, called MILP. Emphasis in this seminar would be on developing models; details of the solution algorithm will not be discussed as these algorithms are mature and have been fully computerized.  Moreover, they are easily available to each one of us.  Modeling of both steady state as well as dynamic systems will be discussed.

Bio:  Ravi Nath, Founder, Nath Technology Solutions LLC 

After 40 years of service to the process industries across the globe, Dr. Nath retired from Honeywell Advanced Solutions in June 2017. But before long, some of his former customers contacted him for help which prompted Ravi to start a consulting company to continue to serve the industry on a part time basis.  Prior to Honeywell, Ravi worked at Engineers India Ltd, Akzo Chemie USA, Union Carbide (now Dow), Linnhoff March and Setpoint / AspenTech. Ravi is passionate about applying innovative yet practical solutions to solve Real Time Optimization problems. Ravi holds a BS from IIT, Kanpur and Masters and PhD from the University of Houston; all in chemical engineering. Ravi has many publications and holds 3 US patents. The Nath family has been long time residents of Houston.