As a consultant, you have been asked to study one of your client’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing systems and to evaluate the system for its operational ESH strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, often referred to as SWOT analysis. Once you do a walk-through of the processing system, you find the following:
Natural gas is pulled from horizontal bullet storage tanks, located within the facility’s tank farm, and pushed through a horizontal pressurized separator vessel to gravity-separate undesirable liquids and condensate from the natural gas.
The separated natural gas is then sent through a water-based solvent stripper vessel to absorb and remove other impurities, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise freeze later on in the process when the gas is cooled.
The stripped natural gas is then run through a glycol-based dehydration unit or dehy unit (heat exchanger and a molecular sieve or mole sieve unit combined) to remove any remaining water in the natural gas stream, dehydrating the gas stream.
The dehydrated gas stream is then sent through a secondary separator unit in order to extract propane and butane, leaving mostly methane and ethane in separated gas stream.
The separated gas stream is then liquefied by processing it through a cooling heat exchanger system, lowering the temperature to negative temperatures (-260°F/-162° C), shrinking overall gas volume to transform the gas stream into LNG.
The LNG is pressure-loaded and stored into insulated LNG storage tanks.
Your Personal Observations
The bullet tanks are labeled as a sour gas source and the outside painting is severely pitted and corroded.
The H2S/methane alarm is disconnected from the power source and there are spent Draeger tubes for high-level H2S detection lying about the tank area.
There are patches of piping missing insulation wrapping between several of the heating and cooling heat exchangers and their associated vessels. There are stripped, bare electrical wires throughout the facility, around the vessels and processing equipment.
The operator showing you around tells you that he or she is covering for another operator who was hospitalized the day before for accidentally inhaling propane and butane, while venting off both of these products from the dehy unit as waste products. She says that she has not been trained to do her job, but thinks it is enough like her other duties that additional training is likely unnecessary.
The environmental engineer meets you briefly at the dehy unit and says that he wishes he had options for something other than propylene glycol for the cooling process, given recent workers’ union complaints about the chemical.
You notice two of the six numbered LNG storage tanks are missing large pieces of insulation from their outside skin. The six LNG storage tanks are next to a natural playa lake, filled with rainwater and permitted as a storm water outfall collection point on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).
You notice that there seems to be no restricted or locked access for each of the manually-operated valves on the LNG loading manifold, serving six LNG storage tanks. None of the six lines from the manifold are marked to uniquely match their associated tank numbers.
There is an open-topped, uncovered drum of oily water, sitting on the soil, next to one of the LNG storage tanks.
Your job is to present the four SWOT areas of consideration, specifically from an environmental safety and health (ESH) perspective, to your client as a well-researched and scholarly document. Follow the steps below to complete this task.
Review the industrial processing system, described and discussed within the first chapter of the textbook as well as other scholarly sources (such as from other textbooks and peer-reviewed articles retrieved from the CSU Online Library databases).
Closely read the required unit resources assignment from the textbook, the unit lesson within the study guide, and consider reading the suggested unit resource.
Review all of your grading feedback from the Unit VI case study.
Using APA Style (including a title page, body with level 1 headings, and a references page) for a research paper, begin drafting the course project document.
Make your first level 1 heading “Introduction and Summary of the LNG Processing System.” Briefly summarize the given industrial processing system to give the reader context and provide the background and purpose of your paper.
Make your second level 1 heading “ESH Strengths of the LNG Processing System.” Identify and discuss what you perceive as ESH strengths of the processing system, citing as you write.
Make your third level 1 heading “ESH Weaknesses of the LNG Processing System.” Identify and discuss what you perceive as ESH weaknesses of the processing system, citing as you write.
Make your fourth level 1 heading “ESH Opportunities for the LNG Processing System.” Identify and discuss what you perceive as ESH opportunities for the processing system, citing as you write. Apply the hierarchy of controls method, as well as the ALARP method, here.
Make your fifth level 1 heading “Business Threats to the LNG Processing System.” Identify and discuss what you perceive as business threats to the existing processing system, citing as you write.
Make your sixth level 1 heading “Conclusions and Recommendations.” Summarize your findings, and cite your recommendations for the industrial processing system.
Your Course Project is to be at least four pages long (not counting the title page, abstract page, or references page), and must include the use of your textbook, and at least two additional scholarly sources. Follow APA Style when constructing this assignment, including in-text citations and references for all sources that are used. Please note that no abstract is needed.
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